Dresden is the lovely capital city of the eastern German state of Saxony, located along the banks of the picturesque River Elbe. Though much of the historic city was destroyed during a 1945 bombing raid in World War II, many of its historic landmarks have been completely reconstructed, including the famed Baroque-style Frauenkirche church, known for its spectacular grand dome. Gorgeous art masterpieces are on display at the Zwinger Palace, including Raphael's acclaimed "Sistine Madonna." Visitors can also view the stunning Canaletto's View vantage point, which was featured in the painter's famed 1748 masterpiece and showcases one of the city's most gorgeous vistas.
Canaletto’s View preserves the view depicted in famed 18th-century painter Canaletto's masterpiece "Dresden from the Right Bank of the Elbe Below the Augustus Bridge," painted in 1748. The masterpiece is known for its gorgeous depiction of Dresden's skyline, immortalized by the landscape painter whose real name was Bernardo Bellotto. Visitors can reach the view by crossing the river Elbe at the Augustusbrücke and turning immediately left, where they will find a metal image frame depicting the spot of the painting's completion in front of the Hotel Bellevue. Several buildings depicted in the painting can be seen today, including the city's 1743 Frauenkirche and Katholische Hofkirche churches.
Dresden Castle, also known as the Dresden Royal Palace, is one of the city's oldest existing buildings, formerly serving as the home of the electors and kings of Saxony of the Albertine line between 1547 and 1918. It is believed to have been originally constructed in the 14th century and was reconstructed in 1701 by Augustus the Strong following its destruction by fire. Today, it is widely renowned for its blend of architectural styles, ranging from Baroque to Neo-Renaissance architecture. Ongoing restorations aim to return the castle to its historic state following bombings during World War II. Five museum sections are open to the public, including the Historic Green and New Green Vaults, the Collection of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, the Numismatic Cabinet, and the Dresden Armory.
Taschenberg 2, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-351-49-14-20-00
3.International Dixieland Festival Dresden
International Dixieland Festival Dresden is Germany's oldest old-time jazz festival, originally founded in 1971. The event, which takes place over eight days and seven nights in late May each year, draws around half a million fans each year, known as a fixture on Europe's historic jazz scene. One of its most renowned highlights is the river Elbe's riverboat shuffle, which draws the world's oldest and largest fleet of paddle steamboats to the river and invites festivalgoers aboard its makeshift floating stage for live musical performances. Music is showcased throughout the city during the entire event, with a focus on old-time jazz performances. At the end of the event, the festival's famed Dixieland Parade concludes the festivities with a farewell jazz session.
Semperoper Dresden is the official opera house of Dresden's Saxon State Opera and Saxon State Orchestra, also serving as the official home of the Semperoper Ballett. The opera house was originally designed in 1841 by architect Gottfried Semper, reconstructed in 1878 following a fire in 1869 and featuring Renaissance, Baroque, and Greek Classical Revival-style elements that add to its reputation as one of Europe's most beautiful opera houses.. It overlooks the beautiful Elbe River within the city's historic city center, known for its extensive history of premieres of major works by composers such as Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. Visitors can enjoy a full slate of seasonal performances or explore the opera house as part of guided architecture and history tours throughout the week.
Theaterplatz 2, 01067 Dresden, Germany
5.The Zwinger Palace
The Zwinger Palace is one of Dresden's most renowned landmarks, originally commissioned in the Baroque architectural style by Augustus the Strong and designed by architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. It is named for the German word for an enclosed killing ground and originally served as the orangery, festival arena, and exhibition gallery for the Dresden Court. Today, it is operated as a museum complex housing facilities such as the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Old Masters Picture Gallery, the Dresden Porcelain Collection, and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon. Other historic features include the complex's Kronentor, or "Crown Gate," Baroque-style gate and its nearly-symmetrical Glockenspielpavilion.
Sophienstraße, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-351-49-14-20-00
The Albertinum is one of Dresden's premiere modern art museums, housed within a beautiful Renaissance Revival-style building on Brühl's Terrace in the city's historic center. The museum, which is named in honor of historic ruler King Albert of Saxony, was erected between 1884 and 1887, designed by master builder Carl Adolf Canzler. It houses the official Sculpture Collection and New Masters Gallery of the Dresden State Art Collections, highlighting beautiful master paintings and sculptures from the Romantic period to the present day. Paintings and sculptures include recognizable pieces by Auguste Rodin, Caspar David Friedrich, and Ludwig Richter, displayed on three floors of exhibition galleries.
