Elbe Sandstone Mountains- experience even more

Metropolis, shopping and …

Bastei Region by FRANK EXSS

Bastei Region by FRANK EXSS

Dresden, a classical masterpiece Dresden is a wonderful destination for an excursion less than an hour’s drive or train ride from the heart of Saxon Switzerland.Many of the architectural highlights of the Saxon capital were built of Elbe sandstone, including the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) or the Zwinger Palace. Over the past few years, the old Neumarkt (New Market), with its hotels and boutique shopping malls, has grown at a rapid pace at the foot of the Frauenkirche’s mighty dome. Visitors ought not to miss the castle and the Semper Opera in the old town, while Dresden’s Neustadt offers colourful culture and a thriving pub scene as well as upmarket specialist boutiques that line the narrow lanes and passages. If you have a little more time to spare, there are 37 museums and Baroque monuments that are related to Saxon prince “August the Strong”, say much about the city’s history and provide Dresden with its characteristic cityscape. The Panometer provides a special highlight, transporting the visitor on a journey back in time to the Baroque Dresden of 1756. The large panoramic image, some 105 m in length and 27 m in height, provides the visitor with an all-round 3 D view and conveys a real-world feeling. Up on the viewing platform, visitors get a fabulous overview of the old town and out across the countryside beyond Dresden. At Volkswagen AG’s “Gläserne Manufaktur” (transparent manufacturing) site, car lovers can watch luxury limousines being built. Every year in May, the international Dixieland Festival attracts about 500,000 Swing Jazz enthusiasts. And in the Christmas period, the old market is ablaze with the lights of the Striezelmarkt (Striezel Market), Germany’s oldest Christmas market.

Step this way to Narnia
A glance at the map is enough to see that a border runs through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, which separate Bohemia in the Czech Republic from Saxony. A closer look tells us that Bohemia also borrowed the name of Switzerland: that part of the national park and the mountains that fall inside the Czech Republic are known as Bohemian Switzerland. This is the home of Europe’s largest natural rock gate, the Prebisch Gate.

Elbe Sandstone Mountains by FRANK EXSS

Elbe Sandstone Mountains by FRANK EXSS

The sandstone rock bridge,  maximum width of 8 m is one of the most outstanding natural monuments of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Some of the scenes featured in “The Chronicles of Narnia” were shot here, while the film features a digitally enhanced image of the gate.

Romance in Prague
Prague can be reached by car in just two hours. Winding alleyways and historic buildings, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque and Rennaissance palaces have preserved the charm of the Czech capital for centuries The “Hradschin” (castle district) with Prague Castle and the old town, including the Charles Bridge, are part of the World Cultural Heritage, as are Josefstadt and Neustadt. The cityscape is characterised by almost 500 towers and belvederes. The vast range of art treasures and the splendour of the aristocracy’s palaces bear witness to a glamorous period. An evening walk through
narrow alleyways under gas-light that floods from ornate lanterns in a romantic and beautiful city is a must for anyone seeking to capture the essence of Prague.

The Tourism Association assists you with your travel plans in Saxon Switzerland: booking accommodation, sourcing package deals and other offers, and provision of information and printed material that will help you to make the right choices for a happy holiday.

Tel.: +49 (0) 3501 47 01 47
http://www.saechsische-schweiz.de

Motorbike in Saxon Switzerland

Here, every biker’s heart beats faster
A motorbike tour on winding roads with splendid views of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is an intoxicating experience. Whether you are travelling alone or in a group, on a classic motorbike or a quad bike, hours of driving pleasure are guaranteed! On the move with the experts Expert guidance can lead you down the most interesting and diverse routes. Unique guided weekend tours, day tours, multi-day tours and individual tours are on offer from professional biking tour companies that take you down long and winding roads through breathtaking scenery.

