Malerweg — following the trails of the artists in Saxon Switzerland

Hiking Collection by
komoot

You climb the last metal steps and then step out onto the narrow ridge. You follow the Malerweg to the famous viewpoint on top if the Schrammsteine. With one hand on the railing, you step into the abyss and enjoy the incredible view of Saxon Switzerland that opens up in front of you. Gazing over at the other bank of the Elbe, you can see the Lilienstein and the Königsstein fortress, while the Falkenstein rise out of the forest to the west. In between, the Elbe flows slowly through the high cliffs towards Dresden.

The Malerweg in Saxon Switzerland is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Germany. The dramatic sandstone landscape will cast a spell over you with every new look—as it has done for hundreds of years. This route follows the well-trodden Painter's Way (Malerweg), through which artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Ludwig Richter and Bernardo Bellotto discovered unique nature. The cliffs and table mountains, which were so beautifully captured in countless paintings remain untouched—and you now, following the footsteps of the great masters, you have the chance to discover these motifs for yourself.

Over eight stages, you’ll hike along these impressive rock formations, crossing the river as you go.The Malerweg is excellently marked and there are always cosy stops along the stages. The total length of the trail is 112 kilometres (70 miles) and starts and ends in Pirna. All stages are also easily accessible by public transport, so you can choose your favorite part as a day trip and start right away.

On The Map

All stages of the 'Malerweg'

  • Difficult
    03:09
    7.30 mi
    2.3 mph
    400 ft
    550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Your walk in the footsteps of the great painters begins in the small pirnaischen district Liebethal. The small village will tune you inwardly on your mental journey through time to the heyday of the Saxon princes. The Malerweg leads above the reason of rockfall danger closed Liebethaler ground along fields over Mühlsdorf towards Uttenwalde. You can still enjoy the wide view before it then goes into the grinding ground.Here you will already encounter towering cliffs and it will be cool and shady on your way. After the famous Uttewalder Felsentor you can take a break at the inn Waldidylle. Your hike continues along the Grundlbach in the direction of the Elbe, where you then reach your stage destination, the city of Wehlen. Here you can rest on the shore of your tour and enjoy the view of the river.The starting point of the hike can be reached from the train station in Pirna with the bus line G / L. If you travel home from the finish, you will be transferred from Stadt Wehlen by ferry to the other bank of the Elbe and from there by S-Bahn back to Pirna. During the week, you can take bus 238 to Pirna for the return journey. If you are planning a multi-day hike, you can easily find accommodation in Stadt Wehlen. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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  • Intermediate
    03:29
    7.03 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,425 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Your second stage leads you today to one of the biggest highlights of the Malerweg: The Bastei bridge. The path leads up a steep ascent, which rewards you with a first panoramic view of the Elbe Valley. Passing the Stone Table and the forest restaurant of the same name, you will reach the bastion. If you leave early, you have a better chance of admiring the famous rocks without the hustle and bustle.After the magnificent view you follow the Malerweg down to the Amselsee and on to the Amselfall. At the Amselfallbaude is worth a break and a visit to the small exhibition on nature in the National Park. As a little reminder, you can also buy postcards of the paintings of the great masters here. From Amselfall the path goes through dense forest and along high cliffs over Rathewalde in the direction of the city Hohnstein. Shortly before your arrival, it goes through the Wolfsschlucht over many metal steps down to the river Polenz, where you can recharge your batteries at the Gasthaus Polenztal. The last part of your walk leads below the medieval castle Hohnstein. If you still have enough strength, then you should visit the castle and its exhibitions.You can reach the city of Wehlen from Pirna station by S-Bahn line 1. From the station Stadt Wehlen on the left bank of the Elbe, take the ferry to the starting point of the hike. Back to Pirna you can take bus 237 from Hohnstein. For multi-day hikers are of course also accommodations in Hohnstein available. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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  • Difficult
    04:27
    9.34 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    At this stage, there are some altitude differences. After starting in Hohnstein, you will cycle through hilly forest along the ubiquitous sandstone cliffs. After the first kilometer you can make a detour into the rubber grotto. In the huge natural grotto you will feel tiny. From there on it goes up and down to the view of the Brandstein. The phenomenal view has already inspired many artists to their paintings. Take a break at Brandbaude before taking the long and steep descent over the fire steps to Tiefen Grundlbach.From there, follow the brook up to the Waitzdorfer Schänke. If it was too full for you at the Brandbaude, then here is the time for a rest. Past the view of the Michaelistagstein you follow the Malerweg over a long and even descent to the river Sebnitz. After crossing the river you reach your destination Altendorf.Hohnstein you can reach from the train station Pirna with the bus 237. After your hike it goes from the stop Altendorf - Erbgericht with the bus 260 to Sebnitz and then continue by bus 237 to Pirna. Alternatively, take bus 260 to Bad Schandau and then continue on the S-Bahn line 1 to Pirna. Also in Altendorf multi-day hikers find apartments or pensions. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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  • Difficult
    05:36
    11.9 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,550 ft
    1,725 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this tour you will find steep climbs, impressive rocks and phenomenal views. Through the Dorfbachklamm it goes from Altendorf past the mighty Falkenstein to Schrammsteintor. The Schrammsteintor is a narrow passage between the towering sandstone cliffs, which are particularly popular with climbers.But even without dangerous climbing, you can reach the ridge of the Schrammsteine ​​via the Malerweg. The rocks tower far over the surrounding forest and you are guaranteed a breathtaking panoramic view. From up here, the falconstone that you passed before is much less massive. Your path continues along dramatic cliffs and leads you to the small Prebischtor. From here it goes down for you in the Kirnitzschtal and after a new climb you come to the ladder. If you have any reserves, you can take the time to go up the ladder and enjoy a great vantage point here. Then it's only a short walk to the stage destination Neumannmühle. Here, the mountain lodge Neumannmühle offers as a comfortable night's camp for you, if you complete the Malerweg as a multi-day tour.You reach Altendorf, the starting point of the fourth stage, with various buses from Pirna and over S-Bahn and bus via Pirna and Bad Schandau. From Neumannmühle, after your hike, take bus 241 back to Pirna. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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  • Intermediate
    04:35
    8.58 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,975 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required. The tour includes crossing by ferry.

