Nov 22, 2019 @

Zwinger palace Dresden interior
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Our day trip from Prague to Dresden turned out to be another wonderful idea. After being in Prague for about a week into our original three week stay, realizing that l didn’t like the city much, I made plans for us to see other places. This led to looking into interesting day trips from Prague. Prague to Dresden distance being only 150 kilometers, it looked very doable indeed. Here’s why you should consider visiting flawless Dresden for at least a day, if not two, or three.

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center of dresden
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center of dresden
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As far as day trips from Prague to other countries, this was tops! Everything is quite close and walkable, so l wouldn’t bother with the hop-on-hop-off bus unless you have mobility problems.

Dresden Small Group Tour

Prague To Dresden Germany Day Trip By Bus:

For us, the best way to travel from Prague to Dresden was by bus, mainly because it was cheaper. Half price to be exact and we would be there in roughly the same amount of time. Once again, we went with Flixbus because it was cheap and a good bang for the buck. Our tickets were €10 each way per person and there were no stops along the way, save for the police checkpoint once we were on the German side which took just a few minutes.

The ride was uneventful and the scenery was quite nice. I like Flixbus. Here is the Flixbus Prague to Dresden bus web page. Another popular company is the Regiojet Student Bus Agency. Everybody speaks highly of them, but the buses look the same to me, so l can’t imagine what could be so different. The seats were as comfortable as could be, there were USB ports and outlets to charge your electronic equipment and fast WiFi. The bus was not full, unlike our Cesky Krumlov day trip. This allowed each of us to stretch out. A very good bus ride. It was easy to purchase our bus tickets through the Flixbus app which l had downloaded.

bus station dresden germany
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bus station dresden germany
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Prague to Dresden day trip on the Flixbus which drops you off right behind the station (you can see other buses) and you just take the tram into the center for €1.50. The bus offices are right across the street. Easy.

Dresden History:

Dresden is the capital city of the East Germany state of Saxony. Dating back to 1743, it was originally the royal residence of the Kings of Saxony and Polish Monarchs alike. It was nicknamed the “jewel box” because of the baroque and rococo style architectural buildings in its city center. The city however,  seems to be most famously known for the bombing of Dresden which occurred at the ending of WWII (Feb 13, 1945) by British and American soldiers, resulting in the deaths of over 25,000 civilians and flattening over seventy-five percent of the city center.

As a result, the Dresden center is very much like in Warsaw, with pretty much everything rebuilt. Unlike my experience in Warsaw however, I really liked Dresden! It is often referred to as Elbflorenz which means Florence of the Elbe, thanks to its beauty and location on the Elbe river. It really does remind you of the Renaissance city of Florence.


What to see in Dresden in one day:

The Dresden city center area is quite compact and once there, you can walk from place to place, just make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes.  Your Dresden one day itinerary should definitely include these absolutely gorgeous, must see places.

Zwinger palace:

zwinger palace dresden water side view
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zwinger palace dresden water side view
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Side view of the Zwinger Palace. This was the only side with water. Just spectacular. The interior is the first picture on the post.

 

You gotta love how royalty lived!
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You gotta love how royalty lived!
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Posing on the palace grounds. It is simply stunning.

The jewel of Dresden. To say it is mind blowing would be putting it mildly. Designed by an architect by the name of Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann, it is a monstrous sized baroque building. The building has some of the most amazing sculptures adorning it. It reminds me of the Vatican in some ways with the curves. The garden paths are nice to wander and free! There are exhibits in the museums which you have to pay for if interested. Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna” is housed in one of them. Who hasn’t seen those 2 little angels at the bottom of the painting in just about every house? I had it! :-). You can get a combined ticket for €14.

Dresden Frauenkirche:

frauenkirche church dresden
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frauenkirche church dresden
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Dresden sightseeing – the Frauenkirche church is magnificent.

The original church having been destroyed, this was rebuilt as a Lutheran church. Prior to that, it had been a Protestant church, and even further back, a Catholic one! You can walk to the top for an amazing view of Dresden for €8. *You will only be allowed if you are wearing proper walking shoes, no flip-flops!*. Once a month, they offer an English church service. The church itself is free to enter and very, very  pretty inside. We didn’t take pictures because it said not too, but everyone else was doing it anyway :-). It was super crowded so we just popped in for a minute. Good idea to check before visiting as there are often concerts which means it’s closed to the public.

Dresden Castle:

dresden residenzschloss building
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dresden residenzschloss building
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Dresden Residenzschoss – part of the royal complex.

 

dresden castle
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dresden castle
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The Dresden castle complex dominates. There was an amazing hotel right across from it that looks pretty expensive but nice.

 

hotel in dresden germany
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hotel in dresden germany
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See what l mean by fancy? Right across from the Dresden Castle. You can get the Dresden hotel price here.

What can l say except that it is yet another beautiful castle. About 400 years old and now functioning  as a museum complex rather than the original royal residence it was prior.

