Destroyed in 1945, Dresden, Germany, has reclaimed its title as the “Jewel Box” due to its magnificent Baroque and Rococo city center. The ongoing construction boom (15 years) continues to give a new look to the Saxony state capital while keeping elegant and historic impressions.
The largest collection of Europe’s Baroque to Classicism treasures fills two halls in the New Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe), originally founded by August the Strong in 1723. It features a rich variety of exhibits, $14, https://gruenes-gewoelbe.skd.museum/en.
Dresden Walks offers a variety of tours, including a two-hour “Old Town” circuit. Daily at 11 a.m., $14. Schlossplatz Square, 49 351 259 9886, www.dresdenwalks.com.
Trip planning at Dresden, www.dresden.de.
When dialing direct, use the prefix 011 followed by 49 (country code) + 351 (city code) + the phone number shown below.
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Getting there: Round-trip rates from $946 offered by Delta/KLM service via Amsterdam, based on 28-day advance purchase. Reach the city center from the Dresden Airport in 15 minutes by S-Bahn, the suburban train.
Stay: The upscale Hotel Suitess is a minute’s walk to the famous Frauenkirche church and six minutes to Dresden Castle. Elegant rooms feature marble bathrooms; suites add a sitting area and apartments have a separate living area and kitchen. The hotel has a rooftop restaurant and a spa with treatment rooms, hot tub, sauna and steam room and a 24-hour health club. From $96 per night. An der Frauenkirche 13, Dresden. 417270, www.suitess-hotel.com/home.html.
Eat: Altmarktkeller — Dresdner Bierhaus has a lively beer cellar that serves both Saxon- and Bohemian-style food and Czech beer on tap. Seating is also available on the Old Town square. Standards include pig knuckle, roasted duck, and sauerbraten. Specials from $11 include beer, meat, outstanding pan-fried potatoes, and coleslaw. Other selections to $30. Altmarkt 4, Dresden. 4818130, www.altmarktkeller.de.
Experience: Completed in 1743, Dresden’s spectacular Frauenkirche was considered one of the most beautiful churches in Europe. Following Allied bombing in 1945, it was rebuilt and opened in 2005. Ascend to the Dome for views of the richly decorated interior and over Neumarkt, the city’s main square and the Elbe River. One-hour guided tours to make the 219-foot ascent, $11.50. The cathedral also hosts 180 concerts and musical events each year (ticketed events from $14). Enjoy free organ concerts every Saturday around the noon hour. Georg-Treu-Platz 3, Dresden. 656-06-100, www.frauenkirche-dresden.de.
Stay: Hotel Gewandhaus reopened in 2015 in the heart of Old Town following an extensive renovation. This five-star boutique hotel retains the character of the original GeWandhaus built in 1768 with modern elements and a spa. On-site are a cake shop, an indoor pool, gym, sauna and steam room and a steakhouse/bar. The luxury hotel is a 12-minute walk to Zwinger Palace and a 17-minute walk from Dresden Central Station. From $139 per night. Ringstrasse 1, Dresden. 49490, www.marriott.com.
Eat: Take Tram #11 from the Postplatz in Altstadt (Old Town) to Brauhaus am Waldschlösschen, Germany’s oldest joint-stock brewery, still brewing since 1836. This traditional restaurant with a large beer garden (and heated terrace) offers live music on Sundays and homestyle cooking. Take the Master Brewers Feast Tour, a guided one-hour tour of the in-house brewery with a welcome of lard bread and mini gherkins followed by beer tasting and lunch or dinner with beer or a house wine for $23 per person; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Am Brauhaus 8b, Dresden. 652-39-00, www.waldschloesschen.de/english.
Experience: Fourteen museums are at Zwinger, an early 18th-century palace and considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Germany. Highlights at the Royal Palace include the famous Dresden Porcelain Collection, scientific instruments in the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments, and magnificent art housed in the Old Masters Picture Gallery. Other highlights include the Zoological Museum, and the Historical Museum with a weapon exhibit from the 15th-18th centuries. Admission to three galleries is $12; under 17 free. Take Trams 4, 8 or 9 to Theaterplatz 1. 49-14-2000, www.skd.museum/en/besuch/zwinger-mit-semperbau.
Stay: Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski was built in the 18th century by August the Strong (a Saxon king) for his mistress, and restored in 1995. It’s situated in the Innere Altstadt, the historic city center. The hotel has five dining venues: a Mediterranean gourmet restaurant, a French bistro, a chic cafe, a dark oak-paneled, old-world bar, and a modern steel and glass restaurant. There are also an indoor pool, a sauna, a gym and a wellness spa. From $155 per night. Taschenberg 3, Dresden. 49120, www.kempinski.com/en/dresden/hotel-taschenbergpalais.
Eat: Stresa serves locally sourced food with a changing menu of local Saxon and German styles. A dish of braised cheeks from the Saxon meadow calf, parsley spaetzle, celery mousse, roasted leeks and wild mushrooms is $28.50. Augsburger Str. 85, Dresden. 656-157-30, www.restaurant-stresa.de.
Experience: Experience two natural highlights of the Elbe River region outside of Dresden on this day trip to Bohemian Switzerland National Park and Saxon Switzerland National Park. The tour crosses the border into the Czech Republic to visit Bohemian Switzerland, which lies adjacent to Saxon Switzerland, on the German side. Stops include the Bastei Bridge on the Saxon (German) side of the park with time to walk across the bridge for views of the Elbe River Valley. A further hike leads to Pravcicka Gate on the Czech side of the park, the largest natural sandstone gate in Europe. This full-day tour (sold by Viator.com from March 2018, about $180 per person) includes hotel pickup, admission fees, a la carte lunch and drinks. www.viator.com/Dresden-tours/Day-Trips-and-Excursions/d22375-g5.
Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.
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