1 343 000
Population Density (km2):
Population Density (mi2):
2nd Largest City in Saxony
12th Largest City in Germany
3rd Largest City in Former East Germany
Avg. Summertime High:
Avg. Summertime Low:
Avg. Wintertime High:
Avg. Wintertime Low:
Dresden was completely destroyed in WWII, and the city center lied in ruins for almost 50 years before an impressive reconstruction campaign started after the reunification of Germany. Today this city, once one of the most important cities of Central Europe, will take you on a tour of newly constructed classical architecture that will leave you impressed!
Federal Republic of Germany | Bundesrepublik Deutschland
357 022 km2
Ranked 63 out of 195
83 190 000
Ranked 18 out of 235
Ranked 53 out of 194
Population: 4 473 000
Population: 4 473 000
Economy & Development:
Human Development Index:
Ranked 6 out of 189
Ranked 10 out of 189
GDP (PPP) Per Capita:
Ranked 26 out of 225
Democracy & Freedom:
Ranked 14 out of 167
94 points out of 100 possible
Ranked 16 out of 180
Ranked 20 out of 162
3rd of October
What Is Celebrated On The National Day:
The unification between East and West Germany, which was formally in effect on the 3rd of October 1990. In Germany, the day is known as "Tag der Deutschen Einheit" (German Unity Day). The date was chosen as National Day ahead of the 9th of November, the day when the Berlin Wall was torn down, and which is a more symbolic day in the Unification process, because the 9th of November was also the date of the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938.
Facts & Codes:
UTC +1 (CET)
Summer Time: UTC +2 (CEST)
Country Calling Code:
German State | Deutsche Bundesland
18 449 km2
Ranked 10 out of 16
4 077 000
Ranked 7 out of 16
Of National Population
Population: 790 000
Population: 1 000 000
GDP Per Capita::
Lower than national average
UTC +1 (CET)
Summer: UTC +2 (CEST)
Museum And Former Royal Palace
Tram / Light Rail
Elevated Rapid Transit
Dresden has a network of twelve tram lines, covering a total distance of 200 km (124 mi). I never tried it out since the parts of the city that is interesting for a tourist can easily be covered on foot. The only time I felt that it was tempting to hop on a tram was when crossing the Elbe over into Neustadt.
The Old Town, where you will spend almost all of your time, can only be covered on foot. The distance between sights in the Old Town is small and you will find something interested on every block. Navigation is also easy. In other words, Dresden is a very walkable city and you will need neither a car nor public transportation during your visit.
If you arrive by car and need to park it during your visit there's a large underground parking garage that is spanning almost the full distance of the Old Town. Park it there and leave it until it's time to continue your trip elsewhere.
9 km / 6 mi (N)
The city district of Klotzsche
The airport is a minor regional airport that had less than 2 million yearly passengers in 2019. If you can't find any suitable flight, look at flying into Berlin and rent a car to drive (just under 2 hours) or take the train, which takes just under 2 hours from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, and with an additional hour for the transfer and waiting time from the airport.
There's a train station at the airport which will take you into the city center in 23 minutes. Bus and tram lines are serving the airport but no direct lines link the airport to the center of the city, and you'll have to make a transfer at some point if you use either. By car, it takes about 20 minutes to drive to the center.
Cash Or Credit:
Cash is King in Germany! It always amazes me that a country that is so technologically advanced in just about everything else is still using mostly cash and doesn't even offer cards as an option in many stores. It was however much better when I visited in 2021 than during my previous trips in 2017 and 2019. In just those two years it changed a lot, and it was now at least possible to pay by card in most medium-sized stores. There were however still places where I was not able to use my card, so you still need to bring paper cash.
Even in 2022, I faced some issues, but by now card payment is available at most places. Bring cash, but you don't have to bring as much as before. And in most cases, you could just go somewhere else instead of using cash. Most tourist attractions are now accepting card payments, something that was not the norm just five years ago.
Good To Know:
What About English?
Germans previously had a reputation for not being so good at English. Today, this is completely false and nothing could be further from the truth. Germany has by far the highest proficiency in English of the major non-native-speaking countries in Europe. Only the much smaller Scandinavian and Benelux countries are better. If English is your only language, you won't have to worry about language in Germany. There is a slight generational difference though. The older generation might not always be able to help you out, but young people almost always speak more or less perfect English.
Prager Straße (Prague Street) is the main connection between the Central Train Station and the Old Town. The street is fully pedestrianized with hotels, restaurants, and stores. The area has modern architecture, so contrary to the famous Old Town, the area around Prager Straße isn't pretty to look at. The part closest to the Old Town is a huge shopping mall called Galeria Karstadt, so if you're looking for shopping in Dresden then this is where you should go. While Prager Straße is a main street in the sense that a lot of people are using it and it's a main thoroughfare for foot traffic, it's not an important street from which the sights of Dresden are found. It's quite far from the sights. However, the Old Town of Dresden doesn't have a specific main street. All streets in the Old Town are worth a visit!
Innere Altstadt is the Old Town of Dresden and there is where you must find accommodation if you want to be centrally located. I would say that Neumarkt is the absolute center of the city, but the hotels in that part are very expensive. I stayed near Altmarkt, just across Wilsdruffer Straße, and that felt like the perfect location with only a few minutes' walk from Neumarkt. Across the Elbe river in Neustadt, both Innere and Äußere Neustadt didn't feel like great places to stay and it felt quite offside for a tourist.
