Press Reviews on Elbe Sandstone Mountains / Saxon Switzerland

“[…] The steps began to obsess me. Our arrival in “Saxon Switzerland” – the region of Germany that lies between Dresden and the Czech border – had coincided with a heatwave. The adventurers who explored and mapped this territory, which is filled with curiously formed cliffs, table-shaped outcrops and solitary pillars, had done so in style, by constructing stone staircases, flights of wooden steps and metal rungs at every juncture […].

Polenztal by FRANK EXSS

Polenztal by FRANK EXSS

My fascination with the area started three years ago when revisiting Pirna, a pretty city on the Elbe with a sandstone bridge and medieval Marienkirche, looking much the same as when it was painted by Canaletto. Pirna describes itself as “the gateway to Saxon Switzerland” […].

This area is famous for rock-climbing […]

[…] The view was wondrous: we could see all the peaks we had climbed and walked between, and they were impressively distant. It was our highest day, too: 1,173 steps from our starting point beside the Elbe.[…] ”

The Independent, Don’t look down: the ‘Saxon Switzerland’, 19/07/2008 by Hilary Macaskill, 22/09/2009

“ […] It’s very popular with West German, Swiss and Austrian tourists, but non-German speakers haven’t really discovered it yet. In summer, one of the most seductive destinations is the national park […]

Untouched by fire or war since the Middle Ages, the picturesque town of Pirna, not far from the Czech border, looks almost exactly as it did when Canaletto painted it in the 1750s, and it is an ideal place to base yourself. From here you can cycle along the Elbe as far as Prague, ramble around the 1,000-plus kilometres of waymarked paths through the wooded mountains, or climb the weird weathered- sandstone rock formations. […]

The soullessness is an illusion though, as numerous modern artists work and exhibit in the city, the restored opera house draws hosts of international visitors, and the people are friendly and welcoming. […]

Most visitors come to Dresden for the art and architecture, but perhaps the most pleasing attraction is the green heart of the city. Building on the riverbanks was banned for hundreds of years. Sitting above them on the Brühlsche Terrace, nicknamed the “Balcony of Europe”, you can watch paddle steamers chug down the Elbe.[…]”

The Independent, The complete guide to Saxony, 10/05/2001 by Anthea Milnes, 22/09/2009,

“[…] Dresden is just over 30 kilometres from Saxon National Park, but it felt as if we were driving into another decade.[…]

we headed into the fairy-tale landscape of golden autumn forest from which the famous stacks of sandstone emerged […].

Climbing in Saxony is one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had. It was also the most dramatic introduction I could have asked for to my new-found passion, a sport where nobody loses and everyone wins.”, Don’t look down, 21/04/2009 by Holly Hunt, 22/09/2009,

View to Königstein by FRANK EXSS

View to Königstein by FRANK EXSS

“ONLY 30KM FROM Dresden lies one of Germany’s best-kept secrets. Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) national park, which is dominated by the imposing Elbe Sandstone Mountains, includes 400km of hiking trails, 36km of cycle routes and more than 11,500 climbing paths, from which you can fully appreciate the stunning rock formations and the beauty of the valley below.[…]

A walk along the parapets and an iconic stone bridge offer staggering views of the river and valley below on one side and a coniferous forest on the other, where the park continues into the Czech Republic. […]”, A German vision of towering beauty, 10/01/2009 by Mark Rodden, 22/09/2009,

“Dresden is considered one of the most beautiful cities of Europe.[…]

The bizarre formations of Saxon Switzerland in sandstone cover an enormous area.  Here it is possible to undertake long hikes in a strikingly beautiful region.  For those who are short on time, at the very least a visit to the Bastei and the Fortress Königsstein is a must.“, Dresden World Heritage Site: A Baroque City, Risen From The Ashes, 23/10/2006 by Mathaba, 22/09/2009,

“[…] Nothing here is done by halves. […]

Pleasure, playfulness and mischief. This is the capital of Saxony […]

If you have only one day for a trip out, consider taking the S-Bahn to Königstein, 15 miles to the southeast, or the boat to the Wettins’ summer palace at Pillnitz. Either way, you get the mysterious, magnificent Elbe, Germany’s greatest river after the Rhine.[…]

Königstein is a formidable medieval and Renaissance fortress that commands the landscape of tabletop rocks, winding gorges, stone chimneys and the occasional crashed tree […]

(it’s) also known as Saxon Switzerland, although ”Mesas With Forest On” would be nearer the mark. The weather during our visit was thrillingly Romantic, too: hectic sunshine, biting gale, squalls of rain and enormous, racing, white clouds.[…]

as we entered the park at Pillnitz […] Stone sphinxes, heads in the air, stared across the stream to the

