On the trail of nature
Is the Barbarine rock stack really a bewitched virgin? Do plants from the Ice Age really still grow here? The Elbe Sandstone Mountains are full of secrets for children. Child-friendly activities invite families to reveal the answers to these questions together.
Just because children don't walk like adults yet it doesn't mean that you have to miss out on walking tours as a family. In Saxon Switzerland there are magical routes of all difficulty levels that can also be enjoyed with a pram, buggy, training bike or by children on their own two feet.
The rock labyrinth in Langenhennersdorf promises pure adventure, for example: Over ladders, through pot holes and narrow fissures in the rock, you follow the numbered stations through the natural rock labyrinth. When you discover the Barbarine rock stack - the symbol of Saxon Switzerland - you can find out about the legendary Barbara. And the Hintere Raubschloss castle in Kirnitzschtal allows little knights to scale ladders that were originally used by bandits.
You can find these and more tips about walking with children in the german book of the same name.
A tour through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains with a knowledgeable national park guide is not just interesting but also educational. Birdsong, wild herbs and ant tours give you an insight into the oft-missed sensations to the left and right of the path. Fairytale tours and a "Uni in green" are also on the programme. As such, the holiday can be an active and educational experience for the whole family.
There is not much left of the water that covered the entire Elbe Sandstone Mountains 150 million years ago. However, the place where rock and water still meet to this day is the most attractive in the region, and not just for children: with streams, rivers, waterfalls and ponds.
Some family-friendly activities allow you to get up close and personal with the water – and to discover the rocky world above from a totally different perspective. Gondola rides on the Amselsee near Rathen, canoe rides on the Oberen Schleuse Hinterhermsdorf and, of course, trips with the historic paddle steamers from the Saxon steam navigation on the River Elbe are especially popular.
Pot holing fun
Children love pot holes and caves. They are cold, dark, full of secrets and sometimes a little creepy. In short: the perfect terrain for young researchers and adventure-seekers. There are around 300 larger natural cavities in the sandstone in Saxon Switzerland. The most famous examples include the Diebeskeller am Quirl, the Bennohöhle in Bielatal, the Hickelhöhle in the Thorwalder Wändern and the Gautschgrotte in Polenztal.
Where would we be without the forest? The Waldhusche in Hinterhermsdorf focuses on the changing relationship between humans and nature, including the long history of acquiring and using wood. The Waldhusche is a 65-hectare-large, historical wooded and open area, with four interconnecting themed walks and over 40 stations. Here adults and children can find out how the forest arose and vanished and how wood has been used differently by humans through the ages. The area is freely accessible at all times. The national park office offers free guided tours.