Christmas in Dresden

Stephen Bellingham on 23 December 2019
I have long wanted to visit Dresden and I was not disappointed.

We arrived on the last day of the Christmas markets - my favourite was the very colourful Medieval-themed one in the palace old courtyard where we enjoyed local food and drink like Spätzle and Bratvurst. Perhaps the biggest surprise was finding a few ‘Medieval’ locals in a hot tub in the ‘altogether’!

In the plaza outside the main church on the 23rd they held a vespers church service with full orchestra and choir which was beautiful. With a small Christmas market in the square this was the largest group of people we were to see in one place during the holiday. Returning to the square the following morning we were again surprised to find everything had been cleared and not a soul in sight!

Next was to explore the old city with a local guide to find out all about Dresden’s fascinating history and also the good restaurant options. To finish Christmas Eve German style (as they celebrate on Christmas Eve) we had roast goose with breadcrumbed dumplings which was lovely.

Christmas Day was a special treat with a visit to the mesmerising ballet, ‘The Nutcracker’, at the Dresden Opera House. The Opera House has to be one of the most beautiful in the world, rebuilt in its original 1841 form after it was virtually destroyed during the Second World War bombing.

On Boxing Day we visited the main church, the Frauenkirche, looking to buy tickets for the evening concert there. Once inside we were lucky to be able to listen to the rehearsal for the concert - the most beautiful music in a truly beautiful venue.

Next we ventured out to the fascinating Dresden Panometer which had a free shuttle bus from the city centre. This was an extraordinary 360 degree panoramic painting inside a disused gasometer, showing the city devastated by the bombing in 1945. A very interesting, intense and humbling experience.

The city has a great network of trams, trains and buses which offer a regular and easy way to explore the city. We used public transport to see many of the sights such as the Military Museum with its blend of classical and modern architecture.

Dresden is also a good city to see by foot, exploring the many museums, rebuilt churches, palaces, cellars and city walls.

One of the things that sticks out, other than the fascinating history, was the friendliness of the locals. If you want somewhere a little less well-visited for a city break you can’t go far wrong with Dresden.