At the beginning of the 14th Century, German settlers founded a trading place on an alluvial plain of the River Elbe. From its first name “Sandaue” (sand wetlands) derived Schandau, under the influence of slavic languages. The first documentary evidence of Schandau dates back to the year 1430; 15 years later it is described as small town. From the 16th to 18th Century, it developed into an important trading place along the river, being half way between the feudal state of Meissen and Bohemia. Trade and craft receded with the industrial revolution and the introduction of modern transport in the 19th Century. Instead, tourism grew rapidly with the arrival of the first paddle steamers on the Elbe and the new train link from Dresden to Schandau.
At the beginning of the 19th Century – the period of Romanticism – the educated middle classes suddenly took a liking to the rocks of the Elbe sandstone mountains.
Two pastors, called Goetzinger and Nicolai, promoted the area in their writings as “well worth travelling to” and so became pioneer discoverers of the region. The name Saxon Switzerland goes back to the Swiss painters Graff and Zingg, who compared the rugged beauty of the Elbe sandstone mountains with their homeland.
At about the same time, modest spa development took off. Back in 1680 a ferriferous spring was discovered and the first public bath installed. From 1780, swank hotels were built for international tourists, who came to Bad Schandau for rehabilitation beyond their official rehab.
The town owes much of its tourism development to hotel owner Rudolf Sendig (1848 – 1928). From 1920, Schandau was allowed to call itself a spa town and in 1936 the title of “Kneippkurort” was added. Back in the 1950s Bad Schandau was also afforded state recognition as a health resort.
Today, Bad Schandau offers a variety of accommodation, good infrastructure, many cultural and touristic highlights and modern spa facilities.