City Guide - Dresden, Germany

Dresden, in our humble opinion, is very much underrated. Beautiful architecture, small enough to walk from a to b, but big enough so old meets new and on top of that the city is filled to the brim with culture - theatre, operas, ballet and museum. If you decide to go around the holiday season you can also eat your way through the city and warm up with mulled wine in different flavours. 
We did that for research, of course.
Should you travel in the summertime you will be able to sit by the river and enjoy the sunshine.
We put together a city guide for you hoping you will enjoy Dresden as much as we did.

Dresden City Guide.png

So far so good. Let's give you more details.

Where to stay

We stayed at the Maritim Hotel in Dresden. It used to be an old warehouse, right on the bank of the river Elbe. Make sure you ask for a room facing the river. Right next to the hotel you find the state parliament. It is a big hotel, with a swimming pool for you to take a dip and your breakfast is served in a goregous winter garden overlooking the river.
The hotel is a few walking minutes away from the old town with the Frauenkirche, Semperoper and Zwinger. A perfect place to start your exploring.
Maritim Hotel Dresden
Devrientstraße 10-12
01067 Dresden

MaritimHotelDresden.png
Maritim Hotel Dresden.png

WHAT TO SEE

Zwinger
It is very likely that you will start your sightseeing at the Zwinger. You couldn't miss it, even if you tried. It served as an orangerie back in the day and now houses the Old Masters Picture Gallery and the Dresden Porcelain Collection. You will be able to walk through several gates, you can go up on it and walk on top of the Zwinger taking in all the views.

Photo by  Anastasia Benko
Photo by  Anastasia Benko
Photo by  Anastasia Benko

Semperoper
Right next to the Zwinger is the Semperoper. This exterior of the opera house is used in a German beer comercial and there are people who believe that this building is actually a brewery and not one of the finest opera houses in the World. You can book a tour to see the inside of it. And it is very much worth it.

Photo by  Anastasia Benko
Semperoper.jpg

Do you wanna see what it looks like backstage? Well, we got you covered. Take a look at Spectacle's post about our trip through the backstage area of the Semperoper when we went to see the Nutcracker.

Frauenkirche
This Lutheran church is smack dab in the middle of Dresden - Die Frauenkirche. This magnificant building was completely destryed during the Second World War and there are still people who will be able to tell you that the stones of the church were stored all over the city until it was rebuilt. The church was reconsecrated in 2005 and now it is open to the public. There is no entrance fee, be prepared that it will be packed! Even if you are not religious, it is certainly worth a look inside.

Photo by  Anastasia Benko

Pfunds Molkerei
This little gem is a not in the city center but you can get there easily by taking the tram.
Pfunds Molkerei is the worlds most beautiful dairy shop! Covered in tiles, you can find everything your dairy loving heart can desire. Have yourself a glass of buttermilk and bring home some soap and cheese for your loved ones.
Dresdner Molkerei Gebrüder Pfund
Bautzner Str. 79
01099 Dresden

Photo by  Anastasia Benko
PfundsMolkerei.jpg

Neustadt
Now, old arcitecture, history and culture is our jam. But visiting other neighborhoods with shops, street art and great places to grab food is just as wonderful. In Dresden that area is known as Neustadt. Thats also where Pfunds Molkerei and the oldest Jewish cemetary is located so you have many reasons to take the tram and ride about 15-20 minutes from city center to Neustadt.

Kunsthof Dresden.jpg
Neustadt Dresden Street Art.jpg

Where to eat

We were lucky anough to be in Dresden during the Christmas market and pretty much eat our way through the city. We did eat in a few restaurants, places we found along the way. We are used to high prices in city centres, but that i snot the case ith Dresden. You will get great food for a great price.

 

We are sending you off to Dresden with a photo of the famous Eierschecke, a cake made out of apples and curd, that you should try in Dresden!
Enjoy Dresden and enjoy the Eierschecke.

Eierschecke.png

City Guide - Verona, Italy

Oh, Verona. Such a lovely small city and perfect for a weekend getaway. Three of Shakespeare's plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew. Verona has also been awarded World Heritage Site status by the UNESCO.
Filled with culture and the arts, but also with great food, a charming city center and (surprisingly) great prices!

Here are some tipps and links for you, if you plan to visit Verona. Which you totally should.

IMG_2118.JPG
 

Good to know

- Verona is so small and there are signs everywhere, you won't get lost. Especially when you take the mighty Arena di Verona as the location you are familiar with. You will always find your way back.

- When you arrive at the airport, you take the shuttle bus to the main train station of Verona. A single ticket costs 6 Euros and can also be used with the regular bus. Once you arrive at the train station, there are various busses that take you to the city center. Get off the bus as soon as you see the Arena. You are now in the middle of Verona.

- Download the Verona Smart App in advance. It does contain a map, but more importantly, you will be able to log into the public wifi for free.

- Prices in Verona are great! Especially when you are used to the prices in other Italian cities like Venice. The restaurants around the Arena are really good. You can get a big pizza with prosciutto (my favorite!) for 7-10 Euros. Sometimes even less. An Aperol Spritz (my go to drink!) is between 5-6 Euros. I had the "most expensive" Aperol at Piazza Erbe for 6,50 Euros. Very resonable. Keep in mind: I once ordered a latte at St Marco Square and paid 8 Euros.
You will get a great meal for a great price.

- I was surprised to see that only 2-3 vendors have a stand on the Piazza Brá, right around the Arena and they sell cushions. Yes, there are vendors that sell cheap toys and other stuff, but they don't have a stand on the Piazza.

- Yes, if you do want to listen to the opera, you will have to get a ticket. On our second day, we thought we could sit on the Piazza and listen to the opera while we have a drink, but you will hardly hear a sound. The accustic inside is amazing. Outside, you won't hear a beep. I guess the neighbors are happy about that!

