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Castles, Cities & Ceramics Elbe Path – Děčín to Meissen

Tour: GEDM5
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday
Linear Cycling Holiday

Take in all of Germany’s Elbe River Cycle Path best bits on this short and gentle river-hugging ride through some spectacular Saxony scenery. Starting just inside the Czech Republic in Děčín you’ll soon see why Romantic composer, Chopin, found the area quite an inspiration as you pedal northwards out along the Elbe into Germany, flanked by the sandstone outcrops of ‘Saxon Switzerland’. With almost every river meander, the clifftop castles keep appearing all the way to pretty Pirna, then come the vineyard terraces on the approach to the city of Dresden. Visit its Royal Palace and delightful Zwinger Gardens before cycling on to Meissen’s more rugged Albrechtsburg Castle, the original home of the city’s world-famous porcelain factory. A visit to both is a must – the lofty castle has awesome views (and a panoramic lift to reach it!) and the State Porcelain Workshops give a superb insight into the history of the town’s ‘white gold’. Read More


Europe, Germany

Start Day

Any Day

Board Basis

Bed & Breakfast

Prices from



5 Days, 4 Nights


Apr - Sept

Tour Grade

Grade 1 (Very Easy)

Read Overview
Home > Europe > Castles, Cities & Ceramics Elbe Path – Děčín to Meissen


The Elbe River Cycle Path is a brilliant way to explore Saxon Switzerland en route to the famous historic German cities of Dresden and Meissen. Bridges and local ferries can be used to criss-cross the river to visit attractions and make the most of vantage points. The path here is mainly flat, riverside cycling and although the pathway is often less developed in the Czech Republic than in Germany, it is of a very good standard throughout.

Tour Code:
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday, Linear Cycling Holiday
Europe, Germany
5 Days, 4 Nights
Board Basis:
Bed & Breakfast
Apr - Sept


Day 1 Arrive & explore

Just inside the Czech Republic near the border with German, the city of Děčín is often dubbed the ‘Gateway to Saxon Switzerland’, the national park which gets its name from the mighty sandstone outcrops lining the River Elbe. Here though, the river’s known as the ‘Labe’ and the best place to admire the view has to be at the rear of Zamek Děčín – the Baroque castle. Gaze across the wooded landscape. Wander by the Baroque rose garden which lies along the castle’s north wall. Or pop inside for ‘káva a koláč’ (coffee and cake) in its hotel or an insight into the area in its District Museum.
Overnight in Děčín.

Day 2 Over the border into a fairytale

Set off on two wheels along the Elbe (Labe) river path today and it’s easy to see how a Romantic composer like the Polish pianist Frédéric Chopin found it all so inspiring. Beyond the German border at Schmilka just a few miles downriver, rock formations line both sides of the valley and the landscape is almost fairytale-like with distant castles, stony peaks or needles peeping out from the wooded slopes. Hugging the river, the path takes a broad sweep towards Bad Schandau, home to colourful houses with cupolas, botanical gardens and an historic tramway which leads along the Kirnitz Valley. Königstein Castle has to be one of the high points of the day, before the route does a tight Elbe meander or two, taking in the Bastei Bridge viewing rock near Felsenburg / Rathen, where garden-lovers won’t be able to resist the arboretum which boasts 28 varieties of rhododendron. Along the route, there’s a chance to use local ferry services to criss-cross to destinations and enjoy the views from both sides of the river. Final stop for the day is the castle town of Pirna with its historic centre full of restaurants and shops. You simply can’t miss town church, St Mary’s, with its 60m tower, but be sure to track down the Canelettohaus (Canaletto House) to view its impressive portal and ceiling frescos.
Overnight in Pirna.
Miles: 28 Kms: 44

Day 3 Down the river to Dresden

Prepare yourself for a day along the Saxon Wine Road that’s piled high with palaces and delightful discoveries as you pedal the short way from Pirna into the city of Dresden. First stop though has to be Pillnitz, home to a magnificent Baroque palace and ‘vineyard’ church, then it’s into the Dresden suburbs – via the Schillergarten beer garden by the ‘Blue Wonder’ bridge perhaps? – for a feast of gardens, museums and galleries amidst the architecture of post-war East Germany. Don’t miss the Zwinger Gardens with their Baroque ‘Nympenbad’ fountains and the Royal Palace. Dresden Zoo is a popular favourite too, or just go for a wander, sit and enjoy a glass of something from the local vineyard terraces and admire the contrasts and restoration of one of Germany’s most inspiring cities.
Overnight in Dresden.
Miles: 13 Kms: 22

Day 4 Castles & Ceramics 

Another day where you can choose which bank to pedal along and criss-cross the day away with bridges and local ferryboats. The right bank has to be the choice for cycling the Saxon Wine Road and at Radebeul steam-loco lovers will enjoy sampling Germany’s third-oldest narrow gauge railway (16.5kms) to Moritzburg with its Renaissance palace, Rococo Palace and famous Lutheran church. Whichever side of the Elbe you choose though, there’s plenty to explore from palaces to villas and village churches. But soon you can’t fail to spot Albrechtsburg Castle on the river horizon as it towers high above the Elbe on the left bank. Since 2011, there’s been a most welcome panorama lift which takes bikes and the strain out of reaching the top – a must-do for the views alone! The castle is where the world-renowned Meissen porcelain factory started out, but today factory, museum and exhibition halls are just a few streets’ ride from the ‘Altstadt’.
Overnight in Meissen.
Miles: 18 Kms: 30

Day 5 Depart after breakfast

Did you manage to see the treasures in the Meissener Dom (cathedral)? The State Porcelain Workshops at the Meissen factory or the Torhaus, home to contemporary porcelain art? Time for one last look – or maybe plan to stay just a little longer?

Extra nights can be booked in Meissen to allow more time to explore.

Dates & Prices

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For tour start days/dates, seasons and all prices, please click on the PRICES button above


Ensuite accommodation as described with buffet/continental breakfast (prices based on two adults sharing)

Hire of hybrid bicycle and ancillary equipment (single pannier and handlebar bag, pump, basic tools, spare inner tube & puncture repair equipment)

Luggage transfer between hotels

Local assistance on call (although puncture repair is excluded)

Information pack with detailed joining instructions and daily route overviews sent out approximately two weeks before departure so you can plan ahead and look forward to your cycling adventure

Detailed route notes and maps with marked routes provided on arrival (1:75,000 map book)

GPS Tracks available on request

Please note that the price EXCLUDES

City/Tourist Taxes in Germany and Czechia

 Costs of getting to and from the tour area

Accommodation Options

Selected 3 and 4 star hotels in In Děčín, Pirna, Dresden and Meissen

Extra nights can be added at any point along the route.

We are pleased to discuss details on request.

More Information

Useful websites, travel information and tips to help you plan your journey to and from the country and location of your holiday.


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