City trip to Dresden: 10 reasons why you should visit the city and region in spring

Tourist fotografiert den 'Canalettoblick' mit Frauenkirche.
Tourist fotografiert den 'Canalettoblick' mit Frauenkirche. Foto: Sven Döring (DML-BY) -- Tourist taking a photo of the 'Canalettoblick' with the Frauenkirche. Photo: Sven Döring (DML-BY)

In spring, Dresden shows its most beautiful side: blossoming trees and flowers in the parks and palace gardens, vineyards bathed in sunshine, alleyways and squares with italian flair, cozy cafés and lots of art and culture. Here are our 10 reasons why a city trip to Dresden is particularly worthwhile right now.

Reason no. 1: Pure relaxation in parks and gardens

Spring at last! You can really enjoy it in Dresden’s Grosser Garten, a huge park in the middle of the city with a gondola pond. Photo: Frank Exß (DML-BY)

Nowhere else can you watch spring wake up and unwind as well as in the gardens and parks of Dresden. Each has its own special charm: a lake for gondolas, hundreds of water features or masterful sculptures. Right in the city center, you can immerse yourself in a world full of colors and scents in the Great Garden or marvel at floral rarities in the Botanical Garden. Stately palace parks and magnificent baroque and monastery gardens invite you to take a trip into the green Elbland. Probably the most famous plant is in Pillnitz Palace Park: a camellia that is over 250 years old and produces around 10,000 chimney-red flowers in spring.

Reason no. 2: Pomp, splendor and pleasure gardens

Dresden Pillnitz Palace Park
The park of Pillnitz Baroque Palace with its camellia and palm house is a blaze of color in spring. Photo: Christoph Münch (DML-BY)

Everyone can find their favorite castle in and and around Dresden, as there are plenty of them. And one is more beautiful than the other – not only architecturally, but also in terms of landscape and location. They are enthroned high above the Elbe like the three Elbe castles Albrechtsberg Castle, Ligner Castle and Eckberg Castle between the city center and the Blue Wonder. Or they are picturesquely situated in the Elbe valley, such as Pillnitz Castle or Moritzburg Castle a few kilometers up or down the river. Strolling through the historic parks makes you feel like a prince or princess.

Hiking and enjoyment in the vineyards

The Saxon Wine Route and its many treasures - new grape varieties, young winegrowers and tried and tested classics
The Saxon Wine Route leads from Pirna to Diesbar-Seußlitz through vineyards in Dresden-Pillnitz, Radebeul, Coswig and Meißen. Drawing: Julian Rentzsch

Hiking through sun-drenched vineyards with a magnificent view of the Elbe: the landscape around Dresden, characterized by over 850 years of viticulture, offers a special kind of pleasure. The Saxon Wine Trail leads right across Germany’s easternmost wine-growing region from Pirna via Dresden, Radebeul and Meissen to Seußlitz Castle. Along the way, you can enjoy refreshments in wine taverns, wineries and wine shops and taste the fine wines at their place of origin. From May at the latest, guests can also sit outside again.

Reason No. 4: In the footsteps of Caspar David Friedrich

The 1832 painting “Das Goße Gehege bei Dresden” by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), on display in the Albertinum. The painting could show the avenue of lime trees laid out in 1725 in today’s Pieschen district. Photo: Michael R. Hennig (DML-BY)

Dresden is celebrating the 250th birthday of one of its most famous citizens in 2024 with events and top-class exhibitions: Caspar David Friedrich. The major special exhibition in the Albertinum and the Kupferstich-Kabinett in the summer is the cultural highlight of the year, but even before that you can encounter his romantic motifs in many places. Not only in museums, but also in nature. In Dresden’s Pieschen district, in the Elbe valley or on the Malerweg, you can still practically walk through Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings today.

Reason No. 5: Archive of the Avant-Garde opens in May

Do you have a more modern taste in art? Then no less than 1.5 million works of art, objects and documents from the artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century will be waiting for you from May 5. They have been collected since the late 1960s by the collector Egidio Marzona. With the restored blockhouse, a raw concrete jewel behind an opulent 18th century façade, the Archive of the Avant-Garde – Egidio Marzona (ADA) has been given a spectacular home – and Dresden a new attraction.

Reason no. 6: Always along the Elbe by bike

From the Elbe cycle path in Dresden you have a beautiful view of the Blue Wonder and the television tower. Photo: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

Hello spring scent and birdsong! One of the best ways to explore Dresden Elbland is from the saddle of a bike. A network of well-developed cycle paths is available for tours large and small, from leisurely to mountainous. One of the best-known and most scenic routes always runs along the Elbe: the Elbe Cycle Path from Dresden towards Meissen is a wonderful way to glide along.

Reason no. 7: The oldest paddle steamer fleet in the world

Up and down the Elbe in regular service: With its nine historic paddle steamers, the Weiße Flotte Sachsen is the oldest and largest paddle steamer fleet in the world. Photo: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

Lean back and relax: On board a historic paddle steamer, the term “slowing down” takes on a whole new meaning. The oldest and largest paddle steamer fleet in the world takes you up or down the Elbe at walking pace, past spring-green Elbe meadows, rugged cliffs, romantic castles and picturesque Elbe villages. At this pace, you have enough time to take it all in and have a sip from your coffee cup in between.

Reason no. 8: Dresden’s special flair

Stroll along the historic pavement with an ice cream in your hand and enjoy the first rays of sunshine: Dolce Vita in Dresden with a view of the Frauenkirche. Photo: Michael R. Hennig (DML-BY)

Stroll through historic alleyways and across squares with Renaissance architecture, explore small stores and hidden corners and sample creative delicacies in the cafés and restaurants: You can experience the baroque cultural capital up close on an extended walk. There is something new to discover around every corner, such as the “most beautiful milk store in the world”, where Erich Kästner used to go in and out, or the Café Amalie in the recently reopened baroque Taschenbergpalais.

Reason no. 9: Bars and nightlife in Neustadt

The trendy Äußere Neustadt district has many small restaurants and stores. The Kunsthofpassage between Görlitzer Straße and Alaunstraße is also worth a visit. Photo: Moritz Schlieb

With its countless bars, pubs, restaurants and beer gardens, Dresden Neustadt is a young and colorful universe of its own. The center of the student and trendy district is the bustling street intersection around Louisenstrasse and Alaunstrasse. With its Wilhelminian-style buildings, it is not only architecturally interesting, but also has the highest density of pubs in the city in its winding courtyards and listed buildings. When the temperatures rise, life in Neustadt takes place outside again.

Reason no. 10: Diversity in art and culture

One of the major spring exhibitions in Dresden: Monet’s Garden, a multimedia journey through the history and works of Claude Monet, can be seen and heard in the event area at the OSTRA DOME until April 24. Photo: © Lukas Schulze

Art and culture are everywhere in Dresden. Over 40 museums, even more galleries and around 35 theatres and stages are spread across the city. These include big names such as the Zwinger or Albertinum, Semperoper or Festspielhaus Hellerau. But there are also lesser-known cultural gems waiting to be discovered. Event tips and background information can be found in our Culture and Leisure & Family sections.