48 Hours in Dresden: A 2 Day Itinerary

Exploring Dresden for two days is an underrated experience. Why? It’s a beautiful city. The architecture is stunning, there are plenty of museums and galleries to explore, plus there are many unique local restaurants that serve delicious traditional dishes.

Visit the Frauenkirche Church or the Semperoper Opera House, both iconic landmarks in their own right, or for a more cultural experience, the Zwinger Palace offers great insight into the city’s culture and history. Stroll along the Elbe River or relax and admire the beauty in Grosser Garten.

Of course, no trip would be complete without indulging in some traditional German cuisine – bratwurst with sauerkraut or potato pancakes are classic local favourites! And don’t forget to sample their freshly brewed beer.

Dresden, Germany. Panoramic  cityscape image of Dresden, Germany with reflection of the city in the Elbe river, during sunset.

And the best time to visit Dresden? Being a city with so much to offer both indoors and out, Dresden can truly be enjoyed all year round, but the best time to visit is arguably between late spring and early autumn.

And what about where to stay in Dresden? This is key to planning your perfect 48 hours in Dresden.

For the easiest access to the city’s main attractions, we recommend staying in the Old Town (Altstadt) in the heart of the city.

If you prefer a more modern take on the city, consider staying in the Dresden Neustadt (the “new town”). Known for its exciting party scene and edgy eastern German culture, Dresden’s Neustadt also offers a larger variety of accommodation. 

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Making last-minute plans for your Dresden itinerary. We’ve got you covered. Our recommended hotels and tours for a getaway are listed below.

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Overview Of 2 Days In Dresden Itinerary

For those of you wondering, Is Dresden worth visiting?, the answer is a resounding yes. From the royal palace, to the impressive street art, to the historic Dresden Frauenkirche and the ornate Dresden Porcelain Collection, a weekend in Dresden is well worth your time.

We’ll help you determine the best things to do in Dresden, sprinkled with some downtime and great meals, too. So, without further ado, let’s dive into your itinerary for 48 hrs in Dresden.

Day 1 in Dresden:

  • Treat yourself to a classic German breakfast
  • Visit the Frauenkirche Dresden
  • Tour the Zwinger Palace and Dresden Porcelain Collection
  • Indulge in a traditional German lunch
  • Stroll along the Elbe River
  • Enjoy a scenic and traditional dinner
  • See the opera at Semperoper Opera House
  • Experience Dresden nightlife in Neustadt

Day 2 in Dresden:

  • Have breakfast in a Baroque cafe
  • Visit the Dresden Castle
  • Tour the Grosser Garten
  • Enjoy a scenic beer garden lunch
  • Visit the Pfund’s Molkerei
  • Shop and explore in Neustadt
  • Return to the Old Town for dinner and drinks
Dresden, Germany. Image of Dresden, Germany with the Dresden Frauenkirche  during twilight blue hour.

Day 1 in Dresden:

Treat yourself to a classic German breakfast

Start your day at Café Apotheke, a cafe housed inside an old pharmacy. Grab a coffee –  Germany is known for its strong, full-bodied blends – and a cake, and soak up the atmosphere before heading out.

Be sure to get your hands on some home-baked German bread and local meats and cheeses. Germans are known to have quite the spread for breakfast, and this will serve as the perfect fuel for your busy day ahead. 

Visit the Frauenkirche Dresden

First stop Frauenkirche, an iconic symbol of the city with stunning architecture and a must-see when visiting Dresden. Climb to the top of the tower to experience panoramic views of the city. Amazing!

The Frauenkirche was actually destroyed during World War II, but was rebuilt completely in the late 20th century. Today, the rebuilt structure harkens back to its original Baroque design. 

Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) on New Market square (Neumarkt), Dresden, Germany

Tour the Zwinger Palace and Dresden Porcelain Collection

Truly a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, Zwinger Palace’s magnificent gardens, fountains, and New Green Vault – the largest collection of treasure in all of Europe – will leave you in awe at its seemingly endless rooms of ornate treasures.

