Only 24-48 hours in Dresden
Dresden is a world-class city with a rich history. Trying to see all the landmarks and funky art installations in Dresden could take you weeks. If you only have 24-48 hours, you need to focus on the very best that Dresden has to offer. Whether you love castles or modern art, quiet green spaces or streets bustling with shoppers, there is something sure to please everyone in Dresden. Here are the Dresden destinations you should not miss if you only have 24-48 hours.
When in Doubt, Hop on a Big Sightseeing Tour
If time is tight, Stadtrundfahrt Dresden offers hop-on/hop-off sightseeing tours. With 22 stops, including the Zwinger, Frauenkirche and Pfund's Dairy, this bus tour will get you to the major Dresden attractions with ease. There are professional guides available as well as audio guides in 20 languages. All buses are wheelchair and stroller possible and dog-friendly. The bus tours run all day and are a convenient way to see the city if you have just one day in Dresden.
Visit the Historic Frauenkirche
The Frauenkirche or "Church of Our Lady" is Dresden's most famous landmark. The baroque-style church was destroyed during Allied raids in World War II but has been meticulously restored since German reunification. Entrance to the church is free, but access to the famous dome requires a ticket. From the dome, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city. If you have time, check out one of their twice-daily services.
Check out the Funky Kunsthofpassage
The Kunsthofpassage is a series of five courtyards that were part of an art experiment called the Ginkgo Project. Don't miss the "Courtyard of the Elements" featuring the famous singing drain pipes. The other courtyards feature animals, oddly shaped mirrors that play with sunlight, mythical creatures and curved pillars. The area also has lots of funky small cafes and fun shops to visit while you are enjoying the art.
Explore the Galleries in the Zwinger
Situated on the bank of the Elbe River, the Zwinger is one of Germany's most famous baroque buildings. The elegant grounds of the Zwinger are home to the Wall Pavilion, the Nymphs Bath fountain, the Arched Gallery and many beautiful green spaces. Inside the Zwinger, you can enjoy several world-renowned museums, including the Dresden Porcelain Collection and the Old Masters Gallery (Gemaldegaleri Alte Meister). At the Old Masters Gallery, you can view the art created by masters such as Raphael, Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Check Out the Dresden Castle and the Famous Green Vault
The Dresden Castle was once home to the Saxon rulers. The Royal Palace has been rebuilt twice and is now home to a world-famous museum complex. One of the most famous parts of the Royal Palace is the Green Vault. The Green Vault houses one of the most impressive collections of treasure in Europe. The Historic Green Vault contains eight rooms, each specific to the types of treasures stored inside. Be sure to check out the many interesting oddities, such as ostrich eggs and rock crystals in the Hall of Precious Objects. Wander into the New Green Vault to see treasure upon treasure, including the world's largest green diamond.
Walk the Procession of Princes
The Procession of Princes, or Furstenzug, is located along the outside Stallhof. This 101-meter mural depicts historical members of Saxony's ruling family, the House of Wettin. Over 30 horseback-riding princes, kings and noblemen are portrayed in the mural. Images of German farmers, scientists and craftsman are also included in the mural's over 24,000 Meissen porcelain tiles.
Visit Dresden's Green Heart
Dresden's Great Garden or Grosser Garten is the biggest park in all of Dresden. Explore the spectacular gardens, fountains, sculptures and the Sommerpalais found at the garden's center. If you have time, the Great Garden is also home to the Dresden Zoo, featuring over 400 species of animals, and the Dresden Botanical Garden, with over 10,000 species of plants. Hitch a ride through the park on the Dresden Park Railway during the summer months.
Tour the World Famous Semper Opera House
This beautiful example of Italian High Renaissance architecture has delighted visitors for over 300 years. The Semper Opera House has had many famous musicians grace its halls, including Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Tours of the Semper Opera House are available for those short on time. If you have a few hours open in your itinerary, attend a ballet, musical performance or opera.
Experience the Modern Kraftwerk Mitte
Once an imposing power plant, the Kraftwerk Mitte is now home to a host of modern theaters and eateries. Kids and teens will enjoy the Theatre for the Young Generation (Theater Junge Generation). Audience participation is often part of their funky, fun shows. A playground and adventure maze sits next to the theater and a puppet theater can be found in the large garden area during the summer months.
Experience History in the Unique Panometer
Open since 2006, the Panometer offers a unique panoramic trip through the history of Dresden. Created by artist Yadegar Asisi, the Panometer murals depict Dresden from 1695 through the present. Standing on the central 15-meter-high viewing platform, visitors can experience the historic murals in 360 degrees. Sound and light enhancements create an immersive, unforgettable experience.
Explore the Shops Along Prager Strasse
Found in Dresden's Old Town (Altstadt), the Prager Strasse is a popular tourist shopping destination. The Kugelhaus marks the start of one of Germany's most popular high streets, the Prager Strasse. Prager Strasse is a huge pedestrian boulevard full of over one hundred shops, cafes, restaurants and specialty boutiques. While wandering through the shops, be sure to check out the many striking examples of modern art displayed on the boulevard.
Dresden has so many tourist attractions that going there for a short trip can seem overwhelming. This guide can help you focus in on the finest the city has to offer even if you only have 24 to 48 hours in Dresden.