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Pillnitz Castle

Pillnitz Castle: Our most recommended tours and activities

Dresden: Christmas Garden Dresden Entrance Ticket

1. Dresden: Christmas Garden Dresden Entrance Ticket

Watch the Pillnitz Palace and Park open its gates for a very special walk in the Christmas Garden Dresden. Observe as the park is transformed into an illuminated fairytale setting with breathtaking plays of light, impressively staged architecture, and lit-up characters.  Take a break and enjoy the true thrill of welcoming Christmas with age-old traditions. Spend a contemplative evening on a two-kilometer-long trail, passing by twenty individual light installations embedded into the diverse nature of the park Take in the most beautiful motifs, including the Lustgarten, the Chinese pond, and the English garden. See how the glasshouse shines in a magical Christmas splendor and listen as the elaborately designed decorations narrate stories of reindeer, angels, and Santa Claus.

Dresden: Winter Lights Evening River Cruise with Dinner

2. Dresden: Winter Lights Evening River Cruise with Dinner

Glide along the Elbe river after dark and enjoy Dresden’s festive winter lights. Pass the beautifully illuminated Pillnitz Palace, Blue Wonder bridge and old town. Tuck in to a three-course Christmas meal and listen to live piano music on this river cruise. Board the boat in central Dresden and set off along the Elbe. Cruise under the Blue Wonder bridge and continue past Dresden’s numerous riverside castles and palaces, whose lights shimmer on the river at night. Eat your three-course dinner to a backdrop of live piano music in the boat’s festively decorated salon. As you return to the city center, enjoy the warm glow of Dresden’s old town at night.

Dresden: Elbe River Cruise to Pillnitz Castle (Line 61)

3. Dresden: Elbe River Cruise to Pillnitz Castle (Line 61)

Discover the historic old town of Dresden aboard a ship and admire the most beautiful sites of the Elbe Valley. Start off at Terrassenufer and see the three famous castles: Albrechtsberg, Eckberg, and Lingner Castle, along the Elbe on the way to the villa quarter Loschwitz. Pass the 4 famous Elbe bridges, whose histories affect the city up until now. The most memorable bridge is called Blue Wonder, which gets its name because of the color. Soak up the views of the impressive Pillnitz Palace as your boat drops anchor for roughly twenty minutes. It was built in the 18th century under the Elector of Saxony August the Strong and is now the site of the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Arts and Crafts) as well as the Schlossmuseum (Castle Museum).

Bad Schandau/Dresden: Saxon Switzerland Boat Trip (Line 32)

4. Bad Schandau/Dresden: Saxon Switzerland Boat Trip (Line 32)

Discover a unique landscape from this historic paddle steamer and enjoy the journey along the Elbe River. Admire the prettiest scenes of the Elbe valley in Saxon Switzerland National Park. Choose from a return trip starting in Bad Schaundau or a one-way trip from Dresden. Discover the picturesque Old Town with the Canaletto-House and the church St. Marien. Also pay a visit to Sonnenstein Castle for a fantastic view of Pirna. Take a closer look at the 250-meter high Fortress in Koenigstein and the impressive bastion rocks, Basteifelsen, in Kurort Rathen. Settle back and enjoy a delicious cake and specialty coffees while passing small picturesque villages. The National Park Saxon Switzerland, with its diverse flora and fauna, is a paradise for hikers and climbers.

Dresden: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tickets

5. Dresden: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tickets

Experience Dresden, capital of the State of Saxony. Lovingly known as "Florence on the Elbe" for its rich art collections, river views and baroque architecture, Dresden is a real gem. Take a tour of this historic city on an exclusive double-decker-bus, getting off and on as you like to admire the unique cultural monuments on offer. Your journey starts on the Theatre Square, near the Augustus Bridge. Decide yourself whether to take the uninterrupted 90-minute tour, of hop on and off the bus to absorb the city's splendors at your own pace. Your ticket includes diverse attractions and entry fees to various monuments around Dresden. Hear interesting stories about the famous Frauenkirche as you tour its exterior. Visit "Pfunds Molkerei," the prettiest dairy in the world. Tour the Dresden Zwinger Museums - a range of important baroque buildings that originally served as an orangery. A further attraction is a visit to the Procession of Princes, a vast mural painted on around 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles, the largest of its kind anywhere, depicting the Electors of Saxony on horseback. On sunny days, you will ride in an open-topped bus: all the better to enjoy the inspiring views of historic Dresden and the Elbe, and to capture those perfect souvenir photographs.

Dresden: Zwinger Skip-the-Line & 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

6. Dresden: Zwinger Skip-the-Line & 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Enjoy 2 of Dresden's must-do activities - the hop-on-hop-off bus tour and the museums at the Zwinger - at an attractive combined price. This includes a visit to the newly re-opened Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. Discover Dresden with a 2-day ticket and get to know the city during the bus tour including 22 different stops. Start your tour at the first bus stop where you will exchange your voucher for additional tickets. Your 2-day ticket also includes a Night Watchman walking tour, an Old Town walking tour and transport to the castle and park in Pillnitz, all from the same central meeting point location: Postplatz/Kronentor Zwinger. The Zwinger is a popular destination for visitors to Dresden. Created as a magnificent festival site in the heyday of the Baroque period, it now houses magnificent collections and treasures. Your ticket gives you skip-the-line access. In the Zwinger, find the "Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon" and the porcelain collection. The Highlight is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, which re-opened in February 2020 after 7 years of renovation. Marvel at Raphael's masterpiece "Sistine Madonna" and a sculpture collection up to the year 1800.

