With its dramatic topography of tumbling canyons, table mountains, and untamed forests—spliced down the middle by the mighty Elbe River—Saxon Switzerland National Park (Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz) is a wild playground for adventurers. Straddling the Germany–Czech Republic border, the vast park offers hiking and cycling trails and hundreds of rock climbing locations.
Most travelers explore Saxon Switzerland on a day trip from Dresden or Prague. Many tours include a visit to both Saxon Switzerland on the German side and Bohemian Switzerland National Park (Národní park České Švýcarsko) on the Czech side, with stops at notable points of interest such as the Bastei Bridge (Basteibrücke) and Pravčická Gate (Pravčická brána). Often itineraries also include a cruise through the Kamenice Gorge.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Saxon Switzerland is a must-visit for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
- A typical day trip to the park can last anywhere from eight to 12 hours, depending on the option chosen.
- Wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, especially if you plan to hike within the park.
- Dress in layers, as conditions in the park vary and can change quickly.
How to Get There
Located about 19 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Dresden, Saxon Switzerland is about an hour’s drive from the city. Regional trains depart Dresden for the park frequently throughout the day.
When to Get There
Saxon Switzerland National Park is open throughout the year and tends to be busiest during the summer months. For the best balance of good weather and sparser crowds, plan to visit during the spring or autumn, and plan to arrive first thing in the morning.
Kirnitzsch Valley Tram
An old-fashioned tram passing through the park’s Kirnitzsch Valley from Bad Schandau and Lichtenhain, the Kirnitzsch Valley Tram (Kirnitzschtalbahn) is the only one of its kind in the world operating in a national park. In operation since 1898, the tram continues to take passengers along the 5-mile (8-kilometer) route with seven stops along the way. Today, the tram runs on 40 percent solar energy.