Almost everywhere the painter’s path of Pirna, Liebthaler Grund, is marked out beginning. But why not run against the current and go “backwards” along the painter’s path? We tried. And what can I say, it was worth it! But read for yourself:

Stage 1

It starts almost asleep. Start is for us on the market place in Pirna. Directly next to the tourist information, where we were given the last tips for our hike yesterday.

Up to the castle we get the first time out of breath. But these stairs will certainly not have been the last on our tour. We follow the forest path below the castle wall and then descend to the Elbe again at the end. The water glitters in the sunlight. It’s a beautiful day.

Obervogelgesang is reached quickly. There we have the first opportunity to stop, but the wanderlust wins and we move on. Uphill again. Again and again the rays of the autumn sun make their way through the colourful leaves and thinning trees. We feel free. For fun we whirl up the leaves and place ourselves in a rain of bright colors. Laughing, we move on.

Passing the tranquil little town of Wehlen we ascend to Rauenstein. This effort is rewarded! You are almost alone and the view is beautiful! We’ll stay here for a while, picnic and simply enjoy.

But soon the sun warns us to leave. In autumn it unfortunately gets dark earlier now. That’s why we have to go further to get to Weißig in time. Our timing is perfect. Now only one well deserved hiking beer and then the feet are put up. Tomorrow we have to be fit again!

Stage 2

We’ll leave white behind fast. On the first part of the path there is a beautiful view of the elevations of the small and large bear stone.

Blick auf kleinen und großen Bärenstein

Immediately afterwards, the mausoleum appears inconspicuously in front of us. A small chapel behind which there is a wide view over the Elbe valley.


The next town we reach is Thürmsdorf . Here we have to make our first stop, because there is no way around chocolate. In the SchokoladenCafé we treat ourselves to a hot chocolate and buy some food. Now we are well equipped for the climbs ahead.

Festung Königstein

The first one won’t be long in coming either. The Königstein fortress is enthroned in front of us and must now be climbed. Upstairs we take our time and visit the fortress. But there is too much to see! If we’re going to make our stage, we have to move on. This impressive old wall will surely welcome us again.


Now we first descend to Königstein. Another cosy place directly on the Elbe.


You can also stay here, but we are planning our next break for a little later. It’s going up again. Pretty out of breath and yet happy we walk the next kilometers. While circling the whirl we encounter large caves and mystical sandstone formations. The thoughts drift off into a world of fairies and trolls. This is how we imagine their dwellings.


From behind we climb Pfaffenstein. On its summit there are numerous views and from each of them the view is unique. We roam around a little, have a little picnic, indulge in a piece of chocolate, simply enjoy and are happy.

Pfaffenstein Aussicht


Through the eye of the needle we descend. A little caution is called for here. As the name suggests, the path is steep and narrow. Luckily, none of us are afraid of heights. Again and again we avoid hiking with a red head and sweat on our forehead, which are fighting their way up. We soon arrive safely at the bottom and stroll the last few kilometres to Gohrisch.

Stage 3

Aufstieg Gohrisch

Right at the beginning we go to the mountain of the same name of our starting place Gohrisch. We climb the rock over stairs and ladders. The view at the weather vane would have been perfect for a breakfast and we are a little annoyed to have already eaten in the village. But also today we will surely find another idyllic place for a picnic along the way.

Aussicht Gohrisch

Gohrisch Blick auf Papststein

Aussicht Papststein

Passing the well-known pavilion, you return to the valley, just so that the path leads directly on the other side up to the Papststein again.

Blick auf die Schrammsteine

A cool limo and a great view later we walk on towards Kleinhennersdorf. Here, the view already makes you look forward to the next days, as you can see up to the scratch stones.

Next we reach Krippen, a district of Bad Schandau. We continue over hill and dale and soon we reach Reihnhardtsdorf-Schöna. There aren’t much more houses here than in the previous places. Small but cozy. In the village we turn to the Wolfsberg, the fortunately last ascent for today. But with a great panoramic view this is also quickly forgotten. From here it’s all downhill. Always with a view of the Kaiserkrone and Zirkelstein, this stage also comes to an end. The two mountains shine in the evening sun and let you enjoy the last bit again.


Vacation in Germany’s most beautiful Switzerland is always impressive! In Schmilka we have reached our goal for today. Happy and satisfied we are looking forward to tomorrow.

Stage 4


Today we are having a good time! At the mill baker’s in Schmilka we treat ourselves to a large piece of fresh cake. We also need this energy, because the ascent to the Winterberg is long and steep! Pretty sweaty and yet a little proud to have mastered this ascent, we arrive at the top! After a short breather we continue to run relaxed. The foliage rustles under our feet and even today the sun fights its way back through leaves and branches.


At the Goldsteinaussicht we take one of the well-known breaks again. Enjoy the view, lie down on the warm rock and bite into the sandwich. This has really become a special part of a perfect hiking day for us!

