© Yvonne Brückner

Malerweg Trail – Stage 7

A rugged table mountain’s wild and romantic rocky scenery and Germany’s most beautiful mountain fortress are the highlights of the Malerweg Trail’s seventh stage.

Facts and figures about the 7th Malerweg Trail stage

16,6 km

The hike along the 7th Malerweg Trail stage is 16.6 km long without detours.

6:15 hours

Six hours and fifteen minutes should be scheduled for the 7th Malerweg Trail stage. In addition, a quick visit to Barbarine Rock Needle and to Königstein Fortress is recommendable.

568 m altitude difference

UPHILL. The 7th stage is ranked as “challenging”. You have to cope with climbs in narrow clefts. Two of them – those leading to the tops of both the table mountains - are particularly steep.

639 m altitude difference

DOWNHILL. The lowest point you reach during this stage is in the town of Königstein at the Elbe River. In total, there are three longer downhill sections.

Route description

The starting point is in Kurort Gohrisch Village. Using paths called Jagdsteig, Königsweg and Alter Schulweg you first get to Pfaffendorf Village and then further on to the table mountain of the same name. Attention! The ascent trail is called “Nadelöhr” (Needle Eye) for good reasons! The path is in some parts narrow and steep and runs over wooden and iron stairs. Downhill the trail leads via Klammweg Path in the direction of Quirl Mountain. From the sports grounds in Pfaffendorf Village you continue along the Malerweg Trail to the town of Königstein, passing the town’s church and further along Latzweg Path to the foot of Königstein Fortress.

For a visit to the famous mountain fortress with its interesting exhibitions you should plan two extra hours. The Malerweg Trail then follows Alte Festungsstraße Road and Kanonenweg Path to the village of Thürmsdorf. Go past Thürmsdorf Castle to Malerweg Chapel, where you can enjoy a great view toward Königstein Fortress. After that you continue in open countryside along the edges of fields to the village of Weißig.

Accommodation along the Malerweg Trail

Hosts listed on this page are certified to be “Hiker-friendly at the Malerweg Trail”, they are prepared for Malerweg Trail hikers. If you are looking for hotels, guest houses, hostels or camp sites along the 7th stage only, click on this button.

Good to know

The Editor Team’s Tips

Recommendations on the 7th Stage of the Malerweg

Pfaffenstein Mountain Inn

Bergbaude Pfaffenstein© Hartmut Landgraf

Freshly cooked meals made mostly of local produce are on the menu here. Organic meat, milk and cheese are among the well-selected ingredients. You can also choose from vegetarian and vegan meals. The inn’s location on the mighty table mountain with a look-out tower and exhibition is optimal for a first break during the hike of the 7th Malerweg Trail stage.

Berggaststätte Pfaffenstein
Auf dem Pfaffenstein
01824 Königstein OT Pfaffendorf
Phone: +49 35021 59410

>>Pfaffenstein Mountain Inn



Königstein Fortress

Blick auf die Festung Königstein© Britta Prema Hirschburger

Königstein Fortress is a recommendation for all seasons. Covering a surface which equals 13 football fields, it belongs to the largest mountain strongholds in Europe. Thanks to its location at 247 metres above the Elbe River it offers a perfect combination of culture and nature. Exhibitions, guided tours and an audio guide inform about the daily rhythm of garrison life in former times. The various options for visitors to experience this place are completed by events, exciting activities and welcoming eateries.

The 1.7 km loop trail along the fortress outer walls is very popular and provides fantastic panoramic views.

Festung Königstein GmbH
01824 Königstein
Phone: +49 35021 64607

>>Königstein Fortress

Detours and Highlights along the Malerweg Trail

Gohrisch Village

Gohrisch Village is situated on an elevated plain with views to the Gohrisch, Kleinhennersdorfer Stein, Lilienstein, and the Pfaffenstein table mountains and to Königstein Fortress. Originally, this was a typical farmer’s village. In 1869, summer guests stayed here for the first time. Today, there is a village store, a bakery, restaurants and hotels.

© Yvonne Brückner

Pfaffendorf Village

Today Pfaffendorf belongs to the town of Königstein. The place name is from the Königstein pastor, “Pfaffe” and is a disrespectful word for a pastor or priest. In fact, the locals had to pay tribute to him, and in addition only he had the right of hare hunting in the area. A number of the typical three-sided farmyards still remind us of the village’s agricultural past.

© Yvonne Brückner

Pfaffenstein Mountain

On this table mountain of an altitude of 428 metres everything that Saxon Switzerland has to offer is concentrated in smaller scale: gorges, steep tracks, caves, views etc. There are several ascents to the summit plateau. One of them leads through the “Nadelöhr” (Eye of the Needle) and is narrow and steep but also impressive!

© Andreas Balko

Barbarine Rock Needle

According to a legend, this 42 m high rock needle is said to be a girl cursed by her own mother who had discovered that she was going to collect blueberries instead of attending the Sunday church service. The Barbarine Rock Needle was climbable until 1979.

(Distance: 0.3 km | 5 min)

© Silvio Dittrich

Quirl Table Mountain

The Quirl Mountain is lower than other table mountains but has the largest summit plateau. The access to it was deliberately destroyed by explosion in the Prussian-Austrian War to prevent the Prussian army from moving their canons close to Königstein Fortress. Today the mountain is covered by woods and has great viewing points.

© Yvonne Brückner

Diebskeller Cave

The 29-metre-long and 8-metre-wide stratified cave can be found on the north-east side of the Quirl directly on the Malerweg hiking trail. It is said to have provided shelter for a gang of robbers in 1885.

© Achim Meurer

 Königstein Town

The place was first mentioned as a castle settlement in 1379. Today its labyrinthine alleys are an invitation to walk around. A point of interest is St. Mary’s Church (St. Marien) which was built in the 18th century under the influence of George Bähr, the architect of Dresden Frauenkirche.

© Thorsten Günthert

Königstein Fortress

This 400-year-old mountain fortress is a unique example of European fortification. More than 50 historic buildings and extended green spaces can be explored during an adventurous fortress visit. Exhibitions, guided tours and an audio guide (also for children) give insight to the rhythm of life in the past here.

(Distance 0 km | 2 h)

© Hans Fineart

Thürmsdorf Village

Thürmsdorf Village is part of the community of Struppen and located below Bärensteine Mountains. The place was mentioned for the first time in 1420. The Malerweg Trail runs directly past a castle-like feudal estate. To refill your hiking provisions, you can stop in a traditional village bakery or at a craft chocolate studio.

© Yvonne Brückner

Thiele’s View with the Malerweg Chapel

The mausoleum of the von Biedermann family is in Thürmsdorf. It is signposted from the Malerweg Trail. Directly next to it is a look-out point named after the famous painter Johann Alexander Thiele. It is a wonderful view from here to the Elbe Valley and to Königstein Fortress.

© Yvonne Brückner

Kleiner (Small) Bärenstein Mountain and Götzinger’s Cave

Malerweg Trail hikers can explore Bärensteine Mountains from many locations. With some extra time you can visit Götzinger’s Cave at the foot of Kleiner (Small) Bärenstein Mountain On some maps it is marked as “Diebshöhle” (Thief’s Cave). From the top of the mountain you can enjoy a terrific view.

(Distance 2.9 km | 1:25 h)

© Frank Exß

Weißig Village 

This place was first mentioned in a document in 1431. It has always been a village of crop farmers and cattle breeders, and is still today dominated by agriculture. The village has about 120 inhabitants and belongs to the community of Struppen. It has a wonderful location above the Elbe River and is a great starting point for various hiking tours.


© Yvonne Brückner

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