DresdenDresden was known as both the 'Florence of the North' and the 'Venice of the River Elbe' before World War II destroyed most of this once-magnificent Baroque city. But Dresden has managed to restore much of its former glory. The views from the banks of the Elbe and plentiful architectural delights, such as the rebuilt Frauenkirche or the famous Semper Opera, provide glimpses of what today’s vibrant Dresden once looked like. With 63 percent of its area devoted to woods and green spaces, Dresden is also one of the greenest cities in Europe.
The CityIgnoring history is impossible when visiting Dresden, which saw its city centre reduced to ashes and rubble during the massive air raids by the allies in February 1945. However, following Germany’s reunification in 1990, the city has experienced a building boom hardly seen anywhere else in the country, and the main landmark, the Frauenkirche, yet again stands proud in the city’s main square. As the capital of the state of Saxony and with a population of nearly 500.000 people, today’s Dresden is a modern and vibrant city that yet again acts as the cultural magnet it once was. Visit the Old Town for magnificent Renaissance, Baroque and 19th-century buildings and museums and galleries on the river bank. Go to the Neustadt Quarter (the New Town Quarter), across the Elbe, where you find an eclectic mix of Baroque architecture and monumental government buildings from the 19th century. You can also find pockets of alternative culture, as well as a raft of shopping facilities and restaurants.
Do & See
There is a reason why Dresden is one of the most popular German cities to visit. Dresden is a town filled with history and culture, hence the countless museums. Whether you want to pay a visit to a museum dedicated to jewellery, watch a spectacular performance at the opera house or watch the animals in the Dresden Zoo, you can do it in Dresden.
As the capital of Saxony, Dresden has all the usual culinary offerings of a major city, as well as a wide range of top-class restaurants, but also offers some special Saxon treats. The Inner Neustadt area also has plenty of restaurants serving dishes from the nearby region of Bohemia, while the alternative restaurant scene in Outer Neustadt offers culinary treats from across the globe. Locally brewed beer should be enjoyed in one of the many beer gardens along the Elbe, while wines from the surrounding vineyards taste best in one of the romantic restaurants on the river slopes.
There are plenty of lovely cafes to while away an hour or two, or simply take a short mid-shopping breather. Choose from 30 different types of hot chocolate or enjoy an appetiser by the beautiful church.
Bars & Nightlife
No matter what your fancy is, Dresden has it. From swanky cocktail bars to traditional German pubs offering some of the best beers in the world: from superb wine establishments in historical surroundings to traditional Irish pubs, from romantic hang-outs on the slopes of the Elbe to alternative-style drinking venues in wacky Neustadt. Dresden has built up a reputation as one of the best party cities in Germany with a flurry of different clubs, playing all kinds of music ranging from salsa and R&B to techno and house. Party animals simply won’t leave this city disappointed.
As a shopping destination, Dresden is a great choice, with shopping facilities as rich and varied as the city itself. Head to Prager Strasse, which runs eastward into Ferdinandshof and northward into Seestrasse for department stores and international fashion chains. This cosmopolitan boulevard is famous for its architecture, fountains and colourful gardens behind the small hotels. There is also Prisco Passage, a new and chic Italian Piazza filled with shops and offerings for those interested in gourmet cooking. A visit to the Neustader Markthalle, one of Germany’s finest market halls, is a must. It showcases the best of the region's produce, speciality foods, wines and spirits.