Dresden

The Beauty on the Elbe

Splendour, destruction and rebirth: no other city in German comes with such a varied and eventful history. The long-standing capital of Saxony is packed full of contrasts that harmoniously bring the past into the present day. It’s a dream destination that can actually be reached while you dream: three ÖBB Nightjet services run from Graz and Vienna to Dresden every week.

Attractions

The cultural metropolis is renowned the world over for its magnificent Old Town, or Altstadt. Highlights include a stroll through the baroque Zwinger palace complex, a visit to the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) museum and an evening at the stately Semperoper. Many of the famous buildings fell victim to the massive aerial bombing raids at the end of the Second World War and had to be extensively restored. The most famous example of these is the Frauenkirche, which has stood as a symbol of peace and tolerance ever since its reconstruction. The evening guided tours show off the city particularly well and reveal another side to its tumultuous history.

The Neustadt, on the other hand, is where the young and alternative lifestyle comes to the fore. Here you will find street art, smart little shops, trendy eateries and numerous cultural centres. Once run-down backstreets have been lovingly rejuvenated, and in today’s "art courtyards" (Kunsthöfen) you can take an exciting look at life and work behind the scenes.

Had your fill of culture? The parks on the banks of the Elbe (Elbwiesen) bring nature into the heart of the city. Whether it’s to take a leisurely stroll, ride a bicycle or simply lie back and unwind, this favourite relaxation spot for local residents offers views of the river and the city’s main sights. To the southeast of the city, the Elbe Valley is crowned by the three Elbe Palaces – Schloss Albrechtsberg, the Lingnerschloss and Schloss Eckberg. The Elbe Flea Market (Elbflohmarkt) takes place every Saturday next to the Albertbrücke, while during the summer months exciting films are shown in the open-air on the Elbwiesen. One thing you really mustn’t miss is the "Canaletto View": simply look upstream from the Neustädter Elbufer towards the city skyline and the spectacular view will be right before your eyes. This view owes its name to the famous painting by the architectural painter, and the original can be viewed in the Old Masters Gallery nearby.

The Semperoper in the old town of Dresden