15 Best Things to do in Dresden: Top places to visit

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Looking for top places to visit in Dresden? See the 15 best things to do in Dresden.

Information on admission fees, opening times and a map for Dresden, which you can easily download to your computer or mobile phone, will help you plan your itinerary.

Stroll through the old Altstadt and soak up the history of Dresden. Explore some of the best museums in Germany, including the Zwinger and the Royal Palace. Or cross the bridge to Neustadt and enjoy a little bit of Berlin in Dresden.

Interesting facts about Dresden

Dresden has over 550,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the German state of Saxony. It is situated on the Elbe River and before the Second World War was nicknamed Florence on the Elbe.

It is to Dresden that we owe the invention of toothpaste and the coffee filter.

Dresden has a rich history, which you can soak up as you stroll through the Old Town (Altstadt). It is almost unbelievable that they were almost bombed out in 1945 in just 2 days.

The city then decided to reconstruct and restore almost all the monuments to their present form. Dresden is known as the Jewel Box because of its high concentration of Baroque and Rococo buildings.

View of Altstadt from the Elbe River

In 2004, Dresden was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Just 5 years later, UNESCO representatives removed them from the list. The reason for this was the construction of the four-lane modern Waldschlößchenbrücke bridge, which was said to have caused an inaccessible intrusion into the cityscape.

Dresden has a rich history, but it is also one of the most economically dynamic cities in Germany. Especially thanks to high-technology. This is also the origin of another name for Dresden – Silicon Saxony.

Best things to do in Dresden

Most of the sights worth visiting in Dresden are to be found in the Altstadt. You can walk through the old town in one day. If you plan to visit the local museums (which are definitely worth a visit), set aside at least 2 days.

In this guide, we’ll show you the best things to do in Dresden so you can build your itinerary if you’re planning a tour of Dresden for 1, 2 or even more days.

1. Frauenkirche

We start with the most beautiful and most famous church in Dresden, which dominates the vast Neumarkt Square. The Frauenkirche is a beautiful Baroque church that should definitely be on your list of things to see in Dresden.

The church was destroyed during World War II, then it was reconstructed and in recent years it is open to the public again.

Frauenkirche Dresden / sights and things to see in Dresden
Frauenkirche Dresden

You can peek inside the church for free (donations are welcome). The interior looks like a fluffy cake. In pastel colours that draw the eye up to the dome.

When you enter the church, the entrance to the church crypt is on your left.

Frauenkirche Dresden / sights and things to see in Dresden
Frauenkirche Dresden / sights and things to see in Dresden
Frauenkirche Dresden / sights and things to see in Dresden

The Frauenkirche’s opening hours may vary – I recommend checking them in advance on the official website.

We’ve seen the interior of the Fraeunkirche and now it’s time to climb the dome. Climbing the dome is one of the best things to do in Dresden. The views of the Altstadt and the Elbe River are definitely worth the more challenging climb.

Frauenkirche Dresden / sights and things to see in Dresden / view from the Frauenkirche
View from the Frauenkirche – Neumarkt, Royal Palace, Dresden Cathedral and behind them the Zwinger and Semperoper

The entrance to the dome is on the other side of the church. Admission is 10 € and reduced 5 € (children 6-16 years, students, seniors, disabled). The dome is open daily and opening hours vary according to the season:

  • November-February: Monday-Saturday 10:00-16:00, Sunday 13:00-16:00
  • March-October: Monday-Saturday 10:00-18:00, Sunday 13:00-18:00

2. Verkehrsmuseum

A spacious and interactive transport museum where children and adults alike will have fun. Here you will see many exhibits from aviation, maritime, railway and automotive transport. There is also a large model railway and a transport playground for children.

Verkehrsmuseum / Dresden attractions
Verkehrsmuseum Dresden

The Verkehrsmuseum is located on the Neumarkt in a beautiful historic building with a grand staircase.

The Verkehrsmuseum is open daily from 10:00-18:00. Admission is 11 € and reduced 5 € (children over 5 years, students, disabled). We bought tickets here and they just showed them on the phone at the door.

3. Brühlsche Terrasse – things to do in Dresden

From the Brühlsche Terrasse you will have one of the most beautiful views of the Elbe River. The terrace looks like an open embrace to the Old Town and is flanked by the historic building of the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts.

Brühlsche Terrasse Dresden / things to do in Dresden
Brühlsche Terrasse and the Academy of Fine Arts on the left

You will then walk down the stairs past the bronze statue of the planet and through a narrow alley to the Frauenkirche on Neumarkt Square. The alley is lined with several restaurants and bars where you can eat. I recommend choosing one of the restaurants on the left.