Aussicht großes Pohlshorn

A little further we reach the armoury. Quickly we leave it behind us and walk on towards the big and small Pohlshorn. The views mean a few meters of way and a few more meters of height, but the desire and curiosity for beautiful views prevails.


We walk along the water. Here we use the possibility to branch off to the small stone cave. It looks unreal, we find by mutual agreement. Really impressive how nature forms such structures.

The last part of the way we are accompanied by the quiet splashing of the Kirnitzsch.


At the Neumann mill this section is also over and we can hardly believe that we have already completed half of the whole distance. Time just flies by.

Stage 5

Today we have the probably most impressive scenic stage ahead of us. We’re a little excited already. That’s why we are awake early and start the day full of energy.


At first the course of the Kirnitzsch stream accompanies us a bit before we turn off towards the cowshed. Uphill we fight our way to a very famous rock gate. And if we were already impressed by the small stone cave yesterday, we are even more so today!

Blick auf Affensteine

Even before we reach the monkey stones we have a great view of the first rocks. They look pretty high. I’m sure it’ll be exhausting.

Aussicht kleiner Dom

But apparently we are so overwhelmed by the impressions and views that we have already reached the meters of altitude before we could think about it. These impressions cannot be described. It’s really better to just let pictures speak!

kleines Prebischtor



The journey continues from the monkey stones to the scratch stones. Also in this part of Saxon Switzerland it is better to show pictures of stairs, ladders and views. We can’t get out of our amazement!

Treppen Schrammsteine

Aussicht Schrammsteine

Completely overwhelmed and abandoned We now visit this impressive, mystical rock world and return to the Kirnitzschtal. The last ascent brings us to the destination of today’s section, Altendorf. Although we are dog-tired, we will still lie awake for a long time to review today.

Stage 6

Still a bit tired from the many impressions we start quite comfortably in Altendorf. Today’s tour is much easier than yesterday’s, especially in terms of altitude. It’s downhill to the coal mill. This old abandoned building looks like a great lost place. However, access is prohibited.


Continue in the direction of Waitzdorf. The path rises gently. Hiking is so really pleasant. We’ll take a break from the ochel views today. We change seats from bench to rock and from rock to bench. The view is very beautiful, even if the fog still does not reveal everything.


Slowly we get cool and pack our things together and dare to climb the stairs of the fire. This is really exhausting! The path winds its way further and further up over numerous steps. An end is not really in sight. But at some point we’ll pass the last step! We’re definitely warm now!



On the way to the fire building we pass the branch to the oat sack view. We’re turning. There we look over rocks and colorful trees. The sun is shining, a child is playing with the echo coming back from the valley and we stay in the moment. A liberating feeling!


We treat ourselves to a refreshing drink at the fire before we make our way to the Polenztal. The cool and humid climate allows the most interesting constellations to grow up. The fairytale world is actually not far from Saxon Switzerland.

Above us lies Hohnstein, the end of today’s stage.

Stage 7

Treppen Hockstein

After a last look at the castle Hohnstein we first go down again into the Polenztal, only so that we can ascend again to the Hockstein view.

Unfortunately, we have less luck today. No visibility at all… But we remain optimistic that the day will be even more beautiful.

Mühle Rathewalde

Also above Rathewalde there would be a beautiful view. Unfortunately the sky is still holding back the beautiful weather. But then, little by little, it gets better and better! Soon it’s coming up and the first rays of sunshine are showing and at the Amselsee the autumn is shining again in all its splendour!



We continue to the most famous sight of Saxon Switzerland, the Bastei Bridge. Here we spend some time, walk over the bridge, eat an ice cream and explore further views around this highlight. A visit to the Felsenburg Neurathen is also part of the program!

Treppe Bastei

Bastei Elbblick

But we can’t stand it forever. The many people are really killing us. That’s why we decide to keep running. From here it goes only downhill, directly to Wehlen.

Stage 8

It’s hard to believe that this holiday is almost over! But still lies a stage ahead of us, which we will enjoy to the fullest!

Via the castle ruins above Wehlen we follow the path into the Uttewalder Grund. It’s cool and mystical here. After only a few kilometres we have reached the rock gate. Here it’s head in! We are always fascinated how nature manages to conceive something like this!

On the wayside small and bigger stone men appear. Sometimes even whole armies of them. They look like the inhabitants of this little green world.

We cross Lohmen and dive into the next ground, the Liebethaler Grund. The path is quite flat and we have fun and actually walk a bit backwards. Thus we have done all honour to the name of our hike.

(c) Sebastian Thiel

Finally we arrive at the destination of our hike. From here we take the bus back to Pirna.

(c) Sebastian Thiel

We can hardly believe that 8 days, 112km and 4000hm have passed since the beginning of our journey. We take a lot of great impressions, numerous photos and the belief in a fairytale world. We can also confirm that the painter’s path backwards is also an experience!

direction sign © Sebastian Thiel
sign ‘Malerweg Liebethaler Grund’ © Sebastian Thiel
all other photos © Sara Nestler, TVSSW

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