When you’re in Berlin, don’t miss Dresden. Only a little more than two hours by train from Berlin’s central rail station, Dresden serves up an engaging variety of historic architecture, museums and sightseeing opportunities.
Situated in the eastern part of Germany on the River Elbe, 800-year-old Dresden has rebuilt many of the historical landmarks that were destroyed in the 1945 Allied fire bombing.
Dresden is an excellent city for self-guided walks past grand buildings such as the Japanese Palace and the Dresden Castle, an expansive castle in the heart of the old city that served as the royal residence for Saxon leaders from the 1200s through the fall of the empire after World War I. The pearl of the city’s museum collection is the Old Masters Picture Gallery, but the collection is large, so you’ll only have time to sample the offerings.
The Math and Physics Museum, housed in the renowned Zwinger, a stunningly beautiful complex of interconnected structures built in the early 18th century by Augustus the Strong as a home for his concubines, displays an array of pieces relating to the development of the physical sciences, including a globe from the 13th century and a 16th century planetary clock. Dresden’s old city is home to several other marvelous churches, castles and even historic stables.
Across the Elbe River, Dresden’s New City boasts fabulous restaurants, nightclubs, and international shopping destinations. Since Germany’s 1990 reunification, Dresden has renewed its standing as a cultural, political, and economic center.
Dresden also continues to be one of the greenest cities in Europe. More than 60 percent of the city is devoted to parks, such as the Baroque Gardens, and nature preserves, including the picturesque Dresden Elbe Valley that extends 12 miles through the city.
If you’re up for pedaling, rent a bike to ride along the Elbe River to Castle Pillnitz (pictured), the summer residence of Augustus the Strong. Allow an hour each way, pedaling on the New City side of the river on the way there, then using the ferry to cross the river and pedaling on the other side on the way back. Don’t worry about getting lost: Just follow the river.
Getting there: You’ll pay a little more than 50 euros for a first-class train ticket to Dresden, a 2.5-hour journey from Berlin’s Central Station. Be sure to visit the dining car for some strudel and coffee. It’s best if you can overnight in Dresden, departing Berlin in the late afternoon, just in time to see Dresden at sunset. Unpack your bags at Gewandhaus Hotel, a Radisson SAS property in the city center, and spend the next day touring before boarding the train back to Berlin.
How to spend one hour in Dresden, according to Corinne Miseer, director of sales and marketing for Radisson SAS Gewandhaus Hotel: Head to The Italian Garden, a restaurant overlooking the Elbe River. Order a wienerschnitzel and a beer and gaze out on the cityscape and river below. From your table, you’ll see the Bruhlsche Terrasse (pictured) and the beautiful Kunstakademi with its gilded horses on top. Listen for the toot of steamboats and horse hooves pulling carriages below.
To view a photo slideshow of Dresden, click here.
Avid Cruiser Posts, Photographs and Videos Featuring Dresden.