Most of you probably haven’t heard about this amazing National Park with stone structures in Saxony, Germany (I know, the name confuses), right next to the border with the Czech Republic. It’s an area of 93 km2 by the Elbe River. The place is well known by rock climbers, together with the Bohemian Switzerland (the other side of the mountain range in the Czech Republic). It’s also accessible for hiking and cycling. So if you like hiking to the top of the mountains to have great views like this, Saxon Switzerland should be on your bucket list!
It is easily reached from Dresden with the Deutsche Bahn (DB) and only takes less than 1 hour. From Dresden you can to take the S1 in direction Bad Schandau, which goes by around every half an hour. The best places to stop at to access the park are Bad Schandau, Kurort Rathen or Stadt Wehlen, all of them lovely small villages. If you’re visiting from the Czech Republic, Bad Schandau train station is also connected to Prague central station and it takes less than 2 hours to get there. Once you reach the train station you can cross the river with a ferry that goes by very often and costs between 1,50€ and 2€ per way, depending on the village.
It is open all year round and free of charge. There are several trails to hike, we started the Malerweg route from Kurort Rathen and went through the Bastei Bridge and on our way back we walked down to Stadt Wehlen. It was quite an easy trail but with many stairs, it took us around 2 hours in total (7 km) and we came across plenty great views along the way.
The Malerweg (Painter’s Way) is 112 km long but there are many places to start and end if you don’t want to do it all. And if you’re one of the lazy ones I have good news: the famous Bastei Bridge can also be accessed by car.
The National Park can also be reached by car following the road B172 from Pirna or down the river with a canoe or on one of the oldest steamboats in Germany which goes along the Elbe from Seusslitz to Bad Schandau.
Have you been to this beautiful place? Which other trails would you recommend?