Dresden is a very safe city. In the Old Town, there are pretty much only tourists and the environment is very clean and easy. The areas outside of the Old Town can look rough and rundown, but in general, they aren't unsafe. Dresden has very low crime statistics. I felt completely safe at all times, I did however spend almost all the time in Innere Altstadt, with a short excursion to Neustadt and Albertplatz.
Note: My assumption is of the basis that you will always take normal precautions when you're out traveling, just as you would do at home. Even the safest cities have bad elements and no matter how safe you might feel you must always take basic precautions. I'm always aware of my surroundings when I walk around, both with and without the camera. I am however a very typical tourist and it shows so I am a person that will undoubtedly draw the attention of those who targets tourists. If you can you should of course always try to blend in as much as possible, but with my big camera around my neck, it's impossible. That's two things that are good to know when reading my assessment of how it felt from a safety point of view.
Weiße Gasse, a small street with lots of restaurants near Altmarkt
Dresden is a beautiful city and there's a lot of architecture to photograph, but the city is also quite sterile. The Old Town only caters to tourists and there's no authentic street life going on there. Germans aren't that fond of being in pictures anyway so it doesn't matter that much. Focus your photography on the buildings and the architecture when you're in Dresden.
- Germany Is Closed On Sundays
It is good to know that almost all of Germany closes down on Sundays. Stores are not allowed to be open on Sundays! They are allowed to be open on four Sundays during the year, and most of them will choose to keep open during the Christmas season. Restaurants are allowed to be open, and so do tourist attractions and certain stores that cater specifically to tourists (such as souvenir shops). Those are more or less the only exceptions. Not even Supermarkets are open, so plan your purchases well and make sure to buy everything you need on Saturday already if you plan on staying over a Sunday.
Type of Food:
Did I Try:
4 / 5
A German chain that serves seafood. The company was founded in 1896 in Bremerhaven to supply seafood from the North Sea to the residents of Bremen. The literal translation of the name is "North Sea". In the 1960s the current chain was developed when they, in addition to the original fresh seafood menu, also added a more fast-food-like menu with fried products.
They have two menus. One menu consists of more a restaurant type of seafood that is served on plates, and which is arguable of higher quality. The other menu, which is the one I like better, consists of typical fast-food items such as fried shrimp or fish served with fries in paper boxes. I can highly recommend visiting this chain if you're looking for a quick meal.
I had high hopes for Dresden, and they were fulfilled fully. Dresden is a very beautiful city with lots of sights. Almost everything is reconstructed in recent years, but the reconstructions are done so good that it feels authentic, and they follow the original destroyed blocks well. However, as is often the case with Old Towns in Europe, you won't find many locals there and if you don't like environments where most people you meet are other tourists then Dresden might not be the city for you.
Do I Recommend You To Visit?
Yes! Dresden could be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!
Will I Come Back Again?
Normally Dresden is the typical city that you wouldn't return to. When you've seen it you've seen it and can move on. However, Dresden is still a city that is rapidly evolving and if I would return five years from now I don't think I'll return to the same city. The reconstruction of Old Town is expanding every year. Several new blocks recently opened just before my visit and it looked like more blocks would soon start construction.
Weather During My Stay:
Sunny and very warm, Perfect. It was almost too sunny because the options for shade are limited in Dresden.
Not As Good:
The Fürstenzug (Procession of Princes) is a beautiful public and historic artwork in Dresden. The mural shows a mounted procession of the rulers of Saxony.
It was originally painted between 1871 and 1876 but was replaced by porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907. It's over 100 meters long (102 to be exact) and is the largest porcelain artwork in the world.
Statues on top of Katholische Hofkirche (Dresden Cathedral).
In the Old Town, you can ride old early 20th-century cars (for a fee of course). This picture is from Neumarkt.
Frauenkirche on Neumarkt is probably the main sight of Dresden. This beautiful church was destroyed on the 14th of February 1945 and was not reconstructed until 2005.
More statues on Dresden Cathedral. The Cathedral was built in 1751.
The Opera House of Dresden, Semperoper, was under renovation during my visit.
The famous Baroque Palace called Zwinger. It's one of the most important baroque buildings of Germany and today serves as an Art Museum.
The Crown Gate of Zwinger.
A statue of Gottfried Semper (1803 - 1879), the architect of the Semperoper.
Buildings on Neumarkt. Nearly all buildings in the Old Town of Dresden are recent reconstructions.
Prager Straße is a modern shopping street connecting the Old Town to the Central Station.
Altmarkt and the Kreuzkirche.
Skyline of Dresden from the Kreuzkirche.
The Academy of Fine Arts photographed from Neumarkt.
Neumarkt with the Frauenkirche on the left.
Dresden Castle (Dresdner Residenzschloss) was for almost 400 years the main residence for the Electors and Kings of the Saxon House of Wettin. Today it is a large museum showcasing the history of the region.
Fürstenzug with the Frauenkirche visible in the background.
A statue of Martin Luther, which survived the destruction in 1945, in front of the Frauenkirche on Neumarkt.