Hiking Malerweg Trail (The Painters Way Hike) In Germany


One of the main positive sides of hiking is the chance to achieve complete peace of mind. If you’re looking for a place that will provide you one-of-a-kind inspiration, look no further than Malerweg Trail, also known as the Painters’ way hike. In this article, we’ll give you all the needed information about this unique location and what to expect when you step on the Malerweg trail.

Where Is Malerweg Trail Located?

The Malerweg Trail is a part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, the mountain range located in Saxony (southeastern Germany) and North Bohemia (Czech Republic). It is also known as Saxon Switzerland and Bohemian Switzerland in both Germany and the Czech Republic.

What makes this location even more attractive is the fact that it is located near several big European cities. From the German side, the nearest city is Dresden, located about 2,5 hours from Munich and 5 hours from Frankfurt airport, one of the largest airports in the world, while from the Czech side it will take about 2 hours from Prague, the Czech capital and one of the most bohemian cities you’ll ever get the chance to see. If you plan to visit some other Western European country or city but would love to hike this trail, don’t worry, almost all European cities are pretty well connected via buses, trains or planes, so it won’t be any problem to get to Dresden and start your hike no matter where you’re at in Western Europe.

How Long The Malerweg Trail Is?

The European metric system is a bit different than the American one, so most of the time you’ll get your information in kilometers instead of miles. One kilometer is 0,62 miles, while one mile is 1,61 kilometers long.

Malerweg trail is 112 kilometers long (a bit less than 70 miles), and the average time needed to hike the whole trail is 8 days.

Short Road Down The Memory Lane

Both Saxony and North Bohemia are well-known provinces in which many of the best painters and poets loved to spend their time drinking local wine or beer and roaming around in the search for inspiration. Many of those artists – Johann Carl August Richter, Johann Alexander Thiele, Caspar David Friedrich, Robert Steel, to name a few – loved to go through this area, but it became a popular hiking location in the late 18th century thanks to the painters from Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, Anton Graff, and Adrian Zingg.

These two Swiss painters spent their time walking through Elbe Sandstone Mountains trails and capturing all the picturesque moments worth remembering and stimulated many other painters to create their art inspired by this place. As the number of art pieces went up, the number of locals followed, and it quickly spread even further among the adventure seekers from other parts of Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, until it became probably the most popular hiking trail in this part of Europe.

What Makes It Different?

The Painters’ way is called that way for a reason, and if you have at least a bit of an artist spirit in you or if you love to challenge your imagination, this trail is without a doubt the best option for your next hiking location. Besides this, there are also a few different things that make it as attractive as it is.

First of all, it gives you an amazing chance to enjoy a one-of-a-kind nature/art combination. One of the main reasons lays in the fact that you’ll see many display boards with local landscape paintings made by many painters inspired by it, which is a pretty impressive feel. Somewhat bizarre rock formations you’d find hard to believe exists combined with breathtaking nature and wildlife will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale.

Secondly, if you love history, this hike will provide you the opportunity to experience Wester European culture from a completely different perspective.

And thirdly, if you love the feel of mystery, then this is the right place for you. The deep forest and mountains surrounding the trail give it quite a mystic sense, which can eventually become quite an intense and great experience.

The Quality Of Trail

Malerweg trail is considered as one of the parts of Germany you shouldn’t miss, and local authorities know this well enough to give their best effort to maximize the experience.  That’s why you’ll see many signposts that will show you the right way and you’ll also see many places ideal for a picnic, lots of campsites and accommodation locations, while in the case that something goes wrong, the nearest place to seek help is never too far, so, besides the regular hiking rules and etiquette, there shouldn’t be any major safety problems you should think about. Everything is marked and easily accessible, so the only thing you’ll have to do is to set your foot on the rail and – enjoy yourself. And have a first aid kit with you, just in case.

How Difficult This Trail Is?

Although the trail mostly goes through the forest, with some rocky and bald parts with only stone, you should know that it is not difficult and it doesn’t require any special preparation. It does have a few climb sections along the way, but they are easy enough to go through so you don’t have to worry about any of these.

However, if you plan to hike during winter, there is a chance you’ll run into trail parts covered in ice, especially those near the Elbe river banks, so you should learn about winter hiking, but it shouldn’t be any problem or make hiking this trail any more difficult.

When To Visit Malerweg Trail


If you wonder when the best time to visit, the answer is – whenever you feel like it or when the road takes you there. Malerweg is open and can be walked all year round, but there are a few things to know that can alter your plans.

First of all, the continental European winter can be a bit harsh and the temperatures can go low, but as long as it doesn’t snow heavily, there shouldn’t be any issues that will force you to quit your adventure, besides the ice.

Secondly, during the winter some local shops and coffee places can be closed, so it is good to inform yourself before your trip to know what works and what is closed until the snow passes. If you’d love to skip the rain or snow, the best time to hike this trail is from the middle of April until the end of September, while it’s warm outside. The highest chance it will snow are from December to February.

Malerweg Guide

As you walk through the trail, you’ll see many signposts showing you the proper direction, but they’ll also give you all additional information like timing, etc. For an easier hike, you should ask local authorities for maps. Most of these are very good and simple to follow and they’ll help you navigate with ease. The trails are marked, so getting around shouldn’t be an issue. Learning how to read a map will come in handy here.

Gathering Supplies

This should be one of your least worries. As you go through the trail, you’ll never be too far from another local village. Some of the most popular ones are Stadt Whelan, Hohnstein, Bad Schandau, and Schmilka. All of these have many places to rest, grab a bite, or to refill your supplies.

What To See

If the trail itself isn’t enough and you’d love to see additional stuff on your hike, those local villages will help you a lot. At the beginning of your journey, while you’re still in Dresden, visit the local tourist information center and ask for a recommendation. Then, as you visit villages located by a road, do the same. They’ll let you know if there is something worth seeing and give you the most recent updates about local sites and tourist attractions.


If you plan to take a multiple-day hike, there are a few places where you could stay:

  • Local villages are the most popular option. Stadt Whelan, Bad Schandau, Schmilka, and Hohnstein are, as mentioned above, the ones local hikers love the most, but even the smaller ones will serve the purpose just fine.
  • Campsites are the second option. There are two public ones, one called Königstein and the second located just near Bad Schandau, where you’ll be able to rent both rooms and tents. Before you decide to give it a try, gather all the information about what is allowed, what is not, learn all the local rules, “do’s” and “don’t’s”.
  • Airbnb is new but the most popular way to find a place to stay. Just make sure you’ve booked it on time and that it has enough positive reviews so you know it’s good.

Globo Surf Overview

If you love art or mystery or simply to hike somewhere different, Malerweg trail or Painters way hike is the one to take as soon as possible. It’s fun, it’s both simple and challenging, and most important – it will give you the chance to have one of the adventures of your lifetime.

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