This picturesque bridge, called Bastei bridge, is one of the most visited places in Saxon Switzerland. It is located 195 meters above the Elbe river in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxon Switzerland. Normally I’m not very much into architecture but this fairytale bridge is definitely a must-see place. Bastei is actually the name of the impressing rock formation which surrounds the bridge and form the typical landscape of this area. From the viewpoint you look down at the Elbe River and the surrounding picturesque landscaped formed by hundred meter high cliffs. The panorama is really extraordinary – take your time to enjoy it. Very magical is the atmosphere on a cloudy day early in the morning when clouds are hanging deep above the trees and surrounding the cliffs.
Bastei bridge formed part of the old defensive ring around Neurathen Castle. It was mentioned the first time in 1592 in literature but the actual origin is unknown.
Bastei is the most visited attraction in a German national park. Even famous painters used the picturesque atmosphere as inspiration and theme for their paintings like Caspar David Friedrich or Ludwig Richter. The whole area of Elbe Sandstone Mountains is protected as National park. Be aware and adjust your behavior accordingly.
I strongly recommend to visit Bastei early in the morning because from 9 o’clock full tourist buses arrive constantly and drop of hundreds of people per day. Then the mystic scenery turns very fast into a busy place which is not enjoyable at all anymore.
How to get to Bastei bridge?
It is not possible to go to the bridge by car directly. The parking which costs 3 Euros (up to 3 hours; or 5,50 for longer), is located about 300 meters from the bridge. The only way to get closer to Bastei is to book a room at „Berghotel Bastei“. I did that and can definitely recommend it. Not only the because of the green surrounding and the beautiful view you will have from your room. But also because it enables you to visit the bridge in the early morning off from the crowds.
How to get there by public transportation?
Take Metro S1 direction Bad Schandau from Dresden to Rathen. Then take the small ferry to cross the Elbe River and hike up to Bastei. Timetables of the ferry can be found here.
What else is there to do?
There are some easy walking trails starting from Bastei bridge which I don’t recommend, cause these will be crowded by many day visitors who were dropped by bus in the morning. Instead, choose another hike in Saxon Switzerland. Remember that the mountains here are not the alps, thus they are not as high and hikes are mostly short and easy, even if you are not fit or not up for a long hike.
The most beautiful hike of Saxon Switzerland, in my opinion, is the one to „Schrammsteinaussicht“.
It is a viewpoint which offers a stunning view at a basalt rock formation called „Schrammsteine“. They rank hundreds of meters out of the ground – nature at its best! But see on your on in this blog post.
Another place to visit in Saxony is this fairytale:
This mystique bridge to be reflected in the water is called Rakotzbridge and is located in a park about one hour from Bastei. The bridge itself and its reflexion form a proper circle surrounded by beautiful green nature. It looked somehow very surreal, like in a dream or the set of a movie where elves could live. Find more impressions and information about the bridge in this blog post.