A Travel Price Comparison for Germany Heidelberg vs. Dresden for Old Town, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Heidelberg or Dresden?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Heidelberg and Dresden. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is a lively, charming, and scenic town. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. With a quaint atmosphere, it also offers a unique feeling. Other popular activities here include shopping, nightlife, and food.

Dresden

Dresden is a friendly, architectural, and cultural city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Heidelberg and Dresden: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly


Is there more to do in Heidelberg or Dresden?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Dresden than Heidelberg. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Dresden is very popular for its museums and big city activities, while Heidelberg attracts visitors for its food, historical sights, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Heidelberg is famous for its picturesque beauty, romantic atmosphere, and its classic old town. Dresden is famous for its beautiful palaces, castles, and many landmarks (such as the Baroque Zwinger Palace, Semperoper Opera House and the Church of Our Lady). It is also well known for Dresden Frauenkirche and The Royal Palace.

How is Heidelberg different from Dresden?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Dresden and Heidelberg. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Heidelberg or Dresden?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Dresden is a good destination for its historical sights. However, Heidelberg does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Dresden. It's rich in culture and baroque architecture. Some of the main sights around town include Dresden Frauenkirche, the Dresden Royal Palace and Museums, the Zwinger and Old Masters Picture Gallery, and the Semper Opera.

Heidelberg does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Heidelberg or Dresden? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg is a great destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Dresden is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Heidelberg is an experience not to be missed. The old town is filled with local restaurants that offer an assortment of traditional dishes. The restaurants offer a mix of outdoor and indoor seating and classic dishes include saumagen, lewwerkneedl, and dampfnudeln.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Dresden. The food features a number of Saxon specialties, which are typically hearty and heavy on the meat. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll also appreciate the many sweets that you can find around town. You should make sure you try a Fettbemme (open faced sandwich), Eierschecke (a cake), and Sächsische Kartoffelsuppe (potato soup) while you're in town.

Is Heidelberg or Dresden Better for Nightlife?

Heidelberg
Dresden

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find superb options in both Heidelberg and Dresden.

The nightlife in Heidelberg has something for everybody. As a university town, you'll find a very young population and many bars, pubs, and nightclubs where you can hang out.

Dresden offers plenty to do in the evening. Head to Neustadt for the highest concentration of bars and clubs. There's a diversity of trendy clubs and casual bars. Bar hopping is easy as most places are accessible by public transit.

Is Heidelberg or Dresden Better for its Old Town?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg is an amazing town to visit for its historic old town charm. Also, Dresden is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historic old town.

Heidelberg offers visitors a world-class historical old town to explore. The charming old town, or Altstadt, is lined with cafes that spill out onto the street and churches with bells that chime hourly. The area is filled with activity and there are many shops, ice cream vendors, and restaurants to choose from.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Dresden. Much of the city's old town has been rebuilt, but that's not to say it isn't beautiful. The main square and surrounding area are where you'll find the majority of the city's main sights.


Is the Shopping Better in Heidelberg or Dresden?

Heidelberg
Dresden

If you're looking to go shopping, Heidelberg and Dresden both offer plenty of nice spots.

Heidelberg has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The pedestrian area is the best place to pass your time shopping. There are name brand stores mixed in with local independent shops which you'll mostly find on the side streets. Popular items to buy include wooden toys, Christmas decorations, and candy.

Dresden is a great destination for shopping. Kunsthofpassage Dresden is a network of streets where you'll find crafts, art, and other eclectic items for sale. Prager Strasse is a popular shopping street near old town and Seestrasse is where you'll find all of the trendy brands that are popular throughout Europe. The city also has many shopping malls.

Is Heidelberg or Dresden Better for Families?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg is a popular place for its family-friendly activities. However, Dresden is a city with minimal options for its kid-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Heidelberg. With its many ice cream shops, playgrounds, and impressive castle, this city makes a nice stop for families with kids. The restaurants usually have a kid's menu and there are a number of kid-friendly museums and activities.

For families, Dresden is not always the best place to visit. It doesn't have quite the abundance of activities for kids that you may find in other Germany cities, but that doesn't mean that kids will be bored. There's the Dresden Zoo, the Dresdner Parkeisenbahn (a small steam rail), and the Saxon Folk Art Museum. Families can also take a guided to of the Transparent Factory, which is owned by Volkswagon and provided information on the manufacturing of automobiles.

