As a city bursting with history and culture, Dresden is one of the top destinations in Germany.

Dresden is the capital of the state of Saxony and is famous for its many museums and architecture.

If you only have one day in the German city, it’s important to do it right.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the area’s best attractions, which will help you decide what you want to do on your visit.

Continue reading to discover the 23 best things to see and do in Dresden in just 1 day.

1. Fly over Dresden by Private Plane

Get an aerial view of Dresden on this helicopter tour.

This is the best way to explore the region’s beautiful landscapes.

After boarding your private flight, you’ll meet the trained pilot.

During the flight, the pilot will be your tour guide, pointing out all of Dresden’s biggest sites.

Expect to see the baroque church Frauenkirche and Zwinger as you fly over the city.

Tours leave throughout the day and are 60 minutes in length.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Inclusions: Private transportation, pilot explanation during the flight

Book Tour


2. Ride Dresden’s Unique Cable Car (Schwebebahn)

Dresden’s Cable Car is a must-experience while in the city.

It is one of the oldest suspension railways in the world, dating back to 1901.

The rail line is nearly 275 metres in length and connects two of Dresden’s districts.

The Cable Car was one of few sites not damaged during the war.

However, it underwent a major renovation in 2002.

Today, not only does it offer a unique, historic, and scenic ride to visitors, but there is a beautiful lookout deck at the top.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 9:30 am – 8:00 pm daily
  • Address: Pillnitzer Landstraße 5, 01326 Dresden

3. Hop on a Self-Drive Trabi Safari City Tour

A safari tour in Dresden? 

We bet you didn’t think it was possible!

This Dresden Self-Drive Trabi Safari City Tour puts you behind the wheel of a classic Trabant.

These retro automobiles became a symbol of East Germany during the Cold War.

Be a part of history and explore Dresden in style.

All tours include a local guide and stops at the city’s major attractions.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Point: Dresden-Friedrichstadt
  • Inclusions: Live guide, self-drive tour

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4. Join a Street Art Tour in Neustadt

Treat yourself to an afternoon of art in Dresden.

Rather than visiting an art gallery, this unique tour will have you marvelling at the city’s impressive street art.

Dresden is filled with vibrant street art, some of which is legal and some of which is illegal.

Local and international artists alike have brought the city’s streets to life with their murals.

In addition to learning about the different murals, your guide will also tell you about the different techniques used in street art.

This is a great way to immerse yourself in Dresden’s local culture if you only have on day.

Tour details

  • Duration: 2-4 hours
  • Departure Time: 2:00 pm
  • Departure Point: Albertplatz / Artesian Fountain 
  • Inclusions: Local guide, private tour

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5. Walk around the Historic Old Town

Get acquainted with Dresden on this 90 minute walking tour.

Old Town is the city’s most visited area – and for a reason!

The incredible architecture and historic buildings and monuments are a sight to behold.

On this tour, your expert guide will take you through Old Town, teaching you about its importance.

Stops include The Dresden Zwinger, Royal Palace, Procession of Princes, DresdenWalks, and Neumarkt.

Prepare to learn about Dresden’s history and culture directly from a local.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Departure Times: 12:00 pm or 2:30 pm
  •  Departure Point: Schloßplatz, Schloßpl., 01067 Dresden,
  • Inclusions: Guided tour

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6. Explore Dresden Castle (Residenzschloss)

When in Dresden, don’t miss Dresden Castle!

This incredible Renaissance-style castle was home to Saxony kings going back to the 15th century.

It was originally built for defence purposes, but was destroyed in World War II during the bombing of Dresden.

Luckily, it was rebuilt in its original style in the 1980s so visitors today can still marvel at its architecture.

Today, it also houses the Dresden Art Collections.

As you make your way around the castle, you can expect to find antique furniture, priceless artwork, and other artifacts that date back centuries.

Inclusions for most tours

  • Local guide
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
  • Bottled water

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7. Take a Look at the New Green Vault

Calling all history buffs!

The Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) is one of the most unique museums in Germany.

It contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe.

The museum was opened by Augustus the Strong in 1723.

It contains all kinds of artifacts, ranging from the baroque to the classical period, and some believe it to be among the oldest museums in the world.

The pristine museum features incredible architecture, so if you’re a lover of historic buildings, you won’t be able to take your eyes off this!

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Departure Point: Old and New Green Vault, Residenzschloss, Taschenberg 2, 01067 Dresden,
  • Inclusions: Licensed guide

Book Tour Official Site


8. Roam the Dresden Zwinger Palace

The Dresden Zwinger is perhaps the city’s most famous attraction.

This Baroque-style palace is nothing short of stunning.

The ornate architecture is sure to please, while the pristine gardens provide a lovely place for a stroll or picnic.

Although previously part of Dresden’s defense system, today it is open to the public.

