8 days

Easy cycle on flat riverside paths along one of the major rivers of Central Europe

Cycling in the tranquil Elbe valley, past the towering cliffs of the Elbe Sandstone Massif

Historic towns, picturesque riverside villages, and magnificent Renaissance castles

Dresden, the ‘Florence of the Elbe’ and Lutherstadt Wittenberg, cradle of the Reformation

The beautiful garden area of Wörlitz, with its temples, statues, and canals

Cycling holiday along the Elbe: from Bad Schandau to Dessau

This cycling route follows one of the most beautiful sections of the Elbe, Germany’s second longest river. Its characteristic features include the towering Elbe Sandstone Massif, delightful riverbank meadows and impressive terraced vineyards in the wine-producing region around Meissen. There are plenty of historical monuments along the Elbe River Cycle Path between Bad Schandau and Dessau, including magnificent castles, palaces, and well-preserved historical towns and villages.

The Elbe River Cycle Path is relatively flat and follows the course of the river Elbe, which is a ‘slow’ river with little variation in altitude. Most of the trail is in good condition with several cultural and leisure activity offers along the way. It does not really matter whether you cycle upstream or downstream, and this trip can also be booked in the opposite direction, from Dessau to Bad Schandau. However, the prevailing winds from the west and the countryside around the Elbe make the journey upstream preferable.

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS From €775 per person sharing*

*A high season supplement of €20 pp. will apply from 6/5 to 7/9.
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo cyclists.

BIKE RENTAL If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. All bikes are provided with bicycle locks, repair kit, map holder and one 10L waterproof Ortlieb pannier bag per bike.

We deliver the bicycle at your first accommodation and pick it up from your last accommodation after your last cycling day. You just need to give us your body length, so that you receive the correct bike size, and we take care of everything else.

Bike hire prices

  • Touring bicycle (7/21 gears): €105 (€15 x 7 days)
  • E-bike: €210 (€30 x 7 days)
ACCOMMODATION 7 overnight stay with continental breakfast buffet in *** and ****hotels. Extra nights can also be booked at any of the hotels along the way.
AVAILABILITY You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April 1st and October 31st.
7 x overnight stay in *** and ****hotels
7 x continental breakfasts
Luggage transport to the next hotel (1 piece per person)
Detailed maps and route notes
GPS tracks
Daily telephone support
Flights & travel insurance
Travel to Dresden / from Dessau
Train ticket from Dresden to Bad Schandau on day 2
Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
Anything else not mentioned in the Included section
Bike rental
Transfer from Dessau to Dresden or vice versa
Single room supplement
DIFFICULTY This trip is rated as easy  overall and is suitable for leisure cyclists. The route is either flat or gently downhill all the way. The longest daily cycle is 68 km, but that is also possible to split over two days. Otherwise, daily distances are between 28 – 45 km.

Day 1: Individual arrival in Dresden

Your cycling holiday begins in Dresden on the banks of the river Elbe. Dresden is the capital city of Saxony and is an extremely picturesque city. Its buildings were lovingly restored following extensive bombings during WWII and it is today known as the ‘Florence of the Elbe’. There are many museums and galleries worth exploring, including the Frauenkirche Cathedral, majestic Zwinger Palace and the Semper Opera House. The historic town centre is perfect for a relaxed evening walk.

Overnight: Bad Schandau


Day 2: Train to Bad Schandau and cycle to Dresden

Distance: 45 km approx.

Today begins with a short morning train ride to Bad Schandau, the gateway for active holidays in Saxon Switzerland.

Your first cycling day along the Elbe takes you through the magnificent landscapes of the Elbe Sandstone mountains. You will pass the most famous sights of the Saxon Switzerland, such as the Bastei rock formation and bridge in Rathen and the Königstein Fortress. Soon you will see the impressive skyline of the old town of Dresden, with its many spires, towers, and domes.

Overnight: Dresden


Day 3: Cycle from Dresden to Meissen

Distance: 30 km approx.

Continuing your cycle through the serene Elbe valley, you will spot the 1,000-year-old town of Meissen from far away. Its castle hill towers above the river, with its impressive gothic cathedral and Albrechtsburg castle. A visit to the world-famous Meissen porcelain factory is also a must.

