The small towns in Germany have become interesting tourist destinations in recent years, as they have developed a lot since the fall of the wall. There are quite a few options around Berlin and Munich, but one option, particularly interesting and underrated, is Dresden. Dresden lies only about 30 kilometers from the German border with the Czech Republic, and is near the Elbe River. The city was previously ruled by the Saxons, who built quite a few magnificent palaces, churches, and added elements of works of art that remained scattered throughout the city. In museums around the city you can find unique items such as antiques, royal clothing that remains intact, and magnificent treasures. On the other hand, alongside its rich past, Dresden suffered greatly in the modern era, when it was almost completely destroyed in World War II. After almost 45 years of neglect under the Soviet regime, it managed to recover and today is a particularly interesting touristic city.
Dresden actually rose from the ground up and presents a number of fine tourist sites, alongside nightlife, clubs and high-class restaurants. It has recovered from the trauma and scars of the late 20th century, and you can see well-kept gardens and a beautiful skyline in Germany. With its wealth, which includes museums, palaces and of course many monuments, there is quite a bit to do in the city, from east to west. You can walk on the Brühl terrace, near the bridges over the river, and smell the roses in the well-kept gardens. The city has quite a few sites and in order not to miss anything, it is advisable to consider renting a car to optimize your movement from place to place.
In terms of prices, car rental in Dresden is quite similar to other cities in Germany. A basic private car will cost you about 20 euros per day, not including fuel, while station wagons can reach about 40 euros per day. This price is the basic price for the tourist season, when the prices vary by a few percent depending on the season, proximity to holidays, various extras and of course the type of vehicle. All the major car rental companies work in Dresden, so there is competition that benefits the customers, and in any case, it is very important to define your needs even before booking, in order to get the ideal car for your needs and so that it will be available when you arrive for the long-awaited visit. Try to talk to officials at the rental company through the network, to make sure that the vehicle you ordered is available and equipped with everything you need.
The hot tourist season in Dresden is of course in the summer, including many festivals and fairs, while in the winter there is less to do there, except for the traditional Christmas celebrations. However, it is better to book cars from the rental companies as early as possible, even a month or two in advance. The reason is that not every rental company has its entire arsenal of vehicles at any given time. To reserve your vehicle, for sure if it is not a regular private, but a station wagon or a luxury vehicle or with extras, you will have to reserve it ahead of time. It is important to plan the trip in advance, check where you can fill up with gas on long trips and where you can stop to refresh or spend the night. All these elements will affect the type of vehicle you need, therefore, it is important to prepare in advance.
In Dresden, as in most large cities in Germany, several events are held every year, which affect both the traffic on the sites and the traffic on the roads. The Bach Festival is held not far from the city at the end of April, the Dixieland Cruise Festival is held in May, the Eckhof Opera Festival is held in the summer, the Annaberger Folk Festival is held in nearby Annaberg in June, and perhaps the biggest event in the city – the Night of the Palaces, is held in July. The three largest palaces in the city are lit up with colors, and dozens of bands perform on improvised stages throughout the city. The festival also has fireworks, so if you’re in Dresden in July, it’s something worth experiencing, but as far as renting a car is concerned, it might be a day when it’s best to leave it at the hotel. Dresden is a city with almost no serious traffic jams, except in the afternoon on Thursday, when it is better to leave the car in the parking lot until around 17:00, to save time.
Dresden is not a particularly busy city, similar to Berlin or Munich, so compact and small vehicles will blend in perfectly. Most tourists go in private vehicles, but it is important to adapt the vehicle to the travelers. Some people come with more luggage and others pack light. There are people for whom space is important, and others for whom crowding is tolerable, depending on the fact that the trips are relatively short. It is important to take into account the length of the trips and whether you plan to leave the city to the outskirts, or even cross the border into the Czech Republic. Please note, if you took a car in the Czech Republic and want to get to Dresden, you will need a special transit permit and it is also important to make sure that the wheels are adapted for winter, as is mandatory in Germany and is an authority in the Czech Republic. The trip is extremely short, but crossing the border can be a challenge if you haven’t arrived prepared. We have marked for you where you can fill up with gas and where you can stop on the way in the nearby towns, so as not to get stuck and waste valuable time.
Whether you want to pick up the rental car in Dresden itself, in the nearby towns, or even in the Czech Republic and then drive to the city, you will need a valid international driver’s license. The big rental companies, of course, check the data before they give the keys to the customers.
Dresden underwent an extensive renovation at the end of the last century, so that its roads are relatively modern, and the city is well maintained, certainly in the residential areas, which are far from the tourist center. In the tourist and commercial areas you will find a few areas where the roads are older, and there you will have to be a little more careful about navigating and driving on roads that are more dilapidated and narrow. Dresden is surrounded by many autobahns (highways), some of which reach the border with the Czech Republic. It is very easy to manage in the city, but remember that when you leave it, driving on the autobahns is very fast, with no actual speed limit, and it is not suitable for everyone. Driving in the city is different, but still, the aggressive mentality of most drivers in Germany is surprising, certainly to those who have visited other European countries. The drivers are aggressive in a way reminiscent of Israel, but in Germany there are very few traffic accidents, given their awareness of the environment and the strict driving laws.
Dresden is relatively easy to navigate, especially if you use the Elbe River as an indication of location. Getting in and out of the city is easy, and in any case, it’s worth using the various navigation apps to avoid getting into problems and mistakes on the way, certainly for those who don’t want to accidentally find themselves on the autobahn. In the city you will find many car rental services on an hourly basis (similar to Tel Aviv’s Otel) and this is definitely something to consider if you want to use the car only within the city and not to leave it, so you can also enjoy more convenient parking. In addition, you will find quite a few bicycles on the sides of the road, and here too you should be very careful.
Dresden is not a city with a parking shortage, and you can find parking lots in the central locations, and plenty of parking in the less busy areas. The parking lots at the Altmarket and the Centrum Gallery mall are at reasonable prices of about 5 euros per day. The city is quite large, and sometimes it is better to leave the car at the train station at a minimal cost, and continue to the touristic areas by subway or bus. Everything is very accessible, and the parking lots in the area are also convenient and spacious. The use of a parking card (called a “disc” in Dresden) is minimal, and it is not certain that you will need one, as it is really a very friendly city for driving and parking.