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Dresden is the capital of the German state of Sachsen (Saxony) and has well over half a million inhabitants, even 1.3 million in the total metropolitan area. The city was heavily destroyed during WWII, but since then, and more so since the reunification of Germany, the city has been rebuilt to finally have its glory back.
This annual festival takes place in May and June, and showcases some of the best classical musicians, orchestras, ensembles, choirs, and opera singers. With a history of over 30 years, this is one of the leading music festivals in Germany and attracts music lovers from all over the world. Tickets for concerts should be bought well in advance.
Dresden has a moderate continental climate, with warmer summers and colder winters compared to German places more to the west. Summers last from June to August with average days well over 20 °C and nights around 14 °C. Winters last from December to Febuary when it's mostly around zero during the day and almost -5 °C on average at night. Snow is not that common though. Precipition is evenly distributed throughout the year, though summers are slightly wetter.
|Avg Max||2.7 °C||4.1 °C||8.4 °C||12.9 °C||18.7 °C||21.3 °C||23.6 °C||23.7 °C||18.8 °C||13.5 °C||6.9 °C||4 °C|
|Avg Min||-2.2 °C||-1.8 °C||1.3 °C||3.9 °C||8.6 °C||11.8 °C||13.7 °C||13.6 °C||10.4 °C||6.4 °C||1.9 °C||-0.6 °C|
|Rainfall||44.3 mm||34.9 mm||43.1 mm||47.3 mm||60 mm||68.5 mm||82 mm||77.9 mm||49.6 mm||44.5 mm||53.5 mm||56.9 mm|
Dresden Airport (DRS) is about 9 kilometres from the city centre. Air Berlin has most flights, though most of them are seasonal (summer only), including those to Antalya, Corfu, Crete, Tenerife, Mallorca and Gran Canaria. About 15 other airlines serve Dresden on a regular basis, with places served being Moscow, Vienna, Hamburg, Zürich, Düsseldorf, Cyprus, Stuttgart, Cologne, Warsaw, Frankfurt, Munich, and Monastir (Tunisia).
The other airport in Saxony, Leipzig/Halle Airport (IATA: LEJ), is the dominant one in the region and offers a wider range of international connections, and a direct railway connection to Dresden. Intercity and ICE trains take less than 90 minutes to get from Leipzig Airport to Dresden Hauptbahnhof, with one-way full-fare tickets at around €30. Slightly slower but cheaper is regional train service. Take the S-Bahn to Leipzig main station and than the hourly (roughly two hours travel time) "Saxonia Express" RE to Dresden. the cheapest price for that connection is the "Sachsen-Ticket" which costs €22 + (€4 for any additional member of your group of up to five) and is valid in all regional-trains (i.e. all trains except ICE, IC and EC) and most trams and buses throughout Saxony, Thüringen and Saxony-Anhalt, including Leipzig and Dresden.
As with the rest of Saxony, the geographic proximity and good road and rail transport links make it relatively convenient to use the airports of Berlin (TXL, SXF and BER for all airports and the yet to open new airport), Prague (IATA: PRG) or Wrocław (IATA: WRO) as entry points.
From Frankfurt Airport (IATA: FRA) there are various Intercity and ICE connections either direct (from Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof) or via Frankfurt or Leipzig main station.
Dresden is served by two big train stations, one on the southern side of the Elbe, Dresden Hauptbahnhof, or main train station, and one on the northern side of the Elbe, Dresden Neustadt. Be sure to check if your train is departing from/arriving to Dresden Hauptbahnhof or Dresden Neustadt. If you come from Saxony-Anhalt or Thüringen it might be the best option to take a "Länder-Ticket" as the ticket of all three "Länder" are valid in all three of them (i.e. the Thüringen-Ticket is valid in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt as well and vice versa), therefore your trip using regional trains will only cost you €22 and even less per person if you manage to get a small group together.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) has trains to Berlin-Hauptbahnhof (2 hours). Leipzig is served by hourly ICE trains (one hour) or RE trains (1¾ hours). The S-Bahn runs half-hourly to Meissen (40 minutes). There are connections to Frankfurt (4¾ hours) and Prague (2½ hours) as well.
Dresden is connected to Leipzig via the A14/A4, to Berlin via the A13/A113, and to the Czech Republic via the B170 south.
A new Autobahn to Prague has been finished recently.
Eurolines connects to several German cities, including Dresden. The stop is at the Central train station. You can't make reservations here, you need to make the reservations on internet. The main operator of long-distance buses in Germany is Flixbus. Flixbus has almost hourly departures from Dresden to Berlin. Other operators with routes to Dresden include Onebus, Student Agency and Hellö (to/from Vienna via Prague).
The street network is very good and many roads have been refurbished recently, especially in the city centre. As in all bigger towns it can be a bit crowded during rush hours.
