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Things to Do in Dresden

Once the jewel of baroque Germany, Dresden’s Old Town was almost completely destroyed during the World War II bombings, but after years of painstaking restoration work, the city’s architectural highlights are once again dazzling. Evocatively nicknamed the “Florence of the North,” the Saxon capital is an enchanting sight, with its formerly UNESCO-listed waterfront lined with elegant villas, regal churches and grand palaces.

Whether you’re taking a scenic cruise along the Elbe River or visiting on a side trip from Berlin, it won’t take you long to spot Dresden’s top attractions—the resplendent Zwinger Palace, Semper Opera House, the Church of Our Lady and the famous Brühl's Terrace are all clustered along the waterfront.
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Dresden Frauenkirche
23 Tours and Activities

A church dating back to the early 18th century, the Frauenkirche in Dresden was damaged during World War II bombings in 1945. After its dome collapsed, the ruins of the church were left as a war memorial. But after the reunification of Germany, the church was reconstructed and completed by 2005.

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Dresden Castle (Residenzschloss)
14 Tours and Activities

Explore a Renaissance castle that dates back to the late 1400s during a visit to the Dresden Royal Palace. Once home to Saxony’s kings, today the palace houses the Dresden State Art Collections including the acclaimed Green Vault. Plan a visit here to learn about the building’s history, including damage from World War II bombings, and see a wide variety of art and antiques.

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Loschwitz Bridge
2 Tours and Activities

Officially named the Loschwitz Bridge, the Blue Wonder Bridge in Dresden stretches across the Elbe River. The bridge was painted a bright blue color and earned the nickname it’s known by today. While much of Dresden was destroyed during bombings in World War II, the Blue Wonder Bridge survived.

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Elbe River

One of Central Europe’s major rivers, the Elbe River runs through the heart of Dresden. It has played an important role in Germany’s history, forming part of the border between East and West Germany during the Cold War. Today the Elbe River is a popular spot for boat tours and views of landmarks like the Dresden Opera House. 

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Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe)
1 Tour and Activity

Located within the Dresden Royal Palace, the Green Vault is one of the city museums featuring a collection of historical art and antiques. Go inside this treasure chest to see precious objects made of ivory, gemstones, gold, and silver. The museum offers the opportunity to admire art and artifacts up close.

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4 Tours and Activities

Named after King Albert of Saxony, the Albertinum is an art museum located in the historic city center of Dresden. The museum focuses on painting and sculpture from the Romantic period to the present day, and its collections — which range from Rodin to Richter — have earned the museum a worldwide reputation as a center for fine art in Germany. With a large restoration program, the Albertinum's glass-fronted display storerooms allow visitors to get insights into the museum's internal workings and how the restoration process works. The Renaissance-style building that houses the museum, completed in 1563, was once a military arsenal and now has archives instead of weapons in its immense vaults, as a new arsenal was built for Dresden in the late 19th century.

The museum is especially unique because much of the original structure remains, having been spared from excessive damage during the 1945 bombing of Dresden, unlike many other museum buildings nearby. The Albertinum is also home to the Galerie Neue Meister and the Skulpturensammlung, two of Dresden's most illustrious art museums.

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Panometer Dresden

Presenting a visual representation of Dresden’s changing cityscape from 1695 to 1760, the Panometer Dresden is one of the city’s most unique museums. The creation of Austrian artist Yadegar Asisi, the gigantic, 360-degree display measures 344 feet (105 meters) long, stretching along the walls of a former gasometer.

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Transparent Factory

This all-glass automobile production plant, owned by Volkswagen, is a must-see for car enthusiasts who are visiting Dresden. Because the entire building is made of glass, you can view nearly the entire process of automobile assembly during a tour of the factory. The Transparent Factory was built in the middle of town on the Elbe River, just a ten-minute walk from the historic city center, as an intentional pairing of technology and culture. More than a million visitors have passed through the factory doors since they opened in 2002, watching VW Phaetons and Bentleys getting assembled at ‘Die Gläserne Manufaktur.’

For people who like cars, architecture, and/or engineering, this is a great way to see top-notch automobile manufacturing in action. The ultra-modern facility builds cars with the most up-to-date methods, including robots that deliver the parts. Before taking the educational tour, visitors can check out multiple video displays in the building’s upper lobby.

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