Malerweg Trail


Hiking can be so artistic. On the Malerweg in central Germany, you walk in the footsteps of the numerous famous painters from bygone eras. Artists such as Johann Carl August Richter, Adrian Zingg, Bernardo Bellotto, Johann Alexander Thiele and Caspar David Friedrich were all impressed by the impressive rock formations and the picture-postcard scenery. So it is no wonder that the Malerweg in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is one of the most popular hiking trails in Germany.

Unique hiking path in Saxon Switzerland

Basic information on the Malerweg

Immerse yourself in the artistic history of the past on a hiking holiday on the Malerweg in Saxon Switzerland. Here an abundance of wildly romantic gorges and bizarre structures made of rocks meet mountains and mysterious forests. The historical art and culture of the region in central Germany are of great importance. The painter’s path got its name from the numerous artists who made paintings on the stone formations and cliffs many centuries ago. The main hiking trail leads around 112 kilometres through the Elbe sandstone mountains. A hiking holiday on the Malerweg is not only an artistic experience, the country’s popular hiking trail also has numerous sights for hikers. The starting point for the route is Liebethal, the destination is Pirna.

The most beautiful stages of the Malerweg

Gorgeous view in Saxon Switzerland

A hiking tour can be so artistic

Our team at Eurohike has brought together the most beautiful stages of the Malerweg for you to create an unforgettable hiking trip. During a seven-day hiking holiday on the Malerweg, the so-called Painter walking tour, you will always walk along good hiking trails through the Elbe sandstone mountains for around 70 kilometres. The starting point of your trip is Bad Schandau and from there you hike over the balcony of Saxon Switzerland – the Brand – to the health resort of Rathen. A special highlight awaits you on the next day’s stage: the famous Bastei rock with a view of the Bastei bridge.

Impressive view to the Pfaffenstein

Continue over the Table Mountain Rauenstein to the largest fortress in Europe – the Königstein fortress. The most beautiful hiking trail in Germany keeps its promises on the next day as well: impressive views of the famous Lilienstein and an enjoyable hiking break at the summit with regional delicacies in the mountain restaurant Pfaffenstein. The journey continues from the health resort Gohrisch to Krippen and the Lichtenhain waterfall.

  • The crowning glory: the highlight of the last stage is a ride on the traditional Kirnitzschtalbahn to the final destination of Bad Schandau.
Tour character

Painter walking tour

7 Days | Self-guided Tour
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Our Eurohike moments on the Malerweg

Charming Lichtenhainer waterfall
  • In the footsteps of the painters: Numerous painters were amazed by the unique sight of the natural landscapes and rock formations along the way. In Saxon Switzerland National Park, you can admire the paintings by artists from back then on 13 display boards and learn about their origins and history. The special thing about it: the display boards are placed where the popular paintings were once created.
  • Unforgettable photo stop: On the third day of your trip, you can cast a unique view of a famous photo motif in Saxon Switzerland – the approximately 76-metre-long Bastei bridge.
  • Train travel: An absolute highlight of your hiking holiday awaits you on the last day of your trip – a ride on the historic Kirnitzschtalbahn. The railway has been reliably transporting guests from Bad Schandau to the Lichtenhain waterfall since 1898.

Route guidance on the Malerweg

Rathen at the Elbe

On good hiking trails through the Elbe sandstone mountains

The hiking holiday always takes you along well-developed hiking trails. Almost 80 per cent of the trails are natural and therefore a real experience for hiking fans. The routes are signposted along the entire route by means of the Malerweg sign. Our Eurohike hiking tour takes you past sandstone formations and gorges to impressive views. A good basic level of fitness and surefootedness is recommended. Although some sections lead over stairs, there are simpler alternatives for the particularly demanding stages, which is recommended for hikers with dogs. With Eurohike you can hike free of any burden on your walking holiday without luggage, so these stages can be mastered without any problems and the finest hiking experience awaits you.

Facts and details about the Malerweg

An excellent hiking holiday awaits you on the famous Malerweg in central Germany. In 2007 it was named ‘Germany’s most beautiful hiking trail’ by the ‘Wandermagazine’. Numerous restaurants along the way are among the inns with the award ‘Hiker friendly on the Malerweg’ and are therefore well prepared for the needs of active holidaymakers. You can find an overview of the facts and details about the Malerweg here at a glance:

View to the Goldstein
  • Location: near Dresden / Pirna in Saxony
  • Length: 112 kilometres (Eurohike hiking holiday: 70 kilometres)
  • Course: From Leibethal to Pirna
  • Season: Best travel time from April to October
  • Difference in altitude: 4,000 metres
  • Highest point: 551 metres
  • Lowest point: 112 metres
  • Trail markings: Signs with the Malerweg symbol
  • Special feature: Due to the good nature of the path, this tour is particularly suitable for hiking with a dog.

Questions and answers about hiking on the Malerweg Trail

The Malerweg Trail is located near Dresden/Pirna in Saxon Switzerland in Germany.

The Malerweg Trail extends over a total of 112 kilometres.

The Malerweg Trail falls under our category walking. The route runs over good hiking paths through the beautiful natural landscape of Saxon Switzerland. We recommend a good basic level of fitness and surefootedness for an enjoyable hiking experience.

You can experience numerous highlights on foot on our walking holiday Painter walking tour, 7 days. During the route you walk in the footsteps of famous painters. On 13 display boards along the way you can learn about the history and paintings by these artists. Another highlight can be found on the third day as you meet the Bastei Bridge, which, with a total length of 76 metres, blends picturesquely into the landscape.

On the daily stages of our walking tours on the Malerweg Trail, you cover between 10 and 17 kilometres per day.

The route on our hiking holiday on the Malerweg Trail leads you from Bad Schandau to Rathen, Königstein, onwards to Gohrisch, Krippen and finally back to the beginning of your hiking tour in Bad Schandau.

The best travel time for a hiking tour on the Malerweg Trail is from May to October.

On our walking holiday on the Malerweg Trail you will stay in beautiful hotels and cosy guesthouses.

Boat trip at the Elbe with view to the Koenigstein

Pure hiking pleasure on the Malerweg

Hike free of any burden and without luggage. This and much more awaits you on your hiking holiday with Eurohike. With our Eurohike Wanderplus you are in good hands: detailed travel documents, hotels and accommodation with a feel-good factor, personal on-site support and reliable luggage transfer. During your trip, Eurohike is always happy to be available for you on our service-hotline.

  • You can read all information about our Eurohike Wanderplus and why we at Eurohike will make your hiking holiday a perfect experience here.
Julia Winklhofer
Are you ready for a picturesque hiking holiday in central Germany? I look forward to organising your active break on the Malerweg Trail!
Julia Winklhofer, Team leader Eurohike
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