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View from above of Lilienstein in Saxon Switzerland and the River Elbe

Elbe-Cycle Path

Dresden – Dessau

8 Days / 7 Nights
View from above of Lilienstein in Saxon Switzerland and the River Elbe

The starting point of this popular cycling tour is Dresden, nicknamed the ‘Florence of the Elbe’, which is full of historical sights. From there, cycle through Saxon Switzerland and enjoy a ride on the Elbe ferry. On this bike tour, you will see baroque buildings and legendary places that are known for famous characters like the German author Karl May or of Walter Gropius, an architect. Gaze at true masterpieces at the porcelain factory in Meißen or the magnificent residential palaces. The attractive countryside that you cross is a treat to behold; the River Elbe beckons with idyllic places along it, and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains are fascinating, with bizarre rock formations and mystical clefts. You will see native wildlife like beavers and grey herons in the Middle Elbe biosphere reserve.

This cycling tour starts in Dresden and leads through to Saxon Switzerland. Take the Elbe ferry to Pillnitz Castle and see the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, before returning to Dresden via Bad Schandau. The next day, cycle via Radebeul and Meißen to Riesa. Then the route leads to Torgau, Bad Schmiedeberg, Wittenberg and to the destination of Dessau.

  • Dresden: The baroque Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Dresden is one of the largest sandstone buildings in the world. Other attractions include the Semperoper Opera House and the museums in the Zwinger palace site.
  • Radebeaul: Fans of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand should visit the Karl May Museum, which you can find in Villa Shatterhand where the world-famous author last lived. 
  • Meißen: This city is known for its fine porcelain, which is displayed in the local factory. You can also explore with a long walk in the historic city centre.
  • Dessau: The Bauhaus city with 1920s buildings is a highlight for architectural fans. There you can follow in the footsteps of Walter Gropius, and take a look at the Bauhaus Museum. For cultural delights for the eyes and ears, there is the Anhalt Theater.

This is an easy cycling holiday in well-developed areas that are flat and slightly hilly. The daily stages are 65km – 90km each. It’s particularly straightforward cycling along the car-free Elbe cycle path. The other stages are also uncomplicated since they lead on quiet roads and lesser-used trails.

Here you will find many other tour tips and information for our cycling tours in Central Germany and along the Elbe cycle path.

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Itinerary at a glance

A climb to the Bastei Rock Formation in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, a visit to the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, and following in the footsteps of Martin Luther in Wittenberg – the Elbe Cycle Route combines nature and culture. Dresden exudes urban charm.

Afterwards possibility to stroll through the baroque old city of Dresden. Discover the well-known beauty and magic of the city with places of interest as Zwinger, Frauenkirche, palace and Semper opera.

The bicycle path leads directly along the Elbe to Bad Schandau. By ferry cruise to palace Pillnitz, enjoy the unique view onto the baroque building. You continue by bike upstream to the bizarre sandstone mountains. A short climb onto Bastei Mountain is worth it. A wonderful view onto the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and the course of the river reward you for your efforts. Return journey from Bad Schandau to Dresden by bike (approx. 90 km) or suburban train (approx. 45 km).

You cycle in the Elbe valley along the Saxon vineyards and pass the city of Radebeul, which is associated with Karl May. Within a few more kilometres you reach Meißen. The picturesque alleys of the historic old city invite for a stroll. Worthwhile: Albrechtsburg and the world-famous Meissen chine manufacture!

Today you go a bit more through Germany’s most northern vineyards. Taste the regional wines! The baroque castle Diesbar-Seußlitz with its wonderful park is a good place for rest. Tonight's overnight stay will be in the sports city of Riesa.

You follow river Elbe downstream to Mühlberg with former Cistercian monastery and Electoral Saxony’s milepost. You should not miss the Treblitz Tree Park with trees and bushes from five continents. Destination of the day is Torgau with nice town hall in renaissance style, residence palace Hartenfels and church St. Marien.

From Saxony-Anhalt you cycle via palace Lichtenberg and Pretzsch in direction Wittenberg. After your arrival in the city where Martin Luther wrote his theses, you have the possibility to make a trip down memory lane. The Luther Hall, Wittenberg’s most interesting building, has the biggest historic collection on the Reformation. The old city of Wittenberg was restored lovely too. The beautiful shops and restaurants are guaranteeing a wonderful evening.

From Luther city Wittenberg downstream. In Coswig by ferry across the river to Wörlitzer park with beautiful and generous park. You continue towards Dessau (Mecca for architecture aficionados) and through biosphere reserve Mittlere Elbe, which is an ideal place for numerous animals, particularly for beavers and gray herons. You reach the buildings which were built through Walter Gropius in the nineteen-twenties with its distinctive and functional elements when you enter the village of Dessau.

Departure or extension

Route Information


Daily routes from 25 to 85 km in flat and slightly hilly terrain. The Elbe cycle path offers the possibility to cycle on car-free roads along one of the most beautiful and most important rivers in Germany. Other sections lead along small country roads and paths with less traffic through diversified river landscape.

Prices and dates

Category A: Hotels and guesthouses, mostly on 3***- and 4****-level

Category B: Hotels, guesthouses and inns, mostly on a 3*** level

Prices per person in EUR

Services & Information

Further details about this tour


  • Accommodation in your selected category
  • Breakfast
  • Welcome briefing (German, English)
  • Luggage transfer
  • Detailed travel documents 1x per room (German, English)
  • App for Navigation and GPS-data
  • Service hotline

Optional extras

  • Bike rental, including rental bike insurance
  • Return journey by minibus to Dresden every friday, saturday and sunday, from Wittenberg costs EUR 85 per person, from Dessau costs EUR 95 per person, from Magdeburg costs EUR 105 per person, extra EUR 39 for your own bike, to be payable in advance, reservation is necessary

Arrival / Parking / Departure

  • Dresden train station
  • Dresden airport
  • Hotel Category A: Multi-storey car park, costs EUR 24 per night
    Hotel Category B: Multi storey car park, costs EUR 10 per day also Free parking close to the hotel.
  • Good train connections to Dresden

Things to note

  • Tourist tax, if due, is not included in the price!
  • Further important information according to the package travel law can be found here!
  • This tour is a partner tour.

Join us in achieving greater sustainability by choosing our digital route book, rather than the printed version. As a small thank you we will give you a discount of EUR 20 per room.

Antonia Kreiseder
Antonia Kreiseder
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