This guide to Dresden Hbf explains how to navigate this unusual station and how to access the numerous attractions in Dresden city centre, from its station.
Dresden Hbf is located at the southern edge of the city centre.
The historic heart of the city, the inner old town, is a 15-25 min walk from Dresden Hbf.
Dresden's main train station, the beautiful Dresden Hbf, is unusual for two reasons;
(1) its fascinating architecture and history.
When Germany was reunified the station buildings were still scarred by earlier conflicts, but a decision was taken to preserve, protect and modernise them.
The main concourse and most of the platforms/tracks have been covered with an innovative canvas roof designed by Norman Forster.
(2) The layout of the station.
Most of the Regio trains and the IC/ICE trains to Dresden from the north and the west terminate at Dresden Hbf - and these trains use the central part of the station, which are at street level.
But the local S-Bahn trains and the international trains to (and from) Hungary and The Czech Republic travel beyond Dresden Hbf.
Therefore two sets of platforms/tracks raised up above street level on either side of the station - and this is what's unusual about Dresden Hbf, we can't think of another station with this layout.
So it is a station that is in effect divided into three parts, all of which have easy access from its beautiful main entrance hall.
(1) The main concourse, where the gleis (platforms/tracks) 6 - 14 are located.
(2) The gleis 1 - 4 which are raised up, over to the left when looking towards the trains on the main concourse.
(3) Gleis 17 - 19, which are also at the same upper level, but on the right hand side of the station.
If your train is departing from gleis (platforms/tracks) 6-14 at Dresden Hbf then you'll have easy access to the trains; as these gleis are all directly accessed from the main concourse, at street level.
The majority of long distance trains to/from Dresden, including the EC trains making the journey in both directions on the Hamburg - Berlin - Dresden - Praha - Bratislava - Budapest route, use the two upper level sets of gleis (platforms/tracks) 1-4 AND 17-19.
These are located on either side of the main departure hall- if you use the main entrance to Dresden Hbf, gleis 1-4 are to the left and gleis 17-19 are to the right.
The EC trains heading south to Prag/Praha and Budapest USUALLY depart from platform/track/gleis 2 or 3.
The local S-Bahn trains use gleis/platforms 18 and 19 and EC trains heading north to Berlin and Hamburg USUALLY depart from track/gleis 17.
Passageways at ground level lead off from the main hall to both sets of these upper level platforms/gleis.
The escalators up to each platform are one side of these passage ways, but the easy to miss lifts are opposite the escalators.
If your train will be departing from Gleis/platforms/tracks 1-4 or 17-19 there is little point in making your way to these platforms/gleis more than 10mins before your train is due to depart.
There are few facilities on these gleis/platforms, so the best option is to make use of the shops, cafes on and around the main entrance hall; many of which will be ahead of you if you have entered through the main entrance.
If your train arrives at gleis platforms/tracks 6-14 in the main departure hall, you will gave step free access to the exits from the station, the tram stops are immediately outside the main (front) entrance.
If your train arrives at gleis/platforms/tracks 1-4 or 17-19 there are steps, escalators and lifts down to street level.
If you have luggage etc, you don’t have to use the nearest exit, you may have to walk passed the stairs and escalators to access the lift.
If the start/end point of your journey from/to Dresden is on the north bank of the River Elbe, it's highly likely that using Dresden-Neustadt station will be a more convenient option than Dresden Hbf.
The EC trains to/from Berlin, Budapest, Prague and Hamburg DON'T call at Dresden-Neustadt, but the IC and ICE trains to and from Dresden do; along with the Regional (Regio) and local (S-Bahn) trains.
However, be aware that the IC and ICE trains TO Dresden will call at Dresden-Neustadt before arriving at Dresden Hbf; so take care not to leave train here if you DO want to head to the hbf/hauptbahnhof.
The tram stop immediately in front Dresden Hbf is served by tram lines 3 and 8.
Tram Line 3 goes to the eastern edge of the inner old town, take this line (direction Wilder Mann) to the 'Pirnaischer Platz' stop.
For The Albertinium Gallery leave the tram at the 'Synagogue' stop.
Tram Line 8 goes to the western edge of the inner old town, leave the tram at the 'Theaterplatz' stop, that is immediately adjacent to the Semperoper and the cathedral.
From Dresden-Neustadt station:
If you’re heading to the inner old town and your train calls at Dresden Neustadt before Dresden Hbf. alight from the train at Dresden Neustadt station.
Tram line 11 (direction Zschernitz) departs from the tram stop immediately in front of the station and it’s stop at 'Postplatz' is a 5min walk from the inner old town.
Dresden Flughafen has a station on the Dresden S-Bahn, local train network.
It is the terminal station on line S2, so when travelling to the airport from the city, take the trains that have Dresden Flughhafen as a final destination.
Trains on lines S2 operate every 30mins during the day and serve Dresden Hbf, along with other stations with good city centre access - Dresden-Neustadt, Dresden-Mitte and Dresden-Freiburger StraBe.
So if you're taking a train from the airport it's a good idea to check if a station other than Dreden Hbf will give you the easiest access to your final destination in the city.
This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.