Dresden has an extensive reliable and high quality (even by German standards) public transport system consisting of regional railways (called S-Bahn, historically Schnellbahn), trams (called Straßenbahn) and buses. Three ferries cross the Elbe and two cable car systems go up Loschwitz hill. The Straßenbahn and S-Bahn are two entirely separate networks, although there are tram stops at many S-Bahn stations. A common fare system is operated by Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB), which is part of the larger Oberelbe Transport Network (VVO), which covers 27 municipalities in central Saxony, including Dresden. VVO tickets are valid on all buses, trams, regional trains and some ferries within a particular zone in the VVO network area. The Sachsen ticket is now valid on buses and trams in Dresden as well so all information to the contrary is outdated.
The system works very well and connects all points of interest, but can be a little busy at peak times. Most lines run at night but with less frequency (and also slightly different routes, called "Gute Nacht Linien") allowing you to get to most places such as restaurants without the necessity of using a car, including to far-flung places like Pillnitz, Radebeul or even Meißen (with the S-Bahn). At night almost all trams and some regional buses meet at Postplatz (called "Postplatztreffen") and wait for each other, to ensure connections. Trams that don't pass through Postplatz usually wait for connections at some other point. These stops are announced in both German and English. As the rerouting of the lines can be a tad confusing and the night-line plan is printed on a black background that is hard to read at night, you might wish to ask the driver or other passengers where the tram is going.
Two tram lines are of particular interest to those visiting Dresden:
DVB operates three ferries on the Elbe: between Johannstadt and Neustadt, between Niederpoyritz and Laubegast and between Kleinzschachwitz and Pillnitz.
There are also two separate cable car systems that go up the Loschwitz hill from the environs of Körnerplatz: a regular funicular goes towards the district of Weißer Hirsch, and a suspension railway (Schwebebahn) will take you to Oberloschwitz.
In the centre, especially in the historic part of the Old Town (Altstadt), everything is easily accessible on foot. (The city centre is not the geographical midpoint of the city). If you want to go to the outer districts (unlikely for most travelers) you will probably have to take a bike or public transport (most tram lines go well into the suburbs).
Bikes are the fastest thing in rush hour traffic for short-to-medium distances and if you're in good shape and not afraid of traffic. Bikes are also good for longer distances as they can be carried (with a separate ticket 2€ per day as of late 2016) in trams. There are many designated cycle paths (marked red on pavements, or with a white bike symbol on a blue background) and most times it's very easy to find a place to park your bike. But, as anywhere else, always use a good lock!
Cobblestone roads and sidewalks are still quite common, particularly in Neustadt as well as the historical parts of Altstadt. As they get slippery with even a little moisture and make for a bumpy ride on most bikes, you might wish to avoid those. Another concern for cyclists are tram tracks, as tyres can get stuck in one of them if you aren't careful.
The main bike-share service in Dresden is called SZ-bike. Their rates are €1 per half hour or €9 per day.
The most typical fast (and inexpensive) food in Germany those days is doner kebab (Döner Kebap), typically served as a kind of sandwich in pita (flat bread) with salad and sauce. A typical kebab including a large drink should be around €5-6. The next step above doner kebab is Italian food. There are a certain number of ethnic restaurants scattered through the city, and if you go out to the eastern part of town, you will find lots of charming cafés and Volkshäuser that serve good food. As Dresden has a lower number of recent immigrants in general and people of Tukish descent in particular, the ethnic food is more of the Vietnamese or "Asian" variety, as those are the main immigrant groups in Dresden.
Within the historic center and especially around the Frauenkirche are a number of restaurants, serving many different tastes. Be aware that, as this is a tourist hotspot, there are many tourist traps here which you may find overpriced while the quality low.
You may want to choose one of the various restaurants on the Brühlsche Terrasse adjacent to the river Elbe - especially in summer time this a wonderful place to be. The view and the drinks are very pleasant. Alternatively, you may choose to go to Münzgasse, lying directly beside the Frauenkirche. The little street is full of restaurants, from glamorous and expensive to the cheaper ones.
The Neustadt accounts for most of the trendy pubs, bars and clubs, and the majority of the restaurants in the city. You will generally have better luck finding decent food for a reasonable price north of Albertplatz in Neustadt.
The eastern part of the city, toward the Blaues Wunder, has a lower density of restaurants than Neustadt, and they tend to also serve as cafés, and the food is generally tasteful and cheap.
The area around the Frauenkirche and Dresden Castle is very popular with tourists. Some fine restaurants are located there. The Weiße Gasse is just around the corner of the Altmarkt near the shopping center and the historical town. A good alternative if you do not want to go to the Neustadt.
The Neustadt is a very popular destination, especially for younger people. It has a high number of bars and clubs, with many different styles. Especially the area around Albertplatz is filled with places to go.
Since Dresden regained its status as a popular tourist destination, it has also developed a large accommodation base for every taste and budget. There are many new and refurbished properties, and competition is fierce due to slight overcapacity resulting from overly optimistic development. Therefore, it pays off to research well for good offers even at normally expensive hotels, especially off-season.
