Zwinger, Dresden, Germany

Dresden is one of Europe's most beautiful Baroque cities, sitting splendidly across the Elbe River. It was once the seat of the Saxon rulers, who lavished their attention on its riverside Palaces and soaring Churches and left the city with vast collections of art and antiquities. It has a rich history, some of the most celebrated art museums and a stunning reconstructed Old Town.

Dresden's Frauenkirche or Lady’s Church is one of the most amazing churches to visit in Germany. After its destruction during Allied bombing in 1945, the ruins of the old building were compiled and stored for use in its reconstruction. The vast interior is simply remarkable with its restored high altar. Take the elevator to the dome for views over the city or stop for a reflective look at the cross that once topped the dome, with its twisted remains found amid the rubble.

The 18th Century Zwinger Palace sits in the centre of the city beside the Elbe and is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Germany. A walk around the outside will allow you to appreciate its architecture. The Zwinger Palace houses more of the Dresden State Art Collections. These include the Dresden Porcelain Collection and scientific instruments in the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments. There is also the Old Masters Picture Gallery, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, which features about 750 paintings from between the 15th - 18th Centuries including Italian Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces by Raphael, Titian and Tintoretto. The collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings includes works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer and Van Dyck.

To complete your stay why not enjoy a stroll along Brühl's Terrace or Brühlsche Terrasse, which is also known as the Balcony of Europe. Approached from Schlossplatz by a broad flight of steps, this area is the site of the Old City Ramparts. The sculptured groups on the staircase represent morning, noon, evening and night and the Dolphin Fountain is the only part left of the original garden. Sitting on the Brühl's Terrace you will find the remarkable Albertinum, which houses a world class art collection including works of the Romantic and Realist periods as well as French, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian and Belgian paintings of the 19th Century.

Both the Theaterplatz and the Semperoper in the iconic Old Town Square are surrounded by the city’s landmarks of the Zwinger Palace to the Cathedral as well as several museums and galleries. The Semper Opera is simply a magnificent building that was built in the Italian High Renaissance. With its lavish interior it is the right place to attend a performance whether it is a ballet, opera or a concert. The centre of the Theaterplatz stands an 1883 equestrian statue of King John and at the southeast corner stands the 1831 Altstädter Wache, the Old Town Guard-House and the Taschenbergpalais, a 1711 Baroque Palace.

Flowing through the centre of Dresden is the Elbe River and along its shore, under Brühl's Terrace, are moored a fleet of paddlewheel steamships and other excursion boats of the Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt, Saxon Steamship Company. Here you can enjoy a 90 minute cruise of the city and its surroundings. You can also buy a ticket to travel between fourteen other towns along the Elbe making it a great way to see Meissen or the Pilnitz Palace nearby.

One of Europe's richest and probably oldest public museums is the Dresden State Art Collection, inside of the Dresden Royal Palace. Here you will find priceless pieces of art, opulent clothing from the royal court and even Augustus the Strong's personal garden tools. There are dazzling collections from the fabled Green Vault that sit in a non-reflective glass so you will be able to admire them from all sides and take photographs. The extraordinary collection includes masterpieces of gold, silver, jewellery and ivory from the 14th - 18th Centuries. From 1485, the castle was the home of Saxony's electors and Kings and it was Augustus the Strong who decided that the royal collections should be open for the public to enjoy. The Turkish Chamber, which was established in 1614, houses one of the world's largest collections of artefacts from the Ottoman Empire.

Located just 14 kilometres northwest of Dresden is the remarkable Schloss Moritzburg, the home of an electoral hunting lodge and summer palace in the stunning Saxon Baroque style of ochre and white. This 1544 modest hunting lodge turned into this stunning Palace between 1723-1736 with Baroque statues added on the balustrades of the carriage ramp and terrace. The decoration and furnishings of the interior include numerous paintings and hunting trophies that have all been well preserved.

While in Dresden why not visit the Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland Mountains) with extraordinary rock formations, sandstone cliffs and towering peaks. This area is a favourite amongst climbers, cyclists and hikers or those just wanting to enjoy a quite minute in the wilderness.

Check out some of our popular City Breaks!