Tzschirnerpl. 2, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-351-49-14-20-00
The Striezelmarkt is one of Germany's oldest traditional Christmas markets, originally founded as a one-day event during the holiday season of 1434. As one of the world's oldest Christmas markets, the market has been in constant operation for nearly 600 years, attracting more than three million visitors each year. The market operates throughout the Advent season each year, named after the German strüzel cake variety and hosting 240 vendors selling holiday goods such as wooden ornaments, candle pyramids, schwibbogen candle holders, nutcrackers, and Räuchermann "smoking man" ornaments. Visitors can enjoy delicious food and drink specialties such as pflaumentoffel prunes, Pulsnitzer gingerbread cake, and glühwein mulled spiced wine. Activities hosted throughout the market include a puppet theater, a bakery, and a children's carousel.
01067 Dresden, Germany
8.The Grand Garden of Dresden
The Grand Garden of Dresden, known as the Großer Garden in German, is a gorgeous Baroque-style park in Dresden's city center, originally commissioned in 1676 by John George III, Elector of Saxony, and opened as a public garden space in 1814. The beautiful 1.8-kilometer park is known for its lovely symmetrical pathways and major attractions such as the Dresden Zoo and Dresden Botanical Garden. In the center of the park, visitors can view the beautiful Sommerpalais, which showcases Renaissance-style architecture. 1,5000 garden sculptures are showcased throughout the park, in landscaped sections such as a pheasant garden. Other attractions include Volkswagen's Transparent Factory and the miniature Parkeisenbahn, which operates from April through October.
Hauptallee 10, 01219 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-35-14-45-66-00
9.The Dresden Palace of Culture
The Dresden Palace of Culture, known as the Kulturpalast in German, is a modernist-style palace in Dresden that was opened in 1969 by the East German government. Since its reopening in 2017, it has been primarily used for presenting music performances throughout the year, serving as a new cultural center for the capital city. Excellent acoustics and beautiful distinctive architecture make the concert hall a first choice for regional orchestras and performers, including internationally-renowned artists. The popular Die Herkuleskeule cabaret is hosted at the Kulturpalast throughout the year, presenting lively, eclectic performances. Other attractions include a municipal central library which is open to the public, housing extensive literature collections.
Schloßstraße 2, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-35-14-86-68-66
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10.The Bundeswehr Military History Museum
The Bundeswehr Military History Museum, known in German as the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr, is one of Germany's premiere military history museums, serving as the official military museum for the German Armed Forces known as the Bundeswehr. It is housed within a former military arsenal in Albertstadt, which was originally constructed between 1873 and 1876 and opened to the public in 1897 as a museum. In 2011, the museum was fully renovated and reopened, showcasing all-new exhibits on the human aspects of war and the evolution of military technology use by German troops, striving to encourage visitors to reexamine the ways they think about the concept of war and honestly present its consequences and violence. Historically significant items on display include the bell from the SMS Schleswig-Holstein, which fired what are generally regarded as the first shots of World War II.
Antonstraße 2A, 01097 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-351-56-34-08-88
11.The New Synagogue
The New Synagogue is a lovely new synagogue in Dresden constructed on the site of the historic Semper Synagogue, which was constructed in 1840 by Gottfried Semper and was destroyed during the Kristallnacht in 1938. The new synagogue, which was designed by architects Wolfgang Lorch and Rena Wandel-Hoefer in 2001, was shortlisted for 2003's European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture for its gorgeous off-center design elements, which are meant to convey the isolation of the Jewish community within the German city. Final remaining fragments of Semper's original structure are incorporated into the synagogue, which incorporates historic design elements into its new structure.
Hasenberg 1, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-35-16-56-07-10
12.Brühls Terrace and Dresden Fortress
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Brühls Terrace and Dresden Fortress, also known as the Saxon Bastille, is one of Europe's largest remaining hilltop fortifications, located overlooking the left bank of the River Elbe in the town of Königstein. More than 50 buildings are set atop the 9.5-hectare plateau, including some buildings that are over four centuries old. Some buildings were formerly used as a state prison and a military hospital before the complex's conversion into a tourist attraction. Today, the complex attracts nearly three-quarters of a million visitors each year, showcasing military history museum facilities operated as a satellite museum to the Bundeswehr Military History Museum.
