Seldom have we stayed in a extra enchanting realm. Saxon Switzerland impresses with imposing desk mountains and weird rock formations. It ignites your creativeness with its gnarled forest paths, moss-clad boulders and slim ravines from the place a light-weight mist emanates, like if this historical earth quietly exhaled. It’s straightforward to consider in gnomes and elves on this fairytale panorama.
Saxon Switzerland is a Nationwide Park within the east of Germany, within the area of Saxony, near the Czech border. On the Czech facet they, then again, have their Bohemian Switzerland Nationwide Park. The 2 parks share the identical pure marvel: the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. This is without doubt one of the most peculiar landscapes of Europe: The mountains are flat on high, the rocks have weird varieties and the local weather is upside-down.
The sand sticking to your mountain climbing boot, whenever you’re out exploring the realm, is with compliments from prehistoric occasions, 140 million years in the past, when the realm was coated by ocean.
Over tens of millions of years, layers of sand and different minerals had been deposited right here, reaching a thickness of 600 metres. Slowly, these layers compressed and solidified into sandstone. Round 100 million years in the past, the sandstone plate lifted and broke into items. The Cretaceous seas retracted, and frost, wind and water started their sluggish and affected person remoulding of the sandstone. Volcanos erupted right here and there, giving start to the conic hills of at present, reminiscent of Raumberg, Grosser and Kleiner Winterberg (any title ending with -berg, tells a story of a volcanic origin).
Over the course of tens of millions of years, the Elbe river cuts even deeper into the sandstone, and it eroded into gorges and valleys, peculiar geoforms and the desk mountains that tower majestically above the Elbe river at present. Lilienstein, Königstein and all different -stein are all born out of the sandstone and thus share that household title.
The rocks you encounter alongside the best way will let you know their very own story of this lengthy historical past. Finally, in hundreds of years, they too will find yourself as sand beneath our toes. Higher exit and revel in them whereas we will.
Mountain climbing is at the start probably the most intensive technique to expertise the range of the panorama of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. There are greater than 1.000 kilometres of mountain climbing trails in Saxon Switzerland alone. And solely hardly ever does it simply go straight. Bridges lead over gorges and fissures, trails result in panoramic views or follows a transparent stream within the forest valley. And on the edges of the desk mountains, stairs and iron ladders await the adventurous hiker.
The rocks come inside attain. You’ll be able to learn the million-year-old historical past on their floor and attempt to grasp the geologic growth of the realm. Our favorite hikes had been these of Bastei, Bielatal, Pfaffenstein and Affensteine.
Romantic painters – and a path to find them
We’ve climbed the path for what looks like an eternity. Then, arrived on the correct top, the Elbe river flows graciously below us, nonetheless combating the morning fog that adheres to its waters. It’s a fairytale view from the Schrammsteine – no marvel that it impressed many Romantic painters and writers 200 years in the past, ultimately turning the Saxon Switzerland to an early vacationer vacation spot in Germany.
“Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer” is a well-known portray from 1818 by Caspar David Friedrich and exemplifies the Romantic motion and advertises the view in brushstrokes. And each view from the Carolafelsen may simply double because the well-known background of the portray. However then once more; so may numerous others on the so-called Malerweg, the Painter’s Path.
This 116 kilometre mountain climbing route will take you previous a few of the most picturesque landscapes of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. And although chances are you’ll not have introduced your brush and easel, just like the painters of the Romantic motion did 200 years in the past, you may seize these immortal views on digital camera.
Prime 5 Saxon Switzerland
Saxon Switzerland is an ideal vacation spot for a one-week getaway! Combining journeys to the pure sights within the nationwide park with visits to Dresden with its refine baroque structure and beautiful artwork museums, makes an ideal combo for virtually everybody!
With a lot to see and so little time, we’ve boiled down the highlights to our private Top5 of the belongings you undoubtedly shouldn’t miss and which might offer you an general sense of the grandeur of Saxon Switzerland!
Bastei: Iconic pure attraction
These jagged rock formations are some of the iconic, pure sights of the Saxon Switzerland. They rise 194 metres above the Elbe River and had been fashioned by water erosion million years in the past.
Due to its reputation we selected (correctly, in hindsight) to reach early as to catch the morning fog earlier than it lifted, in addition to catching a free parking house earlier than they had been missing.
