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Mountains, heaths & lakes – hiking in Lusatia

Carola K.

Mountains, heaths & lakes – hiking in Lusatia

Hiking Collection by Carola K.

19-44

days

3-7 h

/ day

302 mi

23,000 ft

23,575 ft

The Bastei, the Königstein Fortress, the Neurathen Castle and the Malerweg (Painter’s Path) – hiking in Germany's so-called 'Saxon Switzerland' and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains takes you along well-trodden paths through spectacular places. Perhaps you are looking for something new? Then I have a secret tip for you – a little-known long-distance hiking trail through Lusatia along the German, Czech and Polish border.

It’s hard to find any information about this adventurous long-distance hiking trail that is barely signposted. It winds through Saxon Switzerland, the Lusatian Highlands, the Zittau Mountains, the Upper Lusatian heathland towards the magnificent Lusatian Lakeland. Far away from any crowded tourist destinations, you can enjoy these idyllic landscapes in peace and quiet.

The trail takes you 285 miles (460 km) from Dresden-Bühlau to Lake Senftenberg through diverse nature, culture and history. You will discover romantic castles and idyllic valleys around Dresden, bizarre rock formations and picturesque stone gorges in Saxony Switzerland and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. In the Lusatian Highlands, you can enjoy fantastic views from imposing observation towers and hike through gently rolling countryside. Extinct volcanoes and enchanted rock labyrinths characterize the Zittau mountains. In the Lusatian Lakeland, you will stroll past rippling streams, sprawling ponds and shimmering water and large lakes, formed during mining in the area. When you get hungry, you can tuck into hearty Upper Lusatian cuisine and rich cream puffs.

I have divided this varied long-distance hiking trail into 20 stages that are quite demanding, with varying distances and altitudes. At each end of the day, you will find comfortable accommodation. I’ve noted in the stage description if places have limited choice so that you can book in good time. If you would like to spend the night under the open sky, you can set up your camp in one of the so-called Boofen in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Just don’t forget to pack your sleeping bag and camping mat.

This Lusatian hiking trail leads through many villages that have train connections. This way you can shorten your stages or even divide the whole route into several small adventures and only walk parts of it. It’s up to you to decide how to discover this exciting region, following the Lusatian Snake.

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Von Dresden zum Senftenberger See – Lausitzer Schlange

290 mi

22,400 ft

22,850 ft

Last updated: December 14, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Dresden-Bühlau nach Ottendorf-Okrilla – Lausitzer Schlange

    Difficult
    05:16
    12.5 mi
    2.4 mph
    400 ft
    600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the first stage of the Lausitzer Schlange long-distance hiking trail, you leave the city of Dresden further behind and dive into the picturesque area of the Dresdner Heide. You hike through the idyllic Prießnitz valley and pass hidden castle complexes.

    

    Your adventure along the Lusatian snake starts

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  • Difficult
    06:32
    15.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    825 ft
    575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The second stage of the Lusatian snake takes you to impressive and reserved castle complexes and into the picture-perfect Seifersdorfer valley. At the end of the day, a cool hop drink awaits you in the beer town of Radeberg.

    

    Freshly strengthened, you start on the outskirts of Ottendorf and follow a piece

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  • Difficult
    06:00
    13.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    900 ft
    1,275 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The Lusatian snake takes you further south on today's stage and to the Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains. You walk long distances through extensive field landscapes and forest to one of the heart towns of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

    

    In the morning the train will take you back from Radeberg to

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  • Difficult
    07:00
    14.4 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,600 ft
    2,350 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    In the middle of the unique Elbe Sandstone Mountains, you are on the fourth stage of the Lausitzer Schlange. Since the long-distance hiking trail is looking for peace and nature, you leave tourist strongholds like the Bastei rock formation in the truest sense of the word. For this you can expect a less

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  • Difficult
    07:35
    15.8 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,550 ft
    2,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Caves, grottos, countless boofs and the Hohe Liebe - the fifth stage is an absolutely magical highlight of the entire long-distance hiking trail. You walk between meter-high rock walls and bizarre rock formations of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Small side paths constantly lure to fantastic viewpoints

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  • Difficult
    07:50
    16.9 mi
    2.2 mph
    2,100 ft
    2,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It continues wildly romantic and mystical, because today you reach the narrow Kirnitzsch Gorge on the Saxon-Bohemian border and can take a boat tour on one of the quaint barges. The leisurely babbling Kirnitzsch will accompany you from time to time on the sixth stage of the Lausitzer snake.

