The city of Dresden, located in the western part of Germany in the state of Saxony, lies near the Elbe River and has over half a million inhabitants. It is a very ancient city, founded in 1206, a city that has seen quite a few changes and upheavals over the years. In light of the Soviets’ control over it, Dresden became part of East Germany, which left its citizens under the communist regime. This is also the reason why one can see, when visiting it, many signs of this and interesting combinations between the East and the West, between the old and the new. After large parts of Dresden were bombed during World War II, many efforts were made to restore them, which is evident in the city’s many buildings, some of which are considered prominent and well-known points of interest.
The city, which is not far from Prague (it is located near the border with the Czech Republic), is a center of attraction for many tourists who combine a visit there with a visit to the neighboring city. It also has a Jewish community, which used to be very large, a community that suffered quite a few upheavals, culminating in the Second World War, in the Holocaust. Dresden has a variety of attractions that warrant a visit, interesting historical points and unique architectural buildings. Quite a few young people come to the city itself to study at its technical university, which is known as one of the most prominent in Germany and also has a very old orchestra, which began its journey in 1548 (which makes it the oldest in the world).
Although it is not a leader in the list of tourist cities in Germany, Dredzen offers quite a few accommodation solutions for visitors who wish to stay in the city for a few days. As in other cities, in Dresden most of them are right in the center, not far from the various points of interest. The city has a very wide selection of options, such as high class luxury hotels and more basic hotels. You can stay in an Airbnb apartment, an inexpensive option that is also loved by many travelers, or in a discounted guesthouse that is especially suitable for young backpackers. It is highly recommended, and especially if you plan to come to the city during the hot summer months, to make sure to book a place to stay in advance due to the high demand for places to stay at that time.
There are quite a few restaurants on the city’s main streets as well as on its inner streets. The ones that are further away from the hustle and bustle of the city are the ones that are recommended to most visitors and are also much more authentic and special. As in other Western cities in Europe, you can find restaurants in Dresden that bring to the plate a selection of dishes from different cuisines: local German cuisine, of course, but also Asian cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, precise French cuisine, and more. There are fast food chains in the city, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, which emphasize good healthy dishes.
Dresden offers a great variety of attractions in different areas, some of which can be found in the center. These attractions tell its story throughout history and the story of its inhabitants, and others give a place of respect to the local and international culture.
Tip – planning a short or long stay in Dresden? Dresden Welcome Cards are the right solution for you. These tickets give you significant discounts on entry to the various sites of the city as well as the possibility to use public transportation in and around the city free of charge. This may be particularly relevant for those interested in experiencing as much of the city as possible during their vacation there and getting to know it in depth thanks to all the sites and attractions it offers. You can choose one of three options: Dresden City Card – grants discounts when using public transport and is valid for one, two or three days, Dresden Regio Cards – grants discounts when using public transport both within Dresden itself and in the surrounding area and is also valid for one, two or three days and the Dresden Museums Card which grants discounts when entering museums which are mandatory and also when entering various exhibitions. This ticket is valid for two days only.
Here is a short overview of attractions in Dresden that warrant a stop:
Zwinger – this magnificent and impressive building is one of Dresden’s well-known attractions and also the one that attracts quite a few tourists throughout the year. It is a beautiful palace, the construction of which began in 1710 and ended in 1732, a palace designed in the Baroque style. At first the palace was used as an “amusement palace” and today it is used as a museum for everything, illustrating to its visitors both the history of those years, during the time of the Prince of Saxony – August, and the splendor that characterized the buildings, as well as their internal elements, from that distant period. The palace got its name due to its location – it is located where the city’s fortifications used to be, between Dresden’s inner and outer walls.
Dresden Castle – Dresden Castle, also known as the “Royal Palace of Dresden” – Dresdner Residenzschloss, is known as one of the oldest buildings in the city. For about 400 years, the building served as the residence of the royalty of Saxony and later of the kings of Poland. It is known for the variety of architectural styles that took part in it, from Baroque to Neo-Renaissance. Today the castle is used as a museum complex, which includes a collection of prints, drawings and photos from those years as well as an art library and the royal art collections of Dresden.
Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) – It’s hard to miss this impressive church, one of Dresden’s most prominent buildings and a tourist attraction in itself. It is a Lutheran church, the construction of which was completed in 1726. During World War II, following the bombing of the city, the church was completely destroyed and was rebuilt in the last century between 1994 and 2005. In fact, in the very same place, a Romanesque-style Romanesque church was built in the 11th century. In the 16th century, the church was adopted by Protestant Christianity and because it became too small over time, compared to the number of worshippers, it was destroyed and rebuilt in 1726. It is believed that since its current restoration, more than seven million people have visited the church.