Is Heidelberg or Dresden Better for Couples?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg is a great destination for couples. Also, Dresden is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Heidelberg frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. This beautiful city offers an impressive backdrop for a couple's getaway. The view from the castle looks out beautifully over the city and the old town has many excellent restaurants and activities that are great for couples.

Dresden is a nice destination for couples. Couples can explore the old town or walk through one of the city's many parks. The city has many cultural activities. In the new town you'll find many great bars and fascinating restaurants.


Is Heidelberg or Dresden Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg is a great destination for backpackers. Also, Dresden is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Heidelberg is a very popular town for backpackers and budget travelers. Prices are reasonable and there are a handful of hostels around town. As a university town, you can be assured there are plenty of fun activities and cheap places to eat.

Dresden is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are plenty of hostels to choose from and the city itself is not particularly expensive.

Is Heidelberg or Dresden Better for Students?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg is a popular place for students. However, Dresden is not popular with students.

Heidelberg is popular with students. It is a beautiful student town with a lot of activities for young visitors. This is not the most popular study abroad destination, but it does have a lot to offer for those who visit.

Dresden is not popular with students.

Is Heidelberg or Dresden Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg is a great destination for its public transit. Also, Dresden is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Heidelberg. There are trams and buses that connect the old town to the train station.

While Dresden offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. The city has two major train stations as well as tram and bus lines around town.


Is Heidelberg or Dresden a more walkable city?

Heidelberg
Dresden

Heidelberg and Dresden are superb when it comes to walkability.

Heidelberg is a very walkable destination. The old town is particularly walkable.

Dresden is very walkable. Particularly in the compact city center you'll find Dresden to be very walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Heidelberg Worth Visiting? and Is Dresden Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Dresden or Heidelberg?

How long in Heidelberg or Dresden?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Heidelberg and Dresden. In our opinion, Heidelberg has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Heidelberg than Dresden. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Heidelberg than Dresden. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Heidelberg, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Heidelberg than Dresden. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Heidelberg that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Heidelberg than Dresden if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Heidelberg.


  • How many days in Heidelberg or Dresden? Ideal Length of Stay
    Heidelberg 1-3 
    Dresden 1-3

One day in Heidelberg or Dresden?

In Heidelberg, you'll find shopping and nightlife. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This town offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

With museums and nightlife around the friendly city of Dresden, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Dresden, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Heidelberg or Dresden?

In Heidelberg, you'll find nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Heidelberg has to offer.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Dresden, there's plenty to do. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.


Five days in Heidelberg or Dresden?

Heidelberg is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Dresden, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Heidelberg or Dresden?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Heidelberg. Many people enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting Heidelberg. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Dresden is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from Berlin, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Germany, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Germany, and The Best Historical Tours in Germany.


Which place is cheaper, Dresden or Heidelberg?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Heidelberg is €142, while the average daily cost in Dresden is €135. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Heidelberg and Dresden in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Heidelberg 93
    Dresden 61
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Heidelberg 186
    Dresden 122
Compare Hotels in Heidelberg and Dresden

Looking for a hotel in Heidelberg or Dresden? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Heidelberg


Hotels in Dresden


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Heidelberg Hotel Prices and Dresden Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Heidelberg 17
    Dresden 11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Heidelberg

Also for Heidelberg, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport transfer from Karlsruhe Airport to Baden-Baden: $106
  • Badenweiler Thermal to Zurich Airport (ZRH) - Departure Transfer: $77
  • Karlsruhe Airport (FKB) to Baden-Baden - Arrival Private Transfer: $23
  • Karlsruhe Airport (FKB) to BadenBaden Round-Trip Private Transfer: $46
  • One Way Private Transfer from Mannheim to Frankfurt : $254
  • Private Transfer from Badenweiler Thermal to Basel EuroAirport: $64

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dresden

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dresden:

  • Private Transfer from Dresden to Prague with 2 hours for sightseeing: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Heidelberg or Dresden?

Prices for flights to both Dresden and Heidelberg change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Heidelberg 37
    Dresden 31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Heidelberg

For Heidelberg, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Rainy Day Sightseeing Food Tour with Umbrellas Provided: $91

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Heidelberg 11
    Dresden 9.56

Tours and Activities in Heidelberg

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Heidelberg.

