Getting To Saxony: What To Visit In Dresden And The Surrounding AreaRuss Bily
Saxony is one of the federal states of Germany, lies on the south-east corner of Germany, bordering Poland and the Czech Republic. A unique landscape exists here – meet East and West. Spectacular architecture and landscapes, art collections of world renown, a deeply rooted love of music, handcrafted luxury products, living traditions, locations of world history attract visitors from all over the world.
Dresden is the capital city, and after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany.
Thanks to its characteristic Baroque architecture and picturesque location in the valley of the Elbe River, the city firmly established the title of “German Florence”. For a long time, Dresden was the royal residence of the kings of Saxony who furnished the city with artistic brilliance. That’s why Dresden is the cultural capital of European level.
In one of my articles, I gave some recommendations on how to spend your unforgettable day in Dresden. Please have a look here. However, many consider Dresden a direction for the “weekend tour” and are limited to a visit to several of the most famous galleries.
We have found out why it is worth to stay in this city for a longer time, and have compiled for you the approximate route of travel in Saxony!
For a long time, Dresden was the royal residence of the kings of Saxony who furnished the city with artistic brilliance. That’s why Dresden is the cultural capital of European level. The entire city center was destroyed in 1945 during the Second World War, but step by step it was rebuilt. Dresden rose like Phoenix from its ashes and year by year it becomes brighter and brighter.
To get acquainted with Dresden, it’s worth spending at least 1-2 days, depending on how many museums you choose to visit. As you understand, if you want to see the stunning beauty of this city and its surroundings, one day won’t be enough to see every beauty of this stunning place, so you definitely will come back here over and over again!
Here’s what to include in the compulsory program:
Related: Day trip from Prague to Dresden
The architectural complex, built between 1710 and 1728 by the order of the Elector of Saxony Augustus Strong. The courtyard, where you can enter for free, decorate fountains and sculptures, and in the buildings of the complex are located:
- a gallery of old masters, which presents works by European artists of the 16th-18th centuries.The most famous exhibit is the “Sistine Madonna” by Raphael;
- collection of porcelain;
- Physics and Mathematics Salon – a collection of ancient watches and scientific instruments.
Address: Theaterplatz 1.
The territory of the complex is available from
April to October
- daily: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm;
November to December
- daily: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm;
January to March
- daily: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm.
Museums are open from 10:00 to 18:00 (Monday – closed).
Zwinger Ticket, which allows visiting all expositions, costs € 10.
For guests under 17 years old, admission is free.
The former building of the Arsenal, in which, after the reconstruction, the Assembly of Sculptures and the Gallery of New Masters were housed. The latter presents works of art created in the XIX and XX centuries: the works of Monet, Chagall, Degas, Richter and other famous artists.
Address: Tzschirnerplatz 2.
- 10:0018:00 (Monday – closed).
Cost: € 10, the ticket entitles you to visit both museums. For guests under 17 years old, admission is free.
The Royal Castle (Residenzschloss)
The Renaissance palace, which was the residence of the rulers of Saxony from 1485 to 1918. During the Great Patriotic War, it was completely destroyed and subsequently survived a long period of recovery. Here is the exposition Grünes Gewölbe (“Green Vaults”), divided into old and new parts, is the largest collection of jewelry in Europe. In numerous halls are stored products made of ivory, rock crystal, amber, precious metals, and stones.
Other interesting museum premises:
- Kupferstich-Kabinett – the collection of engravings, drawings, and photographs, including about half a million works of Durer, Rembrandt, Picasso, Michelangelo, Toulouse-Lautrec and other famous artists;
- Münzkabinett – a collection of ancient coins and orders;
- Türckische Cammer is one of the largest collections of Ottoman art outside of Turkey, including weapons, clothing, carpets and even a huge tent;
- Giant’s Hall – a collection of ceremonial weapons, armor and historical costumes.
Address: Taschenberg 2,
- 10: 00-18: 00 (Tuesday – closed).
Cost: a single ticket to all expositions except Historisches Grünes Gewölbe – € 12, a ticket to Historisches Grünes Gewölbe – € 12. For guests under 17 years old, admission is free.
The church, built by the order of the Elector of Saxony Augustus Strong in 1726-1743, was destroyed during the bombing of Dresden in 1945 and rebuilt from scratch. The stones used in the reconstruction from the walls of the original temple are distinguished by dark spots on a lighter background.