The Zwinger Palace is also home to the Dresden Porcelain Collection, another incredible display of refined European artistry, where you’ll find the finest and most extensive collection of porcelain arguably in the world.

With over 20,000 artefacts on display, many of which are from China and Japan, you can’t miss this impressive collection while visiting Dresden.

Tour Pick
DRESDEN, GERMANY - Famous Zwinger palace (Der Dresdner Zwinger) Art Gallery of Dresden, Saxrony, Germany

Shared Walking Tour

  • 2 hours 
  • Max of 15 people 
  • Local guide
Baroque Dresden, Zwinger museum

Indulge in a traditional German lunch

Alte Meister Restaurant, located just outside the Zwinger Palace, offers local Northern German cuisine and wines in a beautiful outdoor patio setting. Be sure to try some of the local dishes, such as a fish filet sandwich or chicken breast. 

Stroll along the Elbe River

Walk off your lunch on the banks of the Elbe River, just a stone’s throw from the Zwinger Palace, with plenty of walking paths and grassy areas to enjoy. The Elbe River is one of the most picturesque in Germany, with waterfront parks and bistros lining its shores – a great place to spend a few hours.

Scenic summer view of the Old Town architecture with Elbe river embankment in Dresden, Saxony, Germany

Enjoy a scenic and traditional dinner

Pulverturm is an incredibly atmospheric restaurant that taps into Dresden’s medieval history while serving up some of the best food in the city. Eat and drink in a centuries old building or enjoy views of the Elbe River from the outside patio.

See the opera at Semperoper Opera House

End the day with a visit to the Semperoper, the iconic opera house known for its exquisite performances, as well as being one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world.

Dating back to 1667, the famed opera house is home to both the Dresden opera and its ballet company, too. Be sure to check the schedule for performances and book tickets in advance.

Dresden, Saxony. Opera house of Dresda, on a sunny day with blue sky. Germany landmark.

Experience Dresden nightlife in Neustadt

After a long day of exploring Dresden, head over to Neustadt after dinner to experience the lively eastern German nightlife that Dresden is known for. There are loads of bustling bars and clubs in Dresden which have an eastern German edge to them that you won’t find in many other places. 

Day 2 in Dresden

Have breakfast in a Baroque cafe

Start your day on a high note with breakfast at the Coselpalais Dresden, a baroque-style cafe housed within a historic building, where you’ll find everything from coffee, to cakes, to freshly made eggs and salads.

Take some time to relax in this scenic cafe, sip on a coffee, and take in the atmosphere. Germans don’t like to rush their meals, and breakfast is no exception. 

Visit the Dresden Castle

The Dresden Castle (Residenzschloss) is a stately old palace that was largely destroyed in World War II but has since been refurbished as a state art museum. Its iconic domed courtyard and various exhibitions make this historic site well worth a visit, so give yourself time to wander through at your leisure. 

Tour Pick
DRESDEN GERMANY-Dresden Castle (Green Vault) in the historic center of Dresden. Green Vault in Dresden is a unique historic museum that contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe. Saxony Germany.

Dresden Castle tour

  • 2.5 hours 
  • Max of 15 people 
  • Admission included
DRESDEN GERMANY-Dresden Castle (Green Vault) in the historic center of Dresden. Green Vault in Dresden is a unique historic museum that contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe. Saxony Germany.

Tour the Grosser Garten

A short trip from Dresden you’ll find the Grosser Garten, a large park with beautifully manicured gardens and the Zwinger Palace as a backdrop. Lounge on the lawns and read a book or simply soak up the surrounding beauty. Enjoy a leisurely stroll or rent a paddleboat to explore the park’s lake, or visit the Dresden Zoo.