Daffodils by FRANK EXSS

Daffodils by FRANK EXSS

pheasants’ island. Two scullers rowed past in the dusk. An old cherry tree big as a black dragon had fallen, mostly died, then sprawled towards the water in a final explosion of dazzling white. There was almost no sound, and the spell deepened further when we walked through a door on the way to supper and found ourselves in a large lilac garden crammed to the corners with trees of every knockout scent and shade. After supper, we returned to the now dark river one last time, and discovered a little pension at the water’s edge.[…]”

The New York Times, Dresden still and again, 11/08/2002 by Michael Ratcliffe, 22/09/2009,

“[…] the Felsenbühne, a stunning outdoor theater built into towering sandstone cliffs outside Rathen, a gingerbread village on a sweeping bend of the Elbe River […]
the theater itself, built in 1937 and reached by a steep path through a rocky, tree-shaded gorge, is an attraction in its own right. […]
(Rathen) is a gateway to the national park known as the “Saxon Switzerland,” a striking landscape of bizarre rock formations and bare sandstone crags that stretches southeast into the Czech Republic […].
The area has long been popular with hikers, climbers, and lovers of romantic landscapes, and there are well-marked paths for all levels of skill and stamina. […]
The majestic Festung Königstein, one of the biggest fortresses in Germany, soon hove into sight, high above us on a rocky plateau […].
The route hugged the Elbe almost the entire way, affording spectacular views of riverside scenery. […]”

The New York Times, Meandering along the Elbe by riverboat and train, 02/06/2008 by Ruth Ellen Gruber, 23/09/2009,

“ […] As we followed the winding course of the Elbe, I watched out of the window spellbound. This, I thought, was the way to travel. […] “, Railway journeys :the Danube Express, 26/09/2008 by Adrian Bridge, 23/09/2009,

“ […] Switzerland comes to Saxony
When it comes to mountains, Germany is blessed with the Alps in the south and the Harz towards the north.

Sanstone Mountain by FRANK EXSS

Sandstone Mountain by FRANK EXSS

Tucked away in what used to be the far, far east, is the beautiful region known as the “Saxon Switzerland”, a wild, craggy area along the gorge cut into the lesser known Elbsandstein mountains by the River Elbe. Stunning scenery: a real highlight on the train or river journey between Berlin and Prague. […]” Germany: Ten good reasons to go, 10/05/2005 by Adrian Bridge, 23/09/2009,

“ […] a region with such picturesque scenery that it is called Saxon Switzerland. […]
is most charming for foot tours; and, although conveyance may be had, still, to derive the highest enjoyment, one must wander through the flower-starred valleys, climb the fragrant wooded mountains, hang over steep cliffs, struggle up ascents, rest beneath forest trees, talk with the peasants by the wayside, linger at the primitive houses, lunch at all hours and in unexpected manner, — and all this is only to be had by the pedestrian.[…]
Never was rarer day than this, and life seems very beautiful on a June day, on the banks of the Elbe, just entering fresh forests, with health and spirits, the charm of a foreign land about us, and such a sky above us! […]
A ride on the Elbe in the evening twilight ; past old König-stein, the fortress deemed impregnable, and where the crown-jewels are taken in time of war ; past the Bastei, the palaces, and then the glittering lights on the terraces of Elb Florenz (Dresden, the Florence of the Elbe), and the music wafted from its gardens recalls us to the world of man from the world of nature. […]”

Old and, On foot through Saxon Switzerland, 1887, 23/09/2009,

“ […] Saxon Switzerland is a region with a bizarre and intriguing landscape. […]
(it) got its name from the fact that its huge, smooth rocks and deep, narrow valleys and gorges seem far more like those of Switzerland […]
The region provides plenty of activities for active holidaymakers, ranging from hiking the trails to climbing the huge, steep rocks. […]
the area is also significant from a historical standpoint. […]”, Germany inside out: Eastern Germany, 23/09/2009,

“[…] Visitare la Sassonia non significa soltanto rivolgere uno sguardo nostalgico al suo glorioso passato. Chi si aspetta dalla sua vacanza di recuperare la forma può sempre dedicarsi a qualche attività aerobica: escursioni a piedi, itinerari in bicicletta, arrampicate in montagna, gite in canoa sono alla portata di tutti in questa regione soprannominata anche Sächsische Schweiz (la Svizzera sassone). Ma la Sassonia non seduce solo i cultori della calma e del relax. I centauri apprezzeranno le strade ricche di curve e paesaggi mozzafiato in piacevoli viaggii all’insegna della bellezza naturale e del piacere di guida. Chi predilige la velocità senza dover rischiare il ritiro dell patente potrà sfogarsi sul Sachsenring, un circuito tra i più moderni d’Europa, immerso in un parco di 30 ettari.”
Sassonia, terra di castelli:


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