01824 Königstein, Germany, Phone: +49-35-02-16-46-07
Dresden Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Dresden or the Katholische Hofkirche, has served as Dresden's historic Catholic Cathedral since 1964, located along the banks of the beautiful River Elbe in the city's center. The church is known as one of Dresden's most iconic landmarks, originally commissioned by Augustus III, Elector of Saxon and designed by architect Gaetano Chiaveri in 1751. Though it was badly damaged during the Second World War in 1945, it was restored to its historic condition twice throughout the 20th century and serves as the cathedral for the Diocese of Dresden-Meissen today. Visitors can explore the church for free throughout the day and see its beautiful restored organ, which is known as the final work of organ builder Gottfried Silbermann. Several crypts house notable Saxon leaders, including King Augustus III of Poland.
Schloßstraße 24, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-35-14-84-47-12
Loschwitz is a lovely borough in Dresden located along hillside slopes north of the River Elbe, known as a prominent wine-growing region since the 11th century. The historic village is home to landmarks such as the Weißer Hirsch quarter, which has housed some of the region's most prominent upper-class citizens throughout its history, including inventor Manfred von Ardenne and Battle of Stalingrad commander Friedrich Paulus. Its beautiful regional church is of historic note, located adjacent to the historic Loschwitz Cemetery. Visitors can dine at the noted 1895 restaurant Luisenhof, which is named in honor of the Crown Princess Luise of Saxony, or ride the Schwebebahn Dresden railway, the world's oldest suspension railway.
Loschwitz Bridge is one of Dresden's most famed landmarks, stretching over the River Elbe and connecting the affluent regional districts of Loschwitz and Blasewitz. The cantilever truss bridge is commonly referred to as Blaues Wunder, or "Blue Wonder," throughout the Saxony region due to its original blue color, which was considered to be a technological miracle at the time of its construction. It was completed in 1893, named in honor of King Albert of Saxony and renowned for its impressive length without the use of supporting river piers. Between 2004 and 2009, the surrounding 7.5 square mile region around the bridge within the Elbe meadows was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, though it lost its designation due to the extreme congestion it caused on the bridge's traffic.
Loschwitzer Brücke, 01326 Dresden, Germany
16.The Dresden Frauenkirche
© Sergey Novikov/stock.adobe.com
The Dresden Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, is a beautiful historic Lutheran church in Dresden, originally constructed in its current Baroque-style architectural state in the 18th century. Though it was destroyed during the bombing of Dresden in World War II, it was rebuilt beginning in 1994 following the reunification of German and completed in 2004. Today it is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Protestant sacred architecture in Europe, known for its spectacular dome. Though it is often referred to as a cathedral, it does not serve as the seat for a bishop for the church. Since its reopening in 2005, it has served as a major tourist destination in the Saxony region, home to an exhibition on the building's history and reconstruction. Two devotional services are held each day at the church, along with two liturgies presented each Sunday.
Neumarkt, 01067 Dresden, Germany
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17.Meissen Porcelain Manufactory
© Meissen Porcelain Manufactory
Meissen Porcelain Manufactory pays tribute to fine Meissen porcelain and china, the first type of hard-paste porcelain crafted in Europe beginning in 1710. The porcelain was invented by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and became known as one of the world's foremost types of porcelain, known for its signature crossed swords logo, one of the oldest brand trademarks in existence today. Visitors can learn about the company's high-quality workmanship at the manufactory, which is home to attractions such as the House of MEISSEN, which features the Museum of the Meissen Porcelain Foundation, documenting the manufactory's history over the past several centuries and displaying a vast collection of pieces. Demonstration workshops showcase the artisanal techniques that go into crafting the company's porcelain, including potter's wheel demonstrations and glaze painting showcases.
Talstraße 9, 01662 Meißen, Germany, Phone: +49-352-14-68-66-30
© Kuchen Atelier
Kuchen Atelier is a retro-styled bakery in Dresden, known for its delicious Old World-style cakes, tarts, gateaux, and other pastries. The bakery is helmed by executive chef and patissier Dirk Günther, who prepares all pastries on site by hand each day at its location within the five-star hotel Gewandhaus. Locally-sourced ingredients such as fine chocolate, almonds, pistachios, and fresh fruit are used in the creation of all pastries featured on the bakery's innovative menu. Lovely pastry selection include delicacies such as cheese mango tarts, coffee nougat cakes, and traditional Eierschecke, which infuses flavors of lemon and Madagascar vanilla. Fine macarons and cookies are also sold in flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, and pistachio.
