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The Painters' Way

from £1849
Since the 1790s travellers have been fascinated by the beauty, the unique and intriguing landscape, the cultural heritage of Saxon and Bohemian Switzerland.

Through woods rich in ferns and mosses, across meadows, up fissures, between pillars of eroded sandstone, the Malerweg, otherwise known as The Painters’ Way, winds its way through Germany’s Saxon Switzerland.

Our holiday starts with two nights exploring the enchanting fairytale city of Prague. We follow the Malerweg from our riverside base in Krippen, adjacent to the resort of Bad Schandau. We enjoy the trail’s seventy miles in eight stages. The unique jumble of rocks, the sweeping panoramas, the mists rising from the valleys; these are the essence of the romantic Painters' Way. The Malerweg links picturesque towns and villages on the Elbe, with their squares and gabled roofs. We finish our journey in Dresden to enjoy its rich culture and famous sites with a local guide.



Holiday Highlights

  • Walk the 70 mile romantic Malerweg (Painters Trail).
  • Visit Europe’s largest freestanding rock arch.  
  • Experience a glorious display of contrasting and breathtaking landscapes.
  • Visit two wonderful contrasting cities.  
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Prague (British Airways)
      Airport transfers
      Half board en suite accommodation
      Explore Prague and Dresden with an English speaking local guide.
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 6

  1. Day 1

    We fly from London Heathrow to Prague. On arrival we transfer by bus to our hotel in Prague for 2 nights.

  2. Day 2

    We explore the fascinating city of Prague with a local sightseeing guide.

  3. Day 3

    Today we travel by road to Bad Schandau (Krippen) where we stay for the following 10 nights. We enjoy a walk around the local area in the afternoon.

  4. Day 4

    We start the first of our walks on the Malerweg trail. We walk from Liebenthal to Stadt Wehlen. A relatively easy first day walk, with a trail that meanders along the Wesenitz stream, alongside beautiful rape covered fields and through the forest of the Sächsiche Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) National Park. We end in the Riverside town of Wehlen. 9 miles (13.7km); 213m ascent / 251m descent; 4 hrs.

  5. Day 5

    We walk from Stadt Wehlen to Hohnstein. This is a more challenging day than the previous one. We walk along the Elbe, then the trail climbs steeply uphill, high above the Elbe River, before we come to the unique sandstone rock formation of the Bastei area. We end the walk at the delightful town of Hohnstein. 8½ miles (13.1km) ; 502m ascent / 321m descent; 5-6 hrs.

  6. Day 6

    We walk from Hohnstein to Altendorf. Starting in Hohnstein the trail takes us along a delightful pine forest trail below sandstone cliffs to reach the Brand viewpoint, the ‘Balcony of Saxon Switzerland’. We take 800 steps down to the valley floor of the Polenztal, then back up to the village of Waitzdorf. We finish in Altendorf and get views of tomorrow’s rocky area, the Schrammsteine. Total ascent 9½ miles (15km) 573m ascent / 664m descent; 6 hrs.

  7. Day 7

    We walk from Altendorf to Neumannmühle. We start by walking down through a gorge to Kirnitzschtal and cross the historic tram line from Bad Schandau. From here the route becomes slightly challenging as we climb through the rocks with the help of a collection of steps and a short ladder in the crevices of the rock face. This section is quite steep so we take it nice and slow. We soon find ourselves on top of the jagged sandstone rock formations of the Schrammsteine, and continue along the ridge which offers excellent views. And what goes up must come down as we take a steep path with more steps. After crossing the tram line again we climb to the spectacular rock archway, the Kuhstall, before finishing in the valley. 12½ miles (20km) 668m ascent / 753m descent; 7 hrs.

  8. Day 8

    We walk from Neumannmühle to Schmilka. We walk through mainly wooded paths, which will be steep in some cases and rough underfoot. The views at the top from the Grosses Pohlshorn and the Goldsteinaussicht make it all worth the effort. At the highest point of the whole walk, the Grosses Winterberg (556m high), a tower can be climbed to give a 360 degree view of the surrounding hills and forests. After another descent with many steps, we end in the attractive and sleepy riverside town of Schmilka, a few hundred metres from the Czech border. 9½ miles (15km); 628m ascent 688m descent; 6 hrs.