*Recommended hotel to stay in Dresden by friends who loved it is the Hyperion Dresden am Schloss*

Semperoper Dresden:

semperoper view dresden
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semperoper view dresden
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Dresden de Semperoper. To fit as much as he could, he went across the street and ducked into a restaurant. They weren’t too happy :-). Can you spot me waiting patiently?

 

king johann statue dresden semperoper
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king johann statue dresden semperoper
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Statue of King Johann in front of the Dresden Semperoper, a popular gathering spot.

This is the state opera and concert hall. Allegedly one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world and home to the Semperoper ballet. We didn’t go inside, but tours are available for €10, with an extra €3 euros if you wish to take pictures. From the outside, it is definitely beautiful. An interesting history also. Originally built by an architect named  Gottfried Semper in 1841, it was destroyed in a fire in 1869. The people demanded that Semper rebuild it even though he was in exile, having played a major part in the 1849 uprising in Dresden. His son, using the dad’s plans rebuilt the opera house. The WWII bombing destroyed it once again with only the exterior shell intact. It was rebuilt forty years later. To boot, it was water damaged when the river Elbe flooded in 2002!. Resilient isn’t it?

Fürstenzug: 

furstenburg dresden wall
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furstenburg dresden wall
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Furstenbug took up a whole side of the building on a short street. Very pretty.

prague to dresden germany day trip by bus
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prague to dresden germany day trip by bus
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In the end, Federico spotted her, but we can’t agree. He thinks it’s the one on the horse in the center without head gear. I disagree, I think the woman is to the far right, walking in the rear, holding a flag. What do you think?

This is the biggest porcelain painting in the world! It is a very long one and shows most of the Saxon princes, kings and other members of the electorate in their finest uniforms. There is one female in the lot and it was a challenge to try and find her (nope! I never found her, not even going across the street and sitting on the stoop straining, but it was fun trying!). Some guy told us that was where the Dresden Christmas market is held yearly. I wouldn’t mind being there during the holidays.

Brühl’s Terrace Dresden:

One of the views from the terrace. It would have been nice to cross the bridge and explore the other side of the center.
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A lovely view from Bruhl’s terrace (on the right). It would have been nice to visit the other side, but we had no time.

bruhl's terrace interior dresden
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bruhl's terrace interior dresden
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There are loads of cafes to the rear of the terrace and we had fun strolling and people watching.

When you’re on this long stretch of terrace, you can really see why it’s compared to Florence. Also called the Balcony of Europe, the view of the Elbe river is just stunning. There are benches to sit and people watch as well as cafes and restaurants in the rear. We loved hanging out there for a bit for some coffee.

coffee drink in dresden germany
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coffee drink in dresden germany
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Chilling in Dresden. This coffee was so good!

 

postcard writing guy in Dresden
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postcard writing guy in Dresden
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We even had time to write and mail our postcards from Dresden while enjoying some refreshing cold drinks.

During our Dresden day trip, we got super hungry from all the walking. There were plenty of choices and l was actually pleasantly surprised by that. In the end, we had lunch at a Jamaican restaurant called Turtle Bay which had awesome Caribbean food. It was located quite close to the Zwinger and l highly recommend it. The prices were reasonable too.

jerk lamb dish Dresden turtle bayrestaurant
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jerk lamb dish Dresden turtle bayrestaurant
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Federico had some sort of jerk lamb with sweet potato and salad. It was extremely delicious and l wished l had ordered the same.

 

pulled pork burger dresden turtle bay restaurant
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pulled pork burger dresden turtle bay restaurant
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I had this pulled pork burger with the same sauce as Federico (spicy tangy). It was great, but his was even better. I also had a side of fried plantain. Best part? 2 for 1 rum flavored drinks! :-)

These were what we saw on our day in Dresden. The burning question is “is 1 day in Dresden enough?”.  In my honest opinion, the answer is NO! Downtown Dresden is a fabulous and beautiful part of the city but you are only able to take little bites on a day trip. I think a 2-3 day visit would be better to truly enjoy all Dresden has to offer I would have liked to  learn more about the famous operas that premiered there (Strauss, Wagner!) and see the monuments of Shakespeare, Moliere and more. I would have liked to check out the Zwinger interior and see more artwork by Canaletto, Rubens and other masters.

I would have also liked to have visited the Moritzburg Castle on the city outskirt, maybe even more museums which seem to be plentiful, but we were short on time. Soon enough it was time to head back to the bus station for our Dresden to Prague Flixbus. Check out even more wonderful  Dresden things to see  given more time. This, I feel, is one of the best Prague day trips, but you should stretch it to 2 at the minimum if at all possible. It’s worth it. I have to think a little bit more, but l’m pretty sure l prefer Dresden to Berlin (which l liked a lot). Dresden is less gritty,  which makes sense with the rebuild and all. The people also seem to be more relaxed and friendlier.

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Have you been to Dresden? If yes, would you agree with it being a day trip or a longer trip? If not, would you care to visit this part of Germany?