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Dresden: 6 nights too many?

Old Aug 15th, 2014, 04:05 AM
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Dresden: 6 nights too many?

Hello, I am 50, fairly fit traveling alone without a car and deciding how to split my 11 nights between Berlin and Dresden + any suggestions. I like slow travel. Never been to either. Any suggestions welcome especially regarding Dresden. I am thinking 5 or 6 nights in Berlin. I am not a big city person. I like long scenic walks or easy biking routes. I'd like to attend some concerts too. Thank you.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 04:05 AM
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PS I am leaving August 21st
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 04:53 AM
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I'm putting the finishing touches on my upcoming trip to Dresden, Potsdam, and Berlin. I have 5 full days in Dresden (not counting arrival day) and could have used more time there; probably another day. I have 8 days in Berlin and am desperately attempting to jam it all in. I also like to travel leisurely and not run from sight to sight but schedule down time to reflect on what I've seen and wander around just looking.

I had some really good help from a poster who lives in Dresden (ingo) and he will chime in on this thread when he sees it.

In Dresden there is a church that has Vespers on Saturdays at 5:00 (and other concerts). There is the Semperoper that gives performances.

You need to prebook the Green Vault and Semperoper tour tickets.

If you'd like a copy of my itinerary (and notes on sights) for Dresden send me an email (see my profile for email address). I haven't quite finished the Berlin portion but if you want that it will motivate me to finish it up today or tomorrow.

If you book the train ticket between Dresden and Berlin ahead there is a discount of about E10.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 08:06 AM
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Go to the first city and leave when you are ready to leave. There is no need to decide beforehand how long is long enough. Having to 'decide' how to split your time beforehand or even whether to split it at all, is self-imposed.

I always find the idea that someone can decide beforehand how long a place will hold their interest, ridiculous.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 08:16 AM
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I'd say six nights in Dresden is a bit much for most - the city's attractions are in a compact area and though there are neat day trips like to Saxon Switzerland - a beautiful river valley just south of Dresden - great place to fulfill you idea of outdoors beauty and walks - I would be hard-pressed to find things to do for that long.

Berlin can easily occupy six days or more - lots in town and easy day trips galore.

But I'd say make three bases - take about 3 days away from Dresden and base say in another region - like in the Leipzig area - in a smaller gem like Weimar or Naumburg - small cute cities - a plethora of day trips from any base there - and short ones - Leipzig itself, Eisenach for the castle where Martin Luther holed up in hiding once - Erfurt a larger but fascinating city, Weimar with its Bauhaus things or Naumburg - just a neat old town - all of these are within an hour of each other by train.

Or bop over to the Rhine/Mosel area and spend 3-4 days there.

Berlin six days - lots to do - Dresden, after having been there several times, a few days for the city tops and a day trip or two - the other Dresden day trip that is popular goes to nearby Meissen - a nice old town with huge castle and renown Meissen Porcelain Factory and Museum.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 09:17 AM
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We just spent 6 nights in Dresden last March and enjoyed it immensely. There is a lot to see in town, plus outside there is Saxon Switzerland which we didn't get to, and Festung Königstein which we had seen during a previous visit.

Leipzig would make a good day trip if you felt the need to get out of town... If you like slow travel, 6 nights is about right.

You might see if you can get tickets to an opera while you're there. We got to see a production of Carmen at the Semperoper.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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I wouldn't want to spend 6 nights in Dresden itself, 3-4 were enough. If you are going outside the city during that stay, okay.

Both of those are big cities, of course. What did you plan to do in Dresden all that time, anyway, if you don't like big cities?
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 11:02 AM
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I think 6 days is too much. I second all the suggestions PalenQ made.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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IMHO Berlin has SO much more to see and do that I would spend way more time there and perhaps 3 days is plenty for Dresden.

But then I am a city person and want to see every museums and cathedral and just walk the various city neighborhoods.

I would make a list of what your must sees/do are in each place to help decide.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 09:13 PM
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I could give you ideas for 2 weeks in Dresden, if you are willing to include the surroundings like Saxon Switzerland National Park, Meissen, the castles, palaces and gardens in the area and other small towns that are not farther away than an hour by train (Freiberg is a half hour, Pirna 21 minutes, Bautzen 50 minutes e.g.)

It also depends on how much you are interested in the museums - The world-class State Art Collections have 12 museums (I think), and you could easily spend 3 days seeing them alone. Then there's the excellent Hygiene Museum (on life in general, not just hygiene!), the amazing Military museum (with special focus on the effect of war on civilians), the museums run by the city (a few on history, tech collection, composer Carl Maria von Weber, on the special relations to Poland etc.), the Transportation museum ...

