The picturesque city of Dresden sits on the banks of the River Elbe. It’s become an important destination for travel in Germany, thanks to its rich history and the carefully restored city centre.
When deciding where to stay in Dresden, most tourists choose the central part of the city.
After nearly getting wiped out during World War II, the city centre was completely renovated. Most of the restoration work occurred in the past few decades after the reunification of Germany.
Dresden is now one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and has plenty of attractions to explore. It holds troves of treasures and fine art pieces spread across its multiple places, museums and churches.
From the restored neoclassical architecture in Inner Altstadt to the shopping malls in the surrounding neighbourhoods, Dresden offers a great combination of historic sites and modern luxuries.
Not sure where to sleep? Start your accommodations search with this guide to the best areas to stay in Dresden…
Where to stay in Dresden: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods and areas for travellers
Dresden is one of the most populous cities in the country with eight districts and many neighbourhoods.
Flanking both sides of the Elbe River, the neighbourhoods of Neustadt and Altstadt receive the most visitors. These areas contain the city’s main historic sites and cultural attractions. You can easily navigate the city streets as you go visit baroque churches, old administrative buildings, and small art galleries.
Outside of the central area of the city, you’ll find a varied landscape. To the south is the city’s commercial hub with fashionable boutique shops and sportswear stores.
To the west is the hipster part of Dresden where visitors can find small local shops, lots of organic food options, and a power plant that has been creatively converted into a cultural centre.
No matter where you stay, most sites should remain within walking distance or a short commute on the local train.
A few of the best places to stay in Dresden include:
- Inner Altstadt
- Inner Neustadt
- Wilsdruffer Vorstadt
- Seevorstadt West
✔ Best area to stay for history buffs and sightseeing
Inner Altstadt provides access to the top things to see & do in Dresden. It’s home to the Dresden Armory and Zwinger.
Altstadt is also where you’ll find Frauenkirche. An 18th-century Lutheran church that was nearly destroyed during the war, Frauenkirche is now one of the most visited attractions.
During the Soviet era, East Germany refused to restore the church or many of the other damaged buildings. Luckily, restoration work was completed in the past several decades. You can now tour the church and the other historic sites.
This neighbourhood also has many places to eat, drink, and shop, giving you a well-rounded experience. After a day of sightseeing and local cuisine, you can take in a show at the Semper Opera or the State Theater of the Green Vault.
Altstadt remains the centre of city life in Dresden. If you want to check out all the historic attractions and main cultural institutions, this district is your best option.
Due to its central location, Altstadt is also within quick reach of the other popular districts and neighbourhoods. If you’re staying for more than one day, you can find accommodations in Altstadt and easily explore the rest of the city.
Recommended hotels in Inner Altstadt
Inner Altstadt is where you’ll find some of the best hotels in Dresden due to its rich history and tourist attractions but you may need to book early. Many of these options are housed inside restored 17th-century and 18th-century buildings and within walking distance of the main historic sites.
- Aparthotels Munzgasse An der Frauenkirche: This boutique-style hotel is located a block from the waterfront. It’s also next to Frauenkirche and the Old Marketplace. Staying here helps cut down on travel time when visiting the main attractions in the city. The hotel also offers a free breakfast buffet and shuttle service to the airport.
- NH Collection Dresden Altmarkt: Located right behind Altmarkt and across the street from Kreuzkirche Dresden, this hotel is near two of the top sources for shopping and historic sightseeing. The rooms are also spacious while the ground floor of the hotel has a bar and on-site restaurant.
- Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe: With rooms that offer views of Neumarkt, this classy hotel is near the centre of the old district and places you close to one of the largest markets in the city. You can also enjoy a tasty breakfast buffet with international and regional options.
✔ Best area to stay for foodies and boutique shopping
Directly across the Elbe River and north of Altstadt, you’ll reach the Neustadt district.
Neustadt includes two main neighbourhoods — Inner and Outer Neustadt. The inner area includes the old buildings and waterfront commercial area while the outer part of the district remains mostly residential.
As with Altstadt, Neustadt suffered major damage from the Allied bombings during World War II. It also has lots of historic sites that needed restoration after the reunification of Germany.
Today, Inner Neustadt is an elegant part of the city with an upscale commercial strip along the waterfront and posh boutique stores.
One of the more popular areas of this district is the baroque quarter. Home to art galleries, international restaurants, and cafes with courtyard seating, this area has a bohemian feel.
Other areas to explore include the 18th-century Japanisches Palace and the Victorian-style Neustadter Markhalle. The palace has its own technology and history museums while the market offers even more dining options.
Foodies should love the eclectic mix of eateries and cafes in the area. You can find everything from local cuisine to Mediterranean dishes. Of course, you’ll also get to enjoy authentic German brew at the many beer gardens near the river.
