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Long Weekend in Dresden and the Surrounding Area

Travel Planning Tips, Activities and Sights for this Beautiful German City

Dresden is the capital of the Free State of Saxony and is situated in the east part of Germany, right next to Czech Republic and Poland.

The city hosts over 4 million tourists per year and therefore counts as one of the top cities visited in Germany. Even though it is only 3 hours away from my hometown, I must admit – I didn’t manage to go there till just the last long weekend.

What a pity that it took me so long-  it has such a beautiful historic inner city, numerous museums and loads to do in the surrounding area. Even for just a weekend, it seems to be a perfect spot to visit!

We decided to stay in Dresden from Thursday till Sunday. We arrived around noon, checked in the hotel and took off immediately to see what the city has to offer.

Our hotel was only 10 minutes away from the historic city center, and from what I see, most of the hotels that I looked at, seemed to be really close to the center. This was great as we didn’t have to take any public transportation or go by car that first day.

 

Sights - Zwinger

First we went to see Zwinger, a baroque jewel that was almost completely destroyed during World War II.

Soon after the end of the war in 1945, its reconstruction began. This palace, with a huge central courtyard and two ponds, served as an orangery, exhibition center and festival arena. Now it is a museum complex but also a place where you can just stroll around and relax at a nice fountain during a hot summer day.

 

Dresden Old Town

Later in the day we went to see the historic Old Town, which is almost “across the street” from Zwinger. It is just beautiful, filled with buildings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

It is also home of the City Hall, the Saxon State Parliament, the famous Semper Opera House and not far from there – Frauenkirche, surrounded by Neumarkt square.

 

Bruhl's Terrace

The following day, we started with a walk along Brühl's Terrace which stretches high above the shore of the river Elbe. It offers an amazing panorama over the city and there are many cafes where you can sit and enjoy the view.

 

Hygiene Museum Dresden

From there we continued walking towards the Hygiene Museum, founded by Karl August Lingner, a businessman and manufacturer of hygiene products, such as “Odol”, a famous mouthwash.

The museum is one of the most famous ones in Dresden with around 300 000 visitors per year. It offers many insights into the complicated structure of the human body, its senses, functioning of the brain, eating, sex or the skin.

It also has some interesting facts about medicine (especially from the beginning of 20th century).

 

Dresden Neustadt

In the afternoon we decided to take a tram and go across the bridge to see the famous part of the town called Neustadt, which is totally different from the Old Town. It is a hipster, young and artistic part of the city.

You can find a lot of street art, graffiti and many little cafes and bars. People tend to be more relaxed, young and focused on spending time outdoors. It also doesn’t have that many tourists and you can feel the local vibes much more.

Kunsthofpassage

We visited Kunsthofpassage (Görlitzer Straße 21-25), which is an artsy neighborhood with two fascinating buildings designed by artists Annette Paul, Christoph Roßner and André Tempel,  who actually live here.

One of the buildings presents a network of pipes and funnels which catch the rain as it falls and gives an optimal acoustics to amplify the sound of it.

Another one is covered in aluminum sheets which look like they were blown by the wind.

Where to Eat in Dresden

The culinary part of our trip to Dresden was a bit disappointing. As it lays in the Eastern part of Germany and the city is still evolving, the offer wasn’t that great for me. Yet, we were able to find some good places to eat.

Little India

This wonderful hidden gem in a small street in Neustadt offers an authentic Indian cuisine with smiling and accommodating staff.

The prices are very affordable (for a main course you have to pay somewhere around 10-15 euro), so if you order for two with something to drink, you should not pay more than 30-35 euro in total. And naan and rice are added in generous amounts for free.

Be aware that the place is pretty small and most of the tables are booked in advance or get filled up pretty fast. The restaurant opens at 5 pm, we were there about quarter past and were luckily able to occupy one of the last tables. When we left 45 minutes later, everything was full.

 

Lila Soße

Next to the Kunsthofpassage, on Alaunstraße 70, there is a hip restaurant that serves young German cuisine with a twist. It is mainly served in jars.

As the portions are not that big, rather in a tapas style, you can take a few of them (warm and cold) to try different tastes. They costs somewhere around 5-10 euro for each. Apart from that, they have a daily menu written on a blackboard. Those are normal dishes with some local accents.

We had spaghetti Bolognese and risotto, both with a nice twist of flavors and ingredients that made the dishes different and yet interesting.

Where to Stay in Dresden

We decided to stay in Holiday Inn Am Zwinger, as the hotel was very well rated on booking websites. Breakfast was also included and what was also important for us, the hotel is located only 10 minutes away from the historic city center.

We were very happy with our choice of the hotel. The breakfast especially was fantastic, with a wide variety of dishes. There was a very nice sauna (4 euro to be paid per person but you get a 4 euro voucher for the hotel bar in return) and a small fitness room which looked very new and clean.

The room was pretty small but also spotless clean, looked new and modern. We didn’t hear any traffic from the room, nor any noise coming from neighboring rooms or the lobby.

The only downside of the hotel is the parking. It costs 14 euro for every 24 hours. Unfortunately even if you do decide to use the parking, the hotel has only around 50 spots while there are more than 200 rooms. So most of the time the parking was full and we had to find a place somewhere on the nearby streets.

Fortunately, there was not a problem with that and it was even cheaper to leave the car on the street (3 euro a day!).

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