Dresden from the Water

The White Fleet (Weisse Flotte in German) of Dresden is the oldest and biggest paddle steamer fleet in the world. It consists of nine wheel steamers, two salon ships and two motor ships.

All the ships have names of Saxon towns and cities or Saxon people like August the Strong. The ships connect Meißen via Dresden to Saxon Switzerland along the river Elbe where they pass some remarkable castles, vineyards and villa quarters.

Between Dresden - Übigau and Dresden - Pillnitz, Söbrigen to be more exact, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This part of the White Fleet area is eighteen kilometers long and mainly situated in the city of Dresden itself.

The Elbe has been navigable by commercial vessels since 1842, and provides important trade links as far inland as Prague. The river is linked by canals to the industrial areas of Germany and to Berlin. The Elbe-Lübeck Canal links the Elbe to the Baltic Sea, as does the Kiel Canal, whose western entrance is near the mouth of the Elbe.

Before Germany was reunited, waterway transport in Western Germany was hindered by the fact that inland navigation to Hamburg had to pass through the German Democratic Republic.

The Elbe Seitenkanal (Elbe Lateral Canal) was built between the Mittellandkanal and the lower Elbe to restore this connection. When the two nations were reunited, works began to improve and restore the original links: the Elbe Canal Bridge near Magdeburg now allows large barges to cross the Elbe without having to enter the river.

The often low water levels of the Elbe do not hinder navigation to Berlin any longer.

Discover Saxonian Switzerland and naturally the Saxonian wine track. Experience Dresden and its environment from the water.