Located close to the Czech border on the banks of the River Elbe, Dresden is home to some astounding Baroque architecture. The city – which can be traced back to 12th-century Slavic settlers – became Europe’s capital of art and technology in the 1700s, but was devastated during WWII. After lengthy restoration work, it has once again become one of Germany’s cultural hubs, with attractions ranging from delightful parks to sombre monuments.
The restored Frauenkirche is one of Dresden’s cultural highlights
Any sojourn to Dresden has to include a visit to the Frauenkirche – the original 18th-century Lutheran church has been lovingly restored from wartime destruction. Nearby lies Zwinger Palace, its sprawling grounds strewn with water fountains and ancient ruins.
Zwinger Palace’s historic grounds are strewn with fountains
A stone’s throw away sits the ‘Fürstenzug’ – the Procession of Princes. Depicting the historical rulers of Saxony, it is the world’s largest porcelain artwork. You can also mosey around Pillnitz Castle and Park, or stroll down Brühl’s Terrace – known as the ‘Balcony of Europe’ – for unrivalled city vistas.
When to go?
The view over Dresden at night
June through to August. The balmy summer months are the time to meander between Dresden’s churches, museums and expansive public spaces. Should you desire a festive break, the city’s markets are particularly Christmassy from November, when you can sip a glass of Glühwein and mull over candles or hand-painted nutcrackers.
Where to stay?
Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski
Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski – Dresden, Germany
This former palace is another flawless Baroque rebuild. Situated in the centre of the city – all of Dresden’s major must-visits are comfortably within walking distance – Taschenbergpalais Kempinski is now equipped with modern facilities and lays claim to half a dozen bars and restaurants.
Hyperion Hotel Dresden Am Schloss
Hyperion Hotel Dresden Am Schloss – Dresden, Germany
Greeting you with sweeping marble staircases and natural light from skylights, walking into the Dresden Am Schloss makes for an impressive arrival. A hit with bookers for its attentive staff and elegant rooms, here you can indulge in some fine dining in the Wohnstube Restaurant, or descend into the historic stone cellar for the Pürovel Spa.
Gewandhaus Dresden, Autograph Collection
Gewandhaus Dresden, Autograph Collection – Dresden, Germany
The Gewandhaus Dresden’s sparkling interior feels distinctly ‘boutique-y’. There’s an indoor pool, spa and fitness centre, meaning visitors have more than one option to unwind after a long day. The Kuchen Atelier serves a variety of tea, coffee and cakes.
Hotel Suitess – Dresden, Germany
Furnished in the style of the ‘Biedermeier’ period, the original mint green and gold-flecked façade of Hotel Suitess is a distinctive sight on the An der Frauenkirche. Gin-lovers take note: the saloon-style in-house bar has dozens on offer.
Bülow Palais – Dresden, Germany
With a day spa and the Michelin-starred Caroussel restaurant, there’s much to excite guests at the Bülow Palais. It’s also ideally situated – the Semper Opera, Frauenkirche Church and Zwinger Palace are all on your doorstep. You can enjoy a superb breakfast in the light-flooded conservatory before a day of sightseeing.