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Tips for riding the Elbe Sandstones, the Lusatian Mountains and Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland, and Königstein fortress with the kids
Distance: 40 km
Elevation gain: 547 m (733 m including Grosser Zschirnstein)
Bike: Gravel, MTB
Take the Elbe Cycle Route from Decin northwards towards Dolni Zleb. As you leave town, you’ll enter the magnificent Elbe Canyon, Europe’s deepest sandstone canyon.
You’ll follow the river all the way to Krippen (in Germany), where you’ll take the sleepy S169 road.
You’ll climb alongside a stream, the Krippenbach, until the turnoff for Kleingiesshuebel. After this you’ll hit the toughest climb of the trip, but it’s not so bad (you’ll gain 150 m over 2.5 km).
Four kilometers outside of Kleingiesshuebel, take the turn for Grosser Zschirnstein (el. 560 m). If you like a good view, check it out!
If you don’t want to pedal to the top (it’s rideable, but the trail is rough in spots), just leave your bike below. Plenty of other cyclists do the same.
From Zschirnstein it’s not far to Ceska brana (the “Bohemian gate”) which welcomes you back to the Czech Republic. It’s a forest trail for a couple hundred meters leading to and from the “gate” but it’s not difficult. A paved road follows, which takes you to Maxicky. From here it’s a short ride downhill into Decin.
This ride can be done with children if you take it in the opposite direction and catch the Sneznik bike bus up the biggest hill, getting off at Maxicky.
Places to stop for refreshment include Dolni Zleb (restaurants Dolni Grund and U Kosti), Krippen (Landgasthaus Ziegelscheune) and Maxicky (Drevak).
Distance: 42 km
Elevation gain: 560 m up / 655 m down
Bike: Gravel, MTB
From the train station in Jedlova, take bike route 3013 all the way to Krasna Lipa. Most of this trip is on good forest paths with gravel surface.
Another plus is that, with a few exceptions (especially Svetlik), it’s mostly downhill.
Points of interest include the Krinice spring, a renovated windmill, and the Falkenstejn minibrewery.
In Krasna Lipa, join the lightly trafficked road to Doubice. From here you continue to Kyjov, but at the first intersection, turn left onto bike route 3031, which takes you into the national park.
The bike trail leads to Hranicni most, a bridge, in Zadni Doubice. You’ll continue upstream along the Krinice through the picturesque Kyjov valley.
In Kyjov you get back on the road to Krasna Lipa, where you can catch the train.
From Kyjov you can ride your bike to the mountain Vlci hora on route 265 and end your trip in Mikulasovice (this adds 14.4 km and 251 m elevation gain).
From the Dolni station there’s a train every two hours through Bad Schandau (Germany) to Decin. This is the U28, which runs through the pretty Sebnitztal valley.
You can stop for refreshment at the station in Jedlova or at one of the restaurants in Krasna Lipa, Doubice, and Kyjov.
Distance: 54 km
Elevation gain: 197 m up / 657 m down
Bike: Gravel, MTB
Catch the bike bus from Decin to the last stop in Sneznik. From here take bike route 3017 towards Tisa, but you won’t be riding that far; just before the tourist cottage, you’ll turn off onto a forest trail that takes you to the road to Ostrov.
From there, the route takes you out of Bohemia and into Germany on a gravel, later paved, road, through a pretty valley to Bielatal.
You can continue on route S171 or along the parallel bike trail. Both options will take you to Konigstein.
If you want to visit the fortress, take the bike trail. It will take you on a level grade all the way to the fortress, whereas the S171 road takes you to the town on the riverbank.
From Konigstein to Decin it’s a piece of cake. Just follow the riverside bike trail, the Elberadweg, upstream.
If you want to make a stop in Bad Schandau, you can cross the bridge to the right bank. There’s another bike trail on that side as far as Schmilka, where you can take a ferry back across the river for the ride home. The alternative from there on the right bank is to ride on the roadway.
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