One of the most popular trips that Praguers take regularly is a day trip from Prague to Dresden. It is that type of holiday-inspired trip, usually spontaneous and fun. Of course, most of you have heard of Dresden’s great Christmas markets, but there is a whole lot more that this city can offer. So when you are putting together your to-do list or an itinerary for a short trip to Dresden, make sure to check out my recommendations below. So, let’s figure out how to make your day trip from Prague to Dresden your absolutely best weekend getaway. This itinerary is great for any time of the year: of course I didn’t ignore the Christmas Markets, but I also made sure to include the top landmarks in Dresden. Here we go…
Why a day trip from Prague to Dresden?
Well, the simple fact that this city is so popular among “weekend travelers” from Prague, means it’s probably worth checking out. Due to its accessibility, Dresden can be a great option for either a short day-trip or a weekend getaway. So, you can really squeeze this little adventure into your schedule anytime. Still, if you are not convinced about visiting Dresden, here are my top reasons why you should go for a day trip from Prague to Dresden.
The best place to visit in Germany if you’re on budget: Dresden
Well, many experienced travels recommend Dresden as one of the main places to visit in Germany. And I absolutely share this opinion. Dresden is a versatile city, packed with history, various important landmarks, and the beauty of the Elbe surrounding the city with a unique flair.
No matter what time of the year you plan to visit Dresden, you will get access to several open-air events. As an example, in spring and summer, you can discover various local markets, while in winter, you can indulge delicious stuff in some of the most prominent European Christmas markets that are generously sprinkled around Dresden.
Last but not least, in comparison to many other German cities that are worth visiting, Dresden is very affordable. It’s a great destination for foodies and shoppers on budget. And again, it’s accessibility from Prague simply makes it a very obvious choice.
Dresden’s unique architecture
A day trip from Prague to Dresden will get you the opportunity to discover very interesting architecture hidden in the old city center. As the capital of Saxony and a former royal residence, Dresden offers a wide variety of unique cases of architectural genius. Walking through the Dresden Old Town you will certainly feel like you’ve stepped in another era. Here you can enjoy beautiful baroque buildings, exquisite craftsmanship, and various ornate buildings ordered by the royal family to transform Dresden into a Jewel Box.
Rebuilt from scratch after World War II
Nowadays Dresden is a vibrant cultural center and an education hub. But it wasn’t always like this, of course. Since you are planning your itinerary for a short trip from Prague to Dresden, maybe check out some post-war photographs of Dresden city center. The thing is, Dresden was heavily bombarded during the WWII, which resulted in demolition of 85% of its historic city center. So, check out those pictures to fully appreciate how this demolished city rose again from its ashes.
Dresden is all about celebrations
Yes, yes: the best time to visit Dresden is during the winter season. The reason is quite apparent. Dresden is Germany’s Christmas capital, and each year it boasts beautiful architecture and picture-perfect setting for numerous Christmas Markets. So, if you are considering a day trip from Prague to nearby Christmas Markets in winter, Dresden is the go-to solution for you. Mittelalter-Weihnacht Medieval Market, Striezelmarkt, or the traditional Christmas Market at the Frauenkirche are among the most visited European Christmas Markets each year. So why miss this fantastic opportunity to go gift shopping in Dresden, for example?
Yeah, I totally get that. But I don’t think it’s fair to minimize Dresden to just a city for fun Christmas time-pass. There are various events dedicated to food and beverages (both beer and wine are popular in this region), folk music, arts and crafts etc. – basically name an interest you have, Dresden has an event for that. I recommend you check out upcoming events in Dresden on eventbrite.com before booking your trip to make sure you don’t miss anything fun.
Speaking of culinary delights in Dresden…
A day trip from Prague to Dresden will offer you the chance to indulge in the most exquisite German cuisine. Besides, this city has more than 800 years of wine-making tradition, being consistently ranked among the top wine-production cities in the world. One of my favorit wine bars in Dresden is Weinzentrale. The place is very atmospheric, full of locals, decent prices and always a great choice of dishes to accompany your glass of wine.
Beer and everything that goes well with it, is another big topic here. I really recommend you visit Radeberger Beer Theatre, for example – it’s a very interesting place, because it’s an active performing theater merged with a traditional German eatery. You should visit local breweries such as Radeberger or Meissner Schwerter, or you can always indulge in a microbrewery experience, of which there is an abundance in Dresden’s vibrant Neustadt area.
