Cycle from golden Prague in the Czech Republic to the beautiful city of Dresden, ‘the Florence of the Elbe’, in Germany, along the Vltava and the Elbe, crossing beautiful Saxon Switzerland and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. The Elbe Cycle Path is one of the most famed cycling routes, designated by the Germany Cyclists’ Federation as Germany’s Top Cycle Path for twelve years in a row. Pedal beneath green mountains, through lush meadows and vineyards, and spend the overnights in charming riverside towns crowned with imposing cliff-top castles. This trip is ideal for leisure cyclists, combining historic landmarks with riverscapes, lovely medieval towns and the impressive sandstone cliffs of Saxon Switzerland.
- The city of Prague
- The small towns along the Elbe valley
- The region of Saxon Switzerland
- The city of Dresden
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival in Prague
Prague, “The Golden City”, offers many opportunities for spending your time. The city’s highlights include the sixteen arches of the 14th century Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square and the authentic cobbled square with its famous Astronomical Clock. You can also visit Hradčany and their royal palace. The historic centre is ideal for exploring on foot, and the friendly atmosphere in the shops, cafes and wine bars make it a delightful place to visit. Hotel Expo is conveniently located next to the historic quarter. You’ll stay just steps away from the Krizik’s Fountain and the Royal Park-Stromovka.
- Accommodation: Hotel Expo or similar
Day 2: Free day in Prague
Use your leisure time in Prague to visit this wonderful city’s landmarks and enjoy the many restaurants, cafes, bars, and public spaces the city has to offer.
- Accommodation: Hotel Expo or similar
Day 3: Prague – Melnik | 55km
You start your cycling tour along the river Vltava taking you to Melnik – the centre of the Bohemian wine route. Pay a visit to Melnik castle, with its Renaissance style and fantastic views over the confluence of the Elbe and Vlatava.
- Cycling for the day: approx. 55km, ↑341m ↓359m
- Accommodation: Hotel Olympionik or similar
Day 4: Melnik – Litomerice | 45km
Continuing from Melnik to Litomerice you will pass Terezin – the former Jewish Ghetto. Litomerice, with its beautiful architecture, is the political and cultural centre of the region. Admire its colourful buildings in the Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance style.
- Cycling for the day: approx. 45km, ↑177m ↓195m
- Accommodation: Pension Macha or similar
Day 5: Litomerice – Decin | 50km
Today’s route will take you to Decin via Usti nad Labem. On the way you will pass Strekov Castle, looming high above the river on a basalt rock. As you reach Decin, we highly recommend you to visit the local baroque castle, where also Frédéric Chopin went to search for inspiration.
- Cycling for the day: approx. 50km, ↑353m ↓370m
- Accommodation: Ceska Koruna Hotel or similar
Day 6: Decin – Bad Schandau/Pirna | 21-43km
Following the Elbe Cycle Path, soon you will enter Germany and pedal below the bizarre rock formations of Saxon Switzerland towering on both sides of the Elbe. Take your time and let the picturesque Elbe valley impress you before you continue with your journey past the fortress Königstein and the rock formations of Bastei. Today’s cycle tour ends in Bad Schandau or Pirna (depending on accommodation availability) – an area also called ‘the gate of Saxon Switzerland’.
- Cycling for the day: approx. 21km, ↑138m ↓149m (43km if the overnight is in Pirna)
- Accommodation: Hotel Erbgericht Krippen, or similar
Day 7: Bad Schandau/Pirna – Dresden | 23-45km
The last stretch of your bicycle holiday on the Elbe Cycle Path takes you to the famous Pillnitz Castle. Stroll among the famous Pillnitz Gardens before you continue along the Elbe Cycle Path. Finally, you will arrive in Dresden. Dresden is known as the ‘Florence of the Elbe’ and is a friendly and picturesque city. Take time to relax and explore the museums and galleries of Saxony’s capital city, including the Frauenkirche Cathedral, majestic Zwinger Palace and the Semper Opera House.
- Cycling for the day: approx. approx. 45km, ↑274m ↓286m (23km if the previous overnight is in Pirna)
- Accommodation: Park Inn by Radisson or similar
Day 8: Departure
Individual departure from Dresden or private transfer service back to Prague (upon request).
What to expect
7 nights in welcoming 3-star hotels and comfortable guesthouses. All rooms are with en-suite facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel Expo
- Hotel Olympionik
- Pension Macha
- Ceska Koruna Hotel
- Hotel Erbgericht Krippen
- Park Inn by Radisson
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunches can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.
Difficulty and terrain
This easy to moderate cycling holiday is appropriate for beginner cyclists with some experience and requires a good fitness level (read more about difficulty grades). The average cycling distance per day is approximately 40km, and the cycling is mostly on dedicated bike lanes and some secondary roads with light to moderate traffic. The first day has a small ascent; otherwise, the route is relatively flat. We will provide you with detailed road notes, maps and GPS tracks, and you can call our local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from April until October in both directions. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking. The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but in the June-September period, the daily averages are 15 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.
Click to view travel options
In case you arrive at Prague airport, the best option to get to the city centre is by using regular public transport, which is very cost-effective. The bus station is right in front of Terminal 2 (Exit D). A ticket valid for 90 minutes costs €1.25 (32 CZK), and you can use it for the bus, tram or subway.
- 7 overnights in 3-star hotels and guesthouses
- 7 breakfasts
- Luggage transfer when changing hotels (1 piece of luggage per person, max 20kg)
- Detailed route notes and maps (1 set per room)
- Phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Bike rental
- Helmets – you have to bring your own as there is no possibility of renting any. In Germany and Czechia, it is not obligatory to wear a helmet.
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist tax and entrance fees (payable on the spot)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Bike rental – touring bikes or e-bikes
- Extra nights in Prague and Dresden
- Private transfer Dresden – Prague can be arranged upon request
- The tour can be arranged in the opposite direction as well – from Dresden to Prague with daily departures
The bike rental fleet comprises almost 100 touring models from established German brands (BBF and Kalkhoff). There are available women’s models with step-through or low-crossbar frames and gents’ models with step-through or low-crossbar frames (from a height of 1.75 m). The bike rental includes a waterproof Ortlieb pannier (10 l), bicycle lock, map holder on handlebars (1 per room), and repair set (1 per room). Helmets are not included and cannot be rented. E-bikes are also available on request.