Ottendorf-Hinterhermsdorf by FRANK EXSS

Ottendorf-Hinterhermsdorf by FRANK EXSS

Tip:
The Grand Saxon Switzerland Tour
At Sebnitz Station, five classic motorbikes await you. The accompanied tour starts in Sebnitz and leads through Ulbersdorf, Ehrenberg, Cunnersdorf, Heeselicht, Bastei, Hohnstein, Bad Schandau, Königstein, Leupoldishain, Langenhennersdorf, Bielatal, Pfaffendorf, Gohrisch, Papstdorf, Kleinhennersdorf, Krippen, Bad Schandau, Panoramastrasse (or Kirnitzschtal) to Sebnitz. The tour covers 100 km, though taster tours are also available.

The Tourism Association assists you with your travel plans in Saxon Switzerland: booking biker-friendly accommodation, sourcing package deals and other offers, and provision of information and printed material that will help you to make the right choices for a happy holiday.

Tel.: +49 (0) 3501 47 01 47
http://www.saechsische-schweiz.de

Railway adventure in Saxon Switzerland

Model railways, miniature railways & more

Walk through a tiny version of Saxon Switzerland – or travel miniature format yourself …

Miniature Park “Little Saxon Switzerland” . In Wehlen’s miniature park you’ll find a reconstruction of the best-known rock formations, from the Bastei (or Bastion) to the bizarre shapes of the Affensteine (Ape Rocks) and the Elbe valley. Historic means of transportation, such as steam engines, steam boats and the tram, animate the small-scale replica of the region to the delight of children and adults alike. And in the workshop, you can watch as scupltors carve their beautiful sandstone souvenirs.

Papststein by FRANK EXSS

Papststein by FRANK EXSS

Railway romanticism with a view of the Bastei Railway lovers will thrill at the sight of the world’s largest miniature garden exhibit “Eisenbahnwelten im Kurort Rathen” (Railway worlds in the spa town of Rathen). An area of 7,300 m² contains 4.2 km of tracks, 125 buildings, 14 stations and between 20 and 30 trains that are constantly on the move. The whole working exhibit is staged against the backdrop of the magnificent Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

In a scale of 1:87 from Bad Schandau to Obervogelgesang The “Miniatur Elbtalbahn” (Miniature Elbe Valley Railway), right next to the “Elbe-Freizeitland” leisure park in Königstein includes a detailed reconstruction of the railway between Obervogelgesang and Bad Schandau, complete with authentic track layout, working trains, carriages and signalling.

A model railway exhibit, the “Modelleisenbahn-Museum” (model railway museum) Sebnitz, presents over 100 years of model railway history and more than 50 years of TT railway manufacturing in a 250 m² exhibit. A fascinating world of miniature railways from past and present, the exhibit features toys that our grandparents might have played with to the modern trains of today. The museum also has a 12 m-long exhibit on the Elbe Valley and features that focus on themes of winter and night.

Saxon Semmeringbahn. Eight  times a day the railway travels along the 100-year old track from Bad Schandau to Neustadt via the dreamy Sebnitz Valley. During the 30-minute journey, it crosses 27 bridges and passes through seven tunnels.

Fortress Königstein by FRANK EXSS

Fortress Königstein by FRANK EXSS

A lap on the Feldbahnzug (Feldbahn train). The Herrenleite Feldbahnmuseum (Light Railway Museum) displays narrow-gauge industrial railways used in former brickyards or quarries. Visitors can take a spin on the light railway.
Recapturing a romantic narrowgauge railway, the Schwarzbachbahn (Schwarzbach Railway) is the only narrow-gauge railway in Saxon Switzerland. From 1897 to 1951 it ran from Gossdorf Kohlmühle to Hohnstein. The track and the two tunnels are being rebuilt today but curious visitors can hike all the way to the exhibition on the old railway embankment at Lohsdorf Station.

A special tip:
Have your order brought to the table on a mini train! The Gartenbahnstübl Stolpen takes your order in a rather special way: every table has an original replica of a station on it, and when the train stops you simply put your order inside it on a piece of paper.
A few laps later the drinks arrive on the train. When it comes to settling the bill, the conductor arrives at the table, dressed in a bygone style with conductor’s bag and money changer.

