Hike, cycle or rock climb around the craggy sandstone formations, leafy canyons and forested peaks of this expansive national park in Saxony.
Immense forests sweep across the scenic rocky terrain of the Saxon Switzerland National Park (Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz). With its highest peak reaching around 1,824 feet (556 meters) above sea level, the picturesque reserve contains a breathtaking landscape of mountains and canyons. Trek through undulating meadows to encounter quaint villages, fields, sandstone mountains and the Elbe River.
Check out the National Park Center in Bad Schandau for cultural events and exhibitions. Learn about the geology, history and flora and fauna of the park through fascinating displays.
Pick from the walking trails that carve through the rocky terrain. Among the best is Painters’ Way in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, named for the artists who were inspired by the mountains and gorges here. Ride along the Elbe Cycle Route that follows the river.
Go mountain climbing on some of the 21,000 routes of varying difficulty and get another perspective of this magnificent landscape. The park contains around 1,100 pinnacles waiting to be conquered. Rent climbing and abseiling gear from one of the many tour operators in the area. Camp on the hiking and climbing trails and relish clear views of the stars.
In the northwestern outskirts of the park is Bastei, where otherworldly rock towers rise above the forest and the river. Stroll along the formation’s arched bridge for spectacular views of this surreal terrain. Make your way south to find the Königstein Fortress looking out over the diverse scenery from a hilltop.
The entire park covers an area of 36.1 square miles (93.5 square kilometers) in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. The national park is free to enter.
Visit the adjacent Bohemian Switzerland National Park in Czech Republic.
The Saxon Switzerland National Park is in Saxony in the eastern part of Germany. Fly to Dresden Airport and drive southeast for 40 miles (64 kilometers) or take the train to the towns that surround the national park.