Brühlsche Terrasse Dresden / things to do in Dresden
view back to Brühlsche Terrasse
Dresden centre
the road from Brühlsche Terrasse to Neumarkt and the Frauenkirche

4. Stallhof

If you go to the right side of the Verkehrmuseum, you will see the entrance to the Stallhof on your left. A beautiful photogenic place where equestrian tournaments used to take place in the past. At that time, the courtyard connected the castle and the stables, which were located in the present-day Museum of Transport.

Stallhof Dresden / things to do in Dresden
Stallhof / things to do in Dresden
Stallhof Dresden / things to do in Dresden

Before Christmas, a medieval market is held at the Stallhof.

The entrance to the Stallhof is a bit inconspicuous and is located just outside the Neumarkt.


Aparthotel am Schloss

Modern apartments in the centre

Hotel ibis Dresden Zentrum

Cheap hotel in the centre

Hotel Rothenburger Hof:

Stylish hotel with swimming pool

5. Fürstenzug

From the other side of the Stallhof you will see the Fürstenzug. It is a mural made up of an incredible 24,000 porcelain tiles.

Fürstenzug Dresden / sights to see in Dresden
Fürstenzug / things to do in Dresden

The tiles cover a 102-metre-long wall and depict the Saxon rulers. A perfect picture of the history of Saxony in one place. In our opinion, one of the most beautiful places in Dresden that you won’t see anywhere else.

6. Dresden Cathedral

As you walk past the Fürstenzug, the Dresden Cathedral, the most important Catholic cathedral in Dresden, looms before you. The building is monumental and beautiful from the outside and inside.

When visiting the cathedral, don’t miss the rococo pulpit and organ. Admission is free.

Dresden Cathedral / Sights to see in Dresden
Dresden Cathedral and the Royal Palace on the left

7. Residential Palace

The Residential Palace (or Royal Palace) is located on the left side of Dresden Cathedral. It is one of the most important monuments in Dresden, where the Dresden court and the rulers of Saxony have resided for centuries.

The residential palace is literally a mix of different architectural styles from Renaissance, Baroque to Historicism. Every corner is different and unique.

Royal Palace Dresden / sights to see in Dresden
Residential Palace / Sights to see in Dresden

Looking at the Royal Palace, it is almost unbelievable that after the air raids during the 2. of the World War almost burned down. Its reconstruction was completed only in recent years.

Today, the Residential Palace houses several museums where you can see rich art collections in beautiful spaces. You can choose between the New and the Historic Green Vault.

As part of the New Green Vault tour, you can visit all accessible areas except the Historic Green Vault, i.e. Included are the Turkish Chamber, the Renaissance Wing, the Armory in the Giant’s Hall, the Augustus the Strong and Porcelain Royal Showrooms, the Gunsmith Gallery in the Long Corridor, current exhibitions in the Copperplate Cabinet, and views from the tower.

The historic green vault is a treasure trove of eye-popping treasures.

Admission to the New Green Vault is 14 €. Children under 18 years of age are admitted free of charge.

As part of the tour, you can also visit the Royal Palace Tower, where you will have a panoramic view of the Altstadt.

The Royal Palace is one of the most popular sights in Dresden – if you want to save time in line , you can buy a ticket in advance and just show it on your mobile phone at the venue. You have all day to visit, you don’t choose a specific time.

Admission to the Historic Green Vault is 14 €. The number of tickets for the Historic Green Vault is limited. If you’re planning a visit, book your tickets in advance.

The Royal Palace is open daily except Tuesdays from 10:00-18:00. The tower is open only in the summer season until the end of October.

8. Semperoper – sights in Dresden

The Dresden Opera House is located just behind Dresden Cathedral. It is unmissable and ranks among the most beautiful opera houses in the world. Some of the best performances take place here.

Semperoper you can visit as part of a performance or during the popular guided tour.

Semperoper / Sights to see in Dresden
Semperoper / Sights to see in Dresden

9. Zwinger

To the left of the Semperoper is the world-famous Zwinger. One of the most beautiful places in Dresden that you shouldn’t miss on your visit.

Stroll through the courtyard with its gardens, climb the walls or admire the art collection. Take half a day for Zwinger.

Zwinger Dresden / The best places to visit in Dresden
Zwinger / The most beautiful places to visit in Dresden

Zwinger dates from the beginning of the 18th century and is built in Baroque style. It was originally intended to serve as an outpost for the castle next door. Today, the Royal Castle overshadows and attracts most visitors to Dresden.

