Hibernation? Sour cucumber time? Dead pants? No way! Saxon Switzerland is also full of life in the winter half-year. And this year more than ever. Some of the most beautiful towns and villages in the region invite you for the first time between autumn and spring as winter (t)raumorte with a stimulating mixture of nature experience, enjoyment, culture and sport to relax and recharge your batteries off the beaten track. We introduce you to the new offers.
Fireplace romance, crime dinner, creative workshops …
The spectrum is as colourful as the places are different. The Schmilka Bio and National Park Refuge is transformed into a lively winter village. The health resort Bad Schandau focuses on movement and creativity. The neighbouring spa town of Rathen presents itself as a fairytale land. Pirna and the double health resort of Bad Gottleuba-Berggießhübel attract visitors with their culture and culinary delights; Königstein town and fortress with Christmas market, ice rink and winter hikes.
Winter in Saxon Switzerland: This means heavenly peace in the national park region and inspiring adventure offers in the villages. But the focus is always on the experience of nature. The peace and quiet of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in winter is a balm for the soul. Germany’s only rock national park is now showing its wild, unfathomable side.
These are the winter(t)raumorte with their offers in the short portrait:
Winter(t)raum Bad Schandau:
Peace, movement, creativity
The poet Theodor Körner once called the former shipping town of Schandau – today Bad Schandau – “Nature’s place of power and splendour”. And he’s right! Is it the panorama? In the clear air? In the immediate vicinity of the wilderness of the Hintere Sächsische Schweiz? Fact is: Bad Schandau gives strength. Even in winter.
For the weeks with short days and long nights, Bad Schandau has put together a package of experiences full of peace, movement and creativity, such as with headlamp hike through the national park, mulled wine cooking under rock roofs, trail running in the Schrammstein area, city walks, jewellery, painting and ceramics workshops in the studios of local artists much more.
Tip: Bad Schandaus grandiose sauna and wellness paradise Toskana-Therme comes into its own in winter. The Liquid Sound Temple alone is worth the trip. Surrounded by underwater sounds and soothing light projections, you will simply float away from everyday life in comfortably warm thermal brine water.
All winter experiences in Bad Schandau can be found here!
Winter(t)raum health resort Rathen:
Welcome to Wintermärchenland
It all started at the bastion. Over 200 years ago, the foundation stone for Elbe sandstone tourism was laid here with a few simple bark huts. The most important starting point for hikes to the most famous view was and is the idyllic health resort Rathen. Special feature of the place: Its right-elbian part is practically car-free – and thus magically quiet. The adventure offers of the municipality in this winter are also fairytale.
The chefs of the hotels Elbiente and Elbschlösschen have created imaginative fairytale menus. Every Saturday, fairytale walks through the village and its surroundings start at the Hotel Elbschlösschen under the title “The Rathener fountain figures visiting the Brothers Grimm”. Also in the Hotel Elbschlösschen, hotel guests and visitors can create their own winter fairy tale worlds on Tuesdays and Saturdays. And those who still haven’t had enough of Snow White & Co. can experience the fairy tale fairy up close on Fridays at the fairy tale hour. The SteinReich world of experience is fabulous – from mud weather days in November to fabulous winter games in the winter holidays. is everything for big and small. And opposite the Bastei, a natural ice rink with a fairytale-like backdrop is being built during frost.
Tip: Winter holidays in SteinReich
Spend an eventful winter day in the SteinReich! Equipped with thick clothes and winter shoes, playing and romping is fun even in the cold season. And if the weather is more likely to encourage you to stay: the “Legendary Winter Games” also pass the time in warm weather. Fairytale carnival and fabulous handicrafts complete the Winter Games.
You can find all winter experiences in the winter fairytale resort of Rathen here!
Rituals in the Winter Village
Formerly a skipper’s village, Schmilka is now a showcase for sustainable tourism – with organic accommodation, fresh Bio Vital cuisine from regional organic ingredients and green electricity from renewable energy sources. In November the National Park Refuge is transformed into a winter village. Lanterns and fireplaces provide warm light. Mulled wine is served and a heated bath tub is set up in the middle of the mill yard.
The beer bath days in the winter village are cult! The master brewer pours the litres of home-brewed beer into the tub. Steam with a spicy hop note rises into the noses of the bathers and into the evening sky above small half-timbered houses shortly before the border to the Czech Republic.