Recommended hotels in Inner Neustadt
Inner Neustadt offers a variety of options including modern three-star business hotels and luxury five-star accommodations. Many of the hotels are near the waterfront, providing convenient access to Altstadt. No matter where you stay, you’ll likely find lower rates compared to the options on the other side of the river.
- Relais and Chateaux Bulow Palais: This five-star hotel has elegantly furnished rooms that match the style of the Baroque-inspired building. Highlights include a modern spa and an on-site restaurant with German specialties and European cuisine. Of course, it’s also within walking distance of major sites.
- Park Inn by Radisson Dresden: The colourful décor and furnishings of this three-star hotel provides a complete contrast to the surrounding historic architecture. The hotel is just a five-minute walk from the river and offers spacious rooms, some of which have views of the waterfront.
- Motel One Dresden – Palaisplatz: Located across the street from the Japanese Palace, this three-star hotel places you near the centre of the action in Neustadt. A wide variety of restaurants, shops, and historic attractions are a short walk away.
✔ Best area to stay for nightlife and culture
During your Germany itinerary, it’s easy to overlook some of the neighbourhoods outside of the central area. If you skip Wilsdruffer Vorstadt, you’re missing out.
This suburb is known for its vibrant nightlife and hipster culture. Wilsdruffer also has its own museums and historic sites, including the oldest suburban church in Dresden.
The highlight of this area is Kraftwerk Mitte. The former power plant was converted into a cultural centre and now houses a popular dance club and multiple theatres. Take in a show and enjoy live opera, cabaret, or an original drama.
As it is a hipster area, you have an interesting assortment of restaurants and shops to explore. Most of the eateries offer vegan, vegetarian and organic dishes but you’ll also find old-school options, including traditional German restaurants with their own beer gardens.
The shopping in the area includes boutique shops and little shopping alleys with stores selling handmade goods.
Wilsdruffer Vorstadt is just west of Altstadt, allowing you to easily travel to the city centre for a day of sightseeing. In the evening, retreat to Wilsdruffer for drinks and partying along the lively streets lined with clubs and bars.
Recommended hotels in Wilsdruffer Vorstadt
The Wilsdruffer suburb doesn’t have a lot of hotels to choose from but the available options provide comfortable rooms at unbeatable rates. You can stay at any of the three-star or four-star hotels located a short walk from neighbouring Altstadt.
- Hotel Indigo Dresden – Wettiner Platz: This hotel is across from one of the public parks and on a major street taking you into the older district. The lobby and individual rooms feature elegant furnishings, helping you feel as if you’re staying in a five-star hotel.
- Aparthotel Mitte: Located at the western edge of Wilsdruffer, this hotel is a little further but still close enough to walk to Inner Altstadt. The rooms are also kind of small but comfortable. Each room has its own mini kitchen with counters, sinks, a fridge, and a small stove.
- Residenz am Zwinger: This hotel boasts one of the best locations in the suburb, located across from Zwinger. Besides hotel rooms, this location has studios and apartments for rent if you plan on staying for more than a few days.
✔ Best area to stay for modern shopping and family travel
As the commercial centre of Dresden, Seevorstadt West provides endless shopping and entertainment. It’s the perfect destination for families and those who enjoy browsing aisle after aisle of luxury goods.
Many of the top stores are found inside the 19th-century Hauptbahnhof Train Station and the surrounding area. If you take a walk along Prager Strasse, you’ll find even more shops along with street musicians and entertainers.
This area also has many iconic buildings from the Soviet era, including Rundkino — a large cylindrical cinema built in the 1970s. While the cinema always plays the latest U.S. blockbusters, it also presents live broadcasts of special events. Enjoy ballet, opera, and theatre performances on the big screen.
Overall, this area has more of a residential atmosphere compared to other parts of the city. The casual dining options cater to families. You’ll feel at home eating at fast-food chains and pizzerias.
While Seevorstadt West has many modern conveniences, it borders the historic city centre. After finishing up your shopping along Prager Strasse, cross the busy public boulevard to reach Altstadt.
Recommended hotels in Seevorstadt West
As with Wilsdruffer, Seevorstadt West doesn’t offer a lot of hotel options. It’s a mostly residential and commercial area with a few good mid-range hotels. These options tend to cater to business travellers and families with tighter budgets.
- The Student Hotel Dresden: This hotel is on Prager Strasse, the main street in the neighbourhood for shopping and dining. It’s a modern hotel with colourful rooms and amenities that should appeal to younger travellers. You can play video games in the game room, rent a bike, and work out in the gym.
- Pullman Dresden Newa: This hotel is also located on Prager Strasse but a little further south. Most of the rooms offer panoramic views of the city and glass spa showers. You can also enjoy Mediterranean and regional cuisine at the on-site restaurant.
- Intercity Hotel Dresden: Located just south of Wiener Platz, this hotel is the furthest from Altstadt. It’s also directly across from Dresden Central Station so you can hop on a bus and travel to any part of the city. The rooms have modern décor with warm neutral tones, helping you relax after a long day exploring Dresden.