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Just a short train ride south from Dresden, on the border with the Czech Republic, a landscape of craggy rocks, deep ravines and mysterious lakes awaits walkers. Painters, musicians, poets and philosophers of the Romantic period used to tour Saxon Switzerland and found much inspiration here.
Today, this unparalleled landscape is increasingly catching the attention of Hollywood. Directors regularly bring international film stars to the region to shoot scenes for major productions amidst the pristine scenery. Filming is only permitted if it is compatible with local nature conservation and the recreational needs of holidaymakers.
On the trail of the Romantics
This rocky national park is today considered one of Europe’s most spectacular regions for walking. The Malerweg (Painters’ Way), for example, will guide you through 112 kilometres of enchanting, ever-changing scenery. More than 70 accommodation providers certified as ‘Walker-friendly on the Malerweg’ are geared up for visitors following the trail, and offer one-night stays, packed lunches and help with luggage transfers. Windproof clothes, warm gloves, a hat and non-slip shoes – with these, hiking here is a joy at any time of year!
In the motherland of freeclimbing
The porous sandstone rocks, which give the landscape here its distinctive charm, are especially sensitive to the effects of weather. Because local climbers want to pursue their passion for many years to come, they have formulated a set of strict rules for climbing in the region that takes this sensitive landscape into account: for example, it is expressly forbidden to use metal safety equipment such as nuts or SLCDs (spring-loaded camming devices – wenn es passt, statt der Abkürzung) on the more than 1,100 designated free-standing climbing summits here. Ropes and anchors (e.g. rings) may only be used as a safety measure, not for actively climbing.
Felsenbühne Rathen: drama in the rocks
Amidst this sea of rocks lies one of Europe’s most spectacular outdoor theatres - Felsenbühne Rathen. It was on this site that Carl-Maria von Weber found inspiration for several scenes of his Freischütz. Today, this opera is performed annually here in its original setting. Things take a less musical turn but stay just as atmospheric when the heroes of Karl May’s westerns, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, gallop across the stage to save the day.
Access-for-all in Saxon Switzerland
Saxon Switzerland meets the needs of travellers with disabilities: at the National Park Centre, for example, specially tailored guided tours of the interactive exhibition are available for visitors with visual impairments and hearing loss. And where else can you go on tours of the national park with a ranger in a wheelchair?
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