About two hours drive from the Czech capital is Dresden, a German city that was reborn after the devastations of the war. This baroque jewel will captivate you with its elegant palaces on the banks of the Elbe River. Below you will find the most relevant organized tours.
Group tour to Dresden from Prague
If you have already seen everything in Prague, you can spend a day in Dresden. The German city is located about 160 km from the Bohemian city and is an interesting destination for a day trip. If you don't know it, I assure you it's worth getting on a bus. Day trips leave the Czech capital in the morning and follow a similar itinerary:
- Zwinger Palace, a Baroque gem built in the 18th century. In addition to the Old Masters Picture Gallery, the building houses the porcelain collection of Augustus the Strong, the Armory and various exhibits of the Zoological Museum and the Museum of Mineralogy and Geology. In its gardens you can admire the most beautiful baroque fountain in Germany: the Nymphenbad with its elegant sculptures representing nymphs. This palace is an art gallery with works by German, Italian, Dutch, Flemish and Spanish painters.
- Semperoper (Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden), the most beautiful opera house in Germany. This building has had a turbulent history. The original building was designed by Gottfried Semper and opened in 1841. Eighteen years later, a fire razed it to the ground and the citizens of Dresden themselves did their best to rebuild it. In 1945, the Opera House was again destroyed and rebuilt. The building we can see today is the result of a restoration carried out in 1985.
- Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Katholische Hofkirche), the largest church in Saxony. This baroque building was erected in the 18th century by the Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri.
- Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), a symbol of reconciliation. Like the opera house, this building, too, almost completely disappeared in the Second World War. The original church by George Bähr and its characteristic dome have been rebuilt thanks to donations.
- Duration: Between 9 and 10 hours
- Price: about 100 €.
- Recommended to all those who want to discover Florence on the Elbe without worries and at an affordable price.
Private day tour to Dresden from Prague
If you don't feel like sharing space with strangers, a private tour is the best option. In this case, a car or minivan will pick you up at your hotel and depart for the capital of Saxony. In most cases, these excursions include entrance fees to museums/attractions and a few bottles of water. All other expenses are at your own expense. Once in Germany, the tours usually stop at the same monuments as the group excursion:
- Zwinger Palace
- Holy Trinity Cathedral
One advantage of private tours is that, in most cases, they allow for modifications. If you want to make any changes, let your guide know ahead of time and he or she will work it out. Fortunately, the capital of Saxony has other attractions worth seeing. Here are the main ones:
- Fürstenzug, the largest ceramic mural in the world. It is called "the parade of princes" and is located outside the Stallhof, the stable yard. The mural measures over 100 meters and refigures depicts the history of the Wettin, the rulers of Saxony.
- Residenzschloss, the Royal Palace. Like other buildings in the city, this one was also affected by the bombings of the Second World War. The bombs were able to destroy it, but it was brought back to life thanks to the Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden). The works restored the palace to its former glory. Today, it houses one of the largest art collections in Europe. If you are interested in its temporary exhibitions, I recommend you to consult its official website.
- Grosser Garten, a park of 147 hectares in baroque style. Inside the park there is also a zoo and a botanical garden.
- Duration: 8 to 9 hours
- Price: between 150 € and 200 €.
- Recommended for those who want to enjoy a more exclusive experience.
Tour of the Dresden Christmas markets
It's no secret, Germany is known for its Christmas markets and Dresden is no exception. Florence on the Elbe is an enchanting city and the colorful merchandise on the stalls makes it a magical place. These tours usually last between 9 and 10 hours. The tours usually pick you up at your hotel and if not, the meeting point is always in a central location in Prague. The usual route is as follows:
- Saxon Switzerland National Park, a natural area southeast of Dresden. It is a paradise for climbers and hikers who come here to climb its more than 700 peaks and hike the trails. Buses usually stop at the Bastei Bridge, a footbridge that crosses the eponymous rock formations.
- Striezelmarkt is not only the most beautiful Christmas market in the country, it is also the oldest in the world. You will have time to stroll among the trees, the Santa Claus House, the puppet theater and the wooden houses. Take the opportunity to taste the stollen, a Christmas bread with candied fruit, nuts and powdered sugar. To follow your Christmas route when you have returned to the Czech capital, I suggest 10 things to see and do in Prague at Christmas.
- In most cases, the excursions include extra time to explore the rest of the city- Dresden has a lot to offer! Walking for a few minutes you will reach the baroque Zwinger Palace, the Opera House and the Frauenkirche church. Another place worth seeing is the Brühl Terrace, the balcony of Europe.
- Duration: about 6 hours
- Price: about 150 €.
- Recommended for those who love Christmas. The German city is a baroque jewel that brings out its best before December 25.
Visit Dresden on your own
In addition to organized tours, you have the option to reach the German city on your own. To make it easier for you to choose, we have compiled a brief overview of the most popular options among travelers:
Prague and Dresden are well connected by rail. The journey takes about 2 hours and costs at least € 9. Trains depart from two stations: the central station (Praha hlavní nádraží) and the Holešovice station (Nádraží Praha-Holešovice), which is located in the district of the same name. In both cases, the final destination is Dresden Central Station (Dresden Hauptbahnhof). If you are interested in this option, I recommend you to take a look at the website of the Czech Railways, which usually has better fares. If you want, you can also check the prices on the website of the German railroads. In my opinion, the train is the best option as the convoy goes through the lush nature of Saxonia.
If you prefer to travel by road, you can choose from several bus companies. One of the most famous is Infobus which has very good reviews among its users. Alternatively, you can opt for Flixbus, the popular low cost company. Both companies depart from Florenc station, an interchange easily accessible thanks to the red and yellow metro lines. You will need about two hours.
Renting a car
Booking a car will give you the opportunity to travel at your own pace without depending on the strict schedules of public transport. In the Czech capital, you will find all kinds of agencies, from mainstream to local providers. Once you have obtained the keys, all you need to do is drive for about 150 kilometers. The road linking these two locations is the E55. If you want to make a stage, you can stop in Terezin, a concentration camp about 60 km from the Czech capital. If you don't stop, you can reach Germany in just under two hours.
To save some money, you can opt for car sharing. As you may already know, the most famous company is BlaBlaCar, which moves thousands of travelers every day - check out the drivers' reviews and get your backpack ready!
What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting Dresden on my own?
Organized tours usually include entrance fees to attractions/museums in the total price. If this is not enough, keep in mind that you don't have to worry about arranging your own transportation. Dresden and Prague are well connected but, when traveling by public transport, you are always subject to bus and train schedules. With a rental car, on the other hand, you will have more freedom but you should be prepared to pay a higher amount.
How much does a day trip to Dresden cost?
It depends on what you choose. If you don't want to spend too much, you can opt for a group tour. The price may seem high but you should take into account that the entrance fees to museums and guided tours are included in the total price. In this case, you could spend more or less 100 €. At the same price or at a lower amount you can take other tours, an excursion to the Terezin concentration camp and a visit to the spa town of Karlovy Vary are two more than valid alternatives. The most expensive excursion - the private tour - costs about 200 €.