You will have noticed many vineyards along your route today, for you are in the heart of one of the smallest yet most distinguished winegrowing regions of Germany. You can reward your efforts this evening with a glass or two of the excellent local wine.

Overnight: Meissen


Day 4: Cycle from Meissen to Riesa

Distance: 28 km approx.

Today’s cycle tour will take you past many picturesque wine villages dotted along the Elbe river. We recommend a stop for some wine tasting in Diesbar-Seußlitz. Next stop will be Riesa, with its 12th Century Benedictine monastery.

Overnight: Riesa


Day 5: Cycle from Riesa to Torgau

Distance: 48 km approx.

Your cycle tour continues today to Torgau. There are many ferry crossings along this section, so you have the option to cycle on either side of the river.

Torgau is best known for its stunning Renaissance castle; Schloss Hartenfels. The castle chapel was consecrated in 1544 by Martin Luther and is regarded as the first-ever newly built Protestant church.

Overnight: Torgau


Day 6: Cycle from Torgau to Lutherstadt Wittenberg

Distance: 68 km approx.

From the former Saxon royal residence, you cycle via the village of Pretzsch to the World Heritage town of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the cradle of the Reformation. Sometimes called the ‘Rome of the Protestants’, it was here in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses against church corruption to the door of the Schlosskirche, thereby triggering the Reformation movement.

If you feel that today’s cycle is too long, this stage can be split by adding an extra night in Pretzsch (approx. 37 km/35 km). Please enquire for price.

Overnight: Wittenberg


Day 7: Cycle from Lutherstadt Wittenberg to Dessau

Distance: 37 km approx.

The last leg of your cycle tour will take you through the beautiful meadows of the Elbe Biosphere Reserve and past the world-famous Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, with its impressive collection of temples, statues and canals. The 100-hectare large park is regarded as one of the most beautiful landscaped parks in Europe and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.

The town of Dessau is most famous for its Bauhaus building. In 1919 Walter Gropius founded this art school, which united the avantgarde of the 20th century in architecture, art and design.

Overnight: Dessau


Day 8: Departure from Dessau or transfer service to Dresden

Your cycling holiday comes to an end after breakfast this morning, unless you have booked any additional services with us. If you are travelling by car and have left your car in Dresden, then we would be happy to arrange a return transfer for you to pick it up.

Arrival in Dresden

  The closest airports are DresdenPrague, and Berlin.
On day 2, you can easily reach Bad Schandau by direct train from Dresden (30 mins). Check Deutsche Bahn’s website for more information. The train station in Bad Schandau is a short ferry ride across the river from the town.
If travelling by car, it is usually possible to park your car at the first hotel for the duration of your trip. Nevertheless in most cases it is not possible to reserve the parking space in advance. Please find contact information of your hotels in your travel documents to be able to inquire about a car parking options. Parking spaces are subject to fees in the majority of cases, with parking fees to be paid directly to the hotel.

Departure from Dessau

  From Dessau you can get to any German destination via Berlin or Dresden by train. There are regular trains from Dessau to Berlin (1 hr 20 mins) and to Dresden (2 hr 20 mins) throughout the day. Check Deutsche Bahn’s website for more information.
Elbe Cycling Holiday
Bad Schandau on the Elbe
View of the Bastei cliffs across the Elbe
The village of Rathen on the Elbe
Gohliser Windmill on the Elbe Cycle Path, (c) Kolossos, Wikimedia Commons
Elbe Cycle Path, Dresden
The elegant Saxon capital city of Dresden
The beautiful skyline of Dresden across the Elbe
Radebul castle and vineyards
Coswig on the Elbe
Meissen; Albrechtsburg Castle
Ferry across the Elbe in Riesa, (c) Maarten Sepp, Wikimedia Commons
Elbe Cycle Path in Diesbar-Seusslitz
Hartenfels Castle, Torgau
Elbe ferry, Prettin
Market square in Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Martin Luther monument in Wittenberg
Wörlitz Park, Dessau
Dessau hunting bridge
The World Heritage Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm

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