Augustus Bridge over the Elbe in Dresden

Hotels in Dresden, Germany

Where to stay in Dresden for accommodation

One of the most compelling destinations in Germany is the Saxon capital of Dresden, historically the seat of the Wettin dynasty whose kings, dukes and electors (of the Holy Roman Emperor) are depicted in a Meissen porcelain mural known as the Furstenzug, or the Procession of Princes, the largest porcelain artwork in the world.

From your accommodation in Dresden, Germany, view up close what these Saxon sovereigns contributed to the German culture and architectural splendour. Although you won’t see much of the original cityscape – the Baroque and Rococo architecture that made up the “Jewel Box” of Dresden was so culturally important that it became the controversial target of the Allied bombs – you will at least see faithful reproductions of the old city by J.C. Dahl and Bernardo Bellotto.

The former’s “View of Dresden by Moonlight” which features the city’s iconic structures is currently housed in the Bergen Art Museum. The latter’s numerous landscape and neighbourhood portraits of Dresden are safe-kept at the city’s Old Masters Gallery in Zwinger Palace, along with Raphael’s ‘Sistine Madonna’ (the lady with the much-reproduced twin cherubs at her feet) and 750 other paintings by a constellation of stellar artists like Titian, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Vermeer.

The Old Masters Gallery also houses the largest Cranach collection in the world. Works of the new masters are housed at the Albertinum.

Thanks to priceless artworks that captured the grandeur of the city before the war, major landmarks – the Frauenkirche, the Katholische Hofkirche, the Augustus Bridge, the Semper Oper and the Dresden Castle – within walking distance of downtown hotels in Dresden, Germany have been faithfully restored.

That said, put on black tie and stroll into the grand halls of Semper Oper, the Saxon State Opera House, playing host again to major reproductions of Wagner and Strauss whose works have premiered here. Or listen to the Vespers or compositions of Bach as sung by the 700-year-old Dresdner Kreuzchor made up of 150 boys aged 9-19. The choir often sings with accompaniment from the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Dresden Castle, official residence to the Wettin monarchs for four centuries, houses a substantial inventory of Augustus the Strong’s private collection of gold and gems currently on display at the Green Vault, literally one of Europe’s most opulent treasure chambers.

Given the architectural and cultural wonders of Dresden, it would be easy to overlook its more natural attributes shaped by the river Elbe. From your bed and breakfast in Dresden, Germany, follow the 23-kilometer bicycle path that runs parallel with the river, and enjoy the meadows that cut a swath of 20 square kilometres. Despite the Elbe Valley’s removal from UNESCO World Heritage List, it remains the green lungs for Dresden which enables the city to keep almost two-thirds of its land area verdant and forested.

Take in the sweeping views from Bruhl’s Terrace from where you can spot the Old Town and the New Market, or stroll into an ensemble of buildings that make up the “balcony of Europe.” And as Dresden tries to recapture its former air of glory, expect to run into plenty of events and festivals often held in the palace grounds and in the grassy “Florence of Elbe”.