The Tourism Association assists you with your travel plans in Saxon Switzerland: booking accommodation, sourcing package deals and other offers, and provision of information and printed material that will help you to make the right choices for a happy holiday.

Tel.: +49 (0) 3501 47 01 47
http://www.saechsische-schweiz.de

Familiy Holidays in Saxon Switzerland

An exciting day for the whole family

Popular attractions and hidden delights await visitors young and old in Saxon Switzerland. In the Elbe-Freizeitland (Elbe leisure park) Königstein visitors can climb the rock face, leap for joy on the bungee trampoline, soar on the sky rail or find their way through the adventure maze and climbing garden. For those who prefer a quieter life, there’s

Barbarine by FRANK EXSS

Barbarine by FRANK EXSS

miniature golf or a chance to relax in a beach chair on the shores of the Elbe. Magnetic ore used to be mined at the “Marie Louise Stolln” mine in Berggießhübel on the edge of Saxon Switzerland. Today, guided tours bring alive the thrilling story of the mine. Children can hunt for the treasure of Marie Louise, listen to fantastic fairytales and sagas and experience what it was like to celebrate yuletide here on the last shift on Christmas eve. In the “Felslabyrinth” (Rock Maze) Langenhennersdorf don’t forget to follow the numbers. The maze is a delight for children but adults will need to watch their girth: it gets a little tight in places beyond the widest places at entry and exit. The “jumble of rocks” is marked with ascending numbers so that nobody needs to worry about getting lost on their adventure through the maze, though the guidance makes the experience no less thrilling. Pixies, trolls and other mythical creatures await your presence at the Fabel- und Mythenpark (Fable and Mythical Park of) Königstein. Busy pucks and villains all they tell many an interesting tale about the world of the mythical creatures at an exhibit that stretches over 15,000 m². Visitors can watch figures being born in “live” demonstrations of Elbe sandstone sculpting. There is also a farmyard Pets Corner for young visitors. In the Urzeitpark (Primeval Park) Sebnitz you can step back into longforgotten times. In a 10,000 m² park, lifelike statues of early humans, mammals and monsters, such as sea creatures, are set amongst primeval fauna.

Flock to see a shepherd. Picture the scene: clouds float past in the skies over the Elbe Valley between the Königstein and the Lilienstein … an idyllic atmosphere … fragrant meadows and grazing sheep. But don’t imagine there’s nothing to do: follow the work and art of the shepherd as he demonstrates his work with his flock and a cheeky sheep dog, sheep shearing (remember to book early), wool processing and felting. When the work is done, the shepherd tells stories about his life and flock.
Yipieh-Yah-Yeah … Saddle up! Many boys and girls dream about riding or being up in the saddle like a cowboy. The riding farms of the region are excellently equipped to take you on horseback ride. And if that sounds too adventurous for you, there’s always a trip in a carriage or charabanc.

More tips: details of gold digging, climbing, miniature golf, swimming and hiking trails suitable for pushchairs can be found in the family brochure “Mit Kindern in der Sächsischen Schweiz” (Travelling with children in Saxon Switzerland).

The “Waldhusche” Hinterhermsdorf is just right for little explorers. How did people begin to utilise the forests of Saxon Switzerland in the Middle Ages? Why were fences erected by early settlers? How did they transport felled timber? The “Waldhusche” answers those and other questions in a 60-hectare adventure playground with four tours over rough and smooth terrain.
Visitors can listen to explanations on how the forest was created, what shapes it and how it evolves with time. Beyond the learning, there is pure fun too: balance on tree trunks or explore a hardwood maze. The tours conclude at the Beizehaus information point.

