Last weekend I fulfilled myself a long kept dream and went to a truly fairytale place in Germany. Everything started when I saw a picture on Instagram of this mystique bridge to be reflected in the water. 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. When I found out that this place actually really exists and is even located in Germany it became the first bullet point of my bucket list. Still, it took me almost one year since I made it to go there.
So where is this place?
This beautiful fairytale place in Germany I am raving about is called Rakotz bridge or devils bridge and is located in Eastern Germany, more precisely in the district Kromlau in Gablenz, a town in Saxony. The bridge which leads to a little lake is only one little part of the 200 acres big Rhododendron Park.
What is the story behind the bridge?
Rakotz bridge also called Devil’s bridge was built by Friedrich Herrmann Rötschke. He bought the former feudal estate and started to built and design a park by growing different kinds of trees and plants like rhododendrons, digging little lakes and rivers and bringing basalt stones from the area around, Saxon Switzerland, in order to create different formations for the park, like caves or the Rakotz bridge. Rakotz bridge was built from 1860 to 1870 and is made out of basalt. It is 35 meters long and placed over Rakotz lake. By the way, Rakotz doesn’t have any meaning in German either, it comes from Sorbian and means cancer.
And now, see and marvel:
When is the best time to go to this fairytale place in Germany?
You can enter the park anytime you want as it is public. I expected big crowds when I went there on a Friday afternoon, but there were just a few people wandering around in the park. I think every time of the year must be a good time. In winter when the park and the bridge is covered by snow it must be even more fairytale-like. In autumn when the leaves are orange and golden it must be very pretty as well and of course, summer is always a good time as the reflections might be the best due to the biggest chance of sun, thus good reflection in the water.
In spring around Pentecost, the town hosts a flower festival in the park which is dedicated to the blooming Azaleen und Rhododendron which gave their name to the park. The flowers bloom between March and May which could be a good time to go as well.
What else is there to do?
Rhododendron Park is with a size of 200 acres the biggest park in Saxony. Besides the Rakotz bridge, it offers many trails to wander around and enjoy an afternoon in the green. Other things to see in the park are the cavalier house and the manor house which is nowadays used as romantic wedding location and houses holiday apartments.
The whole park is full of little trails and paths and you can easily spend an afternoon there by wandering around or even having a picnic in the park.
How to get to Devil’s bridge?
The easiest way to get there is by car. There is a free parking at the park in Kromlau. From the end of the parking, you just need to cross the street and you’ll arrive at a little path with a sign guiding you to „Rakotzbrücke“. After a short walk of 2 to 3 minutes, you’ll already arrive at the bridge. The park is free of charge also and can be entered every time.
Adress for parking at Rakotz bridge:
Halbendorferstraße 6, 02953 Gablenz
Nevertheless, it is possible to reach the park by public transportation, e.g. take a train from Dresden to Görlitz. There you have to change the train and take another one to Weißwasser (Oberlausitz). From Weißwasser central station you have to take but 257 to Kromlau, Gablenz (Oberlausitz). To buy the ticket just go to the website of the german train company and enter “Kromlau, Gablenz (Oberlausitz)“ as a destination. The results will show you the exact connection and timetable and you can buy one ticket for all the transports.
If you don’t live in Germany or near this place, it is not really worth it to only go for this bridge. It is truly beautiful, but after one afternoon in the park, you’ll be through it. But there are other beautiful places in this area, like Bastei bridge or hiking in Saxon Switzerland. The area Saxon Switzerland is truly beautiful and totally underestimated from my point of view. Check out my blog posts about Saxon Switzerland and get inspired!