Each the hike on the Bastei, trying down on the rock formations, and the next stroll by the so-called Schwedenlöcher, trying up on the towering boulders, was deservedly top-of-the-line in Saxon Switzerland!
Bielatal: Gigantic Geoformations
As we climb one more steep rock, we’re all of a sudden there: on the Herkulessäulen. These slender rock pillars rise 35 meters from the forest ground and regardless that they give the impression of being awfully fragile, they’re sturdy sufficient to accommodate climbers. A climber rappels down the seemingly insurmountable rock face. Simply to show our level.
The Hercules pillars are however a number of of the numerous weird rock formations all through your complete Biela valley. With 239 peaks it’s additionally the most important climbing space in Saxon Switzerland. And even in case you’re not a climber, this can be a excellent place to get shut and private with these wonders of nature.
Schrammsteine & Affensteine: Dramatic views and daring trails
Ding! “Welcome to Czech Republic” our telephones proclaim. Ding! “Welcome to Germany” an SMS 2 minutes later greets us.
We’ve begun our hike to the so-called Affensteine (Monkey stones) and Carolafelsen (Carola Rock) from the charming village of Schmilka, simply 400 metres from the Germany-Czech border. And though the path doesn’t cross any border, our telephones trumpet their imagined worldwide travels.
This space is the southernmost of the nationwide park Saxon Switzerland and awards you with superb views. However not till you’ve earned them by schlepping your self 250 vertical metres up the path.
At each flip there’s a new perspective. Throughout treacherous roots, below large boulders and alongside steep cliffs, the path meanders by the jagged mountains. Carolafelsen gives each awe-inspiring views in addition to a sun-kissed spot to benefit from the lunch, earlier than we head again on the path. The higher Affensteine path will take you thru this superb space, that gives most likely probably the most difficult hikes in Saxon Switzerland. Keep tuned for one more article about the very best mountain climbing routes in Saxon Switzerland, the place we’ll describe the very best path to find Schrammsteine, Affensteine and Carolafelsen.
Kirnitzschklamm: Boat On The Border
The small river of Kirnitzsch is a minuscule model of that prehistoric physique of water that carved out the valley of Kirnitzschtal and made it some of the standard entryway into the center of Saxon Switzerland.
After having adopted the winding street by the gorgeous valley and left the vacationer plenty behind us, we park the automobile and hike down in the direction of the river. We’re happening a ship journey.
The Kirnitzsch river follows the border between Germany and Czech Republic at this level, and is dammed for about 700 metres. On this dam, small boats have paddled vacationers by the enchanting canyon since 1879. The barred river is not more than 8°C and a light-weight mist emanates from its darkish floor because the boatman ferries us alongside by the slim gorge. On each side of the river, border plates inform their story of a time when the nation to the proper was named DDR and the nation to the left was Czechoslovakia.
The boat journey solely takes half-hour and we may simply have saved the 8€ per particular person by mountain climbing alongside the river. BUT then we wouldn’t have heard all these enjoyable tales of the ferryman, or seen the steep cliffs replicate within the murky water the identical method.. A (boat)journey price taking – particularly with kids.
Pfaffenstein & Barbarine: Shut contact with the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
If you wish to get intimate with one of many iconic desk mountains of Saxon Switzerland, we advise a go to to Pfaffenstein. It’s not a far stroll from the automobile park, it’s not a strenuous climb and but you’re awarded with towering cliffs, slim gorges and ideal views to the remainder of this superb Nationwide Park.
We advocate to take the “Klammweg” up; the street left of the imposing Jäckelfels. Right here, stairs will take you intimately near the mountain till you attain a plateau the place there’s a small inn. You’ll be able to replenish right here in the summertime months, earlier than exploring the ruins and enterprise by the slim “Hohle Gasse“, most likely regretting in case you had an excessive amount of to eat within the inn. Reaching one other plateau, you might be awarded with spectacular views to the south. Keep in mind to enter that little crevasse to the left the place you stand up shut and private with the geoformation “Barbarine” that stands like a tall phallic image pointing to the east.
In the event you’re sure-footed and have introduced a headlamp, I recommend coming right here for the dawn, as you’re granted magical views of the solar rising over Saxon Switzerland.