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  • Bastei, Elbe Sandstone Mountains
    Bastei, Elbe Sandstone Mountains Photo: CC0, pixabay.com
  • View of the table mountains of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
    View of the table mountains of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains Photo: Antonie Schmid, Outdooractive Editors
  • The Elbe Cycle Path in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
    The Elbe Cycle Path in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains Photo: Uvi72, wikimedia.com; CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • View of the Schrammsteine: Falkenstein and Torsteinkette Photo: CC0, Wikimedia Commons
  • View to the rear Saxon Switzerland from the north Photo: Dr. Bernd Gross, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons

Elbe Sandstone Mountains

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also called Saxon Switzerland, are a low mountain range southeast of Dresden, which continues on the Czech side as Bohemian Switzerland. The mountain range is characterized by towering and strongly fissured rocks, lush green forests and the Elbe, which flows right through it. The Elbe sandstone was formed long ago from the deposits of a former sea. In the course of time the mountains have impressed and influenced artists again and again.
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Activities in the Elbsandsteingebirge


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Attractions in the Elbsandsteingebirge


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Long distance hiking trail · Dresden Elbland
Dichter-Musiker-Maler-Weg (kurze Variante ohne Prebischtor)
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 78.7 km
Duration 23:00 h
Ascent 2,930 m
Descent 2,912 m

Wir folgen auf dem Dichter-Musiker-Maler-Weg hauptsächlich dem historischen Malerweg sowie dem Fremdenweg von Dresden durch die Sächsische Schweiz ...

2
from Matthias Stiel,   Outdooractive Editors
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 10.9 km
Duration 4:45 h
Ascent 499 m
Descent 345 m

Anspruchsvolle Wanderung durch den Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz, zum Teil mit Stufen und Leitern,  mehrere Einkehrmöglichkeiten

6
from Yvonne Brückner,   Tourismusverband Sächsische Schweiz
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 18.9 km
Duration 6:00 h
Ascent 470 m
Descent 507 m

Sehr abwechslungsreiche Tour auf nahezu unbekannten Wegen in dem urigsten Tal der Sächsisch-Böhmischen Schweiz sowie mit grandiosen Aussichten vom ...

1
from Lars Reichenberg,   alpenvereinaktiv.com
Hiking trail · Saxon Switzerland
Stiegen und Steige rund um den Schmilkaer Kessel
Top Difficulty difficult
Distance 10.4 km
Duration 4:00 h
Ascent 710 m
Descent 710 m

Eine recht anspruchsvolle Halbtagestour auf regional-typischen Stiegen und Steigen bei Schmilka in der Hinteren Sächsischen Schweiz, die einige ...

from Lars Reichenberg,   alpenvereinaktiv.com
Hiking trail · Saxon Switzerland
Auf den Großen Zschirnstein
Premium Difficulty moderate
Distance 10.9 km
Duration 4:00 h
Ascent 359 m
Descent 359 m

Über den Kleinen auf den Großen Zschirnstein und damit auf den höchsten Berg des deutschen Elbsandsteingebirges geht es bei dieser Tour.

5
from Sandra Fischer,   ADAC Wanderführer
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 15.4 km
Duration 4:30 h
Ascent 537 m
Descent 537 m

Diese mittelschwere Wanderung in der Sächsischen Schweiz führt abwechslungsreich von Bad Schandau zu den Schrammsteinen und auf die Hohe Liebe und ...

11
from Lars Reichenberg,   alpenvereinaktiv.com
Hiking trail · Saxon Switzerland
Zur Oberen Schleuse
Premium Difficulty easy closed
Distance 5.9 km
Duration 2:15 h
Ascent 209 m
Descent 209 m

Die Wanderung führt vorbei an einer dunklen Dachshöhle zur wildromantischen Kirnitzschklamm, wo man eine spannende Kahnfahrt zur Oberen Schleuse ...

3
from Antonie Schmid,   ADAC Wanderführer
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  • Highlights
Long distance hiking trail · Dresden Elbland
Dichter-Musiker-Maler-Weg (kurze Variante ohne Prebischtor)
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 78.7 km
Duration 23:00 h
Ascent 2,930 m
Descent 2,912 m

Wir folgen auf dem Dichter-Musiker-Maler-Weg hauptsächlich dem historischen Malerweg sowie dem Fremdenweg von Dresden durch die Sächsische Schweiz ...

2
from Matthias Stiel,   Outdooractive Editors
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 10.9 km
Duration 4:45 h
Ascent 499 m
Descent 345 m

Anspruchsvolle Wanderung durch den Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz, zum Teil mit Stufen und Leitern,  mehrere Einkehrmöglichkeiten

6
from Yvonne Brückner,   Tourismusverband Sächsische Schweiz
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 18.9 km
Duration 6:00 h
Ascent 470 m
Descent 507 m

Sehr abwechslungsreiche Tour auf nahezu unbekannten Wegen in dem urigsten Tal der Sächsisch-Böhmischen Schweiz sowie mit grandiosen Aussichten vom ...

