A Cruise on the Elbe

You can take a cruise on the historic Elbe River from central moorings below the Brühl Terrace. Sächsischer Dampfschiffahrt (tel. 0351/866090; www.saechsische-dampfschiffahrt.de) offers a 4 1/2-hour cruise along the Elbe from Dresden to Rathen, a German village at the border of the Czech Republic. These trips take you through some of the finest river scenery in eastern Germany, including an area known as "Swiss Saxony," one of Germany's most popular natural wonders. It's a land of table-shaped outcrops, isolated pillars, deep gorges, and sheer sandstone cliffs. The upper reaches of the Elbe flow in wide curves through these fantastically shaped rock formations. Between March and early November, boat departures occur daily, at 9am. Because each leg of this waterborne journey requires 4 1/2 hours, you'll have to block out an entire day for this experience if you opt for round-trip transport by boat. Alternatively, you can opt for one-way transit by boat, with a return back to Dresden from Rathen by train, a 40-minute ride. Trains depart at 30-minute intervals throughout the day between Rathen and Dresden. Boat passage, each way, costs 21€; rail transport, each way, costs 10€. While you're cruising, look for the Blaues Wunder (Blue Wonder), one of Dresden's most celebrated bridges, completed in 1893 and never destroyed during the wartime bombings. It is a beautiful expression of the bridge-building genius that flourished here at the turn of the 20th century.

Bus Tours

Responding to the flood of visitors coming to see the city's historic core, Stadtrundfahrt Dresden, Königstrasse 6 (tel. 0351/8995650; www.stadtrundfahrt.com), has organized a flotilla of red-and-white buses that feature -- via prerecorded descriptions and headsets -- running commentary in eight languages. April to October daily from 9:30am to 5pm, buses depart at 30-minute intervals for circular tours of the city that incorporate overviews of all the major monuments. From November to March daily service is from 10am to 3pm. Visitors can hop on or off the bus at any of 22 points along the way, and they can even postpone some of the stops until the following day. Each tour begins at the Theaterplatz, adjacent to the Augustusbrücke. Additional stopovers include the Zwinger, the Grünes Gewölbe, the Frauenkirche, and many of the parks, gardens, and architectural highlights of the city. The price is 22€ per adult, with no discounts for students; children 13 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.