Dresden, which is situated along the River Elbe in the state of Saxony in Germany, is a fairly large city of 780,000 people that has become a popular tourist destination.
Due to its unique architecture and long-standing role in the art world, Dresden gained the nickname of “Florence of the Elbe.”
Many tourists travel to the city each year to see this stunning architecture and immerse themselves in the local art scene. They also come to visit the many museums and surrounding natural landscapes, including the Ore Mountains, Elbe Valley, and Saxon Switzerland National Park.
Several festivals are held in the city throughout the year, including the International Dixieland Festival Dresden and Polimagie Festival.
Below are 14 of the best tours in Dresden.
1. Embark on a Walking Tour of Dresden
The best way to get familiar with Dresden and see its main points-of-interest is with a guided walking tour of the city.
This 90-minute tour will take you into the center of Old Town, where you’ll see attractions such as the Zwinger, the Neumarkt, and the Church of our Lady. Along the way, your knowledgeable guide will talk about the history of the city, and you’ll have a chance to sample a surprise local delicacy.
At the end of the tour, your guide will provide you with valuable information on the best eateries and things to do around Dresden.
2. Take a Tour of a Volkswagen Factory
If you’ve ever wanted to see what goes on inside a car manufacturing plant, this 90-minute tour will take you inside the Dresden Volkswagen Transparent Factory, where you’ll embark on a guided exploration.
During the tour, you’ll see the daily workings of the factory and watch a Volkswagen electric car being produced. You’ll also learn about the cars being made there and the newer technologies that are being employed.
After the tour, you’ll have some time to explore other attractions in the immediate area.
3. Take in the Natural Beauty of Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland National Park
Leave the urban landscape behind and head into nature with a ten-hour day trip into the Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland National Park.
Meet your local guide at your hotel and travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned minivan. During this hour-long drive, your guide will tell you about the history of the park and what to expect during the day.
You’ll arrive at the entrance before the large crowds arrive, and set out to explore this beautiful area that has captured the eye of many filmmakers throughout the years.
You can choose from three different tours. The hiking tour takes you to all the main highlights of the park, including Bastei Bridge, Elbe River Canyon, and the Pravcicka Gate.
You’ll also take a boat ride through the Kamenice River Gorge, embark on a ten-kilometer hike, and sample some local cuisine.
The Fantasy Highlights tour includes visits to many of the same attractions, plus the Sneknik lookout tower, Tyssa Walls, and Narnia Labyrinth, where you’ll embark on a nine-kilometer hike. A winter tour is also offered.
4. Experience Dresden of the 18th Century
Experience Dresden as it was in the 18th century with this unique 90-minute tour. Follow your costumed guide to Saxon Court, where you’ll take an animated trip back in time to when the Count and Countess von Bruhl were in power.
Learn about life at that time and practice your manners and how to behave accordingly at court. During this tour, you’ll also enjoy a champagne reception.
5. Take a Cruise on the Elbe River
Take a trip from Dresden to Meissen on this full-day tour that will take you on a journey over water along the Saxon Wine Route. Board a paddle steamer, and during the voyage, enjoy the stunning scenery of the region.
Arrive in Meissen in the early afternoon and visit various attractions, including the Albrechtsburg, the town museum, the porcelain factory, and Frauenkirche. Take some free time to walk through the walled town and take in the sights before sailing back to Dresden.
6. Learn about the Events of World War II
Get an intriguing history lesson combined with the opportunity to view some of Dresden’s top attractions.
The focus of this two-hour guided walking tour is some of the events of World War II, the Third Reich, the rise and fall of Hitler, and how these events affected Dresden and the people of Germany during this dark time.
As you move through this historic city, you’ll see many iconic landmarks, including Bruhl’s Terrace, Zwinger Palace, Semper Opera House, Altmarkt, and Frauenkirche.
7. Admire the Beautiful Murals of Dresden
The streets of Dresden are filled with mesmerizing street art and murals. On this three-hour walking tour, you’ll not only see the art, but you’ll also learn the history behind it and the artists.
Some of the art is quite old, while some of it is modern. All of it is beautiful. You’ll see works by several artists, including Jens Besser and Ema Jones.
8. Explore Pillnitz Castle
Take a journey around Pillnitz Castle with this 90-minute tour with a Baroque theme. Meet your costumed guide at the Old Guardhouse and follow along as you tour the castle and grounds.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the society games of that period and brush up on your etiquette skills in preparation for the evening ball.
Enjoy a delicious meal and champagne reception, followed by theater performances, illuminations, and other forms of entertainment. End the tour in the Fliederhof courtyard.
9. Indulge with a Meal and Beer Tasting
Indulge with food and beer on this 90-minute tour that’ll take you through the streets of Old Town. A master brewer will lead you to the Altmarktkeller Restaurant, where you’ll enjoy four beer tastings and a two-course meal.
Along the way, you’ll see many of the city’s attractions and learn about its unique relationship with beer.
10. Tour Dresden on a Segway
A segway is a modern and unique form of transportation that’s perfect for exploring cities. On this 90-minute tour, you’ll zip around on a segway while your knowledgeable guide points out important landmarks and top attractions as they provide some of the city’s history.
Meet your guide at the Neustädter Markt monument, and after brief instruction on how to use your segway, head to Konigsufer.
Next, make your way over the Alber Bridge and into Neumarkt, where you’ll see the iconic Frauenkirche. Head to the old town district and see many more of the city’s highlights.
11. Follow in the Steps of Kurt Vonnegut
The story of Kurt Vonnegut is an intriguing one that you may be familiar with if you read his book about his experience as a prisoner-of-war and subsequent survival.
This two-hour tour brings that iconic piece of literature to life through an exploration of his experience.
See the buildings that were destroyed during the bombings of 1945 and hear about their reconstruction. Visit the Old Slaughterhouse where Kurt Vonnegut and his fellow POW’s survived the bombings. Hear stories about the events leading up to the bombings and life in the city afterward.
12. Take Part in a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun, but they also provide a unique way to explore a new city. This scavenger hunt around Dresden takes players down old city streets, through colorful districts, and near some of the city’s top attractions. All you have to do is book your game and pick it up or have it delivered to you.
Start the hunt at Theaterplatz and solve puzzles and riddles. As you go, see various landmarks such as Bruhl’s Terrace, the Frauenkirche, Zwinger Palace, Augusttusbrucke, and Dresden Castle.
You can start and end the game whenever you please, as there’s no set timeline in terms of how long it takes to finish it.
13. Hear Stories about Dresden while Seeing the Sites
Meet your guide near the River Elbe and make your way through the city streets as you listen to stories about love, war, and betrayal through the centuries.
On this 90-minute tour, you’ll also see many of the city’s top attractions and hear the stories behind them. Theaterplatz, Semperoper Opera House, Zwinger Palace, Taschenberg Palais Hotel, and Frauenkirche are just some of the attractions you will see along the way.
14. Enjoy Free or Discounted Entry to Museums and Attractions
This voucher, which is available in print or for mobile services, allows you free access to many museums around the city. You’ll be able to skip the line-ups as well. Some of the museums include Zwinger Palace, Dresden Castle, Albertinum Modern Art Museum, and the Jagerhof Museum of Saxon Folk Art.
There are also discounts for many other museums, attractions, activities, and restaurants.