  • Heidelberg's Altstadt: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Heidelberg Exploration Game and City Tour on your Phone: $6.62
  • Pure experience: Original Black Forest farmer smoke tour: $6.63
  • Heidelberg Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.63
  • Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $7.36
  • Villingen-Schwenningen Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $11
  • Heidelberg Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $11
  • Guided tour of Heidelberg: $15
  • Tour through Heidelberg in the footsteps of the night watchmen: $15
  • Evening Heidelberg tour with historical night watchman: $18
  • SEA LIFE Speyer Admission Ticket: $22
  • Self Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour in Heidelberg: $22

Tours and Activities in Dresden

Here are a few actual costs in Dresden for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Historical Walking Tour in Dresden: $55
  • 2 day ticket Grand City Tour Hop on Hop off 22 stops: $24
  • Best of Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland Day Trip from Dresden - Hiking Tour: $152
  • Best of Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland Day Trip from Dresden- Fantasy Tour: $152
  • Best of Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland Day Trip from Dresden- Winter Tour: $152
  • Bicycle tour of Dresden: $32
  • Big Sightseeing Tour in Dresden with Liveguide: $20
  • Big city tour hop on hop off 22 stops: $22
  • City Tour and Guided Tour in the New Green Vault - Program C - The Festive: $38
  • City game scavenger hunt Dresden Elbschlösser - independent city tour: $41
  • City game scavenger hunt Dresden Neustadt - independent city tour: $44
  • City game scavenger hunt Dresden old town - independent city tour: $44

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Heidelberg 17
    Dresden 16

Sample the Local Flavors in Heidelberg

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Heidelberg:

  • Highlights of the romantic Black Forest & brewery, private tour: $296


When comparing the travel costs between Heidelberg and Dresden, we can see that Heidelberg is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Heidelberg Expensive? and Is Dresden Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Heidelberg or Dresden?

Dresden has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Heidelberg. When comparing the sizes of Heidelberg and Dresden, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Heidelberg or Dresden?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Heidelberg or Dresden in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Heidelberg as well as Dresden. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Heidelberg this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Dresden for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

Heidelberg is around the same temperature as Dresden in the summer. The daily temperature in Heidelberg averages around 21°C (69°F) in July, and Dresden fluctuates around 20°C (68°F).

Heidelberg usually gets more rain in July than Dresden. Heidelberg gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Dresden receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Heidelberg 21°C (69°F) 
    Dresden 20°C (68°F)

Should I visit Heidelberg or Dresden in the Autumn?

Both Dresden and Heidelberg are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Heidelberg for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Dresden in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Heidelberg is a little warmer than Dresden. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Heidelberg in October average around 12°C (54°F), and Dresden averages at about 11°C (51°F).

In October, Heidelberg usually receives more rain than Dresden. Heidelberg gets 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Dresden receives 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Heidelberg 12°C (54°F) 
    Dresden 11°C (51°F)

Should I visit Heidelberg or Dresden in the Winter?

Both Dresden and Heidelberg during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Heidelberg in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Dresden for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Dresden can be very cold during winter. Heidelberg can get quite cold in the winter. In January, Heidelberg is generally much warmer than Dresden. Daily temperatures in Heidelberg average around 3°C (37°F), and Dresden fluctuates around 1°C (33°F).

Heidelberg usually gets more rain in January than Dresden. Heidelberg gets 52 mm (2 in) of rain, while Dresden receives 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Heidelberg 3°C (37°F) 
    Dresden 1°C (33°F)

Should I visit Heidelberg or Dresden in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Heidelberg and Dresden. Most visitors come to Heidelberg for the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Dresden because of the activities around the city.

Heidelberg is a little warmer than Dresden in the spring. The daily temperature in Heidelberg averages around 11°C (52°F) in April, and Dresden fluctuates around 10°C (50°F).

In April, Heidelberg usually receives around the same amount of rain as Dresden. Heidelberg gets 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Dresden receives 53 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Heidelberg 11°C (52°F) 
    Dresden 10°C (50°F)

Typical Weather for Dresden and Heidelberg

Heidelberg Dresden
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 52 mm (2 in) 1°C (33°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Feb 4°C (39°F) 52 mm (2 in) 2°C (36°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Mar 7°C (45°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 5°C (41°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Apr 11°C (52°F) 57 mm (2.2 in) 10°C (50°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
May 16°C (60°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 15°C (58°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Jun 19°C (65°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (65°F) 81 mm (3.2 in)
Jul 21°C (69°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 20°C (68°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Aug 20°C (68°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 19°C (67°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 17°C (63°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 16°C (60°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 57 mm (2.2 in) 11°C (51°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 7°C (44°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 6°C (43°F) 43 mm (1.7 in)
Dec 4°C (38°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 2°C (35°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)