Baroque palace reflected in waters of Palaisteich in Grosser Garten in Dresden

Enjoy a scenic beer garden lunch

A visit to Germany wouldn’t be complete without a beer garden pit stop. While in the Grosser Garten, pop into the Sommercafé am Palaisteich or the Torwirtschaft Dresden. These classic German beer gardens serve up freshly brewed beer, local dishes, and a relaxed vibe among the park’s scenery. 

Visit the Pfund’s Molkerei

Visit the Pfund’s Molkerei, a stunning milk shop that holds the Guinness World Record for the most beautiful dairy shop in the world. Admire its intricate tile decor and indulge in a delicious ice-cream treat.

Shop and explore in Neustadt

Head back to Dresden Neustadt, a vibrant district known for its alternative culture and street art scene, and explore the trendy shops, cafes, and galleries.

Return to the Old Town for dinner and drinks

Top off your weekend in Dresden with dinner at Sophienkeller, a traditional German cellar restaurant offering locally-inspired dishes. After dinner, wander round the winding streets of Dresden before bidding adieu to this enchanting city.

Neumarkt square in the old town of Dresden, Germany.

Extra time? Take a day trip from Dresden

Our itinerary offers a jam-packed 48 hours in Dresden, but if you’re wanting more, why not head outside the city limits for a day trip? With Prague, Leipzig, Berlin, and Nuremberg all within a few hours by train, these famous cities make for great day trip options from Dresden.

Other day trip options include the Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft Nature Park, a renowned nature reserve close to the city, or the Moritzburg Palace, a stunning palace located just 20km from Dresden’s city center.

For small town vibes, visit Görlitz, a charming little village with quaint streets and impressive architecture, or opt for Seiffen, a 14th century town that’s lovingly known as Toy Village because of its handmade toys and artefacts. 

Gorlitz, Germany. Cityscape image of historical downtown of Gorlitz, Germany during dramatic sunset.

FAQs About 2 Days In Dresden

Dresden is a city filled with rich culture that can be explored in two days! A must-see spot in the city is the magnificent Zwinger Palace.

Located near the Elbe River, this palace contains several breathtaking palatial buildings and gardens to explore. Another popular attraction is the Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady.

This Baroque-style Lutheran church has been rebuilt since its destruction in World War II and now stands tall as a reminder of Dresden’s resilient spirit. To soak up more of Dresden’s history, check out the Green Vault at Dresden Castle, home to some of Europe’s most precious treasures.

The city also offers plenty of shopping opportunities and restaurants for all kinds of tastes. With two days to spare in this beautiful city, you can make sure to get an unforgettable experience!

Two days in Dresden is enough to experience the city’s main attractions and have a taste of its culture and charm. Choose your options well and you’ll be surprised at how much you can see in two days – a few museums, a city center tour, spend time on the banks of Elbe River.

Absolutely! From its stunning architecture, including the Zwinger Palace and Frauenkirche, to its world-class restaurants and vibrant nightlife, Dresden offers something for everyone.

2-Day Itinerary for Dresden Wrap-up

With its historical treasures, cultural landmarks, and natural beauty, Dresden is a city well worth exploring. In just 48 hours in Dresden, you can immerse yourself in its rich history, admire architectural wonders, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of this captivating city.

Whether you’re drawn to the historical charm of the Altstadt, the cultural offerings of the Zwinger Palace, or the artistic vibe of Neustadt, Dresden has something for everyone. Time to pack your bags, follow this itinerary, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Dresden.

Recommended tours in Dresden


  • Christina Germano Danczuk

    Meet Christina, a New York native with a love for Italy's limoncello spritz. Having explored 30 countries across the US, Europe, and Canada, her background in journalism and corporate communication, enriched by time in Germany, shapes her diverse travel experiences | As a devoted wife and mother, Christina effortlessly balances family life with romantic adventures. Specializing in family and couples' travel, she offers insights into journeys with children and intimate trips. Her expertise spans The Americas and Europe, with a special passion for integrating Italy's iconic drink, limoncello, into her travels.

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