© F. Meyer/Elberadweg

The Elbe Cycling Path – Pleasure along the River

And its most beautiful part is the 35 km long section running through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

Pause am Elberadweg in der Sächsischen Schweiz© F. Meyer/Elberadweg

The Elbe Cycling Path has for years maintained its ranking among the top three long-distance cycling routes in Germany. It is 1,200 km long and runs from the Czech Riesengebirge Mountains to Cuxhaven at the North Sea. The path always follows the river course with only a few uphill sections.

The Elbe Cycling Path section in Saxon Switzerland is the most scenic stretch of the entire route. Here the trail runs the entire time directly along the riverside and provides fascinating views of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains’ majestic table mountains and rugged rock formations.

Travel Packages

Sights to discover

From the Czech border near the village of Schöna, the Elbe Cycling Path runs past the rocky scenery of Saxon Switzerland National Park including Königstein Fortress, Felsenbühne Rathen Open Air Theatre and the famous Bastei Bridge. From Pirna, rolling hills and impressive manor houses line the way. After passing under the historic Loschwitz Bridge called the “Blaues Wunder” (Blue Wonder), the trail continues directly into the Dresden city centre.

The tour continues behind the capital city in a northwesterly direction between idyllic vineyards through the town of Radebeul, with a museum dedicated to the novelist Karl May, and then on to the town of Meißen, famous for its porcelain tradition, and the Saxon wine producing villages along the Elbe River. In Saxony’s cellars top white wines are made; a wine tasting here is worthwhile.  

Further on in the direction of the town of Riesa the river banks widen and the view opens up to fields and pastureland. Now and then, storks or herons watching for prey at the riverside can be glimpsed. Quietly flowing in wide bends the river continues through the partly protected floodplain landscape via Strehla to the Renaissance and Reformation town of Torgau. Passing through the Dübener Heide Natural Park the trail continues to the towns of Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Dessau-Rosslau with its Bauhaus highlights. Then the Elbe Cycling Path leads via the towns of Magdeburg, Wittenberge, Lauenburg and the city of Hamburg to Cuxhaven where the Elbe River mouths into the North Sea.

Upstream, cyclists follow the Labe, which is the Czech name for the Elbe River, through the neighbouring country’s low mountain ranges. Many Elbe River cycling tourists choose to make a detour along the Vltava River to Prague to include another highlight on their route. Finally the tour ends in the Riesengebirge National Park where the Elbe River rises at an altitude of 1,300 metres.

Discover the Elbe Cycling Path …

… between Dessau and Saxon Switzerland. These are our top highlights.

Bauhaus in the Green

Dessau, the town of the Bauhaus School, has two sides to discover: On the one hand, one of the most exciting art and culture epochs of the last century can be explored at its place of origin, on the other hand you will be amazed by the green character of the town with its many parks and well maintained cycling trails. The Elbe Cycling Path runs past the most important sights of the town centre whereas an alternative route leads along the riverside. 

Dessau & the Elbe Cycling Path

Green UNESCO Cultural World Heritage

Wonderful English style landscape parks are characteristic for the Gartenreich Dessau-Wörlitz. The UNESCO World Heritage Site title has made the small community of Wörlitz world-famous and attracts visitors to talk a leisurely walk, a cycling tour or a boat ride. It is a true highlight of the Elbe Cycling Path as it crosses directly through the gardens. 

 

 

Discover Wörlitz

Centre of Reformation

There is no getting around him here: Martin Luther is omnipresent in the town of Lutherstadt Wittenberg on the Elbe River. It is here that he lived, worked and preached – and nailed his famous 95 Theses on the door of the Schlosskirche (castle church). Cycling from this church and detouring only 1 km off to Luther’s House allows you to breathe in a bit of true world history. This place is a must-see stop on the Elbe Cycling Path.

All about Luther at the Elbe Cycling Path

A Jewel on the Elbe River

The town of Torgau situated in the northern part of Saxony on the Elbe Cycling Path is a truly under-appreciated beauty. The former residence of the Saxon Electors boasts one of the most attractive old town centres along the Elbe cycling route. Its absolute highlight is Hartenfels Castle with its great spiral staircase and the Hausmannsturm Tower.

Torgau & the Elbe Cycling Path

The Cradle of Saxony

Towering above the land, the castle hill with Albrechtsburg Castle and the Cathedral can be seen from afar and lures cycling tourists to their next destination. Meißen is the cradle of Saxony and combines two worlds of pleasure: Saxon wine and the world-famous Meissen Porcelain. Both of them should definitely be explored.

At the Elbe Cycling Path in Meißen

Cycling through the Florence on the Elbe

Dresden’s city centre can easily be explored by bicycle as almost all highlights are located close to the Elbe River and its cycling path.  The Old Town with the Zwinger Courtyard and the Frauenkirche Church, the New Town with its baroque quarter and the pub and club area, the castles along the Elbe River, the Blue Wonder Bridge, Pillnitz Palace – all these sights can be discovered by bicycle. Tip: Don’t miss a stop in at least one of the beer gardens along the route!

Dresden along the Elbe Cycling Path

Fascinating Rock Scenery

Saxon Switzerland is the Elbe Cycling Path’s final destination of its German part and a true highlight of its southern section. Here the Elbe Cycling Path runs close to the riverside while on the left and the right, a rocky landscape opens in front of the cyclist’s eyes. Numerous ferries provide varying perspectives. And if you still haven’t had enough of it, you just continue on the Czech side towards the Elbe River’s source.

Cycling in Saxon Switzerland

Route Profile

This well-maintained path is marked with a blue “e” and about 80% of the trail is on a separate path. Its surface is usually tarred or cemented and very suitable for cycling. There are some short sections that are paved with stones. From time to time the trail changes to the other riverside. Ferries cross where bridges are lacking.

In Saxon Switzerland the Elbe Cycling Path runs along both riversides, with one exception: There is no trail on the right bank of the river between Kurort Rathen and the town of Königstein. If you haven’t crossed the river earlier you can do so in both these places by ferry and enjoy the view to Lilienstein Mountain from the left side of the Elbe River.

 

Elbe Cycling Path Information Material:

Elbe Cycling Path Manual

Elberadweg Handbuch 2022© Elberadweg Koordinierungsstellen

The free Elbe Cycling Path Manual provides maps, tips and a list of all cyclist-friendly hosts along the Elbe River from the Riesengebirge Mountains to the North Sea. The pocket-sized  (around 15 x 21 cm) brochure fits in each bar bag and simplifies orientation for cyclists on a multi-day tour along the Elbe Cycling Path, as well as on a short ride or a day trip.

All cyclist-friendly hosts for lodging and catering facilities and campsites fulfill the criteria for bicycle tourists. These criteria are based on the ADFC “bett+bike” (General German Cyclist Club “bed + bike”) certification and ensure that bicycles can be locked in a safe and covered place at night and tourists can also book single night stays.

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