It hosts various events, such as concerts, throughout the year.

This is a must-see while in Dresden.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 6:00 am to 8:00 pm daily
  • Address: Sophienstraße, 01067 Dresden

Official Site


9. Unwind in Pillnitz Palace & Park

Zwinger isn’t the only palace in Dresden!

Pillnitz Palace & Park is a second palace in Dresden, located in the city’s east end.

The palace is also baroque in style and set upon the bank of the River Elbe.

Its manicured gardens complete with fountains are a sight to behold for visitors and locals alike.

Wandering the grounds is a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.

However, there are also exhibitions inside the palace housing crafts, artwork, exotic plants, and more.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday
  • Address: August-Böckstiegel-Straße 2, 01326 Dresden

Official Site


10. Check out the Albertinum

The Albertinum is the most famous art museum in Dresden.

It is located in the city centre and was named after King Albert of Saxony.

The museum houses paintings and sculptures from revered artists, such as Rodin and Richter.

The Albertinum’s collection have made it one of the finest art institutions in all of Germany.

Visitors travel from all over the country and beyond to see the gallery’s works in person.

All art lovers should be sure to stop by this Dresden attraction.

Inclusions for most tours

  • Local guide
  • Bottled water
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
  • Entry fees
  • Private transportation

Check Tours Official Site


11. Visit the Volkswagen Transparent Factory

Car enthusiasts won’t want to miss Dresden’s Volkswagen Transparent Factory.

This unique factory museum focuses entirely on electric motoring and digitalization.

Specifically, a tour of this facility gives you the chance to see Volkswagen’s first ever electric car in person.

On the tour, you’ll learn what it feels like to drive an electric car, how an electric car is built, and how long it takes to charge an electric car.

On your guided tour, you will be taken directly to the assembly line and the production area to observe many of the assembly steps in person.

After the tour, you’ll come out with new knowledge about cars and the history of Volkswagen.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Departure Times: 12:00 pm or 3:00 pm
  • Departure Point: Transparent Factory, Lennéstraße 1, 01069 Dresden
  • Inclusions: Entry fees

Book Tour Official Site


12. Discover Dresden’s Transport Museum

At the Neumarkt in Dresden is where you’ll find Dresden’s Transport Museum.

This cultural institution is entirely dedicated to air, land, and sea travel.

Specifically, the museum showcases how modes of transportation have evolved over the past few centuries.

The museum houses a widespread collection that includes impressive locomotives, elegant vintage cars, adventurous flying machines, and stunning ship models.

The space spans 5,000 square metres and offers free WiFi.

Visitors can go on a self-guided tour or use the audioguides on site.

Tour details

  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Departure Point: Transport Museum Dresden, Augustusstrasse 1, 01067 Dresden
  • Inclusions: Entry fee, free WiFi, free download of audioguide

Book Tour Official Site


13. Look around the Hygiene Museum

Science, culture, and society converge at the Hygiene Museum.

The German Hygiene Museum is a medical museum in Dresden.

The museum was founded by Karl August Lingner in 1912, originally intended as a venue for healthcare education.

Today, its permanent exhibitions focus on the human race, the body, healthcare, and the senses.

There are over 45,000 health and science-related artifacts in the museum’s collection. 

Thousands of visitors come here each year and even holds concerts and events.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday
  • Address: Lingnerpl. 1, 01069 Dresden

Official Site


14. See the Unique Dresden Panometer

For an out of this world experience, visit the Dresden Panometer.

The Dresden Panometer has been dubbed one of the city’s more “unusual” museums.

This attraction displays two panoramic paintings by Yadegar Asisi.

The paintings are inside a former gasometer and stand 27 metres high.

There is also an accompanying exhibition, which changes throughout the year.

Be amazed by the 360 degree experience that unfolds in front of you.

Tour details

  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Departure Point: Panometer Dresden
  • Inclusions: Entry fee

Book Tickets Official Site


15. Marvel at the Iconic Frauenkirche

When in Dresden, be sure to stop and stare at the iconic Frauenkirche. 

This Catholic turned Protestant church is a breathtaking example of baroque architecture.

It features one of the largest domes in all of Europe.

The original building was destroyed in the war and the ruins were left as a memorial for over 50 years.

It was only in the mid 1990s that the city began the process of restoring the church.

Today, it has been reconstructed in its original style and is the most important church in Dresden.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm; 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm on weekdays
  • Address: Neumarkt, 01067 Dresden

Official Site


16. See the Fürstenzug Mural

The Fürstenzug is not your typical mural.

In English, Fürstenzug means ‘Procession of Princes’ and is a mural of the rulers of Saxony.

It was painted in the 1870s in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty.

In the early 1900s, the painting was replaced with porcelain tiles to ensure the mural could withstand all types of weather.

