The Dresden Frauenkirche (above)
I love writing afternoon itineraries for small European cities, so I figured I should write a day trip itinerary for Dresden, a small city in Germany. I love these day trip itineraries because they’re something I search for when I’m taking day trips while traveling. So, if you happen to find yourself there when we’re allowed to travel again.
To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Dresden before I went backpacking (aka “bussing”) around Europe in 2008 and I’m ashamed to admit that!
History of Dresden
Dresden is located in eastern Germany and it’s a city that was totally destroyed during World War II by a fire bombing on February 13th through February 15th from the British and American air forces. It’s estimated that between 1,181 and 1,477 tons of high explosive bombs. The total casualties were estimated by Nazi propaganda to be 200,000 (there were around 600,000 refugees hiding in the city at the time) but a 2012 report came out from the German Dresden Historian’s Association that estimated the actual number of casualties was between 18,000-25,000.
Dresden After World War II
Post-WWII, Dresden became a major industrial center, although the rubble from the bombing was left as a memorial. After the reunification of Germany, reconstruction of the city started with the Dresden Frauenkirche in 1994 and it was completed in 2005, a year before Dresden’s 800th anniversary. You can read more about Dresden’s history here, but here are some photos (which aren’t even half bad considering it was 2008!).
the Royal Palace (top left), the Academy of the Arts (top right), and I have no idea what the last building it – I think it is an art museum (let me know if you know!)
A statue of Martin Luther (left) and an old piece of the original rubble (right)
More of the stunning architecture of the Old Town.
Some of the rubble is still there from when they were bombed. This is a fenced in portion that is kept in it’s original state for all to see.
As far as a day trip itinerary for Dresden, here’s my ideal plan:
- Visit the Frauenkirche. It is a gorgeous old cathedral (pictured above). Definitely tour inside of it in the morning and see the morning light hit the windows.
- Walk Around the Gardens of Zwinger Palace. If you want to visit the museum inside the palace, you should. But if you’re looking to save money, a walk around the gardens is free. I guess it depends what the weather is like the day you’re there!
- Gaze at the Semperoper: This is Dresden’s ornate opera house. It’s gorgeous!
- See the Sculptures Along Brühl’s Terrace. This is a pathway that connects with the Frauenkirche and has panoramic views.
- Take in the Art at Albertinum. This building was originally built to house the royal sculpture collection but it has since been turned into a space to hold the New Masters Gallery (for contemporary works).
- Find Your Religion at Dresden Cathedral: If you can stomach a second gorgeous cathedral, check out the Dresden Cathedral.
I think that should be enough to keep you busy during a day trip to Dresden. Let me know if you’ve been to Dresden in the comments!