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.
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 café serving coffee and cake or a Gasthaus for beer and pretzels.
Our holiday starts with two nights in the enchanting fairytale city of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. We enjoy a full day to explore 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.
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.