Dresden is a beautiful city with plenty to offer and with easy access via public transport to pretty much every point of interest. In fact, taking public transportation can also be an activity in itself. But more of that later. As most cities, Dresden can be divided in areas or boroughs, and we recommend visiting three of them, each one with its own character: Altstadt (old town), Neustadt (new town) and Blasewitz (and you will be probably staying in one these). There is a little irony in the names: most of the Old town (Altstadt) was destroyed by bombings in WWII and rebuilt in the past 20 odd years. This means that most of Neustadt (New town) is in fact older.
Altstadt (old town)
Reachable by many trams (street cars), it is the crown jewel of the city. It hosts most of the king’s (August the Strong) bling – and there is a lot of it. We recommend starting at Postplatz, where trams number 1, 4, 8, 9, 11, and 12 stop. From there it is just a short walk to the Zwinger, a splendid Baroque palace and a free-of-charge must-see. There are two exhibits in this palace (both charge an entrance fee): one about armouries and one about porcelain, both featuring many objects gifted to the Electors of Saxony through time. But the real bling is hosted in the Türckische Cammer (“one of the oldest and most important collections of Ottoman art anywhere in the world outside Turkey”) and above all the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault). Saxony was a very rich in silver ore and August the Strong decided to have has much of it as possible made into elaborate center pieces and intricate watches. The result is something beyond imagination (and sometimes, taste). Right next to the Zwinger you’ll find the Semper Opera House (also destroyed in the War and rebuilt later) where Richard Wagner was a conductor and many pieces by Richard Strauss had their premières. It is possible to have a guided tour of the opera house in English. Afterwards just walk around and you’ll find in quick succession the Cathedral, the Stallhof and the procession of Princes (a mural with the rulers of Saxony going back to the early middle ages), the Academy of Arts, the old Fortress and eventually the Frauenkirche — an impressive example of rebuilding. While walking around, if you just keep in mind that most of it has been rebuilt to look exactly like the original, it will add an extra layer of amazement to the sightseeing. A unique place to eat and drink is the Pulverturm, or Gun Powder Tower, where Renaissance and Baroque-style meals are served in an old cellar. The prices are decent and the food very good.
Neustadt (new town)
Crossing to the other side of the river Elbe will offer you not only a beautiful view of all of Altstadt, but also access to the hip part of town, where the alternative is the norm and eating Korean food can be followed by having a frozen yoghurt, a cocktail on a sofa or the most stylish drinks in town. Where a new country existed for three years in the 90s, street art is everywhere, has a political message and Giraffes can eat the paint. My advice is to get to Albertplatz with the street car (lines 6, 7, 8 and 11 stop there), then walk down Alaunstrasse to the Kunsthofpassage and just enjoy one of many bars, cafés, restaurants, and the street art. Another street name to keep in mind is Louisenstrasse. And in Martin-Luther-Straße, you will find England, England, a cute British tea-house that does great cakes and offers full English breakfasts.
If the weather is damp or you are in a mood for History and Museums, then the Military History Museum is a must! Great architecture and a very matter-of-factly appraisal of German (and by extent, European) history focussing on aspects of war rarely seen in similar museums. For instance, did you know that wedding dresses can be made out of parachute fabric? You can reach it with trams nº7 or 8.
The Blasewitz/Striesen area, where we live, was not destroyed during the war. It is full of beautiful villas and old houses, and also has some good restaurants like Villa Marie directly by the Elbe or Il Giardino in Bergmannstraße. We recommend taking the tram to Schillerplatz (number 6 and 12 go there), then having coffee and cake at Charlottes Enkel, where the cappuccinos are sublime and the pastries are works of art. You might find it hard to find a seat in this tiny café, so maybe just grab a coffee to go and walk on across the Elbe on “Blaues Wunder” bridge. Built in 1893, it is quite an impressive construction, and will bring you to Loschwitz, where you can make use of two other industrial heritage transport methods to get on top of the hill. One is one of the world’s oldest suspension railways: Schwebebahn Dresden, the other is a funicular railway: Standseilbahn Dresden. Close to the bridge, the steamboats and motor vessels of Sächsische Dampfschifffahrt stop on their way to Pillnitz – a magnificent palace in a beautiful park that can also be reached by bus number 63 from Schillerplatz. If you have some time to spare, go and see this place where Saxonian kings spent their summers!
