The once war-ravaged city of Dresden has risen from the ashes to become arguably Germany’s prettiest city – not for nothing is this baroque jewel known as the Florence on the Elbe’.

From majestic churches and state-of-the-art museums on the city’s south bank to buzzing streets pack with lively bars, cafes and shops on the north, here’s how to get the best out of Dresden in 48 hours.

Scenic summer view of the Old Town architecture with Elbe river embankment in Dresden

DAY ONE IN DRESDEN

Morning

Spend a not-to-be-missed morning ambling around the cobbled streets of Dresden’s Altstadt (Old Town), stopping off for a coffee and Eierschecke in one of the many characterful cafes before admiring the grand Baroque buildings – including the Frauenkirche.

The remarkable Our Lady’ church, whose walls contain more than 8,000 stones gathered from the rubble of the war, was reopened in 2005 after an 11-year rebuilding project and has become a global symbol of peace. Make no mistake: it’s one of the most beautiful churches in Germany and a must-do when in Dresden.

Wo happy women hugging and looking at the main attraction of Dresden Frauenkirche

Had your fill of the Frauenkirche? Next up is the Albertinum, a 125-year-old modern art museum that reopened in 2010 after a €51million renovation, and houses work by the likes of Gerhard Richter and Caspar David Friedrich.

Finally make your way to the Zwinger, the palace complex at Theaterplatz which, like the rest of Dresden, was largely destroyed by the Allied bomb raids during the Second World War before being restored to its pre-war glory. It costs nothing to explore the outer galleries and the courtyard, but you’ll have to part with €10 to admire the artwork at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.

The Zwinger

Afternoon

Stop for a hearty Saxon lunch at Watkze Ball & Brauhaus, a restaurant, ballroom and brewery steeped in history and serving delicious tasting specialities such as Quarkkäulchen or Sauerbraten. Refuelled? Classical sightseeing should continue with a trip to the Semperoper Opera House. Join a tour before taking in an opera or ballet at one of Europe’s great opera houses. 

End your afternoon drinking in unbeatable views of Saxon’s capital city from the Brühschule Terrasse, known as the balcony of Europe.’

Dreseden Sempopera

Evening

When night falls, make your way to Neustadt – Dresden’s hottest neighbourhood where the entertainment options are endless: choose from the slew of trendy bars, restaurants and live music venues.

Neumarkt Square and Frauenkirche at night

DAY TWO

Morning

For souvenirs that won’t make you cringe, Dresden does it better than most. Make for Neustädter Markthalle: vendors sell everything from antiques to food, flowers and handicrafts.

Shopped till your dropped? Rest weary limbs at nearby Schwarzmarkt Café, while gorging on Gnocchi smothered in gorgonzola sauce and walnuts.

City scape

Afternoon

After a leisurely lunch, head around the corner and check out the artist hub of Kunsthofpassage – five brightly painted courtyards, each dedicated to a different theme. 

Then why not discover Dresden’s world-famous silhouette from the river on one of the world’s oldest paddle-steamers?

Alternatively sample sekt (Saxony’s sparkling wine) at the Schloss Wackerbarth vineyard. Set at the foothills of the rolling Radebeul vineyards, Castle Wackerbarthnd welcomes wine connoisseurs from all over the world to join a tour through the estate’s wine fields, cellars, and wine factory. 

Kunsthofpassage

Evening

End the afternoon and welcome in the evening by enjoying a glass (or two) of sekt, as you start planning your return to this under-the-radar German city.

Sekt

Choice Hotels in Dresden