I hadn't heard much about the city prior to my visit so was amazed on arrival in the old historic centre, built in the 1800s from stone after a huge fire destroyed the city. It was later further damaged during World War 2 and I was intrigued to see the mix of old and new throughout, with many additions and repairs made in the 70s.
Micha, my Daytrip guide, picked me up in Berlin and drove me 2 hours to Dresden, a short journey spent chatting about the day ahead and what it's really like to live in Prague and Germany. Micha's job essentially is to take people from A to B while talking about the country and answering any questions whether political, cultural or about her personal experience of life there.
It was fantastic to be able to travel with someone who knows so much about the place in which I was travelling, not just the touristy attractions and historic monuments, but about the experiences of real life.
Stops along the way allow guests to see things most tourists would miss, historical sites as well as beautiful scenery. For Micha, the special part of her job is always meeting new and interesting people from many walks of life, full of enthusiasm to learn and really experience her home town and the surrounding area. Our trip consisted of a 2-hour drive to Dresden. Once in Dresden we took a 90 minute walking tour of the Old City followed by a delicious in one of the many gourmet restaurants in the city. Having arrived with close to no knowledge or impression of this city, I was able to have a highly personalised experience, all the help and knowledge of an informative and friendly guide who knew the city like the back of her hand. For me this is the only way to discover a city! On the way back we broke up the journey by stopping at Sanssouci Palace in Pottsdam, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. The palace is a unique example of Rococo architecture, as King Frederick's personal taste had so much influence in its design that it is even defined as 'Frederician Rococo.'
Seven reasons to travel with Daytrip from Berlin to Dresden:
1. Sanssouci Palace
The first stop on our journey was the central attraction of Pottsdam, a town close to Berlin, and was brought to life by Frederick the Great in 1747. Its name means 'without worries' in French and is a reflection of the lifestyle he desired. The palace sits in a magnificent park surrounded by many interconnecting trails just waiting to be explored. The Rococo style UNESCO site was once home to some of the Royal family but has been a museum and open gardens since 1927.
After its devastating destruction in World War 2 the remains of the city's most iconic church lay in pieces for 60 years until finally being reconstructed from the very same stones. The impressive workmanship is best enjoyed from outside and would be difficult to miss while strolling through the Altstadt but it is also free to enter to examine the ornately decorated interior.
3. Bruehl Terrace
Just a short walk from the Frauenkirche brings you to the edge of the river Elbe, lined by the decorative pedestrian boulevard Bruehl's terrace. In fair weather many hours can be spent observing the passing boats and daily life here, or even taking a boat ride along the length of the river to take in the stunning riverside architecture from the water.
4. Procession of Princes
A porcelain mural stretching 394 feet along the courtyard of the Royal Mews. At the time of its making in 1876 the design of Saxony rulers on foot and horseback was etched into the stucco but this was later recast onto porcelain tiles. Miraculously it remained unscathed after Dresden's catastrophic bombing in 1944 and is still much admired today.
5. Green Vault
Created by the Kings of Grenoble to display collected treasures of jewellery in gold, silver, Ivory and jewels, although today these are mostly replicas of those destroyed in World War 2. Divided into two separate exhibitions, the Historisches Grunes Gewolbe and the Neues Grunes Gewolbe, of equal opulence and is thought to one Europe's richest treasure chambers.
6. Dresden Panometer
A little further from the old town, but a couple of tram stops will bring you to Yadegar Asisi's panoramic painting depicting the Augustan Era of Dresden contrasted with rotating exhibitions projecting different eras around the central column. A fascinating way to see Dresden through the ages in its many states of grandeur, destruction and repair.
7. Zwinger Palace
This baroque site is a marvel to explore, with a courtyard of fountains and three museums: the Old Masters Gathering, the Porcelain Gallery and the Meissen Gallery. The terrace and gardens can be enjoyed for free but the museums require a ticket. These can be bought separately or can be included in the Dresden Museum's card costing 22 Euros with access to 14 museums in a 2 day period.
This article was originally published on my travel blog.