My perfect 48 hours in Dresden

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"What does the perfect 48 hours look like at your favorite travel destination?"

Ulrike from Bambooblog recently reported about a very interesting blogparade on Traveller's Insight. So I looked there nevertheless immediately times – and was immediately inspired. When asked, "What does the perfect 48 hours look like at your favorite travel destination??"I did not have to think long. For me it will be about my perfect 48 hours in Dresden!

Since years we are attracted to Dresden in a nice regularity again and again. Actually we wanted to look for another destination for a short city trip this year. But what can I say … then we discovered at an internet booking portal a few days ago this unbeatable cheap offer for our favorite hotel in the middle of the wonderful city at the Elbe River. I could not resist and so we will spend two days in Dresden again this year. After all we have not seen everything yet! There is so much to discover and experience in and around Dresden!

As I mentioned at the beginning, this will not be our first stay in Saxony's capital city. But what would my perfect 48 hours in Dresden look like – based on my experiences so far?? In any case, the 48 hours are divided into one full day and two half days with two overnight stays. Finally, the evenings in Dresden are also something very special – but more about that later.

My perfect 48 hours in Dresden

48 hours in Dresden, day 1

Lunchtime: Lunch with a view of the Frauenkirche

We start in the morning after breakfast at home and arrive in Dresden at our hotel around noon. It's still too early to check in at the hotel, the rooms are not ready for us yet. So we just drop off our luggage and leave our cell phone number at the reception – we will be called later when the room is ready for us.

It's lunchtime – such a small snack would be quite appropriate now. Our way leads us to the cafe and restaurant Coselpalais at the edge of the Neumarkt. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Dresden. If the weather is nice, you can sit on the terrace in the baroque courtyard with a view of the Frauenkirche. Of course there is also an alternative if the weather is not so good. The interiors are just as splendidly decorated and you can be entertained in one of the salons: Porcelain Room, Rose Room, Mirror Room or Bird Room also shine in Baroque splendor.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Coselpalais

The Coselpalais

The Coselpalais is a sight in itself. At the 18. Built in the 19th century, it was badly damaged during the bombing of Dresden in 1945. It was not demolished, but the reconstruction of the whole building with vaulted cellars, side wings and main building lasted until 2000. In the meantime, one part is used for restaurants (apart from the Grand Cafe and Restaurant Coselpalais, there is also the event gastronomy "Pulverturm" in the cellar vaults) and another part for offices and business premises.

By the way, the Coselpalais owes its name only indirectly to Countess Cosel, who was omnipresent in Dresden. The palace was named after the son of Elector Augustus the Strong and his mistress Countess Cosel: Friedrich August Count von Cosel. He had the palace built, but never lived in it himself.

On the menu of the Cafe and Restaurant Coselpalais everyone will find something to his taste. There is also an additional daily menu, which offers seasonal specialties. For example at asparagus time or chanterelle time. On my last visit to the Coselpalais I opted for napkin dumplings with fresh chanterelles – very delicious!

48 perfect hours in Dresden Coselpalais

The cafe and restaurant Coselpalais is actually known for its extensive range of delicious cakes and pies. With so much to choose from, it's really hard to decide. I can recommend from my own experience the Coselpalais house cake. Or you can decide for a piece of original Dresdner Eierschecke. This cake is a Saxon classic that you have to try at least once. Or should it be a piece of Dresden Christstollen in the pre-Christmas season?

48 perfect hours in Dresden Coselpalais

48 perfect hours in Dresden Coselpalais cake selection

Thus strengthened, it can now go for a stroll through the historic old town. Before we can move into our room and freshen up a bit – perfect!

Afternoon: a stroll through Dresden's historic Old Town

Dresden's historic old town – what's the best place to start?? There are so many wonderful baroque sights to see in Dresden, it's really hard to choose. In the old town of Dredn the most famous sights of the city are within walking distance of each other.