Para alguns este vai ser o primeiro casamento na Alemanha e terão questões acerca dos horários , tradições e etiqueta neste país. Antes de mais é uma festa como em qualquer lado e existem, muitas variações pessoais e regionais, tal como em Portugal. No entanto posso dizer-vos o que se vai passar neste casamento em particular e é muito simples.
O casamento em si vai ser celebrado na manhã do dia 6 no registo civil (Standesamt). Devido à sala ser pequena, com lugar para apenas 25 pessoas, só vai estar presente a família imediata. Para quem não vai estar lá nas tem curiosidade em saber como é um registo civil Alemão, este é o local. Prédio velho e tal.
A festa começa às 16.00 no Hotel Goldner Anker onde os convidados serão recebidos com um aperitivo, seguido de café/chá para acompanhar o bolo da noiva e mais uns quantos doces, e para dois dedos de conversa. Podem ver como chegar ao Hotel aqui. Às 17.00 começa uma visita guiada à vila de Radebeul. Quem não quiser ir na visita guiada pode passear ao longo do Rio Elbe, visitar as caves Schloss Wackerbarth ou simplesmente ficar a beber uma cerveja. Depois de tanto passeio pode ser que os convivas tenham fome para o Bufete que começará a ser servido às 19.15. Pelo meio haverá música e bebida e boa companhia com em qualquer festa!
we have arranged for some entertainment: for those of you who would like to take a walk around Radebeul after coffee & cake, a tour guide will meet you in front of the hotel “Goldener Anker” at 5 pm. She will tell you some facts about the historical town centre and its inhabitants (which once included famous German adventure writer Karl May). The walk will take about one hour. Most streets are cobblestone, so bring a pair of flats if you plan on wearing high heels! Our tour guide only speaks German, but maybe the multilinguals among you can translate the most important bits?
For those not interested in the guided tour but wishing to take a walk, nearby Schloss Wackerbarth is an interesting alternative.
wir haben etwas Unterhaltung geplant: wer nach Kaffee & Kuchen einen Spaziergang durch Radebeul machen möchte, kann um 17 Uhr vor dem Hotel “Goldener Anker” eine Stadtführerin treffen. Sie wird Euch aus der Geschichte der Stadt und ihrer Einwohner erzählen – z.B. lebte hier seit 1896 Karl May. Der Spaziergang dauert etwa eine Stunde und führt über Kopfsteinpflaster, also bringt flache Schuhe mit, falls Ihr High Heels eingeplant habt! Die Stadtführung ist leider nur auf Deutsch verfügbar, aber vielleicht können die Mehrsprachigen unter Euch das Wichtigste übersetzen?
Wer die Stadtführung nicht interessant findet, aber trotzdem spazieren gehen will, könnte alternativ ganz in der Nähe Schloss Wackerbarth ansteuern.
temos como vos entreter enquanto a comida não chega: para quem estiver interessado em conhecer melhor Radebeul, e dar um passeio para abrir o apetite, há uma visita guiada que parte do Hotel “Goldner Anker” (onde é a festa) às 17 horas. A guia levar-vos-á pelas ruas da vila e dar-vos-á a conhecer esta vila histórica e alguns dos habitantes mais famosos. Por exemplo um escritor de livros de aventuras do velho oeste, Karl May.
A visita guiada terá a duração de cerca de uma hora e será em alemão. No entanto participarão alguns convidados que falam inglês/Português e ajudarão a traduzir as passagens mais importantes. Não é preciso qualquer inscrição. Como as ruas são em pedra calçada, quem tem sapato de salto alto pode querer considerar trocar de calçado para o passeio.
Quem não quiser ir na visita guiada e gosta de vinho, existem umas caves na proximidade Schloss Wackerbarth onde poderão provar que também existe vinho bom na Alemanha!
The bunnies are getting ready to party.
Die Hasen wollen feiern.
Os coelhinhos estão a preparar-se para a festa.
From Dresden, Radebeul can be reached by tram or S-Bahn.
