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The Malerweg stages

Wegweiser Wanderweg Malerweg

A walk along the Malerweg can be started and ended at any point along the trail. You can also walk in either direction. In order to allow enough time for a relaxing walk with detours to the various sights nearby the hiking trail, we recommend splitting the route into eight stages.

It is also sensible to base your walks in Saxon Switzerland on the time indicators. The structure of the rocky landscape, with its steep ascents and descents, means that distances can take longer to cover than in typical sub-mountainous regions. Thus the signposts tend to use times rather distances.

Hiker-friendly accommodation and eateries

Auszeichnung Wanderfreundlich am Malerweg

Lots of establishments along the stages of the Malerweg hold the "Wanderfreundlich am Malerweg" certificate. They offer single night stays, packed lunches, luggage transfer and drying rooms, amongst other things. The certified eateries along the hiking trail also serve hot and light meals between 11 am and 5 pm (at least). You can also refill water bottles etc. if required.

Food & drink and accommodation

Hiking without luggage

Wandern ohne Gepäck

Rucksacks can be a hindrance on some narrow ascents: They should, therefore, be kept as slim as possible. Alternatively, you could organise a luggage transfer. The simplest way of doing this is to book a complete package. Or ask your "wanderfreundlich" (hiker-friendly) host on the Malerweg to help you here.

Tour operators

Malerweg stage 1

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1st stage: Liebethal - Wehlen (approx. 11.5 km, 4 hrs, 135 metres elevation)

This stage walk begins in Pirna-Liebethal, at the entrance to the romantic Liebethaler Grund. You pass the monumental Richard Wagner memorial before arriving in the Uttewalder Grund with the famous Felsentor. The stage finishes at the market square in Wehlen.

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Malerweg stage 2

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2nd stage: Wehlen - Hohnstein (approx. 13.2 km, 5 hrs, 632 metres elevation)

In the town of Wehlen you walk a section up the River Elbe, before climbing the Schwarzbergweg (black mountain way) to »Steinerner Tisch« picnic area. The route takes you past famous Saxon Switzerland attractions, including the Bastei Bridge and Rathen Open-Air Stage, before reaching the destination: Hohnstein, with its impressive castle and the hand puppet museum.

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Malerweg stage 3

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3rd stage: Hohnstein - Altendorf (approx. 11.7 km, 5 hrs, 412 metres elevation)

Beginning in Hohnstein, you climb through the "Bärengarten" (bears' garden). The route then leads past the fantastic panoramic views from the Brand viewpoint – one of the stage highlights – through Waitzdorf in the direction of Altendorf. From there, you can enjoy views of the Schrammsteine, part of the next stage of the trail.

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Malerweg stage 4

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4th stage: Altendorf - Neumannmühle (approx. 17.6 km, 7 hrs, 464 metres elevation)

From Altendorf you walk into Kirnitzschtal Valley. You pass through the imposing Schrammsteine and continue in the direction of Lichtenhain Waterfall. From there, you head to the most famous cave in Saxon Switzerland – the "Kuhstall" – which represents the early end of the stage.

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Malerweg stage 5

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5th stage: Neumannmühle - Schmilka (approx. 13.6 km, 7 hrs, 625 metres elevation)

The fifth stage is one of the more challenging stages of the Malerweg trail. It initially runs through Kirnitzschtal Valley, in the direction of the River Elbe, to Buschmühle. The route then leads up an ascent to the summit of the Großer Winterberg; the second-tallest mountain in Saxon Switzerland. All that then remains is the descent to Schmilka, your destination.

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Malerweg stage 6

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6th stage: Schmilka - Gohrisch spa town (approx. 16.7 km, 7 hrs, 602 metres elevation)

You cross the River Elbe and walk to Schöna. You then continue over the Wolfsberg and Krippenberg mountains, gradually approaching Papststein Mountain. Once you have reached the summit, you have a descent before climbing another table mountain, the Gohrisch (rock). From here, you take the Muselweg path into the spa town of Gohrisch, your destination.

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Malerweg stage 7

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7th stage: Gohrisch spa town - Weißig (approx. 15.4 km, 6 hrs, 462 elevation metres)

From Gohrisch spa town, you head to Pfaffendorf. You pass the Pfaffenstein and Quirl before reaching Königstein, where you can conquer Königstein Fortress. You then walk along the old fortification route and the Kanonenweg to Thürmsdorf, and finally to Weißig, where the stage ends.

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Malerweg stage 8

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8th stage: Weißig - Pirna (approx. 12.4 km, 5 hrs, 225 metres elevation)

The last stage of the Malerweg initially follows signs from Weißig to the Rauenstein. You continue via Wehlen-Pötzscha to Naundorf, where you can find the most important art museum in Saxon Switzerland: the Robert Sterl Haus. The stage ends with a walk along Canalettoweg into the centre of Pirna.

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