Our round trip was completed by taking the ferry from Bad Schandau back to the railway station. I think it cost Euro 1.00 but am not sure anymore.
Along the Elbe river you find many ferries. For further information check the link below.
If you arrive by train to Bad Schandau then you best take the bus no. 241 direction Hinterhermansdorf to your destination in the Kirnitzsch valley. The bus goes across the Elbe bridge and so there is no need to take the ferry. The bus is also somewhat cheaper than the Kirnitzschtalbahn.
The Kirnitzschtal railway is actually a tramway overland line through the lovely Kirnitzsch valley. The old fashioned carriages take you in slow motion past the campsite to the Lichtenhainer Waterfall. The one way fare was Euro 4.00 in July 2011.
The Kirnitzschtalbahn was inaugurated in 1898 and the line is 7,8 km long.
In summer 2011 the tramway only run to the second last stop due to the flood damage from the previous year.
We came by regional train from Dresden to Bad Schandau. Please note that the railway station lies on the other side of Elbe river.
So if you want to go the town you need to either take a bus or the ferry.
The railway station has a café, a tourist office, public toilets (drop a coin in the door variety), a mail box. My coin didn't drop in the toilet door and I went to get help in the café. Obviously a well known problem and with a lot of rattling and a special key the problem was solved after a while :-)
Some fast trains also stop at Bad Schandau and there are also regional trains to the Czech border town and others to Decin.
The Kirnitzschtalbahn is a tram which runs between Bad Schandau and the inn "Lichtenhainer Wasserfall" in the Kirnitzschtal valley. It is a lot of fun to use this old tram. You have plenty of time during the ride to enjoy the landscape :-)
The ride is about 7.5 km and it takes approx. 25 minutes. Stops at inns along the route.
The tram is an excellent way to get to starting places for hikes in the National Park (or back).
A single trip costs 3 Euro, a return trip 4 Euro.
The cheapest way to get to and around Bad Schandau is certainly cycling. The bicycle trail along the Elbe river (on both banks) is one of the most popular in Germany and even leads into the Czech Republic - up to the spring of the Elbe if you like.
In town the cycling trail is partially separated from the riverside promenade for walkers, but sometimes cyclers and walkers share the trail - be careful and slow down, please.
You can easily transport your bicycle by train, bus or ferry - quite inexpensive with the VVO network: a DAY ticket for the bicycle for one or two zones costs a single trip ticket concession fare (currently 1.30 Euro), for three and more zones buy two single trip tickets.
What totally blew me away: There are about a dozen boxes for bicycles on the left side of the town hall looking from the river. They are free, all you need is a deposit, a 1 or 2 Euro coin. Great for parking your bicycle (and luggage!) safely while you explore the town on foot.
The routes into the National Park are rather Sports Travel Tips than Transportation tips, so I put them there ... :-)
Getting to Bad Schandau by train is very convenient. International EC trains (Berlin - Dresden - Prague - Budapest/Vienna) as well as regional trains (to/from Decin and Sebnitz-Neustadt) and commuter trains S1 from (Meißen-) Dresden stop in Bad Schandau.
International trains run every two hours - Prague is about two hours away, Berlin three hours. The commuter trains of the S1 line run every half hour until late at night. These trains take less than an hour to Dresden and are included in the public transportation network "VVO" tariff system (as well as buses and ferries). Also part of the VVO are the regional trains to Sebnitz-Neustadt.
The regional trains to Decin are running rather infrequently and have special fares - inexpensive.
All of the train rides are very scenic.
The "Basteikraxler" is a double-decker bus which runs several routes. The most important and frequented route is from Bad Schandau to the famous viewing-point Bastei.
In the evenings the Basteikraxler also operates on special routes, e.g. the panoramic road via Lichtenhain and Sebnitz and back via Saupsdorf along the Kirnitzsch valley.
Stop in Bad Schandau is by the Elbe quai, right next to the stop of the ferries.
I personally don't take it because it is not included in the public transportation network for which I have a monthly ticket. Fares are still quite reasonable, though. And your kids will definitely enjoy the ride on the old double-decker.
Two ferry lines ("Fähre") connect Bad Schandau with its suburbs Postelwitz and Krippen and with the train station, which is situated on the other river bank. These small ferry boats transport passengers and bicycles. They are part of the VVO transport network, VVO tariff applies. If you arrive by S-Bahn your ticket to zone Bad Schandau is valid for the ferries also.
There are paddle-steamers that also stop in Bad Schandau. Single tickets cost from 4,70 Euro (to the next stop) to 20 Euro. There are also combination tickets that include the paddle-steamers and the Elbe transport network (train, bus). It's rather something for fun, the train is much faster!
Bad Schandau can be reached by the "S-Bahn" from Dresden, trains go every 30 minutes. It takes about 50 minutes. There are also EC (EuroCity) trains that stop in Bad Schandau.
There are two train stations, one in Bad Schandau, and one in Krippen. From both you can take the ferry to Bad Schandau, which is on the other side of the Elbe river.
We did a day-trip to Dresden from Bad Schandau, the cheapest ticket was a family day ticket (13,50 Euro) that we bought in the tourist information in Bad Schandau. You can buy it in advance, you only need to stamp it in your first means of transport (in our case the ferry). The day ticket includes the ferry.
To go to Bad Schandau by car, take the federal highway B172 from Dresden via Pirna in direction Decin/Tetschen. It's about 45 km from Dresden. From Decin in Czech Republic it's about 25 km.
In Bad Schandau, there are several car-parks. Don't park at the thermal baths Toskana Therme (costs 2 € per hour, 8 € per day), unless you plan to go to the baths (1 € per day). Rather go to the car-park "Elbkai" which costs 0,25 € per 30 minutes/ 4 € per day.
The elevator - a smaller copy of the famous Hammetschwand elevator in Switzerland - connects Bad Schandau with the small village Ostrau, which is located on a plateau above the valley.
With its height of 50 m the elevator eases the ascent considerably - and it is a landmark of Bad Schandau. From the top you have a fantastic view of the valley, the town and the mountains.
It runs from early morning to evening. Fare is 1.50 Euro, return ticket 2.50 Euro.
A town by the river needs ferries. Bad Schandau has three of them:
One connects the town centre with the railway station, which is located on the opposite site of the river, two km down the river.
Another ferry connects Bad Schandau with the village Krippen (a district of Bad Schandau) on the other side of the river, two km upstream.
And a third ferry connects the small village Postelwitz, a district of Bad Schandau, with Krippen.
The ferries run from early morning till late evening, usually every 15 minutes. Connections with the railway station according to the schedule of the suburban railway to/from Dresden.
These old paddle steamers are my favourite way to get to/around Bad Schandau. They are operated by the "Saechsische Dampfschifffahrt GmbH", which has the oldest and largest steamboat fleet in Europe.
Bad Schandau is connected by the steamers with Dresden and also Decin in the Czech Republic. Along the river the steamboats stop in every village and town, e.g. Pirna, Rathen and Königstein.
Once I did a trip on a paddle steamer all the way from Dresden to Bad Schandau. A fabulous day! I left the steamer at Pillnitz Palace and Kurort Rathen for breaks (sightseeing). The scenery is gorgeous - the trip is highly recommended! Food and drinks are served on the steamers (quality is only fair).
For schedules and fares see their website.