Dresden was the place I celebrated my 27th birthday where I began my day with a hike in the Saxony Switzerland region and ended my night with a German rap battle. Needless to say, it was one of the best birthday I had, all because of Dresden and its awesome culture.
Dresden is where history and modernity meet. It was pretty much destroyed after World War 2 which allows the city Baroque beauty to be diffused with modern artistry when it was rebuilt. Because of this, you will find that Dresden is one of the most unique city in Germany offering everything from the majestic treasures of architecture to stunning nature in Saxony Switzerland, all without the crazy amount of tourists like in Berlin or Munich.
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Where to Stay in Dresden
Lollis Homestay is a cozy little hostel that catered to solo backpackers like me. It is located at the center of the artistic zone of Dresden Neustadt with a wide selection of bars for you to enjoy the nightlife. The hostel has a social atmosphere to it with a cozy common area and a balcony with bean bags for your privacy. They also have one of the most friendly staff that will organize weekly activities for people to connect. My trip couldn't have been this fun if it wasn't the people I met here and the information provided by the staff. I wouldn't have known about the free jazz concert or the German rap battle night if it wasn't for them!
How to Get to Dresden
The best way to get here is to fly into one of Germany's hub cities like Frankfurt or Berlin and take a bus from there. I would recommend you browse through Skyscanner or Momondo to find all the cheap flights from where you live to Germany and compare them so that you can find the one best fit for your itinerary.
If you are taking a train operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB) or a bus (FlixBus), make sure you get off at the right station. Dresden is served by 2 big train stations, the Dresden Neustadt, which is nearer to our hostel and the main railway station, the Dresden Hauptbahnhof.
I took a FlixBus from Leipzig to Dresden for 7 Euros. Originally I booked the bus ticket to Dresden Hauptbahnhof, not the Neustadt station but luckily, the Neustadt train station was one of the stop before the Hauptbahnhof so I was able to hop off at the right place before the bus continued.
Note: Both the bus and the train drop people off at the either Dresden Neustadt or at the Dresden Hauptbahnhof.
How to Get Around Dresden
Inside the city, you can take a tram or walk. Most of the attractions in Dresden are located in the old town which is only 15 minutes walk away from the hostel.
If you planned to do the Bastei hike (which you should), you must take a train from the Neustadt station heading toward the direction of Schöna or Bad Schandau to the Kurort Lathen station and simply follow the direction across the river and you should arrive at the start of the hike.
Traveling here, on average, will cost you more than traveling in most countries out there. You can expect to spend around 45 - 65 USD per day per person with food, accommodation and transportation.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to Germany, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need a travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.
Top 6 Things to Do in Dresden
1. Hike to the Bastei Bridge
The Bastei bridge and the stunning nature around Saxony Switzerland (Don't be fooled by the name, it is still in Germany) made it all worthwhile to visit East Germany. The landscape in Saxony Switzerland doesn't even feel like Germany to me, it reminds me more of the spires I saw in ZhangJiaJie National Park in China.
This is not much of a hike in my opinion, it was more like a nature walk. The walk took us around an hour to complete but we took our time and spent almost 3 hours, walking around.
There were many lookout points worth seeing near Bastei bridge. The one along the side of a cliff will give you a view of the peaceful town of Kurort Rathen. Further into the trail, you will be able to grasp the beauty of the landscape of the Saxony Switzerland from another lookout point and at the end, you will be able to walk across the Bastei bridge itself.
To get here, you will have to take a train heading toward the direction of Schöna or Bad Schandau to the Kurort Lathen station from the Dresden Neustadt station. Once you arrive, go into the town and cross the river with a ferry service. From there you should be able to follow the direction to the start of the hike.
2. Visit the Old Town
Dresden's old town is surrounded by amazing Baroque architecture. Right at the gate you will find the Georgenbau, a renaissance-style gate/palace that was built in the 1500s. On the right side of the gate is the most important church in the city, Dresden Cathedral. If you love old European architecture then visiting the old town is a no brainer.
3. Marvel at the size of Fürstenzug
Right around the corner from the fate is the Fürstenzug. It is a massive mural of procession of the rulers of Saxony which was originally painted between 1871 and 1876. The superb attention to detail on the mural was quite a sight to behold.
4. Immerse yourself with Baroque culture near the Dresden Frauenkirche church
Dresden Frauenkirche church is a famous landmark of Dresden. It is a Lutheran church that gives a great example of Protestant sacred architecture, featuring one of the largest domes in Europe. The church is located at the center of the Neumarkt square where you will be surrounded by other impressive Baroque architecture. Take a walk around the church and appreciate the fact that you are standing in the square that was completed destroyed during the World War 2.
5. Walk along the Balcony of Europe
The Balcony of Europe or the Brühl's Terrace is a terrace that stretches high above the shore of the river Elbe. On one side, you will be able to appreciate the beautiful architectural wonders of the buildings in the Old town whereas on the other you can enjoy your coffee along the river Elbe while watching locals doing the same.
6. Check out the Old Masters Picture Gallery
Since it was raining the first day I arrived, I decided to make that day a museum day and checked out the Old Masters Picture Gallery. The museum includes around 750 paintings during the 15th - 18th centuries from German, French and Spanish painters. You can really see how realism art, the making of art that resemble life, developed right before your eyes. I was able to spot a few famous paintings as well such as the Tower of Babel and being able to read the history of it was interesting.
Digital Nomad Friendly Cafe
The Cafe Oswaldz is a cozy little cafe that serves great range of coffees including Flat White and a delicious selection of bakeries. It has that "Parisian cafe" vibe to it AKA a perfect balance of a moderate background noise of people chattering and the smell of hand-brewed coffee. Unfortunately, the free wifi may or may not work depending on the number of people in the cafe. Although once you are able to connect, the internet flies. There are also power outlets for you to top up your laptop's juice. Definitely, the best place to get a good cup of coffee while getting some work done hands down.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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