Dresden: Paddle Steamer Winter Cruise to Pillnitz (Line 80)

7. Dresden: Paddle Steamer Winter Cruise to Pillnitz (Line 80)

Embark on a scenic cruise through the city center of Dresden from the comfort of an authentic paddle steamer. Explore the historic Old Town, the Baroque Quarter, the 3 famous Dresden Elbe Castles, and the Blue Wonder Bridge. Sail towards Pillnitz Castle and Park, which transforms into a sparkling Christmas garden every winter. The ship will turn in front of this castle. On the way back, enjoy views of the wintery river landscape with a cup of hot mulled wine. Finally, enjoy panoramic views of the Old Town before arriving back at the pier.

Dresden: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus, Panometer Entry & More

8. Dresden: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus, Panometer Entry & More

Enjoy 2 of Dresden's must-do activities - the hop-on-hop-off bus tour and the Panometer Dresden - at an attractive combined price. Discover Dresden with a 1-day ticket and get to know the city during the bus tour including 22 different stops. Your 1-day ticket also includes a night watchman walking tour, an old town walking tour and transport to the castle and park in Pillnitz, all from the same central meeting point location. If you find that you run out of time to see and do everything included with your ticket, you can choose to extend the hop-on-hop-off ticket for a further day once you arrive (for €2 extra, not included) and thus extend all of the inclusions listed above. The Panometer Dresden also offers a great insight into the city. Embark on a journey through time into the history of Dresden and get to know the city as a 360-degree panorama exhibition. Until summer 2020, experience Dresden immediately after the 1945 bombings.

From Dresden: Saxon Switzerland & Pillnitz Castle

9. From Dresden: Saxon Switzerland & Pillnitz Castle

Discover the beauty of Saxon Switzerland and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. This day tour can take place in your own tour bus/rental car or with public transit from Dresden. When traveling by rental car or tour bus, tour the national park with a stop at the world-famous Bastei; when using public transit, travel with your tour guide to Rathen Station and hike your way to the Bastei. Let the romance of Saxon Switzerland with its otherworldly rock formation enchant you. Enjoy the beautiful view from the Bastei deep into the valley below. At the end of the day, head to Pillnitz to admire the Chinese-inspired fairytale palace and gardens and tour this summer residence of the Saxon kings and queens.

Scavenger Hunt from Dresden to Pillnitz by Bike

10. Scavenger Hunt from Dresden to Pillnitz by Bike

Explore Dresden and the surrounding area in a unique way on a scavenger hunt playing the City Game Seductive Dresden. The City Game Box contains 11 sealed and numbered envelopes with small puzzles that need to be solved. Guided by clear directions, make your way to Pillnitz by bike. Solve the puzzles and let the clues lead you to your next destination. Each solved puzzle will yield a number that will tell you which envelope to open next. You will not know in advance what order the scavenger hunt city envelopes need to be opened. The envelopes will also contain detailed background information of each attraction - its history, its current use and much more. Decide for yourself when to start your scavenger hunt city tour and how much time to spend at each location. Embark on an enigmatic and extraordinary tour and take a break from your City Game whenever you feel like it, or even continue your scavenger hunt on a different day – it’s completely up to you. Cycle past the Waldschlösschen Bridge, the construction of which cost the city of Dresden its UNESCO World Heritage title, and past the Loschwitz Bridge, also known as the “Blue Miracle.”Learn interesting facts about the Johannisfriedhof Cemetery and the Laubegaster Werft. Then, take the lock ferry to Pillnitz Castle and its park. Discover the vineyard church and the romantic church Maria am Wasser (Mary by the Water). Enjoy a mysterious, unique and extraordinary bicycle tour. No need to schedule your Scavenger Hunt City Tour for a certain date, simply order the City Game Box and have it delivered to your home, or make an appointment to pick it up in Dresden within the opening hours and you’re good to go.

  • Entry tickets
  • Guided tours
  • City cards
  • Water activities
  • Hop-on hop-off tours
12 activities found
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Other Sightseeing Options in Pillnitz Castle

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What people are saying about Pillnitz Castle

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,463 reviews

The light installations were beautiful with different music along the way. We had read that the gardens could be very busy but at 5pm on a Wednesday in December it was relatively empty. Towards the end a number of groups arrived but we weren’t hampered by them at all. The refreshment stalls halfway around the route became busy but we waited until the end and didn’t need to queue. An excellent evening.

Booked a 2-day hop-on/hop-off bus ticket with a visit to the kennel and used it extensively. Clean buses, friendly employees (some with additional anecdotes), received lots of information and tips, departures according to the timetable, with 22 stops, recommended.

If you are Dresden during Christmas time. This is a must see. You can walk around with mulled wine and food and it’s all at a good price.

Everything was great, voucher exchanged once at the meeting point, everything else without problems.

My wife and I love the river cruise, the food and the musical entertainment. Everything worked out.