BOAT TO SCHLOSS PILLNITZ
If we didn't have a car, coming by Ferry or Paddlesteamer would have been my choice. As we travelled by car, we had glimpses of the scenery alongside the river and it sure was nice!
I love travelling by boat as the views are uninterrupted and I often have a foreground of water in my photos. This would be a pretty trip as you would be looking at hillsides where upmarket homes and vineyards are located and have a wonderful view of the Schloss as you approach!
You can come by public ferry http://www.dresden.de/en/03/09/01/c_04.php
On a historic Paddlesteamer http://www.saechsische-dampfschiffahrt.de/index-en.html
- Castles and Palaces
- Sailing and Boating
FINDING PILLNITZ PALACE
Thank-goodness it was early morning when we were heading to Pillnitz palace as the majority of traffic was heading to Dresden. Why I say this, is because the tourist sign with directions to the Palace is nearly on the road where you have to turn right, across the traffic - something to be aware of!
To make matters worse, the entrance was located on a sharp corner. The road we were following was Pillnitzer Platz, then on the corner it changes name to Lohmenerstrasse.
We drove in and as we were early and the staff were only just arriving, we found a free car-park. There was paid parking in another area, but it was so early, the entrance box wasn't manned, it was when we left.
- Museum Visits
- Castles and Palaces
- Road Trip
My least favourite way of going to Pillnitz is driving. Honestly, the street between Dresden-Loschwitz and Pillnitz is narrow, speed limit is mostly 30 km/h, and parking in Pillnitz is costly. So why not taking public transportation or cycling?
There is a relatively large parking next to the bus stop Leonardo-da-Vinci-Straße, which is still a five minutes walk from the park entrance at Maille-Bahn (northwestern end). I cannot recall how much exactly parking is, but I guess somewhere around one or two Euro per hour. Day ticket probably available, so you might save a little with that one.
Calculate at least a half hour for the drive from the city centre, if not more. Traffic jams around Schillerplatz/Blue Wonder bridge during rush hour.
- Road Trip
Getting to Pillnitz - and from one sight to the next along the river - is very conveniently done by bicycle. The Elbe cycling trail, one of the most popular in Germany, runs partially over the grounds of the Pillnitz gardens. As you can see on picture 1 the trail route takes you right between the river and water palace, making sightseeing very easy.
From Dresden's city centre you can take either the cycling trail on the right or left side of the river, but I recommend the one of the left (western) side - better views and better trail conditions. You must cross the river by ferry in Kleinzschachwitz (picture 2), though, which will cost you a single trip for the person and a reduced single trip fare for the bicycle.
Another option is to cross the river at the Blue Wonder bridge Blasewitz-Loschwitz and follow the right bank cycling trail from there to Pillnitz. This route follows the busy street for a not too long leg, though, as there's not much room between the river and the foot of the hills.
You should calculate an hour for the bike trip from the centre to Pillnitz, considering it is often very busy on the trail and also planning time for photo stops along the way.
- Budget Travel
Tram and ferry
Another option is to get to Pillnitz: Take tram #2 from the old town (Altmarkt e.g.) to final stop Kleinzschachwitz, then walk down the street to the river. From there you already see the Palace on the opposite side of the Elbe river. Take the ferry - mostly the big car ferry, if they have too much traffic there's also the smaller passenger only ferry - to cross the river.
Both tram and ferry are included in the public transportation network. Buy a single trip ticket (2 Euro in 2012) which is valid one hour and covers the ride on the tram and the ferry. For cars, motor bikes or bicycles you need to buy an additional ticket, of course.
I think one of the best options to get to Pillnitz is by steamboat. The trip starts in the old town of Dresden (Terrassenufer) right in front of Brühl's Terrace with a stop near the Blue Wonder bridge (Dresden-Blasewitz) and takes about 90 minutes. Along the way you pass vineyards, castles, mansions, villas at the hillsides, the Blue Wonder bridge, see the TV tower on the hilltops of Dresden-Wachwitz. Just before reaching the station in Pillnitz you pass Pillnitz Palace with the best views of the water palace.
The old paddle steamers are interesting, too - old technology, well maintained and still working perfectly. I prefer a seat on the upper deck. From there you have the best views of the scenery. In case you're thirsty or starving, they also serve pretty decent food, soft drinks, wine and beer as well as coffee and cake.
The fare is about 11.70 Euro one way (in 2012).