Dresden surprises visitors, with fanciful Baroque architecture in a delightful-to-stroll cityscape, a dynamic history that mingles tragedy with inspiration, and some of the best museum-going in Germany. Today's Dresden is an intriguing and fun city, filled with proud locals, cheery visitors, and students. Although it's crawling with German tourists, Dresden winds up on far fewer American itineraries than it deserves to. Don't make that mistake.
At a Glance
▲▲ Historic Green Vault Fairy-tale Baroque halls holding a trove of sparkling gems and curiosities collected by the rulers of Saxony.
▲▲ New Green Vault More Saxon treasures, but displayed in sleek modern spaces.
▲▲ Old Masters Gallery Grand collection of paintings in the Zwinger Palace featuring top pieces from the most prominent late Gothic and Renaissance masters.
▲▲ Royal Armory Impressive display of some of Europe's finest medieval armor, much of it posed to make it easy to imagine these suits and lances in action, plus one of Europe's largest historic coin collections.
▲▲ Albertinum Paintings and sculpture from the Romantic era through present day, with big-name works clustered in the New Masters Gallery.
▲▲ Frauenkirche Landmark Baroque church whose exquisite restoration has come to symbolize Dresden's rebirth after its WWII firebombing and Communist-era neglect.
▲▲ Military History Museum Germany's largest museum, covering more than 800 years of Germanic war-making with a focus on understanding of the costs of violence.
▲ Mathematics-Physics Salon Fun collection of old-time clocks, calculators, automatons, and other scientific gadgets in the Zwinger palace.
▲ Porcelain Collection Also in the Zwinger, the world's largest array of decorative ceramics, with enough variety and sheer artistry to interest just about anyone.
▲ Turkish Chamber Augustus the Strong's impressive collection of Turkish swag, housed within the Royal Palace.
▲ Katholiche Hofkirche Huge Catholic church at the foot of the Augustus Bridge, home to a stirring memorial to the 1945 firebombing.
▲ New Town and Outer New Town Stately, never-bombed neighborhood of restaurants and shops just across the river from the Old Town, with an edgy, proudly counter-cultural district stretching north from Albertplatz.
Watchman's Tower Lookout tower of the Royal Palace, offering fun city views.
Prager Strasse Classic Communist-era promenade connecting the main train station the middle of town.
German Hygiene Museum Fun, somewhat dated and largely interactive exhibits designed to explain and explore human biology.
Volkswagen's Transparent Factory Car-assembly factory with tours that let you watch the VW sausage getting made.
Outside the City Center
Along the Elbe River to the Blue Wonder Bridge Easy excursion to a relaxing spot on Dresden's lazy river.
Saxon Switzerland National Park Unique rocky landscape located 40 minutes outside Dresden by train, featuring the fairy-tale Bastei Bridge.