Ah Dresden. My knowledge of you consisted of a high school history class about WW2, but you were on the way from Berlin to Prague, so I visited.
In a word, Dresden was… nice. I know it’s a horribly bland description but Dresden really was a nice place to stop for a few nights. The old town was full of huge historical buildings (rebuilt after the bombings), the new town had fun hipster bars and there was even a museum cafe with great cake (this is important, I ate a lot of cake on my Europe trip). We even squeezed a hike in, which I really needed after 3 weeks of city travel.
The weather was great when we visited as well, our three days in Dresden were perfect winter days – cold but clear and sunny.
We walked everywhere in Dresden. There are trams and buses but my travel companion was determined to walk everywhere, so we did. The Elbe river runs through Dresden and despite the wind, strolling across the river bridge just before sunset, which was like 4:30 pm (crazy), was pretty special.
The Zwinger palace and museum is worth a look, especially if you’re getting a bit cold like I was. You can also try and find Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 like my friend did – you can’t go in though.
We also had a lot of fun bar-hopping in new town, where I had my first Radler (beer and lemonade). We met some international students who took us to all their favourite spots.
The hike to Bastei Bridge is a goody and it’s easily reached by public transport. Take the train from central station to Kurort Rathen and follow everyone heading for the ferry to the other side of the river. In the town proper, there are plenty of signs everywhere for all the different hikes you can do. It’s easy enough to get to Bastei Bridge.
We hiked for pretty much the whole day. The number of people on the trails did surprise us though, it’s very uncommon to see as many people as we did on a hike in New Zealand. There were also a few sections you had to pay to enter… also a first for us! The river and cliffs were an awesome sight though.
Another plus for Dresden? The restaurants, plenty of German fare to be found and good cake! There’s also a giant mall with an equally giant foodcourt, which was fancier than any foodcourt I’ve seen in New Zealand and had decent enough food. We also stayed in a hotel with an amazing breakfast buffet, which I sorely appreciated after 3 weeks of hostelling and supermarket breakfasts.