Called Florence of the North before it was devastated in fire-bomb raids at the end of World War II, Dresden, Germany, is working hard to regain some of its former glory.

Many of its baroque architectural gems dating from a time when the capital of Saxony ruled most of present-day Poland and eastern Germany from the banks of the Elbe River have been restored to their original grandeur, and work on others continues. Today's Dresden is a young university city. Do not miss the New Town across the river that few tourists visit. It maintains much of its prewar character and is a center of Dresden's vibrant nightlife.

Located 120 mi/195 km south of Berlin, Dresden should be included in any itinerary of eastern Germany, and it's a nice one-night stopover on trips between Berlin and Prague, Czech Republic. If you have more time, join a paddleboat cruise along the Elbe and explore the fabulous Saxon Switzerland National Park with its bizarre and scenic rock formations high above the winding Elbe.

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