    

    You leave

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  • Intermediate
    04:44
    10.2 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After the challenging last stages, you can shift down a gear today. You leave the magical stone world of the Saxon Switzerland National Park behind you and hike comfortably from Lichtenhain to small towns and a number of places to stop. A few meters of altitude must be overcome again this time.

    

    Via the

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  • Difficult
    06:45
    15.2 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    With the eighth stage you reach the highest point of the Lusatian highlands. But not only that, you are literally going through “hell” - but admittedly an absolutely beautiful one.

    

    The first six kilometers of the day take you on gentle hills to the edge of the forest. The forest area surrounds the highest

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  • Difficult
    07:49
    17.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,850 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    In the semicircle, the Lausitzer snake first winds to the north on the ninth stage, then meanders out of Bautzen to the south. Only two ascents await you today, but the second one is all the more crunchy on Mount Czorneboh. You will also meet the Spree for the first time.

    

    Start the day with a short climb

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  • Difficult
    06:26
    14.2 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Ever further south - the trend clearly continues on today's kilometers. The Lusatian snake brings you again to the Czech border and shows you the most beautiful sides of the Upper Lusatian highlands.

    

    The first challenge of the day is not long in coming. You climb around 200 vertical meters directly from

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  • Difficult
    07:17
    16.2 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Zittau Mountains are now right in front of you. On your tour you will pass caves, through tranquil villages and end your day at the foot of the highest mountain in the mountain range. It goes up and down a few times again, but today there are no steep climbs.

    

    Off into the forest after your departure

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  • Difficult
    06:35
    14.1 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,325 ft
    2,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Your twelfth stage takes you through the most beautiful landscapes of the Zittau Mountains. Washed out sandstone formations will always remind you of Saxon Switzerland, while the Lusatian snake slowly winds its way to Zittau.

    

    From the Sonnebergbaude you follow the Oberlausitzer Bergweg for a few kilometers

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  • Difficult
    06:01
    14.2 mi
    2.4 mph
    775 ft
    525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    With Zittau you leave the mountainous landscape and sandstones behind and always walk north on the 13th stage of the Lausitzer Schlange. In addition to wonderfully wide landscapes, the birthplace of poinsettias awaits you in today's destination.

    

    Your journey continues at Zittau train station. It is worth

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  • Difficult
    06:50
    15.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Wide fields, fragrant forest areas with babbling brooks and small villages also accompany you on the 14th stage of the Lausitzer snake. You already have the mountain world behind you, but two climbs to beautiful panoramic mountains still await you today.

    

    You leave Herrnhut on small roads heading north

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  • Difficult
    08:30
    20.2 mi
    2.4 mph
    700 ft
    875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The longest stage of the Lusatian snake awaits you today with a length of almost 33 kilometers. By your hike you are now well trained and there are no more significant climbs to master. In order to still be able to enjoy the landscape properly, I recommend an early start. Since there are little to no

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  • Difficult
    07:15
    17.3 mi
    2.4 mph
    650 ft
    625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    There is a hint of Christmas in the air because today you are following part of the ecumenical pilgrimage route that takes you directly to the gingerbread museum. In addition, a lot of nature is waiting for you in the Upper Lusatian heath and pond landscape.

    

    You leave Niesky in a westerly direction and

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  • Difficult
    07:24
    17.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    450 ft
    575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The 17th stage of the Lausitzer Schlange takes you deep into the Upper Lusatian heath and pond landscape. It is all about the waters and their inhabitants. Numerous footbridges and viewing platforms make their observation possible. Since there is a lot of distance waiting for you again today, it makes

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  • Difficult
    07:54
    19.2 mi
    2.4 mph
    375 ft
    400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The day of a thousand lakes, that's what I would call the 18th stage on the Lusatian snake. You are on an almost flat route for around 31 kilometers. Sorbian settlements keep popping up in front of you, but you mostly hike through extensive forests and cultivated land. Pack up enough food because there

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  • Intermediate
    02:27
    5.98 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After these many long stages, you can really take your time on the penultimate one. You walk less than ten kilometers from Maukendorf to the stage finish in Hoyerswerda. There is a lot to discover in the city of birth of the inventor of the first working computer, Konrad Zuse.

    

    After a hearty breakfast

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  • Difficult
    06:42
    16.3 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your adventure on the Lusatian snake is slowly coming to an end. On a flat route, it winds to the largest and most beautiful lakes in the Lusatian Lakeland, past maritime lighthouses to dreamlike sandy beaches - a crowning conclusion to your trip.

    

    You leave the hustle and bustle of Hoyerswerda on the

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    20
  • Distance
    302 mi
  • Duration
    132:52 h
  • Elevation
    23,000 ft23,575 ft

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