    At this stage, a climb to the mountain, because the Malerweg brings you up to the Great Winterberg, the second highest mountain in the Saxon Switzerland. Starting from Neumannmühle, you follow a piece of the Kirnitzschtal and then make your way to the Great Pohlshorn. Afterwards it goes over a crisp descent down to the river Kirnitzsch and on to the inn Zeughaus. Here you can strengthen yourself again, before going on to the Great Winterberg.On your ascent, you pass the Goldstein prospect, where you can take a short break with a great view. Once at the top of the Großer Winterberg, the highest inn in Saxon Switzerland awaits you with its magnificent observation tower. Collect your powers here and then make the descent to Schmilka, your current destination.To the starting point Neumannmühle you can reach from Pirna by bus 241. At the end of your tour you take the ferry to Schmilka station on the other bank and then by train to Pirna. Alternatively, choose one of the nice accommodations in Schmilka, if it goes straight for you the next day. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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  • Intermediate
    04:46
    10.1 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,600 ft
    900 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required. The tour includes crossing by ferry.

    From Schmilka you take the ferry to the other side of the Elbe and start your hike towards Schöna. A large part of today's route runs over hilly fields and meadows and you can already admire the right-elbow table mountains in the distance.The Malerweg today leads you through various small villages. Between cribs and Kleinhennersdorf it goes below the Kohlbornstein on Liethenbach along. There you can take a break at the inn in the historic Liethenmühle. Then it goes up to the Papststein and the Gohrischstein. Both rocks are famous for their stunning views of the Elbe Valley and the surrounding countryside.After Schmilka you can easily get on the S-Bahn from Pirna to start your hike. After completing the tour, you can take buses 244a or 244b from Gohrisch to the Bad Schandau train station and from there continue with the S-Bahn to Pirna. As it is for a health resort, as a multi-day hiker, of course, also expect different accommodation options. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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  • Difficult
    05:16
    10.7 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,625 ft
    2,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From Gohrisch you are heading for the Tafelberg Pfaffenstein. About steep wooden and iron stairs it goes through the bottleneck up to the summit. From the top you have a great view of the natural monument Barbarine, a narrow sandstone column that rises to the side of the Pfaffenstein.Then you follow the Malerweg down to Königsstein and then in a tight climb directly to the fortress Königsstein. If you feel like visiting the fortress, it is best to plan at least two hours for it.Continue on to your stage destination Weißig via the village of Thümsdorf and along a scenic hiking trail above the Elbe.After Gohrisch, the quickest way to get from Pirna to Bad Schandau is by S-Bahn and then by bus 244a or 244b. After your tour, the quickest way is by S-Bahn from the train station Kurort Rathen to Pirna. Alternatively you can take bus 241. As a multi-day hiker, you can stay right in Weißig in the Laasenhof. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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  • Difficult
    04:02
    8.94 mi
    2.2 mph
    775 ft
    1,075 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The last stage takes you from Weißig to the historic old town of Pirna. You start your stage with the ascent to the Rauenstein. From the secure ridge path, you will always have fantastic views of the Saxon Switzerland. Enjoy these moments and let the landscape affect you on the last day.After your descent you will reach the village of Pötzscha, which lies directly on the Elbe. Here you can visit the Robert-Sterl-Haus. In the former home of Robert Sterl, one of the most important German impressionists, today an art museum is housed.In the village of Naundorf, the Gasthof Schöne Höhe awaits you for a rest, before you take the Canalettoweg along the Elbe on the way to Pirna.To get to the start of the last stage, you can take the S-Bahn from Pirna to the spa Rathen or you take the bus 241 to the station Thürmsdorf - branch Weissig. More information on public transport and timetables can be found at ovps.de/Service/Fahrplanauskunft/449

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    73.9 mi
  • Duration
    35:21 h
  • Elevation
    10,400 ft