Zwinger Dresden / The best places to visit in Dresden
Zwinger Dresden / The best places to visit in Dresden
Zwinger Dresden / The best places to visit in Dresden

During our last visit (October 2022) the gardens were under renovation. The Zwinger is, however, open to the public.

Inside there are 3 museums. To all one ticket is valid. Each museum is housed in a different building in the complex – a detailed plan can be found in the courtyard. The buildings are just a 5-minute walk from each other.

The ticket includes the Dresden Gallery, which includes one of the best collections of Old Masters in Europe (Rubens, Tintoretto, Raphael and many others), the Mathematics and Physics Salon with objects from physics, mathematics and astronomy, and the Porcelain Collection. All exhibited in the beautiful Zwinger premises.

Admission is 14 € and children under 18 are free. We bought tickets in advance because the Zwinger is one of the most popular sights in Dresden and we didn’t want to risk standing in line.

Then you just drop your stuff in the locker and a staff member will scan the barcode from your ticket on your mobile phone. You can come at any time of the day, you don’t have to book a specific time.

10. Kreuzkirche

The Kreuzkirche is the main Protestant church in Dresden and in the whole of Saxony. It has stood in the southeast corner of the Altmarkt for over 800 years.

Kreuzkirche / top places to visit in dresden

The church is 92 metres high and has burnt down several times during its existence. It suffered the greatest damage during the extensive bombing in 1945, after which it literally rose like a phoenix from the ashes.

Inside you will see photos of its history and reconstruction. It is incredible how faithfully its reconstruction has been done. Unlike the Frauenkirche, the interior of the Kreuzkirche is simple and austere.

For € 5 you can climb 259 steps to the 54 m high observation deck and enjoy the view of Dresden.

The Kreuzkirche is open Monday-Friday 10:00-18:00, Saturday 10:00-15:00 and Sunday 11:00-18:00.

11. Elbe cruise and sightseeing bus

Boat cruise on the Elbe is one of the best ways to experience Dresden. The Elbe Valley was originally on the UNESCO list of monuments.

Surrounded by beautiful buildings, you can turn your head from one side to the other – Dresden Cathedral, the Semperoper, the Japanese Palace in Neustadt or some of the state institutions that are housed in the historic premises.

Boat cruise Dresden
Boat cruise on the Elbe / top places to visit in Dresden

Another popular way to explore Dresden is a ride on a sightseeing bus . The buses are blue-green and you won’t miss them. The stations are well marked and some of them are staffed.

Buses run every 15-20 minutes and stop at 22 stops. You can get off and back on at any time, so sightseeing buses are a good alternative to local public transport. Ticket covers unlimited use of the sightseeing buses for one or two full days.

12. Neustadt

The Neustadt forms a perfect contrast to the Altstadt. The Old Town is home to some of the most beautiful monuments and art museums. It’s full of history, sleek and refined.

The Neustadt, on the other hand, is a raw and lively district where you are instantly transported to hipster Berlin. Street art, bars, cafes and unusual shops everywhere.

For some, Neustadt may be dirty. And it is actually dirty, but that’s the charm.

All those who like to take photos will also find something to do here. And who likes delicious food, because the Neustadt has plenty of places to eat.

To get to know Neustadt, you need to immerse yourself in its centre. I recommend a walk along Louisenstraße and Görlitzer Straße, which is the main artery of the district. Tram No. 13.

Neustadt Dresden / things to do in Dresden / Kunsthofpassage

If you walk along Görlitzer Straße, you will see an inconspicuous underpass to the Kunsthofpassage on your left. The Kunsthofpassage is an art centre where several cafés and shops are located in the courtyard between the residential buildings.

In high season it can be quite touristy (we were almost alone here in October). The courtyard is surrounded by designer houses, which people come here to take pictures of.

13. Pfunds Molkerei

This is the first time I recommend visiting a dairy. And probably for the last time. But Pfunds Molkerei is not just any dairy. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most beautiful dairy in the world.

The Pfunds Molkerei is decorated with hand-painted tiles. It looks bigger in the photos, but it’s actually a smaller shop with a restaurant on the first floor (the restaurant is not decorated like a dairy).

People often come here just to admire and take pictures, but that’s a shame because you can buy delicious cheese, a souvenir or have milk.

The dairy is a bit out of reach from the centre, but the tram No. 11 (stop Pulsnitzer Straße). We walked from Altstadt over the stone bridge Augustusbrücke to Neustadt. We passed by the gilded statue of King Augustus II. along the pedestrian zone to Albertplatz, where tram no. 11.

14. Pillnitz Castle

Pillnitz Castle is a beautiful Baroque castle in the Pillnitz district on the very outskirts of Dresden. Today the castle houses the Castle Museum and the Museum of Decorative Arts.

