© Philipp Zieger

Winter Views

© Philipp Zieger

Best views in winter

The good thing about winter is that now you can finally see through it all! This is the perfect moment to enjoy the numerous wonderful vistas in Saxon Switzerland even more. And why not doing so during a winter hike.

A warm recommendation in this context is a stop in one of the cosy local mountain inns.

Here are Saxon Switzerland’s top ten viewing points in winter:

1. Kuhstall (Cow Stable) Rock Cave

© Yvonne Brückner

Kuhstall Rock Cave is Saxon Switzerland‘s largest rock arch. From the cave you have a breathtaking panoramic view to Affensteine Rock massif. If you then also climb up the Himmelsleiter (Stairs to Heaven) this vista is even more impressive. A unique rock scenery opens up in front of your eyes here. And by the way, it is a unique experience to call in on the  Kuhstall Mountain Inn as well.


Hiking tour recommendation:



2. Papststein Mountain

© Nicole Hesse

 Papststein Mountain impresses with its breathtaking 360 degree view over Saxon Switzerland.  It takes less than 10 minutes to climb up to the top. The ascent path is well lit in the dark by the way. A stop in the cosy  Papststein Mountain Inn  is highly recommendable.

Tip: Next to Papstein Mountain is Gohrisch Mountain with similar great views.


Hiking tour recommendation:

Drei-Steine-Route (Three Table Mountain Route)


3.Götzinger’s Height

© Hans Fineart

There is a 25 m high iron tower on the summit of Götzinger’s Height allowing for a 360-degree panorama view to the table mountains of Saxon Switzerland and the closest summits of the Lusatian Mountains. Sure, a bit of courage is needed to climb the many steps of the iron spiral staircase. But it is definitely worth the effort! A stop in the Berggasthof & Pension Götzinger Höhe (Mountain Inn and Guest House) is a good recommendation in this context.

Hiking tour recommendation:

Götzinger Höhe (Götzinger's Height)


4. Bastei View(s)

© Yvonne Brückner

In summer a babel of languages – in winter a quiet paradise. In the cold season only very few visitors end up at Bastei Rock. You have a good chance to be all alone to enjoy the most awesome views. And it is not only the panorama you can take in but also the soul-inspiring peace of hibernating nature. These are the viewing points in the Bastei area you should not miss: Pavilion View (Pavillonaussicht), Wehlstein View (Wehlsteinaussicht), Ferdinandstein Cliff, Bastei Bridge (Basteibrücke), and Neurathen Rock Fort (Felsenburg).


Hiking tour recommendation:

Große Bastei-Runde (Great Bastei Loop)

Großer Nordic Walking Bastei-Trail (Great Nordic Walking Trail)





Drop here!

5. Hohnstein Castle

© Hans Fineart

Hohnstein Castle towering on a high cliff is a popular trip destination. You get this spectacular view to it from the Hohnstein Punch Trail (Hohnsteiner Kasperpfad) 

Tip: Once you are in the town of Hohnstein you should not miss a hike to Brand Rock. The path leading there from the castle and town of Hohnstein is one of the most popular winter routes: easily accessible, well maintained and topped off by a cosy mountain inn with a crackling fire inside. Its spectacular 180 degree panorama is the reason Brand Mountain earns its nickname “Balcony of Saxon Switzerland.

Hiking tour recommendation:

Zur Brandaussicht (To Brand Viewing point)

Gautschgrottenroute (Gautschgrotte Rock Cave Route)


6. Kaiserkrone Mountain

© Stefan Junghannß

Kaiserkrone Mountain rises at the edge of the village of Schöna. It is a very rugged and eroded table mountain, on closer inspection consisting of only three remaining rock spikes. From there you have great views to Schrammsteine Rocks, Zirkelstein Mountain, Great Winterberg Mountain, Great and Small Zschirnstein Mountains and to Bohemian Switzerland.

Tip: Detour to Zirkelstein

Hiking tour recommendation:

Schönaer Rundweg (Schöna Loop Trail)


7. Carol’s Cliff (Carolafelsen)

© Sebastian Thiel

Hiking in winter does not always mean snow and sunshine. In grey weather as well, you can lace up your hiking boots and discover the mystic side of Saxon Switzerland. A tour to Carol’s view for instance would be a good recommendation for such a day. The starting point is in the village of Schmilka. At first you walk uphill on an asphalt road to “Zwieselhütte” branch-off. The following section via “Heilige Stiege” (Holy Stairs) strengthens the thighs yet rewards you with a number of more or less wide views. And a bit later then there is the really grand perspective from Carol’s Cliff. From here, almost all of central Saxon Switzerland can be viewed. The most eye-catching elevations are Dom Cliff, Falkenstein Rock, Schrammsteine Rocks and Lilienstein Mountain. Then you continue on a smooth path called Reitsteig and now and then come across other look-out points as for instance at Wenzelwand (Wenzel Wall).

Hiking tour recommendation:

Schmilkaer Kessel (Schmilka Rock Basin)


8. Pirna

© Hans Fineart

Saxon Switzerland not only boasts of great landscape motifs but also of historic townscapes. This is why Canaletto appreciated the town of Pirna so much. To get to this viewing point it is best to start at Pirna Market Square with a nice hike, or rather a little winter stroll. The path takes you past Marienkirche Church up to Schlossberg Hill where Sonnenstein Castle towers above the town. From up here you have a great view over Pirna, and in good weather you can even see the city of Dresden. To continue, just follow the trail marked by a red “C” on yellow ground which keeps running below the old fortress walls


Hiking tour recommendation:



9. Bad Schandau

© Hans Fineart

This view is especially attractive for those who want to do just a small tour and still see a lot. From the Bad Schandau town centre you take the historic elevator to get to the top of the hill. From the upper station there is a wonderful view over the Elbe Valley and to Lilienstein Mountain, which seems to tower in solitary splendour over all its surroundings. Only a few steps further you get to the lynx enclosure. If you are lucky the animals are awake and you can watch them roaming. If you have some more time you can continue from here for a walk to the town district of Ostrau or onward to the area of Schrammsteine Rocks.


Hiking tour recommendation:

Ostrauer Rundweg (Ostrau Loop Trail)

Kleine Schrammsteinrunde (Schrammsteine Rocks Schort Loop Route)


10. Hercules Columns

© Hans Fineart

How fascinating these formations are! Two mighty rock pinnacles reach up to the sky like weathered statues, slightly warped with heads far too heavy. They appear to be strong and at the same time fragile. Hercules Columns belong to the most spectacular rock formations of Saxon Switzerland. They are not only popular climbing summits but also symbols of a hiking area known to only a few: Rosenthal-Bielathal. In the world of tourism, this community is a little off the beaten path. Whoever seeks solitude will find it here. However, the landscape is so diverse as in hardly any other part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. There are also some adventurous trails with steps and ladders leading to impressive viewing points.
Tip: Look-out points from Kaiser-Wilhelm-Feste (Emperor Wiliam’s Fort) and Johanniswacht (St. John’s Vigil)

Hiking tour recommendations:

Herkulessäulen-Johanniswacht-Runde (Loop route Hercules Columns-St. John's Vigil)



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