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The Frauenkirche

An absolute MUST is of course the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). With its bell-shaped dome, visible from afar, it dominates the cityscape. Like pretty much everything in Dresden, the Frauenkirche was destroyed by incendiary bombs during the bombing of Dresden in February 1945. The beautiful dome collapsed on 15. February 1945 as a result of severe damage by bombs and fire. The ruins of the church lay in Dresden for almost 50 years – until its reconstruction began in 1993. Today it stands radiantly beautiful on the Neumarkt square. An impressive building even from the outside. If you look closely, the exterior facade appears somehow speckled. Between the shining bright sandstones you discover many black stones – it almost seems as if the building has freckles. The explanation is as simple as it is impressive: during the reconstruction, the still preserved stones were removed and later reused in the construction. So the dark stones are still from the original, in 18. The church, which was built in the second century, is almost 300 years old. Even if it is not recognizable at first glance – the Dresden Frauenkirche consists almost half of the old stones.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Frauenkirche at the Neumarkt square

Dresden's Frauenkirche is not only worth seeing from the outside. The baroque interior of the church is also worth a visit. The Frauenkirche is an open church and can be visited outside of church services or events, admission is free. Of course there are also guided tours, and even a climb to the dome of the Frauenkirche is possible. More on the website of the Dresden Frauenkirche.

From the Frauenkirche it is only a few minutes walk to the Residence Palace. Here you pass the so-called "Furstenzug.

The procession of princes in Dresden

You simply have to see it: with a length of almost 102 meters, the Furstenzug is the longest mural in the world made of tiles. Like an oversized tapestry, the picture adorns the outside of the stable yard of Dresden's Residence Palace. It consists of about 23.000 individual tiles made of Meissen porcelain and depicts the thousand-year history of the Wettin royal house in an equestrian procession. Dukes, Electors and Kings of Saxony are depicted here in the chronological order of their reigns.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Furstenzug 1

48 perfect hours in Dresden Furstenzug

Most of the mural still consists of the original tiles from 1907. Only very few tiles were damaged and had to be replaced and restored during a cleaning and restoration of the mural in 1978/79.

Continuing along Augustusstrasse, you arrive at Dresden's Residence Palace.

The Dresden Residence Palace

The Dresden Residence Palace houses various museums. It houses, among other things, the Green Vault – the treasure chamber of Augustus the Strong. On the first floor you can visit the Historical Green Vault and on the upper floor the New Green Vault. You will be immersed in a world of baroque splendor and incomprehensible splendor. Not only the exhibits are impressive, but also the lavishly restored rooms, which have been restored to their original state, bear witness to the wealth and power of the Wettin dynasty.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Residenzschloss

Tickets for the tour can be purchased in the courtyard of the Residenzschloss or online on the website of the Dresden State Art Collections (SKD). I recommend the latter, because in this way you can avoid possible waiting times (time slot tickets)!) can be avoided.

The Semper Opera House

On Theaterplatz, directly opposite the Dresden Residence Palace, is the Semper Opera House. Does the opera seem strangely familiar? No wonder – for years it was the backdrop for the advertising of a Saxon brewery.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Semperoper

It is considered to be one of the most beautiful theaters in the world – and rightly so in my opinion. Already from the outside the magnificent building impresses. However, the interior is just as impressive. During a visit you can see richly decorated rooms, staircases and corridors. The auditorium with the famous royal box is unparalleled. Four tiers rise around the stalls. In total, the opera holds about 1.300 visitors. The acoustics in the Semper Opera are said to surpass even the acoustics of La Scala in Milan!

If you don't intend to visit the opera for a performance, just plan to see it as part of a guided tour of the building. These tours take place several times a day outside of rehearsal or performance times. Tickets can be bought on the spot or online via the website of the organizer.

The Dresden Zwinger

Directly next to the Semperoper is the Dresden Zwinger, one of the most beautiful baroque buildings in the city. My last visit to the Zwinger was some years ago – actually I should plan this for our next city trip to Dresden again.

Then maybe I can tell you more about it. Until then at this point only the reference to the official website.