Don’t forget shopping in Dresden
Dresden is famous among inhabitants of its nearby cities as a great (and cheap) shopping hub. So, you most likely will stumble upon someone visiting from Prague, Brno, or several other Czech cities. Many go there because of various branded retail stored that one cannot find in Prague, others go to do cheap shopping at fast fashion retail shops like Primark.
I think a couple of thousand of Prague residents visit Dresden’s Primark and TK Max daily, because there are no stores of these retailers in the Czech Republic. I think TK Max is particularly worth checking out. This brand offers outstanding high-end brands for a fraction of the original price. Typically you find the previous season fashion collection there, or some leftover items of unpopular sizes. However, the quality is great and you can find a great catch there sometimes if you look for it thoroughly.
Ways to travel from Prague to Dresden
Prague to Dresden by bus
The best option to get from Prague to Dresden is to take the bus. It is comfortable, fast, and will get you a pleasant journey through the Czech countryside. Various bus companies are operating on the route, but the leading ones are RegioJet, Flixbus, and Eurolines. Keep in mind that the prices for bus tickets vary depending on several factors, including the connection you opt for. Also, how much in advance you book your tickets plays is a significant price factor too. Still, this is the best way to travel from Prague to Dresden, as it can offer you cost-effective deals for your tickets, along with top-notch onboard service.
I recommend you check the latest ticket prices on RegioJet website. The average rate for a ticket is 15 EUR, but they often have discounts. I love traveling with RegioJet and I usually recommend it to all my friends or colleagues that want to go for a day trip from Prague. Their buses leave from UAN Florenc bus terminal, which is close to Florenc metro station in Prague. The buses are equipped with AC and on-board Wi-Fi and a bunch of other perks, like touch-screen devices in front of every seat. These screens provide various entertainment options, such as movies, games, TV series etc. This keeps you busy during your trip, and the time flies by faster.
Road trip from Prague to Dresden
If you enjoy road trips, consider renting a car as you organize your day trip from Prague to Dresden. It is true that when compared with the bus option, traveling by car can turn out to be quite expensive. But it also offers you a notable advantage: you get a lot of flexibility while traveling, and you can stop on your way to Dresden to admire several other landmarks.
Day trip from Prague to Dresden – your best itinerary
Extend your day trip from Prague to Dresden
Now, beyond Day 1 of this itinerary, I highly recommend that you stay that one night in Dresden. First, in that case you get to explore the city centre at night, with all its lights and serenity. It’s really pretty! Second, the potential Day 2 itinerary I prepared for you below is also full of awesome landmarks. These are totally worth checking out while in Dresden. So, consider transforming your day trip from Prague to Dresden into a weekend getaway.
And while looking for accommodation, don’t go too far. I recommend you one these hotels in Altstadt area, preferably somewhere close to the Prager Strasse, because that’s the optimal location if you’re looking for something not too expensive yet central and convenient. And, of course, don’t forget to use your Revolut card when booking accommodation, to save on exchange rate when paying in Euro.
1. Start your day with a coffee at Carolaschlösschen
So, after spending the night in Dresden, I recommend you starting your day at Großer Garten. Inside its premises, in a beautiful spot near a lake, you will find the Café and restaurant Carolaschlösschen. To get here, take S1 or S2 subway from the Main Train Station, it’s only a 10 minute ride to the Dresden-Strehlen station. (follow the link to see it on Google Maps)
Here you can enjoy various coffee specialties, along with several regional and international dishes. My tip is their Saxonian breakfast. It’s delicious! Or you can also enjoy one of the many vegetarian options they offer. I really like it here because the view falls over the garden and lets you enjoy the peaceful landscape in the heart of Dresden.
One really cool thing they offer is a their picnic basket. For around 45 EUR/person, you can ask them to prepare a picnic basket for you with all the equipment needed for a nice picnic in the park. Order online on their website if you speak German (or ask your hotel staff for help). Then pick it up when you arrive, and enjoy your meal somewhere in the park. And of course, after a nice kick of caffeine a walk in the garden is a must. It is so beautiful!