Bruhl’s Terrace – this beautiful spot in the city is an attraction for many visitors. Bruhl terrace in Dresden is a very famous long promenade, directly overlooking the river Elbe, adjacent to it. Crowds walk on it throughout the day and on pleasant sunny days quite a few tourists visit it. In its distant past, the balcony was part of the city walls, which were built in 1546, and later stairs were also built for it, so that it was possible to walk on it. On the sides of the stairs stand four statues, each of them representing different times during the day: a statue symbolizing the morning, a statue symbolizing the noon, another the evening and the fourth the night. Like many points and sites in Dresden, it was also completely destroyed during the bombing of the city during World War II and rebuilt.
The Museum of the Great Painters (Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister) – lovers of art and museums in general will find the Museum of the Great Painters to be one of the most fascinating museums in Germany. This is an art museum that was first opened to the public in 1855. At the beginning, the museum exhibited about 750 different paintings, which were painted by artists between the 15th and 18th centuries. During the Second World War, the museum was closed to visitors and the works displayed in it at that time were moved to a safe place. The museum was badly damaged due to the bombing of the city and after the war his paintings were confiscated by the Red Army and transferred to Kiev and Moscow. Only in 1956 were some of them returned to the city and displayed in the Semper Gallery which was half destroyed. The museum was rebuilt and opened in 1960 as the Great Painters’ Gallery. Despite the attempts to preserve the paintings in it, a large part of them were destroyed and some also disappeared.
Pillnitz Castle – This ancient castle is a beautiful palace, designed in the Baroque style. It is located at the eastern end of Dresden, near the Elbe River. Pilnitz Castle served as the residence of the kings of Saxony and other important people during the hot summer months and includes three main buildings: the palace located near the river, the upper palace located on the side of the mountain and the new palace, designed in a neoclassical style, which connects them. These three magnificent buildings are surrounded by a large public park, which attracts quite a few locals as well as tourists.
The Great Gardens of Dresden (Grober Garten) – this green bubble in the city is charming gardens, designed in the Baroque style. They are located right in the center of Dresden and cover an area of 1.8 square kilometers. They were originally established for John George III in 1676, and in 1814 they became public gardens. A zoo and a botanical garden were also added to the gardens at the end of the 19th century and today, between From April to October, a miniature train called the Parkeisenbahn operates in them.
Albertinum – this is one of the most interesting museums in Dresden, one that is a center of attraction for many art lovers. The Albertinum is a modern art museum decorated in sandstone and designed in the Renaissance style. It is named after King Albert of Saxony and hosts impressive state art collections and a magnificent sculpture collection. It presents sculptures as well as paintings from the romantic period and thus covers, in fact, 200 years of creation.
Many choose to rent a car in Dresden and from there go on trips in the near or far surroundings. A star trip is very popular and is a wonderful opportunity to explore the environment and learn a lot about it. Of course, you can also use the very convenient public transportation in the city, which allows you to move between the various sites and reach all the attractions there without the need to search for a free parking space and direct travel routes. The rental car can usually be picked up directly from the airport, where you land, or at the offices of the car rental companies scattered throughout the city.
There are no direct flights to Dresden from Israel, but you can reach other destinations in Germany, from which you can continue with a connecting flight or a rental car. Flights with intermediate stops are an excellent solution for all those who wish to visit the city, flights operated by various international airlines, such as Lufthansa, Swiss, KLM, easyJet, Aeroflot and many others. The airport of Dresden, which is located near the city and at a distance of 9 km from it, is an international airport, from which flights take off to various European destinations and to a number of well-known holiday destinations.
Dresden is suitable to visit in any season. The winter months bring with them to the city a lovely European charm, which is hard to ignore and colorful and lively Christmas markets, which attract many. In the summer it is very comfortable to walk in the city and pleasant and the temperatures are not too high. During the summer, various fun events are offered throughout the city and the atmosphere becomes happier and lighter.
For those who choose to fly to Dresden, you should take into account special events, which are recommended to include during the visit:
The traditional Christmas market is definitely an event that warrants a stop. Every year Dresden is painted in a variety of wonderful colors in the months of November and December and the aromas of this important holiday come from almost every corner. The market of the city includes many stalls, offering for sale different local products. Many tourists come to the place and even the locals themselves make sure not to miss the market and the festive events that accompany it during the holiday period.
Those who come to the city during May and June will be able to enjoy a lovely music festival, which takes place there every year. Various performances and events, relevant to him, are held in several centers in the city, including great concerts. It is highly recommended to book a flight ticket as well as a place to stay in advance, since during this period the city is crowded with visitors and the available places to stay are snapped up.