But the best part is around the castle – a colourful, floral paradise with fountains, ponds and the Palm House, which hides exotic flowers from Australia and South Africa.

Pillnitz Castle

Pillnitz Castle is home to a camellia that is said to be 250 years old. It is protected by a mobile greenhouse for each winter. The best time to visit is from mid-February to April, when tens of thousands of bell-shaped flowers adorn the camellia.

The park is open daily from 6:00-18:00. If you arrive before 9 am, there is no charge. The castle is open daily except Mondays from 10:00-17:00. I recommend checking the current opening hours here.

Admission to the castle is 8 €, reduced 6 € and children under 16 years of age are free. The ticket includes entry to the museums, the Palm House and the park. If you would like to visit just the gardens and the Palm House, the entrance fee is €3 (reduced €2.50 and children under 16 are free again).

Pillnitz Castle is easily accessible by car, by bike along the Elbe or by bus No. 63 directly from Dresden.

15. Moritzburg Castle

We visited Moritzburg Castle on our previous visit to Dresden. That’s the exact place where they filmed “Three Nuts for Cinderella. A bridge leads to it over the lake that surrounds the castle.

If you continue past the castle across the lake, you will reach the castle garden. Or go around the castle and discover Cinderella’s slipper on one of the staircases.

Moritzburg Castle / things to do in Dresden

The Baroque castle is richly decorated inside. You can visit it as part of a guided tour. Tours are themed and there are even children’s tours that take place in costume.

The tour also includes temporary exhibitions. I recommend checking the current opening hours on the castle’s website.

Moritzburg Castle is just half an hour from Dresden and is the perfect tip for a half-day trip. The parking lot for Moritzburg Castle is located next to the lake at the castle. The parking fee is €1.50 for the first hour and €0.70 for each additional hour, or €0.70 for each additional hour. can be paid using the app. The machine does not change change.

You can also get here by bus no. 477 from the Bahnhof Neustadt bus station in Dresden.

Where to stay in Dresden

The historic centre of Dresden and the surrounding area are ideal for accommodation. Almost everywhere is within walking distance and there are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. In addition, you can go for an evening stroll when the city is beautifully illuminated.

Hotels near Prager Straße

Several great hotels are located right on Prager Straße, Dresden’s main shopping thoroughfare. Prager Straße is a pedestrianised area where you have a great choice of shops and restaurants, plus it’s just a few minutes from the old town.

Most hotels offer covered garages for parking, from where you can go straight into the hotel (prices approx. 16-21 € for all-day parking). If you are looking for a cheaper option, there is a large public car park at Prager Straße. The car park is not covered and all-day parking costs € 8.

Prager Straße is also a good choice for those arriving by train. The main train station is just a few minutes’ walk away.

The ibis Hotel is located directly on Prager Straße and is within walking distance of the city centre.

The best hotels on Prager Straße:

Hotel Pullman Dresden Newa: Design hotel with quality services, a spa and a restaurant. The rooms are modern, including private bathrooms and air conditioning, and offer panoramic views of the city.

Hotel ibis Dresden Zentrum: We stayed at the ibis hotel a few years ago. If you are looking for good accommodation at good prices, we can recommend the hotel.

Hotels Altstadt

Hotel Suitess: This hotel has the best view of the Frauenkirche and the Neumarkt. Moreover, the rooms and the hotel are beautifully decorated and fit perfectly into the Old Town.

Hotel Kempinski: Kempinski Hotels are a safe bet if you are looking for luxury accommodation with great service and wellness. It is located in the heart of the historic centre and the tram stop is just a few minutes away.

Aparthotel am Schloss: If you are looking for fully equipped apartments including a kitchenette and dining table, these apartments are a good choice. It is next to the Royal Palace.

Hotels Neustadt

The Neustadt district is the complete opposite of the Old Town. A neighbourhood full of street art, bars and great food. A whiff of Berlin in Dresden. Here, look for authentic experiences and a lively atmosphere.

Hostel Lollis Homestay: This hostel has a choice of shared and private rooms. It is an ideal choice for singles, couples and families with children. The accommodation is cosy, playful and reasonably priced.

Hotel Rothenburger Hof: We stayed at this hotel last time. With a choice of rooms and entire apartments with their own kitchenette, it is an ideal choice for almost everyone – from couples to families with children. It features a stylish outdoor seating area and an indoor pool.

Boutique Hotel Rothenburger Hof in the Neustadt district

Read: Dresden Transport Guide

Where to eat in Dresden

The best neighbourhood for food is definitely the Neustadt, or rather. Neustadt. There are plenty of bars, street food stalls and international restaurants.

