After something new? A city hard to resist? And nature not to be missed?
Look no further than Dresden Elbland: the embodiment of culture, relaxation and active holidaying in one.
With world-class architecture and art wherever you look, the superlative culture on show in Dresden has few peers. And while the list of must-visits in the Elbe metropolis is long, pride of place goes to classics such as the Frauenkirche cathedral, the Semper Opera, the Zwinger and the Royal Palace.
Amid innumerable architectural highlights, the Frauenkirche is among the very finest protestant church buildings of the Baroque era, while the Semper Opera is one of the most beautiful opera houses anywhere worldwide.
Meanwhile, the Fürstenzug (Procession of Princes), Stallhof and Brühl’s Terrace are no less worthy of your time and attention. The Procession of Princes, for example, is the world’s largest porcelain painting, with 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles and 102 metres long. The epic-scale cavalcade depicted showcases the 34 Wettin dynasty margraves, dukes, electors and kings who ruled Saxony between 1127 and 1873. An absolute must-see!
Few pleasures in life could beat a leisurely stroll around the old town area and its visual feasts.
And speaking of feasts – why not recharge your batteries en route with some fresh regional delicacies and specialities at one of the many cafés and restaurants? Then continue your enlightening tour past the Catholic Court Church and a stair climb up to Brühl’s Terrace, nicknamed the “Balcony of Europe”. Completed by 1551 and before a key component of the city's former ramparts, its military importance gradually declined. It has since regained a new lease of life alongside the Academy of Arts and the Albertinum as one of the tourist and architectural highlights. In its shadow, remnants of the former Dresden Fortress, the oldest building in the Elbe city, remain to this day.
The Museum Festung Dresden (Fortress Museum) reopened its doors with an exhibition entitled “Celebrations, Dramas and Disasters – the Like of Which you’ve never Seen”. Stunning 360-degree projections combine with the latest audiovisual technology to give visitors unforgettable hops back in time. And its setting – apparently subterranean – will entice all those keen to explore Dresden from a new perspective.
In fact, Dresden is heaven for museum-lovers and stands on a par with London, with more than 50 venues to enjoy. The Old Masters Picture Gallery, for example, home to countless masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt and Canaletto, not forgetting the famous Sistine Madonna by Raphael. And treasure troves come no richer than the world-famous Green Vault, which is also one of the oldest museums in Europe.
If whiling away time more actively on the water ticks your box, why not enjoy relaxing on a rubber dinghy or canoe tour on the River Elbe, as the beautiful old town scenery unfolds before your eyes.
Or perhaps on a paddle steamer of one of the oldest and largest steamship fleets anywhere in the world, en route to Loschwitz, where the beauty of Dresden's most famous bridge, the Blaues Wunder (Blue Wonder), awaits.
Yet more reasons to visit this part of town – as if you needed them – are the lazy alleys and colourful boutiques, magnificent villas and their sumptuous entrances and decorative half-timbered homes.
This is also the point where the funicular railway bound for the Weißer Hirsch district and the suspension railway to Oberloschwitz came into service over a century ago, offering an Elbe valley view that will take your breath away.
Another must-stop for Elbland holidaymakers is Pillnitz Park and Castle further east – nowhere else in Europe will you find a finer example of a Chinoise palace complex.
In every sense, Dresden and all its myriad facets constitute a collective work of art bursting with life, colours and exuberance right to the core.
Casual lifestylers, meanwhile, should look no further than the city’s alternative scene, most of which unfolds in over 150 Neustadt bars, clubs and studios. Street and experimental art abound and pride of place goes to the Kunsthofpassage, an ensemble of connected backyards, with the individual courtyard facades each embracing their own design theme.
But dreamlike Dresden, beautiful enough to earn the nickname “Florence on the Elbe”, is not the only jewel this region boasts.
Equally visitworthy is the “Saxon Switzerland” mountain range with its epic rock formations, while wins for wine-lovers are the castles, palaces and magnificent landscapes of the Dresden Elbland region, the epic greenery of which deserves a special mention. You will find no better place in which to enjoy healing alone time amid beautiful nature, whether walking or pedalling along.
The hikers among you will be equally happy with the extensive range of tours and unforgettable views they include, in the cleanest of air and far from the normal stresses and strains. Days filled with nature and encounters beckon. We recommend working up an appetite exploring the castles, parks and gardens of the area, strolling romantically along to your gourmet venue of choice and enjoying the finest regional dishes and specialities.
In Dresden Elbland, you are never too far from a welcoming vineyard, and the numerous rustic wine taverns at the heart of the Saxon Wine Route are likely just minutes away. This may be one of Germany’s smallest wine-growing areas, but the exclusive tastings and vineyard tours it houses will create a lasting memory.
Visitors to Wackerbarth Castle can enjoy the first wine-themed adventure estate anywhere in Europe, which promises to be just as unmissable as nearby magnificent Meissen. Dating back more than 1,000 years, this city rose to global fame when production of Meissen porcelain – the first anywhere in Europe – got underway in 1708.
Top of the list for visitors should be a stop at the Porcelain Manufactory Meissen. Live workshops on show here give visitors an inside look at how Meissen porcelain is hand-crafted using the finest in traditional techniques. Right to this day, the intertwined Saxon swords are synonymous with porcelain of unrivalled quality and exceptional craftsmanship.
Another attraction you shouldn’t miss before heading home is the late gothic Albrechtsburg Castle, perched high above the Elbe. It is considered to be the first castle of its kind throughout the German-speaking world and the cradle of Saxony.
Take it from us – the narrow-gauge railway from Radebeul, the heart of the Saxon Wine Route and the home of Karl May, wending its way along the beautiful Lößnitzgrund valley to Moritzburg is more than worth your while.
Visit the former hunting lodge and summer residence of Augustus the Strong, one of Europe’s most picturesque moated castles and having now earned cult venue status thanks to the German-Czech film adaptation of “Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella”. And if you need more Moritzburg motivation, look no further than its dense forests, pond landscapes of loveliness and Saxony’s smallest castle, the Fasanenschlösschen.
World-class art & culture, beautiful landscapes and pristine nature reserves, picturesque vineyards producing excellent wines, great hiking trails and gourmet treats galore!
Whatever facet you unveil at whatever time of year, Dresden Elbland remains an irresistible draw.