The Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) extends along the German-Czech border from the Elbe Valley in the east to the Elstergebirge in the west. This mountain chain is about 140 kilometres long, with the highest elevations towards the west where the summit ridges rise well above 1,000 metres; the loftiest point is Klínovec at 1,244 metres. It is more an accidental ripple in a broad sweep of rounded hills than an imposing mountain. A road leads to the very top of Klínovec, where an observation tower dating from the 1880s and dedicated to Kaiser Franz Joseph is a reminder that this was once Habsburg territory.
Not everywhere in this region is as tame as the top of Klínovec. Parts of the Ore Mountains have a genuine sense of remoteness and it is possible to follow footpaths through forests and mountain meadows for many hours without meeting a soul. The region offers modest opportunities for skiing and other winter sports, and there are a number of small ski resorts on both the Czech and German sides of the border.