In the evening: an evening cruise on the Elbe river

A very nice experience is an evening tour on a ship of the Sachsische Dampfschiffahrt (in fact, it is still officially spelled with two "f"). This romantic evening trip starts from the pier at the Dresden Terrassenufer and goes in the direction of Pillnitz and back again. The trip takes a total of about 2 ½ hours. In the light of the setting sun or at the blue hour, the trip along Dresden's city skyline with the world-famous "Canaletto view" is quite wonderful. On our return we experience this view once again in the night lighting and that is something very special again!

48 perfect hours in Dresden Skyline by night

The Saxon Steamship

The Saxon Steamship Company is one of the oldest paddle steamer fleets in the world. It was already founded in 1836 as the "Elbdampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft". The name of the company was changed several times during its existence, the fleet size also changed several times. Even today, nine historic paddle steamers (built between 1879 and 1929) are in full operation. In addition, four newer ships belong to the fleet, but a special experience is of course the trip with a historic paddle steamer. On the ship, you can take a look at the engine – certainly a fascinating sight for technology fans.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Saxon steamboat tour

The Canaletto view

If the term "Canaletto view" makes you wonder – here is the explanation: The view from the Neustadter Elbufer west of the Augustusbrucke towards the Dresden skyline with Frauenkirche and Hofkirche is the so-called "Canaletto view". The Venetian artist Bernardo Bellotto, called Canaletto has immortalized this city skyline in one of his famous paintings. The painting is exhibited today in the Gemaldegalerie "Alte Meister" in Dresden.

By the way, there is a kind of picture frame at the Neustadter Elbufer, exactly at the place with this wonderful view of the city silhouette. If you cross the Augustus Bridge and then walk along the banks of the Elbe to the west of the bridge, you will come to this place. From here you can photograph the famous city view.

The Elbe Castles

During the trip through Dresden, the ship passes after about 3 kilometers from the city center also the three Elbschlosser in the district Loschwitz: Castle Albrechtsberg, Lingnerschloss and Castle Eckberg. They are lined up side by side on the banks of the Elbe, surrounded by English-style parks. The three Elbe castles are built in different architectural styles. Albrechtsberg Palace looks like an Italian Renaissance villa, Lingnerschloss Palace was built in the classicist style and Eckberg Palace was built in the English neo-Gothic style. A wonderful sight!

48 perfect hours in Dresden Elbschlosser

The parks of Albrechtsberg Castle and the Lingnerschloss are open to the public. Surely these three castles are also worth a visit. So far I have not been there, but have only admired it from the ship.

The Blue Wonder

After passing the three Elbe castles, the trip continues through one of the most beautiful river landscapes in Europe. It will not be long now until the Blue Wonder is visible. Again such a term: The Blue Wonder. This is a bridge, which connects the Dresden districts of Blasewitz and Loschwitz with each other. The bridge, built in 1893, was a masterpiece of the designers of the time at the time of its construction. As one of the first metal bridges in this span, it did not require an additional pier in the Elbe and thus did not represent an additional obstacle for the ships. Its color was already a light blue when it was put into operation. So this explains quite unromantically the common name "Blaues Wunder" – officially it is actually called "Loschwitzer Brucke.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Blue Wonder

48 perfect hours in Dresden Blaues Wunder

48 hours in Dresden, day 2

In the morning: a trip to the Pillnitz Palace and Park

After we could already see Pillnitz Castle from the river the evening before, we will now go there by car. The signposting is good and the signs lead us to a spacious parking lot for which a fee is charged. From here it is not far to the rear park entrance.

The park of Pillnitz Palace

The park is a mixture of English landscape garden and lush baroque design. With its extensive paths it is one of the most beautiful parks in Dresden. One could spend hours here, strolling through the English garden, the Chinese garden with a Chinese pavilion, the baroque pleasure garden with decorative fountains, and much more. Everything is beautifully maintained!

