Dresden: Let Them Eat Cake!

top dresden recommendation, frauenkirche lookout
View of Dresden from the Frauenkirche lookout

Top Dresden Recommendations for a Weekend Getaway

I just got back from a wonderful solo weekend in Dresden and it was exactly what I needed. Some “me time” in a completely new city, accompanied by that familiar rush of the unfamiliar, where you don’t know what you’re going to discover as you turn the corner. I scouted out good cafés, had too much cake and took way too many photos – it was perfect!

Dresden is a very different city from Berlin, and just a two-hour drive away (with plenty of train and bus options connecting the two). If you’re thinking of spending a couple of days in the regal city of Dresden, here are my top recommendations.

See

Dresden is often hailed as a cultural capital. Even if you aren’t a museum person, you can soak up the history just by wandering around the Old Town. In fact, the Altstadt’s steeples and baroque palaces are hard to miss as you wander down bustling Pragerstraße, guiding you in the right direction.

Walking towards Dresden’s Altstadt

Much of Dresden was destroyed towards the end of World War II by allied bombs. In the last few decades, the city has rebuilt its historic buildings, brick by brick. Much like Szczecin, Dresden’s Old Town is actually very new. It is also quite small and walkable, so you can reach the banks of the Elbe in a few minutes.

Key site in the old town include the iconic Frauenkirche (Church of the Ladies), the Dresden Castle and the Zwingergarten. To take in Dresden’s impressive baroque skyline, go for a waterfront wander along Brühl’s Terrace, lining the Elbe River and leading right to the heart of the Old Town.

Brühl’s Terrace, also referred to as the Balcony of Europe

Next, cross one of the bridges to Dresden’s Neustadt, or New Town. Here, you will see the famous Golden Rider statue of King Augustus II. The statue marks the start of Hauptstraße, lined by flowerbeds on both sides that stretch on for half a kilometre.

Hauptstraße in Neustadt

Walk

If you veer away from Hauptstraße, you’ll discover tidy streets lined by stylish buildings, many of which are private residences. There was a definite Chelsea vibe to wandering around this neighbourhood.

Crossing the bridge on the way back to the Old Town, you’ll have clear views of Dresden’s baroque skyline.

Looking back at Dresden’s Old Town (with the Frauenkirche in the background)

Another place to explore is the Grosser Garten, Dresden’s equivalent of Central Park. This large green space houses a castle at its heart. As I visited in early spring, there were quite a few wildflowers blossoming. The trees were still bare, but I can imagine the park looking almost fairytale like in the summer.

Grosser Garten in the Spring

Snap

The eternal Instagrammer, I’m always looking for the best spots to take photos of every city. A friend told me that I could climb to the top of the Frauenkirche’s dome, which doubles up as a panoramic lookout over the city. The sun came out just as I finished walking up the spiral ramp, gifting those of us who were up there with great photo ops. Entry costs 8 euros, so make sure you have cash on you.

Looking out towards Neustadt from the Frauenkirche dome

Eat

While I was only in Dresden for 48 hours, I found three restaurants and cafés that I can safely recommend.

I got to Dresden at 11 am, starving. After checking into my hotel, I wandered towards the Old Town in search of pretty buildings and decent food. I got lucky with both. I stumbled upon Central, which served an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet facing the state Altmarkt (one of Dresden’s many historic squares). Here, you could choose from croissants, meats and cheeses, salads, pancakes, fruit platters, the works! In other words, a brunch lover’s paradise.

Café Central’s winning view.

The following morning, I had breakfast bright and early at Moka Café. Walking for 20 minutes in flats at -1 degrees was worth it, because I ordered the absolute best latté I’ve had in Germany! This little café also served delicious homemade marmelade to go on warm bread and a selection of meat and cheeses for breakfast. I think if I lived in Dresden, I would stop by every morning.

In the afternoon, I entered the world of Kaffee und Kuchen at Kuchen Atelier, the chic and stylish café set within the romantic Gewandhaus Hotel. I had  a slice of cherry chocolate pie in the luminous café, accompanied by the Atelier’s take own take on a cappuccino. A fun spot to people watch in pretty surrounds – and the cherry blossoms outside are a real showstopper.

Cake time at Kuchen Atelier

Stay

If you’d like to feel like Juliet, with or without Romeo, book a room at the Gewandhaus Dresden. At the core of this boutique hotel is an inner courtyard with a sun roof, surrounded by balconies – some of which belong to private suites. It makes you seem foolish not to be wandering the halls in a long, flowing dress. And of course, there’s cake downstairs!

The Gewandhaus Dresden’s interior courtyard

To wake up with Dresden at your feet, stay at the Pullman. This modern hotel, conveniently set close to the Old Town and the train station, affords prime views over the Altstadt, thanks to bay windows in every room. As evening approaches, head up to the 14th floor to watch the sun go down over Dresden.

Good night, Dresden! Shot from the 14th floor of the Pullman Hotel.

Do you have Dresden tips? I’d love to hear your top Dresden recommendations for my next trip. Let me know in the comments!

17 comments Add yours
  1. I have to say that I’ve never really thought of going outside the main cities in Germany to see the smaller villages and towns. This post gave me insight into this gorgeous place that I will now be putting on my travel list! Loved this post.

    1. Thanks Sara! I haven’t travelled around Germany much yet (I live in Berlin and always favour going abroad) but I’m also planning to see more of the country, especially the smaller cities or towns, as they are very scenic.

  2. Dresden sounds like my kind of place. I would love to check out the castle in the Grosser Garten. Awesome photographs btw.

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 It’s definitely my kind of place, as I’m obsessed with cake, coffee castles!

    1. Glad you’re considering Dresden! They do have many museums with famous pieces. There’s also a gallery featuring humorous takes and caricatures on the masters, which I didn’t get to visit but heard was quite good!

  3. Looking at these pictures it is easy to understand why Dresden is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. The architecture of it is just stunning, it is a mind blow to think that it was destroied in the war and all reconstructed!

  4. This looks amazing. specially for a weekend that too in a spring time. I would love to get out of big cities and visit these amazing villages someday. thanks for sharing! Cheers.

  5. As a photographer I appreciated the tip to climb to the top of the Frauenkirche’s dome for photo ops. This city is brimming with beauty just waiting to be photographed. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Dresden is one of my favorite places in Germany, and it has so many interesting parts that every time I feel that I should come back to see and taste even more – and more 🙂

  7. I was on a field trip in Dresden during the Christmas market. Even though it was very cold, we still enjoyed this beautiful city. However, I must admit after your post I have missed couple of things 🙁

  8. Dresden — thanks to your pictures and coffee and cake recommendations– definitely goes onto my “Must Visit” list for an upcoming April-May trip to Germany. I love what you share of your weekend getaways ! Danke !

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