What to see in Germany
Tourist attractions Dresden
A cultural cornucopia, Dresden is home to world-renowned art museums and classic architecture galore! The capital of the German state of Saxony, a trip to Dresden is the chance to uncover a rich artistic heritage and experience the romance of one of Germany’s most beautiful cities. Historically, the home of many a Saxon prince and king, Dresden’s incredible cultural wealth is a result of its royal heritage.
Straddling the banks of the River Elbe, it’s difficult to believe this entire city was largely destroyed during Allied bombings in 1945. Its carefully reconstructed spires, domes and towers paint an alluring backdrop for a city filled with priceless treasures. One of the greenest cities in Europe, well-kept gardens and verdant forests cover more than 50% of Dresden’s total area, so nature is never far away if you travel to Dresden.
Of course, sightseeing is the main attraction here, whether that’s perusing the masterpieces held within the world-famous Zwinger, or admiring the dramatic domed cupola of the Frauenkirche, Dresden’s most iconic building. Little wonder that this city’s nickname is the ‘Florence of the North'.
Around every corner you’ll find stately Baroque architecture, making Dresden a pleasure to explore. In fact, its location on the route between Prague and Berlin makes it the perfect stop to include on a journey through Central Europe.
Things to see in Dresden
Despite its near-total destruction during World War II, Dresden’s historical centre has largely been restored to its former glory. At its heart is the Frauenkirche. This church, officially the Church of Our Lady, is one of the best things to see in Dresden. Reconsecrated some 60 years after its destruction, today the Frauenkirche is a beloved symbol of the city, retaining its original beauty in perfect detail. An active place of worship, concerts and services are held here on a regular basis, so be sure to check the schedule if you’d like to see the Frauenkirche in use. Inside you’ll find decorative seating galleries and the original altar, salvaged and painstakingly reconstructed from around 2000 fragments.
One of the most important Baroque buildings in the country, a trip to the Zwinger is a highlight of any Dresden tour. The Zwinger, a stately residence inspired by the Palace of Versailles, houses three museums: the Old Masters Gallery, the Porcelain Collection and the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments. The Old Masters Gallery houses priceless paintings by all the greats, from icons of the Italian Renaissance to the Dutch, German and Flemish masters. The entrance to the inner courtyard is free, the perfect place to contemplate the ornate architecture and admire the orange trees in the summer.
To delve deeper into the royal heritage of Dresden, be sure to visit the impressive Dresden Castle, the residence of Saxon royalty for over 400 years. Known as the Dresdner Schloss, this riverside residence is a real-life treasure trove. The enormous wealth of its former inhabitants is evident as you tread the decorative halls of the castle. The extraordinary collections include all sorts of objects, from Ottoman art to royal armor.
Finally, to experience the glamor of a by-gone era during your trip to Dresden, be sure to visit the Semperoper, one of the most famous opera houses in the country. The Semperoper opened its doors in 1841, hosting premiers for the likes of Wagner and Strauss. Another of the city’s reconstructed buildings, treat yourself to an evening ticket to soak up the history of this temple of classical music.