Elbe Sandstone Mountains by FRANK EXSS

Elbe Sandstone Mountains by FRANK EXSS

At “Krietzschwitzer Kerzenträume” (Candle Dreams) store children and adults are invited to make candles themselves. If the process is simple – with each immersion the wick takes on an ever-thicker layer of wax to the colour of your choice – the result is one that everyone can take pride in.

Welcome to an oasis of fun for the family: Lilienstein. Away from the hustle and bustle of town, the Lilienstein area boasts a climbing school, childcare, accommodation for cyclists, a holiday farm and rafting on the Elbe.

The Tourism Association assists you with your travel plans in Saxon Switzerland: booking accommodation, sourcing package deals and other offers, and provision of information and printed material that will help you to make the right choices for a happy holiday.

Tel.: +49 (0) 3501 47 01 47
http://www.saechsische-schweiz.de

Culture in Saxon Switzerland

Historical facts and fairy tales right in front of your eyes

Saxon Switzerland is much more than a haven of sporty pursuits. On those days that you may need a rest from the trek, the cycle ride and all that messing about on water, a wonderful world of culture awaits.

Elbe Sandstone Mountains by FRANK EXSS

Elbe Sandstone Mountains by FRANK EXSS

Through Pirna’s old town alleys In the middle of the 18 th Century, Bernardo Bellotto, also known as Canaletto, captured the city of Pirna in 11 paintings that have no equal. Today, you can still catch a glimpse of the town that he saw: two of the most distinctive features are the dainty tower of the town hall and the mighty Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church), with its steep roof. A wander through the old town is a delight: romantic alleyways are stocked with small shops, cosy restaurants, pubs and cafes that spill out onto the pavements in summer.

Castles, stately homes & gardens. What became known as the “Five without equal” are not to be missed:

  • Weesenstein Castle. On a peak overlooking the Müglitz Valley towers a fairytale castle. Founded around 1200 AD, the castle later became the favourite residence of Saxon King Johann. The royal living quarters, with their precious interiors and wallpapers of the 18 th 24 Culture and 19 th Centuries, the Christian chapel and the resplendent gardens and grounds are well worth a visit.
  • Königstein Fortress. Never conquered in battle, the fortress in the air has been perched on its lofty sandstone mesa since 1241. You can reach the rock massif 247 m above the Elbe via 3 drawbridges or a lift. Originally the site of a medieval border castle, the fortress was extended into a hilltop citadel before serving as a federal prison from the 16 th Century onwards. Its most famous prisoner was Johann Friedrich Böttcher, co-inventor of European porcelain in 1706-07. The fortress was popular with Saxon royal August the Strong, who hosted sumptuous festivities there. Themed mediaeval evenings, with dinner, are now held in the underground vaults and casements, while the historic Christmas market, held annually at the castle conjures up the spirit of bygone times: to wander through the torch-lit yuletide market stalls is to be intoxicated by the sights, scented smells and spicy tastes of yesteryear.
  • The Baroque Garden of Großsedlitz. The Baroque Garden is one of the greatest and most beautiful examples of garden art from the 18 th century. It was created in 1719 by Count Wackerbarth. In 1733, August the Strong designed it as a symmetrical site, with Friedrichschlösschen (a style of small castle), orangeries, fountains, cascades and basins.

    Poppy by FRANK EXSS

    Poppy by FRANK EXSS

  • Fort Stolpen. Fort Stolpen sits aloft a 35 m high basalt peak and is visible from afar. Originally a border castle, it later became a prison. Countess Anna von Cosel, August the Strong’s most famous and possibly most beautiful mistress, was forced to spend the last 49 years of her life here in keeping with the prevailing culture: men preferred intelligent women to keep well away from state affairs … Today, the fort is an historic museum with a collection of arms, a torture chamber, the Cosel tower, the castle dungeons and a well dug 82 m into the basalt.
  • The Baroque Castle of Rammenau. Located in magnificent scenery, the Barockschloss and park is one of Saxony’s most beautiful attractions. Halls and quarters that speak of noble pomp and ceremony transport the visitor back to the 18 th century. Traditional chamber music is played in the sophisticated ambience of the Hall of Mirrors.
  • Kuckuckstein Castle, Pirna-Zuschendorf Castle and Hohnstein Castle have many stories to tell. Hohnstein, once a border castle and haunt of robber barons, served many purposes down the centuries: as hunting lodge, courthouse, federal prison, concentration camp and prisoner of war camp. Today, the castle offers accommodation within the castle walls and makes for an interesting day visit, with its historic buildings, bear gardens and torture chamber.

