Elbe Cycle Route
Fun on the river
The Elbe Cycle Route is Germany's most popular long-distance cycle route. And the 40-kilometre section running through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is its most beautiful stretch.
The Elbe Cycle Route has been defending its position as the most popular long-distance cycle route in Germany for years now. It is over 1,000 kilometres in length and spans from the Czech Giant Mountains to Cuxhaven. It follows the path of the Elbe River and has only a few ascents.
The section of the Elbe Cycle Route that runs through Saxon Switzerland features the finest landscape of the entire route. The entire stretch runs alongside the river – with fascinating views of the majestic table mountains and the jagged solid rock of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
What you can see
You pass the Königstein Fortress, Rathen Open-Air Stage and the famous Bastei Bridge. Once you reach Pirna, gentle hills and stately castles line the route. The route leads you below the listed Loschwitz Bridge – also known as the "Blue Wonder" – directly into the heart of Dresden.
After the Elbe metropolis, idyllic vineyards accompany you on your tour through Radebeul with the Karl May Museum, onto the porcelain town of Meißen and the so-called Saxon Elbe Wine Villages. Wine makers press fine white wines in Saxony's wine cellars, and these are certainly worth a tasting.
The Elbe wetlands widen in the direction of Riesa and offer views across meadows and fields. Storks can be glimpsed here and there, and herons can also be seen on the banks of the river. Gently flowing in broad bends, the Elbe then leads you through the partially protected wetland landscape via Strehla to the historic Torgau. You pass through Dübener Heide National Park via Wittenberg to Dessau-Rosslau, and then continue onto the North Sea.
Profile of the cycle route
Around 80 percent of this section of the well-constructed Elbe Cycle Route, which is marked with the blue "e", is a self-contained route. The surface is mainly tarred or covered with a mineral surface, and is ideal for cycling on. Short sections are paved or cobbled. The cycle path occasionally switches to the other side of the river. Wherever there are no bridges, ferries are on hand to transport cyclists and their bikes.
Up or down the Elbe?
The differences in elevation along the cycle route are minimal. For this reason, it doesn't really matter whether you cycle in the direction of the current of the river or against it. However, the prevailing westerly winds and the interesting landscape on the side going up the river means that travelling upstream is recommended.