And what about paddle steamer trips on the river, scenic narrow-gauge steam train rides, a ride on the funicular or the first suspension railway in the world? Shopping, wine tasting, seeing art galleries ... Oh, and the many churches, the memorial sites on WWII and communist era and much more. 6 nights too many? I don't think so for someone who got the information on what there is to do and see.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 09:39 PM
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If you are not a "big city person," try to get out of the two big cities you will be visiting. I recommend a diversion to Görlitz, the eastern-most town in Germany (and right on the Polish border) which escaped damage in World War II and is full of delightful old buildings. It is delightfully "untouristy."

You can walk across a pedestrian bridge over to Poland; the town was split down the middle after World War II when part of Germany was "given" to Poland. The Polish side is much poorer - but it is an interesting experience to explore both. The German side is charming.

Getting from Berlin to Görlitz by train takes at least one change - I traveled the other direction on a Saturday and two changes were required for some reason but still not difficult. There are daily direct trains between Dresden and Görlitz, though. I recommend spending at least a night, but you could do it easily as a day trip from Dresden as well.

I also enjoyed a few hours hiking at Saxon Switzerland National Park. I had only a brief visit to Meissen. Both are on the same S-Bahn line, except they are opposite directions from Dresden. If you buy a day pass on the train with enough zones, the same ticket will cover visiting both.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 02:23 AM
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Wow, thank you all for the helpful response. I am slowly digesting the information. I was slammed at work yesterday and couldn't check the forum.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 05:22 AM
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tangwah - I'm the opposite to nyt in that i like big cities for a short while, but prefer smaller ones for longer stays. so i would be spending 3-4 days in Berlin and the rest of the time in Dresden. i like to get to know a place and to begin to feel at home there - to find the best cafe, bar, corner shop, to be able to say hello to the waiter and have them recognise me. this is far more likely to happen in a smaller place like Dresden than in a big one like Berlin, and Dresden has more than enough to do to entertain you for a week or so.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 05:33 AM
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Ingo is our Fodors resident Dresden expert so definitely heed his tips on things to do.

With 6 nights I'd plan at least one, maybe even 2 overnights out of town in Saxon Switzerland area - there are plenty of small hotels near Bad Schandau.

The area is easily accessible by train from Dresden, or if you wish you could bike one or both ways. An ideal trip for me would be to train with my bike to Bad Schandau or Schmilka, explore the sandstone mountains for a day hike, then ride back to Dresden.

I don't know if D-bahn has a luggage shipping service. If they did, that would be ideal to ship a bag back to DRS train station and make a long day drip down river on bike with just a day pack. You could stop at Koenigstein along the way.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 08:08 AM
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this is far more likely to happen in a smaller place like Dresden>

but Dresden is Germany's 11th largest cities with more than a half million residents - what is 'smaller' - Dresden is still a very large city - not as large as much larger Berlin but just as dense - I do not see what you can do in a Dresden to get to know the locals that you could not do in a neighborhood of Berlin.

so I do not think it far more likely to happen in a city of 1/2 million anymore than in one of 2 million - neighborhoods are neighborhoods - settle in and get to know the barrista, etc.

Smnaller actually means usually less to see and do and this is the case with Dresden - we are talking about major sights for average tourists and IME of doing Dresden several times it at most would occupy the average tourists' interest for a max of two days in the city itself.

Yes a great base from which to hop to other gems.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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I love Dresden and could easily spend six days there and not run out of things to do. I spent four weeks there in December 2011 and was fascinated by the city. There are myriad day trip opportunities as well -- Meissen and Gorlitz are just two of the more common ones. We are going back to this part of Germany in December and we deliberately chose to make our stay in Dresden the longest in the trip. Can't wait!
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 09:34 AM
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Thanks again to all, and Adrienne for sharing her itinerary with me.
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 03:32 PM
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we were in both berlin and Dresden this past spring... berlin of course has far more to do and could keep you busy for a long time---it's truly world class.

we have been to both cities before and certainly will return again.


Dresden is amazing. we were lucky enough to stay in the Hilton in the historic district, surrounded by the famous churches and vast museums, plus tons of restaurants. see if you can work out a deal with them... I think I paid 112E in may. shop early. the river is just in back of the hotel.

Ingo made me eat too much cake there... he is a local, btw.

if you like museums you could easily spend 5 days there and more... the surrounding small towns are lovely too. we spent a couple of nights in Gorlitz---real nice little town.
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