The “Malerweg”

On historical paths through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains

The Malerweg is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Germany and leads over eight stages and 115 kilometers through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. In the footsteps of former artists and painters, the hiker arrives at impressive points in the rocky landscape. If you take your time and wander through the fascinating world of enchanted valleys and dreamy views, you will feel the full power and beauty of nature.

The unique landscape has repeatedly inspired artists to create outstanding works. The painter’s path is based on the historical route taken by painters in particular in their search for motifs through the mountains. Numerous drawings and paintings show a deep connection to the nature of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Even representatives of classical painting such as Johann Alexander Thiele (1685-1752) and Bernardo Bellotto, called “Canaletto” (1722-1780) or Adrian Zingg (1734-1816) and Anton Graff (1736-1813) created sensitive landscape paintings. The works of romantics such as Casper David Friedrich (1774-1840) and Carl Gustav Carus (1789-1869) as well as Ludwig Richter (1803-1884) speak of a true emotion about nature.

The stages of the Malerweg near Hohnstein

The eight stages of the painter’s path repeatedly lead to places where the artists’ easels once stood. These include the most beautiful excursion destinations and viewpoints in today’s Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland national park region. The second stage ends in the town of Hohnstein and the third stage begins. What could be nicer than spending the night in one of the castle rooms after an eventful day of hiking than to complete the next stage refreshed the next morning?

Our tip:

If you don’t want to hike all eight stages in total, you can easily combine two stages with an overnight stay from Hohnstein.

The second stage: from Wehlen to Hohnstein

This stage starts in Wehlen and leads over 13 kilometers and around five hours of hiking to Hohnstein. The first destination is the world-famous Bastei . An impressive view of the unique rocky landscape opens up from the huge sandstone bridge. From a height of almost 200 meters, it goes down to Rathen on the Elbe with its current-driven yaw ferry. From there the tour continues up to the Amselsee and the Amselgrund past the Amselfall and the Rathewalder Mühle to Rathewalde . Here it is time for a rest in the linden garden or a refreshment in the adventure pool. After leaving the village there is a fascinating view of the Lilienstein , which can also be enjoyed comfortably in the Hocksteinschänke. Now the Hockstein is not far anymore. Far below is the Polenztal , which is now followed by the descent over the Wolfsschlucht . There is another refreshment in the Gasthaus zum Polenztal. This is followed by the steep ascent to Hohnstein over the Schindergraben . Then the day’s goal is almost reached. Past the old Bear Garden are the first houses in the city right on the edge of the forest. Hohnstein Castle towers high above and is a great place to spend the night. A bed for the hiker can also be found in one of the many guest houses in Hohnstein. But be careful, please always make a reservation!

Link to the tour description and map of the second stage of the Malerweg

The third stage: from Hohnstein to Altendorf

This stage leads over almost 12 kilometers and a total of 1000 meters in altitude from Hohnstein to Altendorf . The tour begins below Hohnstein Castle on the Halbenweg , which leads past the Gautsch grotto into the Brand . Soon you will reach the Brandaussicht , the “balcony of Saxon Switzerland”. With a refreshment in the mountain inn, the distant view can be viewed in peace. Strengthened by this, your going the 800 Brandstufen down into the Tiefen Grund . On the opposite side, the ascent to Waitzdorf , a small town with 50 inhabitants and a country inn not far from the Ochel walls , takes place immediately afterwards. A detour to the Waitzdorfer Aussicht is worthwhile here. We continue through the picturesque Kohlichtgraben to Kohlmühle , where an abandoned brick building stands out. The listed building was an industrial plant for the production of paper and later linoleum. The next destination is the Adamsberg , from which the hiker has an excellent view. The place Altendorf is directly below. From here you can already see the so-called “Rear Saxon Switzerland”, through which further stages of the Malerweg lead.

link to the tour description of the third stage of the Malerweg

Here you will find all information about the Malerweg with a comprehensive tour description for all eight stages.