Konigstein is a small town in the south-east of Saxony directly on the Elbe. The town, with a population of just over 2,000, is very well known throughout Europe because of the gigantic Königstein Fortress above the town. It is one of the largest castles in Europe. The circular walk on the wall of the fortress is almost two kilometres long.
A visit to Konigstein Fortress is one of the highlights of a trip to Saxon Switzerland. Konigstein Castle is also easy to visit as part of a day trip from Dresden. Thousands of visitors come to the fortress every day.
There are two entrances for visitors to the castle. You can take the lift to the top or walk around the fortress and take the rear entrance without the lift. Both cost 10 to 12 euros admission, the more comfortable option with the lift is slightly more expensive.+
There is a lot to see in the fortress. You can walk around the fortress on the ramparts. In the middle is one of the deepest fountains in Europe. The many buildings in the fortress and much, much more are also interesting. You should definitely plan several hours for a visit to Konigstein Fortress.
A castle has existed on the site since at least the 13th century. The fortress was enlarged again and again. In addition to a fortress, Konigstein Castle was later also a barracks and a notorious prison. Since 1955, the time of the GDR, the fortress has been open to visitors and is still a gigantic museum today.
How to get to Konigstein Castle
If you take the S-Bahn from Dresden, simply get off at the Königstein stop. Walk about 200 metres to the centre of the tiny town. Old, historic buses leave from there. These take passengers to the large multi-storey car park for visitors to the fortress by car. In front of the multi-storey car park, you change to a funicular. This takes visitors the last kilometre up to the square in front of the fortress exit.
By car, drive to the Königstein Fortress multi-storey car park. From there you can take the Bimmelbahn. The return fare is about 4 euros, and the bus fare from the city centre is about 5 euros.
Of course, you can also walk up. From the city, it’s a nice walk through the forest in about an hour. The path is strenuous and quite steep in parts. From the car park it is only about one kilometre to Konigstein Castle. Here, too, the path goes up. You can also walk one way and take the Bimmelbahn for the other (into town plus bus). But this is only about one euro cheaper than both routes.
Town of Konigstein
The small town down by the Elbe is nothing special. You can look at the beautiful church or watch the traffic of ships on the Elbe. There are a few cafes and restaurants, including international cuisine. Of course, you will also find some hotels in the centre of Königstein. The area is not only very touristy because of the castle. The famous natural wonder Bastei above Rathen is also only a few kilometres away, another great attraction of Saxon Switzerland.
The S-Bahn from Dresden runs to Konigstein about every 30 minutes. On the way, it stops in Pirna and Rathen, among other places. In the other direction, it continues to the spa town of Bad Schandau and Schona.