At an altitude of 67 meters, there is an observation deck with a panoramic view of Dresden and the surrounding area. The first 24 meters can be overcome by an elevator, then you have to climb a narrow staircase.
Address: Georg-Treu-Platz 3.
- Monday to Friday 9:00 – 18:00; Saturday 9:00– 15:00.
Cost: Admission during Open Church hours is free, you can climb the dome for € 8.
The largest temple in the region. Here is the burial vault of the Wettin dynasty, the rulers of Saxony, where 49 people are buried. Also in the church, in a copper capsule, the heart of Augustus the Strong was buried, which was buried in Krakow.
Address: Schloßstraße 24.
Monday – Thursday 9:00–17:00;
Cost: free of charge.
Semper Opera House
One of the oldest and most famous opera houses in Germany. It is among the best in Europe for technical equipment and acoustics.
It was opened in 1841, here the public heard for the first time many of the works of Weber, Strauss, and Wagner. Daily guided tours of the theater, including in English, buying tickets online will save you from the need to stand in line.
Address: Theaterplatz 2.
Cost: € 11.
Beautiful Cites Near Dresden
Saxon Switzerland National Park
National Park, located on the border of the Czech Republic and Germany, 30 kilometers from Dresden. It can be reached by car or public transport: by train to the station Pirna, Obervogelgesang, Stadt Wehlen, Kurort Rathen, Königstein or Bad Schandau, or by boat on the Elbe.
The area of the park is 368 km ². The most famous sights:
- Rock massif and Bastai bridge (coordinates: 50.9665139, 14.0657333).Initially, the bridge, built in 1824, was wooden, in 1851 it was replaced with a structure of sandstone, preserved to this day. The bridge overlooks the Elbe Valley, Königstein Fortress, and Rathen Resort;
- Ruins of the fortress Felsenburg Neurathen.There are fewer tourists here than on the bridge, you will have the opportunity to make beautiful photos from the observation deck. The entrance fee is about € 2;
- Fortress Königstein.It was first mentioned in 1241. It was originally used to protect the borders, later there was a prison, and then a shelter was built for the rulers of Saxony. The ticket costs € 6-10, for children under 6 years old admission is free. The fortress is open daily from 9:00– 17:00 (18:00);
- Lichtenhain Waterfall. In 1830, an enterprising local resident built a dam on the river and opened it for money, showing tourists a stream of water falling from the rocks. Now, this is one of the main attractions of Saxony, you can get here on the old tram Kirnitzschtalbahn from Bad Schandau.
In the warm season in Saxon Switzerland should be at least 2 days. There are many opportunities for those who are used to active recreation: walking and cycling routes, climbing walls, walking along the Elbe, riding. In the territory, there are many campsites, hostels, hotels, and guesthouses for every taste and purse.
Opening Hours: daily.
Cost: entrance to the park is free, to inspect some of the attractions you need to buy a ticket.
The hunting castle of the Saxon Electors of the Wettin family, built in 1542-1546. He stands on an artificial embankment and is surrounded on all sides by water.
The building is perfectly preserved both outside and inside. Now it has a museum where products from Meissen, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, hunting trophies, leather tapestries, baroque furniture by German and French masters are presented. One of the most interesting rooms of the castle is the Federzimmer, a room decorated with canopy elements, the creation of which took several million bird feathers.
In the castle, several scenes of the film “Three Nuts for Cinderella” were shot.
Address: Schloßallee, Moritzburg (15 kilometers from Dresden).
You can get here:
- by car (coordinates: 51.1675, 13.679444);
- by bus number 326 from the station Dresden Neustadt;
Working Hours: 10: 00-18: 00, for temporary exhibitions may differ.
Cost: € 6.5-8. Entrance to temporary exhibitions is paid additionally.
The easternmost city of Germany, located on the border with Poland. From Dresden, you can get there by car in an hour or by train for an hour and a half.
After the Second World War, the city was divided, its eastern part went to Poland and now bears the name Zgorzelec. The border passes along the Nisa River, through which a pedestrian bridge connecting the two countries is tossed.
The most interesting sights:
- Old Town – more than 4,000 buildings that are protected by the state, as historical monuments;
- Trading house (An der Frauenkirche 5-7), built in 1913. In it and now there are shops;
- Tower Kaisertrutz, built in 1490 for the defense of the city. Now in it, there is a gallery where works of German masters of the XVIII-XX centuries are presented and an exposition devoted to the history of Görlitz;
- the Church of the Holy Trinity (Obermarkt), built by the Franciscans in 1234;
- Town Hall (Obermarkt 34) – a complex of buildings of different eras and styles. The oldest part dates back to 1378, to it up to the twentieth century added extensions.
