This year´s 1st of May came conveniently on a Monday, which meant we had a longer weekend without taking a day off work. Already a couple of months ago we decided to head to the wonderful SACHSEN SWITZERLAND NATIONAL PARK and possibly make a stop in Dresden on the way, as I´ve never been there yet. Due to our separation a month before, we had to reorganise the whole thing a bit, but Lu & me decided to go despite everything that just happened – with my parents. It was a bit strange as it was the first little trip without dad, but still, it was nice and we went lucky with the weather. We made a STOP IN DRESDEN FOR A DAY and loved it! The city is really beautiful and I think you should plan in at least 2-3 days to get the best out of your visit. But one day is enough to get some impressions. Read more about our day visit.
THE BEST WAY TO REACH DRESDEN if you are not living in Germay, is to combine it with a visit or a road trip through Prague, Czech Republic, which is just 150km away and also a wonderful city. Otherwise it takes 4hrs from Munich, 2 hrs from Berlin, 4.5 hrs from Hamburg and 4hrs from Frankfurt. It took us 3 hrs from home, which is great for a weekend visit.
FRAUENKIRCHE | famous church on one of the main city squares
Shortly after we´ve managed to park the car close to the old centre, we stood in front of this FAMOUS CHURCH. Luckily the old town is really not all that big and you can easily see much, just by walking. And this seemed to be the perfect place to start our day in Dresden.
The FIRST CHURCH was built on this spot already in 11th Century in romanesque style, but went through some major changes ever since. After becoming a protestant church, it was torn down in the 18th Century – on the same spot a bigger, baroque church was built, with a beautiful SANDSTONE DOME, which dominated the city´s silhouette. During WWII the church was so severly bombed that almost nothing was left of it. After a long process of RECONSTRUCTION, the church again today looks magnificent.
It was already here when we realised how many INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS were around us! We almost heard more English than German speaking ones ;). No wonder, Frauenkirche is one of the most visited sites in the whole country.
FÜRSTENZUG | a reat mural of a mounted procession of the rulers of Saxony
Our next destination was the famous Augustusbrücke bridge and we took this narrow alley to get to it. Here you can see a long WALL, surrounding the DRESDEN CASTLE, with a MURAL OF A MOUNTED PROCESSION of the rulers of SAXONY. Dukes, kings, electors and more are captured with the world-known MEISSEN PORCELAIN tiles. With over 100 metres in length this is THE LARGEST PORCELAIN ARTWORK IN THE WORLD.
RESIDENZSCHLOSS | amazing royal palace, museums and library
One of the OLDEST BUILDINGS in Dresden, this castle has been here for over 400 years and hosts many interesting MUSEUMS today: the Green Vault, the Numismatic Cabinet, the Colection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, the Armory. There is also an ART LIBRARY.
KÖNIGSUFER & AUGUSTUSBRÜCKE | river banks and the famous bridge over Laba river
This wonderful SANDSTONE BRIDGE stands here for around 100 years and was built to replace the one from the 12th centrury, which was damaged. It CONNECTS THE NEW TOWN WITH THE HISTORIC AREA as it crosses the RIVER ELBE. The INNERE NEUSTADT (New Town) sits on the right bank, the old town on the left.
We didn´t really have the time to explore the new town, but still we were keen to walk over the bridge to the other side to catch some great views. Unfortunately it was the exact hour when the sky decided to drop some heavy rain and we ended up soaking wet (the umbrellas didn´t help, because the wind was too strong). But we did get the views.
From the bridge you can already see the broad WALKING / CYCLING PATH leading alongside the river – there are supposed to be wonderful cycling paths around Dresden, but even if you come here on foot, this seems to be a perfect place for a city picnic or taking a rest on a hot summer day. Right next to the bridge there is also a BIERGARTEN with a little playground for the kids.
ZWINGER PALACE | one of the most beautiful palaces in Germany and Europe
We smartly used the raining time to have LUNCH in one of the more expensive restaurants (I don´t think this was a plan, the restaurant just happened to be there and we had enough of the rain) and had some really good WHITE ASPARAGUS, which are a favourite here in this time of the year. Luckily, in the mean time, the rain has stopped and the sky cleared up completely! We were off to this beautiful PALACE, just around the corner from the CASTLE.
This famous palace, which was formerly part of the DRESDEN FORTRESS used to serve as an ORANGERY, FESTIVAL ARENA and an EXHIBITION GALLERY. Today this is a marvellous place for a walk and obviously a popular spot in the city to get your wedding photos taken at (we saw a few brides).
Besides admiring the sculptures and other ornaments, you can also visit one of the MUSEUMS or GALLERIES inside the palace, like the world known DRESDEN PORCELAIN COLLECTION for example. There are also nice cafes.
This palace was my personal HIGHLIGHT of our day visit to Dresden! Lu liked it as well, he found the NAKED SCULPTURES especially funny because he could not understand why they were not wearing any trousers if they were living in such an expensive palace ;).
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Mom I think if I get all these coins out, I can buy us some ice cream!”
SEMPER OPERA HOUSE | one of the best and known Opera houses in Europe
Probably the MOST KNOWN BUILDING in Dresden is a centrepiece of the historic old city. It opened in 1841, but was damaged in a fire only a couple of decades later. Rebuilt it stood there until it got bombed to the ground during WWII. One of the best opera houses in Europe was successfully RECONSTRUCTED again in 1985 and it attracts visitors from all over the world ever since. If you are into opera then you should not miss an evening here.
MUSEUMS | a list of the most important museums in Dresden
There are sooo many museums here and if you have more time than we did now, you should definitely visit some of them. Here is a list of the most known ones:
The Royal Porcelain Collection
Military History Museum
Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments
Dresden City Museum
Dresden Art Galleries
German Hygiene Museum
ALTMARKT SQUARE | great market place also known for its Christmas market
ALTMARKT SQUARE is the place to be if you are visiting Dresden in the winter – the CHRISTMAS MARKET here is one of the best ones in Europe! This time it was the time of the so-called “FRÜHJAHRSMARKT”, which is a market, set up in the beginning of May. Here you can buy local products, have a drink or let your kids take carousel rides.
The centrepiece of the market is a big TREE, known as a “MAIBAUM” – those are being put up all over Germany in May.
After we had some snacks at the market, we decided it was time to leave as we still had around 45 minutes driving ahead of us, before we reached our apartment in the SAXONY SWITZERLAND NATIONAL PARK. This short stop in Dresden was definitely worth it and I´m sure we´ll be back one day to see more of it.
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