This 7.9 km, 11-stop metre gauge roadside tramway, electrified at 600 V DC, links Bad Schandau with the Lichtenhainer waterfall. Inaugurated on 28 May 1898, it originally ran from close to the Lindenhof hotel in Bad Schandau, but in 1969 because of traffic congestion in the town centre the line was cut back by 400 m to Stadtpark. Around 30% of the electric power required for operatio is derived from solar energy.
The operator is Oberelbische Verkehrsgesellschaft Pirna Sebnitz (OVPS).
Photos date from September 1996.
If you don't feel like hiking at all you may just take the bus or the Kirnitzschtalbahn to the Lichtenhainer Waterfall. There you may view the small waterfall and then you may visit the restaurant there.
Once you arrived at the Lichtenhainer Waterfall you can start your hike to the Kuhstall (cow shed). The hike takes you uphill through a lovely foresty area. The Kuhstall itself is a giant rock arch through which you walk and then you have a fabulous view over the landscape.
You can then climb up the Himmelsleiter (staircase to heaven) if you are not afraid for more views.
One of the viewing platforms nearby was closed due to wasps but I climbed into the Schneiderloch (clothes maker hole) which I found quite thrilling.
After all the excitment you can calm yourself down at the Restaurant Kuhstall which has a self-service counter and you may sit outside. The toilet is down the stairs behind the building.
We took another path down and around, ending up at the Kirnitzschtalbahn stop "Beuthenfall".
The whole trip with various transportation modes and the hike made an excellent half-day trip from Dresden.
The National Park "Saechsische Schweiz" with its natural wonders is the reason for most travellers to visit Bad Schandau and the region.
There are two parts of the National Park, separated from each other: the frontier part (see my Kurort Rathen page) and the rear part. The latter is larger and 'wilder'.
The National Park provides vast forests, bizarre sandstone formations, rare wildlife experiences, beautiful scenery. Remote places alternate with easily accessible places.
You better avoid Easter, Whitsunday and school holidays - at least for visits of the easily accessible places.
Please respect the rules in the National Park: use marked paths only, don't make noise, don't pick wildflowers, take leave garbage there etc.
See my sports tips for what to do in the National Park also.
This small church is one of the finest examples of rural Baroque style in Saxony. Built in the 15th/16th century it was re-decorated 1675 - 89.
From outside the windows with their tracery indicate that the church was originally built in late Gothic style. But already the western portal with its figures (angels) makes clear that the visitor will find Baroque decoration inside.
After I got in I was absolutely surprised by the lovely paintings on the ceiling, the balconies and benches. They are works of Gottfried Scheucker and Johann Georg Walter, finished in 1711. The paintings on the upper balconies depict scenes from the Old Testament, these on the lower ones scenes from the New Testament.
The altar with paintings and sculptures dates from 1681. The pulpit (1615) is magnificently decorated with figures depicting Jesus and the Evangelists.
At the southern wall you see another stunning work - a side altar from 1521, with small figures and paintings.
Bad Schandau's old town is not very large and cannot compete with Pirna's or Meißen's - but is still worth a stroll for an hour or so. Almost all houses have been thoroughly restored after the terrible flood 2002. Unfortunately one of the few houses that are still waiting for restoration is the old townhouse from the middle of the 16th century with a beautiful Renaissance portal. Anyway, start at the tourist information right on the Market square which is in the so called "Brauhof", a former brewery and now restaurant in a building from 1680 with nice courtyard. Continue with the Market square where the beautiful fountain was reconstructed.
Have a closer look into the church (see separate tip), then stroll along the cobbled alleys north of the Market square. Do some (window) shopping, have a coffee or ice cream.
The protestant church St. John Baptist dominates the market square of the small town. The tower (built 1645) is a landmark of Bad Schandau.
The nave was built 1694 - 1709 after the previous one was destroyed by a fire. The highlight of the interior is the stunning altar (1575 - 79), originally made for the church of the Holy Cross in Dresden, then in the Annenkirche in Dresden until 1902. In 1927 it was moved to Bad Schandau. The altar is a major work of the famous sculptor Hans Walther II. Scenes include the last supper, Jesus at the cross etc.