  9. Day 9

    We walk from Schmilka to Kurort Gohrisch. Now on the south side of the Elbe, we walk along some wooded paths but the terrain is more open today and not so many steep paths to tackle. We walk through the village of Reinhardtsdorf, with its impressive baroque style church. We also walk amongst open farm fields. There are some steps to tackle to reach the summit of the Papstdorf, which rewards us with spectacular views. 12½ miles (19km) 520m ascent / 330m descent); 6-7 hrs.

  10. Day 10

    We walk from Kurort Gohrisch to Kurort Rathen. We walk across fields which offer fine views towards Konigstein Castle. We then climb to the top of the Pfaffenstein, a flat top mountain, which entails a rather strenuous ascent up numerous wooden and iron steps. We enjoy more walking in the forest around, but not up, the Quirl rocks, before descending into Konigstein for lunch. After lunch a steep climb takes us around the outside of Konigstein Castle, before we continue on to Weissig and then descend to Kurort Rathen on the River Elbe. 13 miles (21km); 554m ascent / 654m descent; 6 hrs.

  11. Day 11

    We walk from Kurort Rathen to Pirna. Today will involve us climbing yet another flat top mountain, the Rauenstein. Although not as high as the previous one, therefore the climb is less demanding, but with plenty of steps. From the superb ridge walk we can enjoy views across the Elbe to the Bastei Rock, visited on section 2. We continue down a steep cobbled path to the village of Naundorf, and then along the Elbe to Pirna and the end of the trail at the Canaletto House with, appropriately, a Canaletto painting of the (unchanged) Pirna market square. 10½ miles (17km); 352m ascent / 372m descent; 5-6 hrs.

  12. Day 12

    Here we'll have a free day to further explore the area independently.

  13. Day 13

    We transfer by road to Dresden. After lunch we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour with a local guide to explore the city.

  14. Day 14

    Today we further explore Dresden and discover some local walks.

  15. Day 15

    We transfer by road to Prague airport for check-in and return flight to the UK. 

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Prague (British Airways)
  • Airport transfers by road c. 40 minutes
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Most low-cost carriers also have extra legroom seats.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Hotel Erbgericht

Krippen in Bad Schandau is a medieval spa town located on the bank of the River Elbe. There are two food shops close to the hotel plus a small supermarket, a large supermarket and a tourist information office.  If you fancy relaxation and wellness then the Toskana Therme Bad Schandau water and wellness complex is across from the hotel on the other side of the River Elbe. 

Our accommodation in Krippen is at the three star superior Hotel Erbgericht just 100m away from the river Elbe. This classic small town hotel has a distinctive German character and is staffed by a friendly and helpful team. To help you unwind there is also a bar, sauna and sun terrace, where if the weather is kind, dinners can be served. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the main building. The ensuite twin and single bedded rooms offer simple decor but is comfortable and include a telephone, satellite TV and a hairdryer.

Hotel William

Prague is an enchanting fairytale city, the capital of the Czech Republic. There are plenty of places to visit in this narrow cobbled street city, such as the old town and its remarkable 15th century astrological clock. There are many facilities close to the hotel such as shops, supermarkets, banks, ATMs, restaurants, cafe's and bakeries. There is also a fruit shop a few streets away from the hotel plus a mini market. There is also a public swimming pool a short stroll away from the hotel. 

Our accommodation in Prague is at the three star superior Hotel William, in a handsome townhouse building with a uniquely flamboyant interior design. It is perfectly located in the historical part of the city, so all attractions are easily reachable on foot. Simple and cosy bedrooms are well equipped and include a telephone, satellite TV, a safe, hairdryer, and en-suite facilities. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

The Westin Bellevue

Dresden is located on the River Elbe and boats a unique collection of historic buildings, distinctive art pieces and a thriving theatre and opera scene. There are 37 theatres and more than 50 museums with 12 being a part of the Dresden State Art Collections - regarded as the most important collection in the world! There are many facilities near to the hotel including cafe's, beer gardens along the riverbank, ATM's and supermarkets. There is also a tourist information centre and a shopping centre. 

Our accommodation in Dresden is at the beautiful four star Westin Bellevue which sits on the banks of the Elbe river. The hotel has a restaurant and cafe bar. There is also an outdoor terrace area. There are also leisure facilities including an indoor heated swimming pool, a wellness area with three sauna's, a solarium, fitness room and a relaxation zone. Treatments and massages can be purchased at an additional charge. We stay in twin and single bedded rooms with ensuite facilities. The facilities in the rooms include a desk, safe, telephone, satellite TV, minibar, radio, hairdryer and a bathrobe. Wifi is accessible in all areas of the hotel and is chargeable.