Normally, tram number 4 runs all the way from Laubegast via the city center (Pirnaischer Platz, Altmarkt, Postplatz) to Radebeul, continuing on to Weinböhla. The stop closest to our party location is Moritzburger Straße. Due to construction works, however, you will probably have to change into a replacement bus service at Zillerstraße (five stops before Moritzburger Straße). We have called the local public transport hotline: they do not know until when exactly the construction works will take place, but assured us that the replacement bus service will be running. We will check again shortly before the wedding and update this blog entry if there is any new information.
S-Bahn line 1 runs between Schmilka/Bad Schandau/Pirna and Meißen, passing through Dresden main station (Hauptbahnhof) and Bahnhof Neustadt and stopping in Radebeul West, which is a five-minute walk from where we will celebrate. S-Bahn trains are replaced by bus services after 11:30 pm, the last bus back to Dresden leaves at 0:44 am.
Since Radebeul does not belong to Dresden, you will have to buy tickets for 2 tariff zones. Also please note that when using the DVB journey planner , you will have to enter Radebeul, not Dresden, as a point of departure or as a destination.
And finally, for those of you who wish to make an entrance in style: historic steamboats stop very close to the hotel Goldener Anker!
Some of you will have to travel from very far away. To help you with that, this post contains some practical info on how to reach Dresden.
Flying to Dresden
There are 4 airports that can realistically be used to reach Dresden. The Dresden Airport is the obvious choice as it is only 25 minutes away from the city centre via train and for about 2 Euros. The connection (S-Bahn S2) runs until 23:39. A taxi to the city centre will cost around 25 Euros. This convenience is balanced out by the relative sparsity of airlines and very few direct flights. I mostly use Lufthansa because they fly everywhere (it is my choice when going to Porto), have decent flight schedules and their prices can be very competitive especially when the hassle of flying to another city is taken into account. Air Berlin and Austrian Airlines also fly there, so those are additional options for some decent prices.
Flying to Berlin
Another good option are the Berlin airports: Tegel or Schönefeld. Both have direct flights from low-cost airlines. For instance EasyJet from Lisbon and several locations in the UK, Ryanair from the East Midlands and Stansted, Jet2 from Leeds/Bradford, and Brussels Airlines also has some decent prices from Porto. Besides being cheaper, flying to Berlin can also be used to spend a day there and enjoy the city (which I thoroughly recommend).
Word of caution: some airlines still list Berlin Bradenburg as an option. This airport was supposed to start operating last June and replace the two others. However, due to a massive planning clusterfuck it is not in operation. Ignore it if it ever shows up.
From Berlin to Dresden
If you are coming straight to Dresden from any Berlin airport, the best option is without a doubt a Bus service that goes directly to Dresden (equivalent to the National Express with fewer stops) and departs every two hours. The stop is right in front of the airport (either one of them) and the return journey will cost 18-28 Euros. There are also train connections to Dresden from the main train station in Berlin city center — Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Haupt = main + Bahnhof = train station, don’t you just love German?). The price fluctuates a bit but can be very similar to the bus — that depends how far in advance the journey is booked. The journey takes about 2 hours by train and 2h 30m by bus.
It is reasonably simple to get to the train station from the airports: a bus from Tegel (TXL bus service); or the train RB14 regional train from Schoenefeld. The bus stops right outside Tegel airport. For the train you will have to walk 10 mins. The way is clearly indicated though. Both will take you to Hauptbahnhof in about 30-45m.
Flying to Leipzig
There are some low cost airlines flying to Leipzig, which is fairly close and has good train connections to Dresden. Be careful as usual with connections when arriving/departing late at night or very early. Leipzig is a very nice city to visit, too. We have never flown from there so we don’t have any experience with this airport. If you do decide to fly there and need some help, feel free to contact us.
Flying to Prague
Yes, Prague is only 2h 30m way from Dresden, and the train journey through the Elbe valley provides wonderful views. You will need to take a bus from the airport to the centre of Prague and possibly the tube before reaching the main train station. From there you can get the train, but also a direct bus service to Dresden (the prices should be very similar to those I’ve quoted coming from Berlin). This is a great option for a long weekend and an opportunity to visit Prague but not very convenient for those in a hurry (unless the flight is really cheap). We have a friend who knows Prague very well and we can help in case you decide to come through Prague.
All the previous suggestions also apply to guests coming from Poland, but there’s the added option of a direct train to and from Berlin. This is the Berlin Warsaw express — I don’t know if the information is entirely up to date but this train is probably your best bet!