1
from Lars Reichenberg,   alpenvereinaktiv.com
Hiking trail · Saxon Switzerland
Stiegen und Steige rund um den Schmilkaer Kessel
Top Difficulty difficult
Distance 10.4 km
Duration 4:00 h
Ascent 710 m
Descent 710 m

Eine recht anspruchsvolle Halbtagestour auf regional-typischen Stiegen und Steigen bei Schmilka in der Hinteren Sächsischen Schweiz, die einige ...

from Lars Reichenberg,   alpenvereinaktiv.com
Hiking trail · Saxon Switzerland
Auf den Großen Zschirnstein
Premium Difficulty moderate
Distance 10.9 km
Duration 4:00 h
Ascent 359 m
Descent 359 m

Über den Kleinen auf den Großen Zschirnstein und damit auf den höchsten Berg des deutschen Elbsandsteingebirges geht es bei dieser Tour.

5
from Sandra Fischer,   ADAC Wanderführer
Top Difficulty moderate
Distance 15.4 km
Duration 4:30 h
Ascent 537 m
Descent 537 m

Diese mittelschwere Wanderung in der Sächsischen Schweiz führt abwechslungsreich von Bad Schandau zu den Schrammsteinen und auf die Hohe Liebe und ...

11
from Lars Reichenberg,   alpenvereinaktiv.com
Hiking trail · Saxon Switzerland
Zur Oberen Schleuse
Premium Difficulty easy closed
Distance 5.9 km
Duration 2:15 h
Ascent 209 m
Descent 209 m

Die Wanderung führt vorbei an einer dunklen Dachshöhle zur wildromantischen Kirnitzschklamm, wo man eine spannende Kahnfahrt zur Oberen Schleuse ...

3
from Antonie Schmid,   ADAC Wanderführer
  • Highlights
The Elbe Sandstone Mountains are characterized by an alternation of plains, gorges, table mountains and rocky areas with forests. This natural diversity favors an enormous variety of plant and animal species. A large part of the mountains is protected as National Park Saxon Switzerland. The mountains border the Lusatian Highlands in the east, the Ore Mountains in the west and on the Czech side of the border they merge into the Bohemian Switzerland, which completes the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. The German mountains are usually divided into Front and Rear Saxon Switzerland. The area is named after the Swiss artists Zingg and Graff, who remembered the mountains as their Swiss home.
The Lilienstein in the morning light
Photo: Merops, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons

Sights in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains

To protect the trade routes, some castles were built in the course of time. Of most of them, however, only ruins remain, such as the Small Bastion and the castle on the Falkenstein. Well preserved are still the famous fortress Königstein and the castle Hohnstein. Some of the castles in the area were formerly used as medieval robbery nests.

The most popular excursion destination in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is the Bastei, the most famous rock formation in Saxon Switzerland. The unique panoramic view offers a view of Lilienstein and Königstein and also the 76 m long bridge connected to the Bastei to the ruins of the rock castle Neurathen is impressive.

The wild beauty of Saxon Switzerland has captivated numerous artists of the Romantic period, who have incorporated their experiences into their works. Well known is of course Caspar David Friedrich's "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog", the opera "Freischütz" by Carl Maria von Weber or the "Lohengrin" by Richard Wagner, but other artists have also worked with the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
Bastei bridge near Rathen
Photo: Je-str, CC BY, Wikimedia Commons

Activities in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains are considered one of the most spectacular hiking areas in Europe. On about 1200 km of marked trails, hikers are on their way through green forests, mystical valleys, over ridges with best views and past bizarre rock formations. Some paths lead over stairs and ladders, metal steps and grips, so that surefootedness and to have a head for heights are an advantage for a tour in Saxon Switzerland. In summer, there is the possibility to spend the night in the open nature and those who want to get to know the landscape in detail can join a guided hike.

Also cyclists can explore the nature of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains extensively. While the Elbe Cycle Path leads leisurely with a great view of the rocks of the mountains, the routes up into the mountains are demanding and partly rustic. An off-road bike is essential for these tours, but the great views compensate for all exertions.

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains are considered the birthplace of free climbing. Climbing is perhaps the most popular sport on the 1134 free-standing sandstone rocks. There are own climbing rules and there is an own scale of difficulty – the rules protect the soft, sensitive sandstone as well as the habitats of plants and animals. About 27,000 climbing routes of all levels of difficulty lead into the unique world of bizarre rock formations.

Authentic Experiences and Guided Tours

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Reviews

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Painter’s Path – Not only for romantics by thomas
June 11, 2021 · Community
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Schrammsteinaussicht, der Große Winterberg oder die Wahnsinnstour by René
June 04, 2021 · Community
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Photo: René Altmann, Community
Photo: René Altmann, Community
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Destinations in the Elbsandsteingebirge