Whether you’re in the mood for something local, tacos, pizza, a burger, Indian cuisine or just a beer in the beer garden, you’ll find something for yourself here.

In the Old Town, we can recommend the rustic Sophienkeller, which is right opposite the Zwinger. Despite the location, they cook excellent, home-cooked food and the prices are not inflated.

And where to go for a traditional currywurst? Try the Curry am Schloss just outside the Royal Castle. There’s a window with a couple of tables.

The Coselpalais behind the Frauenkirche has delicious fluffy cakes and Hans im Glück has honest burgers. The last tip is Trödelschänke Dresden, which is more like a museum. At the same time, you can eat here well and cheaply.

Note: You can also find all the tips in the map at the end of the article.

Augustusbrücke connects the Alstadt and Neustadt Dresden
The Augustusbrücke connects the Alstadt and Neustadt

When to visit Dresden

Springs from March to May are very changeable in Dresden. Frosts or light snow showers appear, but soon melt.

From June to mid-September, the weather in Dresden is warm and sunny. Daytime temperatures in July and August are around 24 °C, but can rise higher or there may be a few cooler days.

Pack an extra layer for the evenings. The downside is that Dresden gets the most tourists in the summer and queues can form for some attractions.

From October onwards, the days get shorter and so does the length of sunshine. Temperatures drop to 10 °C and in November to 5 °C on average. November may also see the first snowfalls. This year we visited Dresden in the fall during the week and there were still plenty of tourists.

November is quieter, and towards the end of the month the number of tourists increases significantly due to the Striezelmarkt Christmas market. The most beautiful Christmas market we have ever had the opportunity to see. They are also the oldest in Germany.

Christmas Markets Dresden

The entire Altmarkt square is full of beautiful Christmas stalls, as well as rustic carousels and Santa Claus’ house.

Dresden is filled with Christmas spirit from Prager Straße to the Elbe River. Christmas markets run from the first Advent until Christmas Eve.

Winters in Dresden are rather cold and temperatures hover around freezing. The days are short and often gloomy. January and February are the least crowded months in the city.

Dresden has a number of great museums that can be crowded at other times of the year. In winter, you can enjoy visiting museums much more in peace.

If you’d like to save money on accommodation, winter is the best time to visit.

Dresden practical information

Currency: euro (EUR)

Paying: For small purchases and payments, it’s less convenient to carry cash, but otherwise you can pay by card in most larger places without any problems. There are also plenty of ATMs in the city where you can withdraw cash if needed.

Electric socket: In Italy they use electrical sockets type C, F and L. Types C and F are compatible with most sockets in Europe and are widely used in northern Italy (including in hotels). L sockets are mainly found in older houses. If you are travelling from the UK or Ireland, you will need a socket reducer. Type F sockets are used in Germany and are compatible with most sockets in Europe. The socket has a left and right cavity and has grounding strips at the top and bottom instead of a grounding pin.

Language: The official language is German, but you can usually speak English without any problems. Especially in tourist areas. Plus, the locals are generally friendly and happy to help.

Safety: Dresden is a very safe city. As elsewhere in the world – in tourist attractions and on public transport, keep your belongings safe from pickpockets.

How to save in Dresden: The Dresden City Card includes unlimited public transport travel and discounts to popular places in Dresden.

Tips on the best places to visit in Dresden: MAP

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of things to do in Dresden. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the Dresden guide. If you want to save the map, star it. It will then be saved to your Google Maps and can be retrieved at any time on your mobile phone or computer. For a larger version of the map, click on the icon in the top right corner.

The best booking resources for visiting Dresden

Via Booking.com we search for all accommodation. It is the largest accommodation portal in the world and you will find everything from modern hotels, cosy guesthouses to seaside villas.

Get Your Guide is a huge booking system for buying tickets, guided tours and all sorts of activities. In one place you can read other travellers’ experiences and book tickets to the Vatican Museums, a cruise on the Danube or a desert safari in Dubai.

This was our travel guide to Dresden and the best things to do in Dresden. Do you have a question? Let me know in the comments below or share your experience. Have a safe journey!

More information about Germany

Dresden: Find useful tips on transport and parking in the Dresden Transport Guide.

GERMANY: Here’s more inspiration on the best things to do in Germany.

BERLIN: Berlin is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Get inspired by the best things to do in Berlin.

HAMBURG: Hamburg is considered by some to be the most beautiful city in Germany. Take a look at our tips on the things to do in Hamburg and form your own opinion.

GERMAN ALPS: Germany has carved out a beautiful part of the Alps for itself. What to do and what hiking trails to take in the German Alps can be found in a separate article.

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