Ringstraße 1, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-351-49-49-69
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19.Coselpalais Restaurant and Grand Cafe
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Coselpalais Restaurant and Grand Café is a delicious restaurant in Dresden's historic old town district, located within the 1765 Coselpalais, one of the city's best-known Baroque-style buildings, which was restored to its original beautiful condition after its damage in the city's bombing during World War II. Today, the restaurant is known as one of the city's most popular tourist destination eateries, serving up fine land and sea fare throughout the day, including elegant steak preparations. Diners can enjoy entrees like roasted pike perch on Dijon mustard roti, sirloin steak with mustard-egg glaze, and salmon filets with vermouth sauce and black risotto. Fine soups and salads are also served up, along with an extensive menu of gourmet cakes and decadent desserts like housemade chocolate tarts and artisanal ice cream sundaes.
An der Frauenkirche 12, 01067 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-35-14-96-24-44
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© England, England
England, England is Dresden's self-proclaimed haven for homesick Anglophiles, known for its excellent traditional tea service and decadent pastries. The cafe is a great place for English speakers in the area to convene, home to English-language special events throughout the month such as book clubs, readings, baking workshops, and film screenings. Diners can enjoy excellent menus of light cafe care such as prepared-to-order deli sandwiches, honey or cinnamon porridge, and cream or high tea service with finger sandwiches, homemade scones, and traditional pots of tea. Homemade cakes are also served up by the slice, along with renowned traditional English breakfasts on Sundays showcasing favorites like fried eggs, Lincolnshire sausages, and baked beans. Specialty teas are served up throughout the day, along with Union Hand-Roasted Coffee imported from London and a selection of ales, ciders, and wines.
Martin-Luther-Straße 25, 01099 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-351-32-95-01-50
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Fräulein Lecker is a cozy cafe within the heart of Dresden's Neustadt district, located adjacent to the Alaunpark. The cafe is known for its delicious cakes and coffees, which are served up throughout the morning and afternoon hours all week. All pastries are crafted on site daily, baked with spelt flour instead of wheat flour to provide a healthier alternative to more decadent treats. Diners can enjoy vegan breakfast platters, croissants with hazelnut spread or jam, homemade yogurt, or a selection of whole grain breads on the cafe's lovely menu. Since seating is limited at the cafe, reservations are strongly recommended for all visitors to ensure table space.
Bischofsweg 28, 01099 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-351-81-05-94-97
© Café Sperling
Café Sperling is a charming cafe located within Dresden's hip Äußere Neustadt quarter, opened in 2013 and serving up time-tested homemade pastry and cake recipes from the owner's family recipe lineage. The cozy cafe showcases chic Scandinavian-inspired decor and offers breakfast and lunch menus throughout the week, serving up a variety of espresso-based beverages alongside hot and iced teas, hot chocolates, and chai lattes. Freshly-baked bagels are served up with a plethora of toppings, ranging from avocado or goat cheese to homemade fig mustard or apple slices. Breakfast options range from fresh-grain muesli and fruit-infused yogurt to egg, cheese, and sausage platters. A wide variety of delicious cakes and pastries are served, including signature Grandma's Cheesecake slices.
Alaunstraße 86, 01099 Dresden, Germany, Phone: +49-174-87-23-42
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22 Best Things to Do in Dresden, Germany
- Canaletto’s View, Photo: EdNurg/stock.adobe.com
- Dresden Castle, Photo: vrabelpeter1/stock.adobe.com
- International Dixieland Festival Dresden, Photo: tsuguliev/stock.adobe.com
- Semperoper Dresden, Photo: cge2010/stock.adobe.com
- The Zwinger Palace, Photo: gatsi/stock.adobe.com
- The Albertinum, Photo: lunamarina/stock.adobe.com
- The Striezelmarkt, Photo: santosha57/stock.adobe.com
- The Grand Garden of Dresden, Photo: santosha57/stock.adobe.com
- The Dresden Palace of Culture, Photo: fl0ri0604/stock.adobe.com
- The Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Photo: tagstiles.com/stock.adobe.com
- The New Synagogue, Photo: tagstiles.com/stock.adobe.com
- Brühls Terrace and Dresden Fortress, Photo: Torsten Becker/stock.adobe.com
- Dresden Cathedral, Photo: hivaka/stock.adobe.com
- Loschwitz, Photo: Jule_Berlin/stock.adobe.com
- Loschwitz Bridge, Photo: Jule_Berlin/stock.adobe.com
- The Dresden Frauenkirche, Photo: Sergey Novikov/stock.adobe.com
- Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Photo: Meissen Porcelain Manufactory
- Kuchen Atelier, Photo: Kuchen Atelier
- Coselpalais Restaurant and Grand Cafe, Photo: Henry Czauderna/stock.adobe.com
- England, England, Photo: England, England
- Fraulein Lecker
- Cafe Sperling, Photo: Café Sperling
- Cover Photo: seqoya/stock.adobe.com