River cruises weave along the river Elbe, which passes through parts of Germany and the Czech Republic. Its verdant banks are an excellent vantage to view the opulent architecture of Dresden, an eastern German city. Once the capital of Saxony, it’s two hours south and a world away from bustling Berlin. Spend your stop here experiencing the duality of Germany in the Altstadt (Old City) and the Neustadt (New City).
What We Love
Beautiful Buildings: Dresden is known for its stunning original and restored baroque churches, and the domed Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). The stone cupola has especially panoramic city views. The sprawling, baroque-era Zwinger complex with its Old Masters art, porcelain museums, and spectacular gardens is another favorite.
Currywurst: At less than three Euros, it's well worth a try. Currywurst is chopped smoked sausage topped with spicy ketchup-like sauce and grilled onions, served on a paper plate with a plastic fork. Pair it with a cone of pommes frites (French fries).
Best Known For
The Medieval and Modern: First settled as a fishing village in 1216 and given the name “Drezdany,” Dresden's ornate castles, gardens, and churches are snapshots of a storied past. Although much was destroyed by the Allied bombings of the second World War, today is a blend of the remaining and restored with the new. Today's hip enclaves include Louisenstrasse which is lined with buzzy restaurants and biergartens serving local pilsners.
Treasures: The Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe), a spectacularly restored, ornate building inside the Residenzschloss royal palace, houses one of Europe’s most impressive collection of gold, silver, and precious jewels. Visits are limited and timed.
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Who It's Best For
Into the Past: History buffs score big here at sites where you can learn about Augustus the Strong, the city's position in the Napoleonic age, and stories of the various monarchs of the region. Author Kurt Vonnegut wrote about POW life here in "Slaughterhouse-Five."
Art Lovers: Of the more than 30 museums in the city is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister near the Zwinger complex, home to Raphael's "Sistine Madonna." Situated on the banks of the Elbe is the imposing Semperoper, a reconstructed ode to the original built in 1841. The arts center presents ballet and opera including a fan favorite, Mozart’s "The Magic Flute."
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
A Sensitive Subject: Dresden was essentially razed by Allied Forces in World War II and the city had to be rebuilt.
Chanize Thorpe is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Brides and Uptown.