One of Central Europe’s major rivers, the Elbe River runs through the heart of Dresden. It has played an important role in Germany’s history, forming part of the border between East and West Germany during the Cold War. Today the Elbe River is a popular spot for boat tours and views of landmarks like the Dresden Opera House.
The Elbe River flows beneath the Blue Wonder Bridge, one of Dresden’s famous architectural landmarks. The river separates the Old Town and the New Town of Dresden and offers views of the Dresden skyline. Go for a stroll along the River Elbe to see views of the Royal Palace, Zwinger Palace, and the cathedral. Several city tours including river boat tours and walking tours offer views of the Elbe River.
Things to know before you go
- The Elbe River is a must-see attraction for travelers seeking fresh air or a scenic place for a walk or jog.
- There is a pedestrian walkway along the Blue Wonder Bridge that connects both sides of the Elbe River.
- Wear comfortable shoes (and maybe skip the flip-flops) for river boat tours.
How to get there
The Elbe River winds through Dresden between the northwest and the southeast, eventually emptying out into the North Sea. The river is flanked by green spaces and walkways with easy access to top city landmarks including the Dresden Frauenkirche. It is accessible by many tram stops on both sides of the river.
When to get there
One of the most striking times of day for a river boat tour is during the twilight hours. Go for a ride on the Elbe River to see the city’s architectural landmarks light up after dark. The riverside is a popular place at any time of day for walking or jogging. During nice weather, it is used for picnics and sunbathing. Travelers interested in music may want to plan a visit during the annual Dresden Music Festival in May.
Beyond the River
In addition to river boat tours, there are many other ways to explore Dresden. Get a bird’s-eye view of the city with a sightseeing tour over Dresden in a private plane, zip along the riverside on a Segway, or get behind the wheel for a self-drive guided tour.