The river makes all the difference. It winds its way through the city without splitting it apart, and its broad banks provide a green oasis in the urban centre. Anyone who settles here gets to know old Dresden in new ways, time and again. The well-known silhouette of the Frauenkirche is enchanting when glimpsed through blades of grass. The hundred-year-old paddle steamers are full when they leave the quay and make their way downstream to Meissen, or head up river past the Elbe castles en route to Pillnitz and Saxon Switzerland. And every child waits with bated breath as the funnel is lowered when the steamer passes under a bridge.

A summer’s day in Dresden needs not much more than a nice spot beside the river. And perhaps a picnic blanket on the grass, a refreshing drink in a beer garden or a glass of Meissen Grauburgunder wine in the cool shade of the Blue Wonder bridge. Meanwhile, the diamonds in the Green Vault and the 500-year-old Sistine Madonna in the Old Masters’ Gallery wait until the sun gets too hot or clouds start to appear. Then life goes on in the museums, in the churches of the Old Town and in the restaurants.

When night falls in Dresden, the city divides in two. On the left bank of the Elbe, strains of classical music set an elegant pace. They create a special baroque atmosphere for late-night revellers in the twinkling light. On the other side of the river, the beats get harder the further north you go. In the Neustadt quarter the latest rhythms make the ice in cocktail glasses clink, while in the industrial district the dance floor vibrates under the feet of partygoers until dawn. That’s baroque 2.0 – and sometimes it’s different again …

Sounds exciting? www.dresden.travel