Concerts & Theatre
The “Sandstein & Musik” festival in Saxon Switzerland has boasted the exquisite musical delights of world-renowned artists down the years. Ludwig Güttler, Artistic Director of the festival, vouches for the quality of all concerts associated with the event. The festival takes place in the most beautiful of venues to be found in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains: The “Felsenbühne Rathen” (Rathens’ Mountain Theatre) is known as one of Europe’s most stunning natural stages. Set in the sandstone rocks of at the heart of the National Park, the theatre boasts an impressive ambience that is perfect for operas, fabulous fairytales and classical concerts. No suprise then to come across Winnetou and Old Shatterhand there, or Shakespeare’s famous lovers Romeo and Juliet, as well as magic forest sprites and spirits. Weber’s romantic opera “Der Freischütz” is staged to spectacular effect against the rocky backdrop of the Rathener
Wehlgrund.

Dandelion & Sunset by FRANK EXSS

Dandelion & Sunset by FRANK EXSS

Muse temples, monuments and more …
In need of a rest from the elements on a rainy day? Saxon Switzerland is rich in museums, arts and crafts and exhibitions that tell of the region’s chequered history.
At Pirna’s DDR Museum visitors can enjoy a spot of Ostalgia. In an area covering 250 m², flats typical of the German Democratic Republic reflect the development of radio, television, cameras and record players from five decades of the past century. Learn too about the lives of young pioneers, the FDJ (youth organisation), the NVA (army) or the ABV (community policeman).
The “Robert-Sterl-Haus” in Naundorf near the town of Wehlen was the last home of the great German impressionist painter. The house, now a small museum, holds a surprisingly large collection of his works. Exhibits are staged in a way that leaves the visitor with the impression that the artist has just laid down his brush to pop out for a while before returning any moment soon.
On a tour of the “National Park Centre of Saxon Switzerland” you can learn more about those beauties of nature that are hidden from the human eye. Children marvel at red wood ants as they go about their busy lives in Saxony’s only ant zoo. The dynamics of the wilderness are explained through interactive exhibitions at the centre – and the questions are not only posed to children, but adults too.Like, how can a rugged mountain range evolve from the bottom of the ocean? And where does the sandstone for the Dresdner Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) come
from? Atmospheric photos, text and music form part of a multivision show that takes you into the secret world of the NationalPark.
Sebnitz was once the centre of European silk flower manufacturing. Today, this great tradition can be relived in the demonstration workshop of the “Deutsche Kunstblume Sebnitz” house and in a few other, smaller, enterprises. Visitors are invited to have a go at making flowers themselves.

Information
Event calendar and ticket sales from the Tourism Association of Saxon Switzerland or at:

http://www.saechsische-schweiz.de

Saxon Switzerland – Water and more

There’s more than just the Elbe … for water lovers, amateur captains and pirates.

At 1,383 m above sea level, the source of the Elbe bubbles from mountains in the Czech Republic. After travelling 364 km, the waters reach the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, spilling into tributaries of the Elbe via ravines that drop between 200 m and 300 m past rock walls and through crevices. A fitting entrance to a world of water that holds something for every visitor: take a leisurely steamboat down the Elbe, set your own pace in a rubber dinghy or take the plunge in one of the region’s many lidos, most to be found in lush, green setting. Set sail on the world’s oldest and largest paddle steamer fleet Steam navigation not only facilitated the transport of wood and sandstone that went into creating the classical cities of Dresden and Prague and many of Saxony’s stately homes but now provides a glorious way for visitors to arrive in Saxon Switzerland. Regular scheduled and special boat services operate between Meißen and Bad Schandau, allowing passengers to alight at a number of stops along the way. Saxon Steam Navigation’s fleet of nine historic steamboats aged between 79 and 128 years old is the only one of its kind in the world.