2. Großer Garten
Allow at least two hours to explore the surrounding Großer Garten. This is the biggest garden in Dresden and it hosts several prominent buildings, a zoo and a botanical garden. Those who like modern architecture, would probably appreciate the Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory building at the edge of the park. It’s open daily from 9:30 AM and offers guided tours and test-drive experience.
Back to the park! You will quickly see how the pathways are designed symmetrically all around the park making it a very pleasant place for walks. You will also find the Sommerpalais, a somewhat modest, but beautiful building of an old palace, that adds a lot of flair to the park. Check this place out, it’s worth it!
3. Kunsthof passage
After spending your morning in the charming Grosser garden, let’s add some intrigue and cross the river to see Dresden’s New Town and it’s different faces.
Your first stop the New Town is going to be an Arts center called Kunsthofpassage. It’s not like any other museum or Arts center. Oh, not at all! It’s an intricate labyrinth of inner yards of various buildings in one of the neighborhoods of the New Town. This Arts center connects the yards with each other and offers a very weird and exciting view on the buildings, as well as a ton of curious stuff to discover inside those buildings.
Inside you can find ateliers and exhibition galleries, as well as little shops, cafes and restaurants. Even if you decide you don’t want to go inside any of these buildings, simply exploring the 5 interconnecting courts is an experience to remember! Each of this courtyards is designed around a different topic – animals, elements, metamorphosis etc. So, it’s already worth checking out this spot just to roam around and take really cool pictures. This is a very vibrant space, full of youthful and creative energy. So, definitely make sure you don’t miss it.
The easiest way to get there from the Grosser garden is by tram, number 13 to be precise. Take it from Querallee stop to Gorlitzer Str. Nordbad stop, and then just walk up the street until you reach the Hopfelkult craft beer store. The entrance to the passage is just next to it.
4. Neustadter Markthalle
Now, let’s check out the main market of this area of the city. As you come out of the passage on the other side, head down the Alaunstrasse. Move in the South-East direction all the way to the New Town Market. It will take you about 15 minutes to walk there.
Now, you’ve reached the New Town Market. It’s an old building, which has recently been fully renovated and modernized. Inside, you can find a range of kiosks with farmers produce, food and beverages being served, household items being sold as well as different crafts. Roam around, indulge in some local treats and maybe consider buying some souvenirs here. They are going to be much cheaper than those in the Old Town.
And while you are here, you can stop to take a look at another religious jewel of Dresden – Dreikonigskirche. It’s a church right across the market. This building is a mix of architectural approaches, which makes it so interesting. The floor plan is a typical Greek cross, while the front features a strong Baroque vibe. It’s pretty odd, but very interesting to check out.
5. Check out Dresden’s Old Town panorama
From here, let’s head to the river side to the Canaletto-Blick, where you get to see a beautiful panorama of the Old Town. However, as you are walking down there, pay attention to the buildings that surround you on the Hauptstrasse. You will notice that this is a completely different picture of Dresden comparing to what you observed in the Old Town. This is the part of the city that uncovers its communist years after the WWII. It’s fascinating when you think of the decades they spent under the regime, and how it impacted the look of the city.
Canaletto-Blick is a very curious viewing point, from where a beautiful panorama of the Dresden’s Old Town opens. What’s interesting is that here you can find a metal frame that marks the area which is depicted on Canaletto’s painting of the city. The painting is printed and available next to the frame. That way you can compare the picture of the 18th century Dresden with what you see in the frame today.
This is obviously a perfect spot for take panoramic pictures of the Old Town, but also to walk around, sit down on the grass and chill for a bit. It’s a very popular spot where locals come for a Sunday picnic, families come with children etc.
Final thoughts on your day trip from Prague to Dresden
That’s it, this is the end of the Day 2 in your itinerary, in case you decided to ditch the idea of just a day trip from Prague to Dresden and followed my advice to stay here overnight. I’ll leave you with this beautiful panoramic view of the Old Town. From here, you can just cross the Augustus Bridge and walk all the way down across the Old Town to the Main Train station. That’s where your RegioJet bus is waiting for you, or your car is parked. It’s just 30 minutes walk. So, don’t rush, and enjoy the beautiful Dresden views around you.
I hope this itinerary will help you make the best of your day trip from Prague to Dresden, or your weekend getaway, for that matter. Prague’s location in the heart of Europe is one of its biggest advantages for those who enjoy traveling and exploring new places in short city breaks. Enjoy your travels!