Tip: The Mühlenstube serves hearty dishes and dark organic beers from our own brewery. From the organic bakery next door it smells of fresh bread. And at readings, concerts or lectures you can let eventful days end relaxed and full of culture.
The ritual plan of the winter village Schmilka can be found here
Culture in the Canaletto City
The town of Pirna has a fabulous architectural heritage. The world-famous marketplace ensemble, already captured on canvas by the Italian painter Bernardo Bellotto – better known as Canaletto – still looks the same today as it did 300 years ago. The historic old town with its magnificent churches, lavishly decorated town houses, small shops and manufactories is also worth a visit in winter.
With the Tom Pauls Theatre and the Richard Wagner sites of Graupa, there are two interesting cultural sites to choose from in and around Pirna. And in the Pirna district of Krietzschwitz you can try your hand at drawing and creating imaginative wax creations in the “Kerzenträume” manufactory.
Tips for November/December:
Advent market “Canalettomarkt” on the market square and romantic “light tours” (in December always Fridays and Saturdays 16 o’clock from TouristService Pirna)
All winter experiences in Pirna can be found here.
Winter(t)raum Bad Gottleuba-Berggießhübel: Double health resort with lots of culture
Elbsandsteingebirge or Osterzgebirge? Saxony or Bohemia? Health or hiking holiday? Wellness or culture? Above or below ground? The double health resort of Bad Gottleuba-Berggießhübel with its two historic town centres and the Marie-Louise-Stolln visitor mine leaves the choice.
The Gottleuba valley is a romantic winter hiking paradise full of history. And it is fun to go on a search for clues here under a local guide. The various theme hikes, which start on Friday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the MEDIAN Clinic, offer the opportunity to do so.
The Parkcafé “Alter Bahnhof” offers sophisticated café-house culture at the And Fridays and Saturdays 19:30 o’clock meet at the same place culinary and entertainment at the crime thriller and comedy dinners.
Tip: A special highlight in the miners’ lives was the Metten shift, the last shift before Christmas Eve. It was concluded with a special ritual. In the visitor mine Marie-Louise-Stolln you have the opportunity in Advent to experience the Christmas customs of the miners around the Metten layer.
All winter experiences in Bad Gottleuba-Berggießhübel can be found here!
simply beautiful in winter!
Goulash soup boils in huge copper kettles over an open wood fire. Steaming fortress punch is poured into earthy clay cups. The blacksmith’s hammer clashes. The historic-romantic Christmas market on the Königstein fortress is all about the traditional, authentic, handmade. It is the highlight in the wintry Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Tens of thousands experience the atmospheric journey through time year after year.
But Königstein is more than the fortress. Even the town just a few kilometres away celebrates winter. With an ice rink it invites you to ice skate with a panoramic view. Guided winter hikes through wild and romantic valleys and up to mighty table mountains start regularly. Also a robber cave tour with treasure hunt is on the program.
Tip: Every Friday, 9:30 p.m., night hikes to Pfaffenstein and Quirl start from the parking lot in the centre of Pfaffendorf. Price from 19 Euro.
And even more winter (t)rooms:
An overview of all winter dream locations in Saxon Switzerland and their current offers: www.saechsische-schweiz.de/wintertraum
cover photo © Daniela Beyer
Bastei Bridge in winter © Achim Meurer
Kirnitzschtal © Achim Meurer
Schmilkaer Kessel © Stefan Junghanss
historical elevator Bad Schandau © Achim Meurer
winter-hiking-tour with mulled wine © Achim Meurer
hiking group at Falkenstein © Achim Meurer
Fairytale hour © Achim Meurer
Fairytale menue © Achim Meurer
Mulled wine and fireplace at Kurort Rathen © Achim Meurer
conversation with mule wine at Mühlenhof Schmilka © Achim Meurer
Glühbier at winter village Schmilka © Albergo GmbH, Marko Döhring
bath house © Albergo GmbH, Marko Döhring
StadtMuseum Pirna © TS Pirna
in view of the historic city centre of Pirna © Norbert Kaiser
Making candles at Krietzschwitz © Silke Richter
underground lake at Besucherbergwerk © Achim Meurer
Mettenschicht Besucherbergwerk © Achim Meurer
Besucherbergwerk “Marie Louise Stolln” © Achim Meurer
Headlamp hike © Achim Meurer
skating rink Königstein © Achim Meurer
Königstein blue hour © Matthias Neumann