The mural spans 102 metres in length and is the largest piece of porcelain artwork in existence.

Look closely and you’ll be able to spot the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings of the House of Wettin between the years 1127 and 1904.

Details

  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Address: Augustusstraße 1, 01067 Dresden

17. Walk along Brühl’s Terrace

One of the most picturesque spots in all of Dresden is Bruhl’s Terrace.

Nicknamed “The Balcony of Europe,” the terrace overlooks the River Elbe and features buildings with note-worthy architecture.

It is located only a short walk from Neumarkt and Frauenkirche, which makes it a popular spot among tourists.

Stroll along the river, stop for coffee and a pastry at one of the many cafes, or simply sit on the steps and do some people watching.

This is a great way to get a feel for local life in Dresden while taking in the beauty of the city.

No matter the season, this is a must-see while in Dresden.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm daily
  • Address: Georg-Treu-Platz 1, 01067 Dresden

18. Shop at Dresden’s Flea Market (Elbe Flohmarkt)

A flea market on the river? 

Yes, please!

Find unbelievable treasures at the Dresden Flea Market.

Shopaholics will love this eclectic market, filled with all kinds of exciting finds.

Furniture, crafts, clothing, decor, kitchenware, instruments, and more can be found here.

The market is only open on Saturdays between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm. 

This is a great spot for vintage gifts and souvenirs.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Saturdays only
  • Address: Elberadweg, 01307 Dresden

Official Site


19. Taste Craft Beers in Hopfenkult

If you’re a craft beer lover, you’ve come to the right place.

Believe it or not, Dresden has an incredible craft beer scene.

And it all starts at Hopfenkult.

This is the most famous craft beer store in Dresden.

It houses hundreds of craft beers, both local and international.

Shop for souvenirs or sit back and relax with a beer in hand at the store’s outdoor beer garden.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm Tuesday to Thursday; 2:00 pm – 12:00 am Friday; 12:00 pm – 12:00 am Saturday
  • Address: Görlitzer Str. 25, 01099 Dresden

Official Site


20. Visit the City’s Famous Milk Shop (Pfunds Molkerei)

No trip to Dresden is complete without stepping foot inside the city’s famous milk shop.

Pfunds Molkerei was born in the late 19th century after a farmer travelled to Dresden with his wife and six cows.

His wish was simple: to supply the city with healthy milk, and his business quickly grew.

This unique store specialises in farm to table milk and cheese-based products.

Beyond the offerings, the store itself is one of the most Instagrammable in Dresden.

Ornate crown mouldings and colourful wallpaper adorn the walls.

Be sure to indulge in a cheese tasting during your visit!

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday to Saturday; 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Sunday
  • Address: Bautzner Str. 79, 01099 Dresden

Official Site


21. See the Singing Pipes of Kunsthofpassage

If you’re in Dresden for one day, be sure to stop by the Kunsthofpassage.

This artistic space is a bright blue hue that is perfect for picture-taking.

But it’s also an interesting form of street art you’ve likely never seen before.

Each courtyard in the area has its own way of creating music.

One of the most unique is one where music is created by water that runs down rain pipes affixed to the building’s facade.

It is an attraction that delights all the senses!

Details

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 7:30 pm Monday to Friday; 11:00 am – 5:30 pm Saturday
  • Address: Görlitzer Str. 21-25, 01099 Dresden

22. Catch a Show in the Scheune

The Scheune is a cultural centre in Dresden.

The two-storey building houses concerts, theatre, and film events throughout the year.

It also has a cafe, garden, and music academy.

They even host pop up shops and temporary exhibits.

This is where the locals catch some of the most prominent shows and acts that come to the city.

Even if you aren’t able to catch a performance, the cafe has an outdoor area that is perfect for people watching or sipping on a pint.

Details

  • Address: Alaunstraße 36-40, 01099 Dresden

Official Site


23. Watch a Performance in the Semper Opera

Built in 1838, the Semper Opera is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Dresden.

It is a concert hall that hosts classical music concerts, operas, and the Semperoper Ballet.

Over the years, it has hosted some extremely famous events, including premieres by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.

There have also been many major opera premieres at this historic venue.

Even if you’re not a fan of the opera or ballet, marvelling at the architecture of the building is a must.

It is open daily and is located near the River Elbe in Dresden.

Details

  • Address: Theaterplatz 2, 01067 Dresden

Official Site


Dresden is one of the most underrated cities in Germany.

Not only is it filled with stunning architecture, but it boasts an incredibly rich history that makes it one of the most fascinating cities in Europe.

From strolling along Brühl’s Terrace to watching a live opera performance, we hope this list has shown you just how much you can do in Dresden even if you only have one day.

Find more Things to do in Dresden

emily
Emily is a freelance writer from Canada and it was during her time studying History that she became interested in travel. Countries I've visited include the United States, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.