Sandstone pillars, deep green forests and acres of wildflowers combine to make Saxon Switzerland National Park near Dresden, Germany, a popular destination for nature lovers, hikers and climbers. The region along the Elbe River spans the German and Czech Republic border, and sailing through here provides some of an Elbe River cruise's most spectacular scenery.
It was first referred to as Saxon Switzerland in the 18th century when two Swiss artists, Adrian Zingg and Anton Graff, coined the phrase while attending the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. The area reminded them of their homeland, the Swiss Jura. Soon other painters and lovers of romantic nature made their way here. After two books about Saxon Switzerland were published, the area became a popular tourist destination. In the beginning, guides and chair carriers brought visitors here. The arrival of steam shipping in 1837, followed by a railway line in 1851, opened the area for mass tourism.
On itineraries, the Saxon Switzerland stop is occasionally listed as Bad Schandau. While the town is a spa town, almost all passengers take the excursion to the park.