Dresden is a city of art, and if you want to get your fix, the Altstadt is the place to be. From the museums of the Zwinger to the collections in the Albertinum (both very impressive buildings reconstructed after World War Two), you’ll have enough to see to fill several days. And an important stop on your art itinerary is the Royal Palace, conveniently located in the middle of everything.
The palace collections include the New Green Vault, the Historic Green Vault, the Turkish Chamber, an armoury, a coin cabinet, a photography exhibition, and access to a tower. An entrance ticket costs €10 to see everything except the Historic Green Vault — that will set you back another €12.50, though a slightly cheaper combination ticket is available. We used our two-day Dresden-City-Card to see most of the displays; unfortunately the Historic Green Vault is also excluded from this ticket.
Tickets are available from the palace courtyard, but we just had to show our Dresden-Cards at the door of each exhibition. Audio guides are available for free when you leave a passport or identity card as a deposit; strangely though, the audio guide desk was located around a corner from the ticket desks and we didn’t notice it until we were about to leave — not the best design. Lockers and a coat check are also on the ground floor.
We started with the New Green Vault, which was packed with intricately crafted display items in precious metals, many making use of natural structures like coral or seashells. The small display of cherry-stone art was also interesting.The Turkish Room and the armoury display a range of weapons and armour from various periods of time; the best part was the tapestried war tent. I enjoyed the photography exhibition on the top floor but we didn’t visit the coin collection; instead we followed the signs into a sgraffitoed inner courtyard towards the Hausmann Tower, which gave us a great view over the city and the River Elbe. This was my favourite part of the day, and I’d recommend a tower climb to all visitors to the city. An entrance ticket to the tower alone costs €3.50, but it’s included in the €10 combined ticket and the two-day Dresden-City-Card.
If you’re interested in precious objects, then a visit to the museums of the Royal Palace is an essential stop when you’re in Dresden. You can also cross the road to the Zwinger, which houses three other museums, though if you want to avoid museum fatigue, you might be better off leaving this until the following day — it’s easy to spend half a day or more in each of the complexes.