Hundreds of thousands of hiking trails, breathtaking views, and paths accessible to all fitness levels- Germany is hikers’ paradise! If you ever searched for beautiful places in Germany, you must have stumbled upon the picture of Basteibrücke that looks like it’s straight from the Middle Ages. But where is it? How to get there and is it worth it? Here I come with all the answers!
Why you should go to Saxon Switzerland?
It has everything a good hiking destination should offer: accessible and quite well-marked trails, amazing views, and cute little towns along the Elbe River.
It is well connected by public transportation so you can see a lot in a short period. If you feel adventurous and want to explore more, you can reach Dresden within one hour and the Czech border in just half an hour.
Where to stay in Saxon Switzerland?
You can stay either in Dresden and get to hiking trails by public transportation or directly in Saxon Switzerland. In the second case, for the most convenience, choose any town lying on the S1 (train) line like Bad Schandau, Rathen, Pirna, or Stadt Wehlen.
Staying in Dresden is the most economical option, it has a few hostels that cost on average 20€ per night. Make sure you pick a hostel close to the main station. I stayed in a&o and it offered great value for the price and was located less than 10 minutes walking from the main station.
If you plan to stay in one of the towns, prices for a room start from 80€ per room per night.
How to get there?
Flixbus has stops in Dresden, Pirna, and Bad Schandau. If you are going from Berlin, you can get directly to all these places within maximum 3,5 hours. Deutsche Bahn also has a connection but it is more expensive and if you don’t want to stay in Dresden, it doesn’t have direct connections with the towns.
To get to hiking trails from Dresden, just catch S1 direction Schöna. You will need to buy a VVO ticket for the whole network. It’s not complicated at all and there are machines at the station. If you are in a group of three people and more, it is worth buying a ticket for small group (Kleingruppen).
Day 1: Schrammsteine and Basteibrücke + Swedish Holes Loop
These two points are a perfect way to start your trip. It is a relatively easy but very rewarding whole day hike with the most iconic views. Both places can get a bit crowded as they are the most well-known attractions in the region but don’t get discouraged, you will avoid crowds on days two and three.
How to get there: it is located in Bad Schandau. You can get by car and park in one of many free parking or get to Bad Schandau by S1 and then take a 20min ride to Schrammsteingebaude by bus 252.
Fitness level: easy
You can make a loop and get back to where you started which is a very convenient option. The hike is not long however the views on the top are amazing so count a lot of extra time for pictures, just immersing yourself in nature and maybe even a small picnic at the top (take any trash you have with you, there are no trash cans on the trail).
Basteibrücke and Swedish Holes
How to get there: you can get there by S1, it takes only 9min to get from Bad Schandau to Kurort Rathen. Then you just need to cross the river by a ferry (this ferry is not included in the VVO transportation system so you will need to purchase an extra ticket for 2,5€) and walk a few minutes to the start of a trail. It is the main attraction of a region so it is very well marked.
Fitness level: very easy
This is a beautiful and easily accessible hike. It is also a circuit and hiking takes around two hours. Hiking up to Basteibrücke takes around 40minutes, after that you can congratulate yourself, you reached the highest point and from there you will only go down. Don’t miss the viewpoint! It is in the middle of the way from the bridge to a hotel and turns right. It is easy to pass it without noticing but it has the best views.
When you hike up to the hotel and restaurant, you will see signs for Swedish Holes. Expect narrow paths full of rocks covered in moss and the wonderland feeling. You will finish walking the trail by the peaceful lake Amselsee.
Now it’s time to pat yourself on the back and make sure you get a good rest before day two which is the most demanding day of the three-day trip.
Day two: Malerweg stage 7
Malerweg or Painters’ way is a scenic walking trail in Saxon Switzerland. It got its’ name from various artists who hiked in this area to get inspiration for their art. The whole trail is 112km but it is divided into 8 stages so you can choose the stage with sights, length, and fitness level most suitable for you. All start and finish points are well connected with public transportation. All information about the trail can be found at https://www.saechsische-schweiz.de/en/home-malerweg.html
How to get there: get up early if you are staying in Dresden because the trip to the starting point takes over one hour. From Dresden take S1 to Königstein. In Königstein take a bus 244 to Kurort Gohrisch Parkplatz, which is the beginning of a trail.
Fitness level: moderate
This is a whole day hike so be well prepared, take a lot of water and high energy snacks with you. This hike is full of beautiful sights! The highlight of the whole day is fortress Königstein. You can see it in the distance nearly from the beginning of your trip and after a few hours, you finally get there. And it’s worth it!
Day three: Malerweg #1
How to get there: Take an S1 to Pirna from Dresden. The bus station is right next to the train station. From there just take G/L bus to Liebethaler Grund and after half an hour you will arrive at the beginning of a trail.
Fitness level: very easy
This is a perfect cool down trail when you are already tired after two days of intense hiking. The beautiful views of fields, abandoned building, and parts of a trail giving you this Indiana Jones feeling with very little elevation is a highly recommended way to finish your hiking trip!
Saxon Switzerland is one of Germany’s highlights and I recommend anyone, who likes hiking and nature, adding it to your bucket list. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.