While selecting your accommodation, bear in mind that Dresden is actually a very large city by area, while most attractions are all within a very small distance in the city centre on both banks of the Elbe River. If you choose to base yourself outside of the centre, you may find yourself in a very remote location a big distance from the points of interest and with very little to do in the area.
|A&O Dresden Hauptbahnhof||Strehlener Stra'e 10||HOSTEL||83|
|AHA Hotel Dresden||Bautzner Str. 53||Hotel||-|
|Apart-Pension Altstadtperle||Gohliser Str. 19||apartment||-|
|Cityherberge||Lingnerallee 3 01069 Dresden||Hostel||87|
|Hofgarten 1824||Theresienstrasse 5||HOTEL||-|
|Hostel Mondpalast||Louisenstrasse 77 01099||Hostel||86|
|Hotel Adler||Kötzschenbroder Strasse 185||hotel||86|
|Hotel Burgk||Burgkstr. 15||hotel||-|
|Hotel Pension Dresden Kaden||Königsbrücker-Land-Str.31||hotel||-|
|Kangaroo-Stop||Erna-Berger-Str. 8-10 Dresden-Neustadt 01097||Hostel||88|
|Lollis Homestay||Grlitzer Str.34 01099 Dresden||HOSTEL||89|
|Louise 20||Louisenstrasse 20||Hostel||87|
|Motel Dresden||01109 Dresden Brunne||Hostel||-|
|Hotel Villa Weltemühle Dresden||Merbitzer Straße 53||Hotel||-|
|Sunshine Hostel Dresden||Emerich-Ambros-Ufer 2||Hostel||-|
|Best Western Hotel Quintessenz - Forum||Mobschatzer Straße 17||Hotel||-|
|Airpark Hostel||Grenzstrasse 30||Hostel||-|
|Kim Hotel im Park||Otto-Harzer-Strasse 2||Hotel||-|
|Wilhelmsburg Hotel||Friedrich Auguststraße 60 01156 Dresden||Hotel||-|
|LaLeLu Hostel||Königsbrückerstrasse 70||GUESTHOUSE||86|
|Apartment Dresden Neustadt||Ahornstraße 11||Apartment||-|
|Guesthouse Mezcalero||Koenigsbruecker Strasse 64||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Internet cafes (rates €1.50 to €5 per hour) are starting to become less common due to widespread offers of free wifi by shops, restaurants or cafes. Sometimes it requires minimum consumption but usually it's free within the premises. Phone shops will often offer internet access, too. In general hotels offer internet access. In several cities, projects exist to provide free "community" hotspots for wireless networking. Passenger lounges at some airports and central railway stations also provide internet access to their customers.
Several pre-paid SIMs allow Internet access for a monthly flat fee, for example those available at Tchibo coffee stores (o2 network, €10/month limited to 500 MB, €20/month for 5 GB) or Aldi (E-Plus network). A regular O2 sim card, which can be used for calls and text messages, is €15 and another €15 buys 1GB of data valid for 1 month. Vodafone offers a prepaid sim card for €25 which includes €22.5 of credit, out of which you can get 300 MB of data for 2 days for €15 and be left with €7.5 of credit.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international call prefix in Germany is 00. To dial out of Germany, dial 00, followed by country code, area code, and the telephone number (for example 00 44 1234 567890). If you're using a mobile phone, simply add the plus sign "+" before the country code to call out of Germany (for example +44 1234 567890). The general emergency number is 112 and the additional number for less emergent issues for police is 110.
Mobile phone coverage on the four networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and o2) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data and HSDPA) and EDGE is also available. UMTS is still somewhat limited to urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, E-Plus or O2 store in any major shopping area. In most supermarket chains (for example ALDI), there are prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers available. These are normally quite cheap to buy, but expensive for international calls (around €1–2/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around €0.09–0.19. They are available at: Aldi, Lidl, Penny, Netto, Tchibo, Rewe, toom. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card.
The cheapest way to call abroad from Germany is to use the internet cafés run by immigrants. They sell special calling cards that give the best rate to certain countries as well as offer cheap international calls from phone booths. It is also the cheapest way to call landlines in Germany.
Germany's postal system is very efficient, their logistics branch DHL is one of the best companies in this field world-wide, with domestic post or within a radius of 400 kilometres, send within a day. The website of Deutsche Post has an online calculator for postage fees as well as a post office finder. Stamps are available at post offices and sometimes at newsagents or shops selling postcards. Also stamp vending machines can be found at a lot of places around the cities. You can purchase every stamp you need from this machines. They are unique as they accept every coin from 1 cent to 2 euro but change is only given in stamps. It costs about €40 to send a small package to Australia and €1.70 to send an old-fashioned letter to any place in the world outside of Europe. Within Germany, sending postcards costs €0.45 and standard letters €0.55, within Europe it is €0.65 for a postcard, standard letters to places in Europe cost €0.75. Outside Europe, the prices for sending a postcard or standard letter are €1 and €1.70 respectively. Although you will find the old post offices (mainly in the city centre), most of the smaller neighbourhood post offices are part of a small tobacco shop or grocery store. For larger package, you might consider competitive private companies like UPS, DHL or TNT.
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