Worth a look are also the Baroque pulpit with figures of Moses, Salvator and the Evangelists; and a sculpture (Jesus in the rest) from 1500.
The church - like the town - was severely damaged by the horrible flood in 2002 but afterward beautifully restored.
Quite frequently concerts are given in the church (organ but also chorus). Please see their website for details.
The protestant parish church of Bad Schandau, built in 1694-1709, shows the typical shapes of protestant churches around 1700.
The renaissance altar is the church's most important treasure. It originally comes from Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) in Dresden. When the Kreuzkirche was rebuilt in baroque-classicist style in the 18th century, it got a new matching altar. The old one was first put up in Annenkirche in Dresden, later taken to Bad Schandau.
Hans Walther II created the high-quality reliefs and sculptures in 1575-1579. The pictures and figures were chosen according to Lutheran faith. The Last Supper and the Cross are the central scenes. Below the Last Supper we see the Passover meal from the Old testament. Above the cross appears God the Father, on the very top Christ resurrected. Matching biblical verses in Latin(!) complement the pictures.
The large staues by the sides are St John Baptist and St Paul. The two angels on the cornice carry the cross and the flagellation column, thus two of the instruments Christ was tortured with. Only two, the programme is incomplete, this indicates that the altar has been changed some time. The other figures on top are the four evangelists.
Have a closer look at the statue of John Baptist (photo 4), the ancient patron of this church. If you stand left of the altar, the statue will be looking directly at you and pointing to Christ and the cross.
The Elbe flood of August 2002 hit Bad Schandau like all the other towns and villages along the river. Flood marks can be found everywhere on the houses, and also inside(!) the church. The whole town was flooded up to the first floor. Most of the damage has been repaired in the meantime, though.
In the 17th century, a father had these seven houses built for his seven sons. Six of them are standing in a row along the main road, their gables facing the river. No. 7 must be the one that has been squeezed behind no. 6. The huge half-timbered house on the right was the house of the father.
Several old houses in Postelwitz show the traditional half-timbered architecture of this region, known als Umgebindehäuser. The part of the ground floor that contains the kitchen and the fire is built from stone, the rest from logs like a block house. Around this construction, a timber frame supports the half-timbered upper storey and the roof.
This boat used to operate as Elbe ferry between Krippen and Postelwitz. Now it is resting on the river bank and can be explored if you want to.
From a 'green' point of view, it's a pity that these old ferries do not operate any more. The system was easy, environment-friendly, consumed zero fuel, caused zero pollution and little noise. The boat was tied to a rope that was spanned across the river. With the help of the rudder, the boat was simply driven from one riverbank to the other by the energy of the running water.
In case you start your hike up to Schrammsteine in Postelwitz, note the old stone signpost by the main road. It dates back to the times of the Kindom of Saxony, i.e. definitely before 1918.
It points the directions and gives distances in walking hours: left to Postelwitz and Bad Schandau 1/2 hour, right to Schmilka 1 hour. Uphill, it points the "path into the Royal forest" (Weg in den königlichen Wald).
Right 'on the beaten path' we encountered this slow-worm (which is not a snake but a species of lizard, though legless, and entirely harmless). The poor thing was panicking because of so many hikers trampling by, in danger of being stepped upon and didn't know where to escape. We had do help a little.
Breathtaking. Not easy to reach, though. People who have never been scared of heights will find it easy - if you have this problem, though, this is quite something. The ascent along Wildschützensteig through a narrow gorge consists of steep metal stairs and ladders. Please observe that you cannot descend the same way because the trail is too narrow to sidestep - use the marked descents like Jägersteig.
Dog owners: In case you feel you absolutely have to take your four-legged darling up there (which is IMHO pure madness, but people do) please keep him on leash and take care that he does not run loose at the top. You are not alone in the world.