Families with children will be interested in visiting the zoo (Zittauer Str. 43) and the Toy Museum (Rothenburger Str. 7).
Görlitz is loved not only by travelers but also by filmmakers: here the episodes of such popular films as “Around the World in 80 Days”, “Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Inglourious Basterds” were shot.
The Town of Meissen
From Dresden, you can get here by car or train in 35-45 minutes. Known first of all because here since 1710 Meissen porcelain is created – the first in Europe. During a walk around the city, inspect the Meissen Cathedral, the Town Hall, the Church of St. Harp and the Mother of God. Below you will find information about the two main attractions for which most tourists come here.
Museum at the Porcelain Manufactory
The exposition takes 2 floors and introduces visitors to the history of Meissen porcelain. Here are collected ancient figurines, cups, and plates, hand-made vases.
The most interesting part of the excursion is a demonstration of the process of producing porcelain products: from modeling to painting. The museum has a company store, where you can buy quite expensive production manufactories, and a cozy cafe, where tea and coffee are served in beautiful cups from Meissen porcelain.
Address: Talstraße 9.
- Monday– Sunday 9:00(10:00)–16:00 (18:00), depending on the season.
Cost: € 6-10.
The castle, towering over the hill above the Elbe, is considered the oldest in Germany. Despite the impressive size and a large number of rooms, no one lived there for a long time, and in 1710 Augustus Strong ordered the opening of the first porcelain factory in Europe, which caused considerable damage to his interiors. In 1863 production was postponed, and the castle was restored, later the museum began to work on it.
The walls of the castle are decorated with frescoes of the XIX century, telling about the history of the Wetting family. In its halls is a collection of sculptures from the churches of Saxony, the pearl of which is the Otztsorf Madonna created 850 years ago.
The exhibition is dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Meissen porcelain. Among the exhibits are products made for the most august persons: the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony August III, Russian emperors.
Address: Domplatz 1
November 05, 2018 to February 28, 2019
- daily: 10:00 – 17:00;
- December 24/25: closed;
- January 1 11:00- 16:00;
- January 07 to January 19: closed.
Cost: 4-8 €.
Combined ticket: Meissen Albechtsburg Castle and Meissen Porcelain Manufactory 10-15 €.
Several Ways to Save in Saxony
The Dresden Welcome Cards are your companions as you set off to explore Dresden. They offer the proven advantages such as free use of buses and trams, free admission to the museums and many discounts on leisure, culture, gastronomy, and excursions.
- Dresden City Card – a travel card for all types of public transport (buses, trams, city trains, and ferries).The owner of the card also receives discounts on tickets to museums and special offers from the partners of the program. Cost: € 12 for 1 day, € 17 for 2 days, € 25 for 3 days.
- Dresden Museums Card – free entrance to the main museums and profitable offers from the partners of the program.Cost: € 22 for 2 days, € 29 for 4 days.
- Dresden City Card + Dresden Museums Card is a complex offering combining the benefits of two cards. Validity: 2 days, price: € 37.
- SchloesserlandPASS is a map that allows you to visit many castles, palaces, and parks of Saxony for free or at a discount. Validity: 10 days or 1 year, cost: € 20 or € 40 respectively.
Dresden is a city of contrasts. It is the capital of shopping and classical music, folk festivals and baroque, knight fights and home cooking. You can feel the bombastic baroque beauty of the Aldstadt and then the grungy alternative feel of the Neustadt.
Saxony is the hidden treasure that is the Cultural Capital of Germany. It is a land of inventors. Castles, palaces, and gardens are part of the great Saxon heritage. Top-class art and culture, world-famous handicrafts, and some of the best luxury products in the world await to welcome you.
We invite you to explore Dresden together with its beautiful surroundings, get a sense of the city and soak in the beautiful baroque architecture and unique landscapes. If you are looking forward to having a really suitable and comfortable way to travel to Dresden and not only, be sure that traveling in a private car with a local English-speaking driver, using our service, is an ideal solution for you.
Plan your route carefully. Most attractions are central and the transport system is excellent. But the further you have to go between locations, the less time you have for actually sightseeing. We can drive you to these or other destinations in Eastern and Central Europe every season of the year and with a great comfort!
I wish you an amazing journey!