IMG_2048.JPG
IMG_2087.JPG
IMG_2144.JPG
IMG_1989.JPG
 

Where to stay

There are many hostels, hotels and Bed & Breakfast in and around Verona. We suggest to make your reservations well in advance, because many hotels get booked quickly during the opera festival. You will find a place to stay for every budget.

We want to recommend our Bed & Breakfast. We stayed at Bed & Breakfast Oberdan18 and we cannot praise it enough (not paid content, we are fans!). My friend Mela, pr maven and travel blogger extraordinaire, found it for us.  B&B Oberdan18 is located in a small gallery in a residential house in the Via Oberdan. As a matter of fact, it is a very big appartment with two rooms and a suite.
Everything is new here! Like totally new, premium quality and designed with a great eye for detail. The owner, Giovanni, opened this little gem in early 2017. All rooms, named after churches, are equipped with their own bathrooms with bidet, air condition, tv, safe, minibar and a small balcony to step out on.
Giovanni and his team will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable - Starting with breakfast or sharing tipps with you. This B&B is located less than five minutes from the Arena. It hardly gets better than this!  English is spoken.
Next time I'm in Verona, I will stay there again.

IMG_1960.JPG
Eufemia_7-750x330.jpg
Colazione_21-750x330.jpg

Bed and Breakfast Oberdan18
Via Oberdan, 18
37121 Verona (Italy)
info@oberdan18.it

 

What to do (culture and the arts)

- Arena di Verona.
Of course! That's probably the number one reason people come to Verona - to see this glorious amphitheatre. You can walk through it during the day (tickets cost 10 Euros) and/or attend the opera in the evening. The opera festival runs from June until September and about 600.000 tourists come to Verona for the opera during this time alone. It is worth it. During the festival the set pieces are kept on the Piazza and make it all the more impressive.
Read our article about attending Aida at the Arena right

Arena di Verona
From June until September each year
Piazza Bra, 1
37121 Verona

Find it on Google Maps

IMG_1971.JPG
IMG_2042.JPG

- AMO - Arena Muse Opera
This museum is a must for opera lovers. Located inside a palazzo, you start at the very top and work your way through the exhibitions, until you have reached the basement. This is an interactive museum, with videos, sounds and a digital table on which you can see old programms and newspapers. It works like a huge ipad and it makes the exhibitions really interesting. If you only go there to escape the heat, you won't regret it!
AMO ARENA MUSEO OPERA  
Palazzo Forti
Via Massalongo 7
Verona, Italy

On Google Maps

Tickets: 6 Euros, 3 Euros if you have a ticket to the opera or you are a Verona Card holder.

G.jpg
IMG_2210.JPG
IMG_2194.JPG
IMG_2203.JPG

 - Juliet's Balcony
Spoiler alert: There are no secured facts, that Shakespeare has ever been to Verona, much less seen this balcony. That doesn't hurt the legend surrounding it, though. And I wonder how many schools have taken a trip to Juliet's balcony?
But what does hurt is the, well, some people would call it vandalism, that surrounds this place.
It is located just of Via Cappello, which is one of the shopping streets. Just follow the crowd of people. You walk through a short tunnel to get to a very small court yard. The tunnel is covered (and I mean covered) in writtings and when people ran out of room they got creative. Or gross, your call. People have also written their names on post its, gum, bandages and in some cases even panty liners. Yuck! There are more writings on gum in the small courtyard and the love locks that are attached to fences.
Casa di Giulietta
Via Cappello, 23
37121 Verona

On Google Maps

Tickets: The entry to the courtyard to see the balcony from below is free.
If you want to stand on the balcony and see Juliet's house, tickets are 6 Euros.

IMG_2130.JPG
IMG_2134.JPG
IMG_2132.JPG

- Teatro Romano and Museo Archeologico
Crossing Ponte Pietra from the city center to the other side of the Adige River, you'll find the Teatro Romano. Situated between trees and on a hillside, it is a beautiful open space. During the Veronese Theatre summer you will be able to watch plays in an impressive setting vwith a gorgeous view.
Teatro Romano and Museo Archeologico
Rigaste Redentore, 2
37121 Verona

Find it on Google Maps
Tickets: 4,50 Euros. It is free for Verona Card holders.

 

- Teatro Nuovo
If you still don't have enough of Shakespeare, you should go and see Romeo & Giulietta. Verona is the stage and the backdrop for this play. You'll walk along through the city and follow along. And a drink will be served to you after the play in the courtyard. Giving a new meaning to "hands on" play.
Teatro Nuovo
Piazza Francesco Viviani, 10
37121 Verona

Find it on Google Maps
Tickets: Adults pay 20 Euros, under 26 years of age gets a ticket for 10 Euros.

 

Things we learnt along the way

- Wear good shoes. This is an ancient city and not every street is paved smoothly. Especially around the Arena and in Juliet's courtyard, high heels are difficult.

- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. 'nuff said! And while we are at it: drink water! You can buy bottles of water for just a few cents. No tourist prices at all.

- Download the Verona Smart app to log into the internet easily.

- When you want to go up to Castel San Pietro you can either walk up the stairs or take the cable car up the hill. Walking up in the summer heat can be a pain. Oh, do I know it! But there is a cable car if you take the street left of the stairs and walk a few meters. It takes you up there and you can enjoy the view over Verona. With much less sweat! The ride up there just costs you a few cents. WORTH. IT.

- Do walk through the streets next to the busy shopping streets and look around into the courtyards. There are small restaurants and beautiful details around every corner. Literally.

 

Verona is filled with museums and performing arts. But you can also do some serious retail therapy or sit in the Piazza Brá or Piazza Erbe and watch people go by!