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Dresden is a German city with many merits. Its art museums, expansive parks, and Baroque architecture are the main draws for travellers. 'Florence on the Elbe' sits amid hills, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. From the capital of Saxony, you can set off to explore a wine route, nearby castles, and forested areas. For a memorable holiday and to get around efficiently, think about renting a car in Dresden.

It’s your choice: Where to go in Dresden

The Dresden Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), located in the city centre, has an imposing dome crowned by a viewing platform that defines the Saxon capital's skyline. The Baroque church's airy, elegantly decorated interior hosts over 100 concerts per year. Meanwhile, Zwinger is a Baroque palace designed to challenge the grandeur of Paris's Versailles, as implied by the palace's courtyard fountains and sculptures. Inside the building, see paintings by the old masters, and weapons used in the 16th and 17th centuries. Unlike Frauenkirche and Zwinger, Royal Palace is a Renaissance complex, and it was once a seat of power for Saxon rulers. It houses several exhibitions in its Turkish Room and Green Vault.

Things to do in Dresden

Visiting the Dresden Christmas Market, among the top things to do in Dresden, promises sparkling Christmas lights, warm wine, joyful music, and tasty traditional food to delight you. Check out Dresden's Semperopera, a semicircular structure combining Renaissance and Baroque elements. Buy a ticket to attend performances by the acclaimed Saxon State Opera and secure your place at the Semper Opera Ball, which takes place in January. Located on the bank of the River Elbe, the Watzke Ball & Brauhaus is a must-visit highlight of Dresden. The restaurant serves regional specialities, including sausages and in-house brewed beer. While waiting for the order to arrive, enjoy the restaurant's traditional design. Visit Pillnitz and Germany's Magic Castle, Baroque and Renaissance castles just 20 minutes by car from downtown Dresden. By renting a car in Dresden, you can easily reach these sites and the area's many other highlights.

Important info about Dresden

Dresden, the Saxon capital, lies in a valley edged by hills and mountains to the north and south. The Elbe River winds through the city, dividing it in two – though there are several bridges spanning the river that let you travel between the city's northern and southern parts. Dresden is one of the greenest cities in Europe and the world, and you'll likely traverse wooded areas and landscaped gardens during your holiday here. Hiking and biking enthusiasts will be enthralled. Local cuisine offers travellers diverse specialities, such as Dresdner Sauerbraten mit Rotkraut, a hearty meal made of beef, beer, cabbage, and vinegar; Holunderbeerensuppe, a soup comprising elderberry juice and various spices; and Dresdner Christstollen, a dessert with raisins, almonds, and lemon. If you don't have a lot of time to spend at a restaurant but want to sample something local, try Fettbemme. This open-faced sandwich, whose name translates to 'Fat block', is popular among Dresdeners. Spread with lard, the sandwich is topped with gherkin, apple, or onion chunks.

Weather in Dresden
Country Germany
Language German
Currency Euro
Time-Zones Central European Time
Country Code +49

Good to know

The closest airport is some kilometres north of the city, making transfer times short if you opt for a flight to Dresden. To drive in Germany, you need to be at least 18 years old. Drive on the right-hand side of the road, don't use a hand-held phone while driving, and don't pass other vehicles at pedestrian crossings. If a faster vehicle overtakes you, slow down and give the driver space. The maximum blood alcohol content allowed is 0.05%, which usually corresponds to two small beers. If not stated otherwise, the speed limit is 50km/h in the city, and exceeding the limit may result in a fine. If you hire a car in Dresden, you can count on there being plenty of parking. Whereas parking lots in the outskirts of the city can be free, those in the downtown area may charge a fee. Make sure not to park within 5m of an intersection or 15m of a bus stop.

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What to visit in the surroundings of Dresden

Located around 250km east of Dresden, in the Czech Republic, lies the Adršpach-Teplice Rock Park. Discover photogenic rocks next to a lake, and enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and strolling. Take a walk among the rocks to find waterfalls hidden throughout the corridors. In Rabenauer Grund, 15km southwest of Dresden, wander along trails and admire waterfalls in a verdant forest. Moritzburg Castle is another great reason for you to rent a car in Dresden. Located about 15km north of 'Florence on the Elbe,' the castle occupies an artificial island, where you can explore a French-style garden and the wildlife park. Alternatively, some 40km east of Dresden lies the Saxon Switzerland National Park. Cross the Bastei Bridge to admire views of the Elbe valley, distant hills, and rock formations, and leave time to explore the nearby hiking routes. Although the scenery will surely be unforgettable, you'll want to make sure to bring your camera.

What to bring to your friends from Dresden

Saxon wine is a trademark of the region and a suitable gift for loved ones at home. Pay a visit to wineries along the Elbe to find your top choices, and accompany them with homemade chocolates or local cheese. Being the centre of art, Dresden is an ideal destination for purchasing artistic gifts – choose from decorated boxes, bags, and jewellery. Porcelain is another trademark of Saxony, so consider gifting someone a porcelain bowl, teacup set, or a figurine. Candleholders with Dresden motifs, fridge magnets, and scented candles are also ideal souvenirs.