It would be Dresden. Granted, I have only been to six out of the 16 Bundesländer, but Dresden is my favorite so far, and it is not just because of the surprising food diversity we found there.
Located in the East of Germany, bordering the Czech Republic, Dresden is a vibrant old and new city. After being controversially leveled in World War II, the capital of Saxony was rebuilt and most of its baroque and rococo structures are standing once more in their former glory. I can only imagine what it was like here before the war, and even during its early history. There is a lot of fabulous here!
Most of the grand historical attractions are in the city center and we found the brunt of the tourists here. Think Caucasian families touring on horse-drawn carriages, schools of Asians and Hispanics, and the ever-present influencers taking over the top photos everywhere.
But I seriously did not mind it as much compared to Prague, mainly because the atmosphere is different here. I immediately noticed it the moment we came out of the central station.
Here, it is incredibly laid back. The people are more casual compared to every other city I visited and the overall vibe feels like it is no rush, no pomp. I really appreciate how it comes across as genuine. Given the millions that come here every year, that is quite the accomplishment. For me, the energy of Dresden is the best.
A close second is the Dresden Neustadt. I love this place so much I actually want to live here. Diverse, artsy, and multicultural, this part of town is filled with colorful graffiti, art shops, specialty stores, international restaurants, and everything else you can expect from the alternative crowd.
It was so interesting, layered, and nuanced. I felt creativity and energy in the air. The mix of people, ideas, and structures actually reminds of the best cities I have seen in Asia. Adding the cheaper prices, nature, and architecture to the mix, I was 100% sold.
And if you add the nice food to the tab, I would be 120% sold! Oh, where to begin? I did not expect such diversity in food and culture here. From Mexican to Georgian and Korean and Vietnamese, you will never run out of choices.
Everything we tried was really satisfying, too! It was such a great joy to tear through Dresden and eat and learn from everything we could find.
I seriously did not think much of this city before coming out but I won’t be surprised if I find myself coming back again and again to this place, just to show it off to friends and visitors just to say, “Look, I know this cool place!” I highly recommend checking out Dresden if you have not already. It is really cool.