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from £1675
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, or Painters’ Way, winds its way through Germany’s Saxon Switzerland. From rocky viewpoints the meandering Elbe is often visible. You first see the river beneath Prague’s Charles Bridge, where it is known as the Vltava. At the end of our journey you meet it once again in the neo-classical and Baroque splendour of Dresden. Experience this journey with us. 

Our holiday starts with two nights in the enchanting fairytale city of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. We enjoy a full day exploring the city with a local guide. We’ll wander through the narrow cobbled streets, visiting such city gems as the Old Town Hall with its remarkable 15th century astrological clock.

We continue our adventure in Germany where we follow the Malerweg in its entirety from our riverside base in Krippen adjacent to the resort of Bad Schandau. Throughout the trail’s seventy miles, which we follow in eight stages, it is easy to see why great painters and musicians have found inspiration here. The unique jumble of rocks, the sweeping panoramas, the dampness of the forest floor, mists rising from the valleys; these are the very essence of the Romantic Movement.

The Malerweg links towns on the Elbe such as Pirna, with its squares and gabled roofs, with hamlets and villages such as Hohnstein, where a castle rises above half-timbered buildings and neat gardens. And of course it is always easy to find a cafe serving coffee and cake or a Gasthaus for beer and pretzels.

Our holiday ends with two nights in Dresden where a local guide will introduce us to the rich cultural heritage including the famous sights of the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), Preidenkirche and Fürstenzug (Procession of the Princes), Old Masters Picture Gallery and Zwinger just to name a few.

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 program, 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'll 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'll 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 and ends 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 then 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 London Heathrow.

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

Our accommodation in Krippen, Bad Schandau 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. Buffet breakfasts have a good range of choice and dinners are a three course affair with highlights of the regions hearty cuisine. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the main building. To help you unwind there is also a bar, sauna and sun terrace, where if the weather is kind, dinners can be served. Bedrooms include a telephone, satellite TV, hairdryer and en-suite facilities.

Hotel William

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. At the buffet breakfast you can choose from the excellent selection of fresh fruits, fruit salads, smoked specialties, milk products, jam, corn flakes, salt and sweet pastry, coffee, tea, and juice in the notably extravagantly decorated restaurant. Dinners are taken in local restaurants. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. For our 2 June 2019 tour, we will be staying at the Hotel Harmony in Prague instead.

The Westin Bellevue

The four star Westin Bellevue is set in beautiful grand manor house with its own gardens, that also sits on the banks of the Elbe. The location makes for fantastic views of Dresden’s baroque old town and easy access to its attractions. Dinners are taken in the hotels restaurant which serves contemporary regional and Mediterranean cuisine with views of the river and skyline. Every morning an excellent buffet breakfast will be ready in the Palais restaurant, for you to help start your day. Comfortable and clean rooms include a desk, safe, telephone, satellite TV, minibar, radio, hairdryer, and bathrobe. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Other facilities include a smart indoor heated swimming pool, a wellness area with three saunas, a solarium, fitness room, a relaxation zone, treatments and massage (services at an additional charge). For our 25 August 2019 tour, we will be staying at the Motel One Dresden Am Zwinger for two nights instead.

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