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From The Ashes

In life, Dresden was famous throughout Europe as 'Florence on the Elbe', owing to the efforts of Italian artists, musicians, actors and master craftsmen who flocked to the court of Augustus the Strong, bestowing countless masterpieces upon the city. In death, Dresden became even more famous. Shortly before the end of WWII, Allied bombers blasted and incinerated much of the historic centre, a beautiful jewel-like area dating from the 18th century. More than 35,000 people died, and in bookshops throughout town you can find books showing the destruction (or read about it in Kurt Vonnegut's classic Slaughterhouse Five). Rebuilding began under the communist regime in the 1950s and accelerated greatly after reunification.

 





Top Tips

  • Today Dresden is again a centre for arts and offers attractions in great variety like notable art treasure, architectural sigths and a charming landscape.
  • The city celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2006 and while much focus is on the restored centre, you should cross the Elbe River to the Neustadt, where edgy new clubs and cafes open every week, joining the 150 already there.
  • In this part of Dresden you will find the real nightlife, multicultural szene, most of Dresden's hostels and a lot of shops and record stores and of course - pretty people.  

1. The Zwinger Palace

The Zwinger Palace is one of many great buildings in Dresden, with over six museums within its ornate walls. The most important of the museums is the Rüstkammer, with its superb collection of ceremonial weapons and the Galerie Alte Meister, which features masterpieces including Raphael’s Sistine Madonna and the stunning Porcelain Collection that includes plenty of the local Meissen classics. Sprawling across the outer wall of the old royal stables is the impressive102m-long Procession of Princes porcelain mural. The scene depicts a long row of royal princes on horses that was painted in the 19th century and then transferred to over 24,000 Meissen porcelain tiles.

2. Theaterplatz

Featured on German TV on a famous beer commercial, the gorgeous neo-Renaissance Semperoper is one building you don’t want to miss. The tradition of opera in town goes back over 350 years, with many works by Richard Strauss, Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner premiering here. There are guided tours that take you inside the opera house daily.

3. Transparent Volkswagen Factory

The Transparent Volkswagen Factory in Dresden is where the workers carefully assemble the luxury Phaeton. The factory is open to the public for tours everyday with the best time to visit being during production hours. You can put a white coat on and be taken through the assembly area, play with a Phaeton driving simulator or just chill in the café, bar and restaurant.

4. Grossen Garten

The huge gardens not too far from the palace are the city’s biggest public park and also considered the most beautiful. There are many things to do in the park itself such as visit the botanical gardens (free), or the Dresden Zoo that is the fourth oldest zoo in Germany. Also keep an eye out for local programs of events as many cultural events and festivals are held here throughout the summer.

5. Deutsches Hygiene-Museum

If you want to go and experience something a little different than the Deutsches Hygiene Museum is for you. There are many displays on the human body and how it has changed throughout the years. There is also an interactive display that allow you to test your own senses.

 

Eats

1. Neustadter Diechl

A beer garden in the New Town, celebrating one of Germany’s best traditions of soaking up the summer sun. They sell a wide variety of food to enjoy alongside your beer such as fondue, salads and other delicious meals.

2. Curry and Co

A must try while in Saxony is the Saxon sausage and a good place to go is Curry and Co. Voted to have the best currywurst in Germany, this place caters for everyone including vegans with their vegan sausages and mayonnaise. They also have great chips (or pommes as the Germans say). Highly recommend the rostwurst sausage.

3. Sophienkeller

A visit to Sophienkeller is like traveling back to the Middle Ages with staff dressed up in costumes and spit roasts rolling around on the menu. Try the traditional suckling pig or the half duck with cabbage and potato dumplings.

4. Bautzner Tor

Set in an original GDR style pub, Bautzner Tor will dish up some traditional German food at a very low cost. Try the roast pork and sauerkraut or the New Town brewed beer from Lenins.

5. Pfunds Molkerei

Pfunds Molkerei is a 19th century dairy shop founded by the Pfund brothers that have been supplying milk to locals for generations. Nowadays they have an ornate shop and located above, a stylish restaurant that was voted as the most beautiful milk bar in the world. Try the homemade Pfunds ice cream, quark cake or balls, or the milk jam or milk grappa.

Drinks

1. Kiezklub

In the middle of New Town you’ll find the Kiezklub that is spread over 2 floors and offers you a huge program of music each night from pop party sound, to hip hop and 80’s and 90’s to rock.

2. Katy's Garage

Katy’s Garage is a quirky and grungy venue that is key for indie gigs and club nights throughout the week and is located in a former tire shop. There is also a great beer garden located out the back that is perfect to soak up the sun.

3. Lebowski Bar

A venue that was inspired by the Big Lebowski – a movie that plays in the background on a constant loop. The bar has different music playing and sometimes art performances on in the evenings for something a little different.

4. Frank's Bar

Frank’s Bar is a hip-hop cocktail bar with over 200 kinds of cocktails and a huge range of whiskeys. The décor is pretty swish too with a bronze bar and outdoor seating area.

5. Peanuts Bar

Situated in the New Town, Peanuts Bar is a venue that is a little different from the rest. When you walk inside you’ll see where it gets its name from with peanuts scattered on the floor and peanut flavoured cocktails. The bar is also known for the fantastic views over the city and the meadows.

Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here

Recommendations

1

So much history. So much to see. Not to be missed"

Emily, London