While the holiday season is still going on, you can go for a long walk in the Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz - Germany's most beautiful national park. It is located near the Czech border, and tourists know it as the Saxon Switzerland.
Probably everyone knows the painting by Friedrich "The Wanderer Before the Sea of Fog", depicting a figure standing on the top of a mountain, staring at the hazy horizon. The painting is today used to promote the German part of the Elbe Mountains, known as the Saxon Switzerland. They are located southeast of Dresden, on both sides of the Elbe. The romantics have already admired their beauty, and today you can follow in their footsteps a 112 km long walking route. It is called Malerweg, meaning Dear Painters.
The beauty of Saxon Switzerland
Saxon Switzerland is the perfect place to escape from the gray reality. It is difficult to get to by car, but it is not intended for "round trips" either. Its charm will be especially appreciated by those who like to wander the trails away from civilization, noise and crowds. A day spent among the landscapes of sand mountains will relax you like a week in a SPA center. The trail is divided into eight sections, so you can start (and end) your trip anywhere. However, it has been assumed that the route starts near Pirna, in Liebethal, goes almost under Hinterhermsdorf on the northern bank of the Elbe, to return along the southern bank back to Pirna.
The route to Bastei can be started in one of Switzerland's most beautiful resorts, Rathen . It is divided into two parts: Lower Rathen, on the right bank of the river, and Upper Rathen, which houses the train station. There is a ferry on the Elbe, making it easy to get to both shores.
Bridge on Bastei
If you asked someone who knew the beauty of Saxon Switzerland, which is the biggest attraction of the park, the answer would probably be "bridge over the Bastei" . The Bastei itself is a rock group with vertical walls more than 200 meters high. A walk on them is a meeting with unusual sandstone rock forms, rising from the bank of the Elbe like the teeth of giants. They were connected in the 19th century by a bridge from which today you can admire the Elbe gorge. About a million people visit this place every year.
Another thing worth seeing while hiking are the so-called Swedish holes (Schwedenlöcher). It is a picturesque chasm, the name of which comes from the Thirty Years' War - the inhabitants of nearby settlements were hiding here from the Swedish army. You can go down to it from Bastea by several hundred stone steps.
Trail of medieval castles
The route among the rocks and forests is made more attractive by medieval fortresses scattered like stars, including the castle towering over the village of Hohnstein . Currently, it serves as a hostel. You can stay there for about 22-34 euro (room without bathroom and board / with bathroom plus breakfast). We can find it about 4-5 km from the Amselsee lake.
Stolpen Castle is also beautiful. It stands on top of a basalt mountain, on a frozen volcano. Tourists are drawn to it by the beauty of the basalt rock columns and the history of the stormy romance between Augustus II the Strong and Countess Cosel. When the king's heart was seized by a new love, the unfortunate countess spent almost 50 years alone in the castle. Another castle, Königstein , is one of the most important mountain fortresses in Europe. In the past, it was used as a shelter, prison and institution for minors. The 16th-century castle well is considered the deepest in the world.
Bad Schandau . It is famous for the most beautiful bicycle routes and the tram - the only one in the world that has a permit to enter the national park. We end our hike 20 km further, in Pirna, known as the gateway to the Saxon Switzerland.
These are just a fraction of the natural treasures waiting to be explored in this beautiful region of Germany. Lush green forests and the fantasy with which erosion carved original forms in the rocks will be remembered by everyone who comes here.
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