Hintere Sächsische Schweiz by FRANK EXSS

Hintere Sächsische Schweiz by FRANK EXSS

From April to October you can captain your own rowing boat against a backdrop of bizarre rock formations at Amselsee in the spa town of Rathen.

Gone fishing. Myriad rivers created our unique landscape – and you can fish in all of them. Whether in the Sebnitz, the Polenz, the Kirnitzsch or other kilometre-long river sections, trout can be found in abundance, along with grayling, book trout, bullheads and young salmon, which have been resettled to the area. In cold water so clear that you can see the fish, cast your line and off you go. There are also many overgrown stretches of river, where the catch is just as abundant but not quite as easy to hook. All waters are open for fishing, provided you have a permit. In some areas where trout are being bred, an extra permit is required.

Swimming, spas, saunas, thermal springs. A wealth of healthy pursuits: dive into the warm-water world of Saxon Switzerland, through artificial waves, off high-diving platforms, down gigantic slides, then relax and recover in sauna, spa and thermal spring.

Geibeltbad Pirna Swimming for fun and fitness: gigantic aquaslide, water playground with a boat canal, water jets and various saunas and Turkish baths.
Toskana Therme Bad Schandau Heavenly pleasure: steep yourself in sauna, spa & beauty treatments and sink into Liquid Sound® for an unparalleled bathing experience in colour and light.
Dr.-Petzold-Kräutervitalbad Sebnitz Outdoor swimming pool and great pampering programmes: various saunas and natural health spas that include treatments with “Cleopatra’s milk”, algae, hay and evening primrose oil to moor and mud packs.
monte mare Neustadt Adventure pool with Caribbean flair: take to the local South Seas, let artificial waves wash over you and hold your breath on the brink of shooting down a thrilling 103 m-long slide. When the sun comes out, take the plunge in the great outdoors Summer heat means outdoor bathing.

30°C in the shade, the sun is beating down and you need to cool off? Head for one of the many lidos and
open water swimming areas of Saxon Switzerland for an invigorating experience you won’t forget. Beach volleyball on the banks of the Elbe. Playing volleyball on the beach is not only great fun but gets you fit in the bargain. There are riverside beach volleyball courts at Königstein and Bad Schandau.

Ahoy there!

Elbe Valley by FRANK EXSS

Elbe Valley by FRANK EXSS

If you would like to discover the Elbe alone, a number of unforgettable experiences await you – just ask anyone who has conquered the Elbe in a dinghy, canoe or kayak! Whether alone, in a pair or with a group, you’ll find something for you in a wide selection of boats: from canoes to 20-person rafts and 400 bhp powerboats. After professional instruction, beginners may also take to the water. The Saxon Switzerland stretch of the Elbe boasts five landing stages, while the region offers a variety of “water sportfriendly” accommodation.

Magical rides on crystal clear water
“Obere Schleuse” Hinterhermsdorf.  From Hinterhermsdorf, romantic forest paths cut through mysterious and mythical woods and rugged sandstone rocks on their trail deep into the valley. More than 120 years ago locals established boating, in place of wooded rafts, on the dammed waters of the River Kirnitzsch. Today, you can take a truly magical boat trip along 700 m of crystal clear waters. Watch out for rock forms and shapes moulded by wind and weather into the likeness of animals and fairytale figures. After a 20-minute ride, the boat reaches the lock, beyond which the water roars over the dam.

Information
http://www.saechsische-schweiz.de, http://www.saechsische-dampfschiffahrt.de/en/, http://www.flusswandern-elbe.de
• Information on booking volleyball courts can be obtained at local tourist offices