Saxon Switzerland is a hilly climbing area and national park around the Elbe valley south-east of Dresden in Saxony, Germany. Together with the Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic it forms the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
Saxon Switzerland alone has some 1,000 climbing peaks, as well as several hollows. The area is popular with Dresden locals and international climbers.
The area’s strangely eroded rock formations, which date from the Cretaceous period, are an unforgettable experience for visitors. With its chalky sandstone cliffs, deeply carved valleys, table mountains and gorges, this fascinating landscape is the only one of its kind in central Europe. The national park’s flora and fauna reflect the diversity of this unique habitat. It is still possible to catch a glimpse of rare species like the eagle owl, the otter and the fat dormouse. Ferns, lichens and mosses thrive in this confined eco-system.
The German name for Saxon Switzerland, Sächsische Schweiz, appeared in the 18th century. Two Swiss artists, Adrian Zingg and Anton Graff, looked eastwards from their adopted home and saw, about a day’s walk away, a hill range. It had a strange, flattish profile, without any actual summits. They felt the landscape was reminiscent of their homeland, the Swiss Jura, and named it ‘Saxon Switzerland.’
Saxon Switzerland is perfect for hiking and rock climbing, and it is a photographer’s heaven.