Lazily Bike Around Dresden. Can you Spot the Zebras and Giraffes?
One of the best ways to explore a city when in a strict time crunch is to rent a bicycle. The ease of travel allows greater freedom to see more sights, keep moving if something is not interesting and to easily veer off course if you see something that tickles your fancy. When my boyfriend, at the time, and I were in Dresden for less than 24 hours, on our way to Poland, renting bicycles seemed the logical choice. We decided to try out their public bike share program. What a pain that was.
We couldn’t pay at the terminals, the app wasn’t developed yet (which didn’t matter as it would have cost a fortune in data usage) and I didn’t want to use my phone to call the hotline (again more fees). Nearby we found an information center and they kindly placed the call. However, the codes they provided wouldn’t unlock the bikes, they were for bikes at a terminal five minutes away. Off we annoyingly schlepped. We prayed through gritted teeth hoping the codes would work. Success! (Disclaimer – This was 2012. Today, I hope the process is a lot more streamlined for travelers).
As Dresden is a flat smaller city, with dedicated bike paths, it’s easy to navigate. We embarked with no set route which didn’t matter – at every turn we biked through marvelous Baroque and Renaissance architecture, peddled through parks and cruised beside the Elbe River. We hopped off our bikes to climb the impressive Frauenkirche Church, strolled through The Zwinger Palace and randomly biked into giraffes. What more could we ask for in a short period? How about a random run-in with a guy I met in Cape Town! I posted on Facebook that I was in Dresden and two hours before our train departure, I received a message from him. Turns out he lives here. We had a brief reunion at the station, then onto Poland. This is the beauty of travel, the world is smaller than we think.
Like I mentioned above, don’t worry about having to see it all. Whether you walk or bike, all the places you pass will mesmerize!
Below are a few of my favorite Dresden spots:
- Frauenkirche Church: A Baroque church that shattered to ruins during the bombings of WWII. It was rebuilt in the mid-90s and took ten years to complete. The admission is free but a donation is recommended.
- Zwinger Palace: An immense complex with beautiful grounds and a museum. The admission is 10 Euros. However, the interior courtyards and exterior grounds are free.
- Brühl’s Terrace: This long, raised stretch of terrace known as the ‘Balcony of Europe,’ overlooks the Elbe River. It’s a great area to stroll along with a coffee or find a bench and enjoy a good book.
- Großer Garten: This meticulously manicured park has many pathways to bike and walk along. Here you will find the Dresden Zoo and Botanical Gardens. You will run into Zebras and Giraffes!!!