48 perfect hours in Dresden Pillnitz

The camellia of Pillnitz

A great sight is the camellia of Pillnitz. It is over 230 years old and has long since exceeded the dimensions in which it would still fit in any palace. Therefore, it is not surprising that she has her own house – a glass pavilion just for this ca. 9 meter high tree. This pavilion is mobile – it can be moved on rails over the camellia respectively. in the summer half-year also be pushed aside again. The glass pavilion can be heated, so that the sensitive tree is not damaged even by outside frost.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Pillnitz camellia

It must look wonderful when the camellia is in full bloom. Up to 35.000 blossoms are said to be there, which can be admired between February and April.

A Saxon castle in Chinese architectural style

The pleasure palace and later summer residence of the Saxon royal family surprises with a very special charm: it was built in the Chinese architectural style. A central part of the palace is framed by two side wings: the Water Palace on the banks of the Elbe and the Mountain Palace on the opposite side.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Pillnitz

48 perfect hours in Dresden Pillnitz

The whole ensemble with its courtyard looks beautiful from the outside. Accordingly, I had high expectations for the interior – but unfortunately they were disappointed. The only part of the main building of the palace that has been renovated and prepared for visitors is the palace kitchen in the basement. Very interesting, but just … a kitchen. A large hall on the ground floor only hinted at former glory, but unfortunately was in a desolate condition.

The Water Palace and the Mountain Palace house the Museum of Decorative Arts, which we did not visit, however.

Summary of the visit to Pillnitz Palace and Park

Overall, however, the trip to Pillnitz is worth it just for the wonderful walk and the castle grounds as a whole.

By the way, there are also boat tours of the Sachsische Dampfschiffahrt, which lead to Pillnitz Palace. Directly in front of the water palace is the landing stage for the ships. However, before planning such an excursion, one should inform oneself about the water level of the river Elbe. At extremely low tide, the ships can unfortunately not go to Pillnitz.

In the afternoon: enjoying the world's best strawberry cake at the Taschenbergpalais Dresden

Some years ago I got a participation in a cooking course in the hotel Taschenbergpalais as a birthday present. Under the guidance of the chef a 5-course menu was cooked in a small group. For the welcome the chef Jorg Mergner had prepared a strawberry cake. I tell you, this was the most delicious strawberry cake ever! The annoying thing: we received the recipes of all the dishes of the evening at the end of the event. Only the recipe for the strawberry cake – especially the cake base – he did not want to tell us.

48 perfect hours in Dresden strawberry cake Taschenbergpalais

Well, when I'm at the Taschenbergpalais, I can't get past a piece of strawberry cake since then. For me the world's best strawberry cake! The ambience does the rest, in summer the wonderful inner courtyard of the house attracts with a cozy lounge atmosphere.

Evening: An evening at the Semper Opera House

I admit, I am not necessarily an opera fan. Nevertheless, a visit to a performance in the Semperoper is definitely a highlight for me as well. The sight of the festively lit opera on the Theaterplatz, the ambience, the wonderful and magnificent interior – just wow! And an unforgettable experience.

48 perfect hours in Dresden Semperoper

You can find more information about the performance schedule and ticket ordering on the official website of the Semper Opera House.

48 hours in Dresden, day 3

In the morning: a visit to the Cinderella's castle

After breakfast we unfortunately say goodbye again to our wonderful hotel. But it does not go back home yet! In the morning we dive into a fairytale scenery: we visit the fairytale castle of Cinderella.

Moritzburg Castle served as a film set for the fairy tale movie "Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella" at the beginning of the 70s and looks really like a fairy tale. The former hunting lodge of Augustus the Strong is located on an artificial island in the middle of the castle pond. It could hardly be more picturesque, that's how you imagine a fairy tale castle to be. In the winter months there is a regular exhibition of the aforementioned film, then you can find the shoe of Cinderella on the famous staircase. In my post Moritzburg Castle and Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella I reported about our visit to this exhibition.

Moritzburg Castle Shoe Cinderella

But also in the summer half-year a visit to the castle Moritzburg is worthwhile! Click here for the official website of the castle