Eastern Germany is home to the Saxon Switzerland National Park (watch out – it has nothing to do with Switzerland!). Located right by the border with the Czech Republic, on the East bank of the Elbe, the park is known for its striking eroded rock formations. Bastei Bridge, which connects some of these rocks, has soon become one of the park’s main landmarks.
When seeing pictures, both the bridge and the rugged scenery might strike you as breathtaking. But I strongly recommend you keep reading to make sure your day-trip to Bastei Bridge doesn’t come as a disappointment.
How To Get To Bastei Bridge
The easiest way to get to Bastei Bridge is from Dresden, which is just around 30 km away (18 miles). Trains depart from the main station (Dresden Hbf) every half an hour and take you to Kurort Rathen in about 30-40 minutes. That’s where you’ll have to get off. You can check the train schedule here.
The train station is located across the river. Upon arrival in Kurort Rathen, you’ll need to take a ferry to get to the other side of the Elbe. Ferries depart every half an hour each way and round tickets are €2.50/adult (check the most up-to-date prices here). Once you make it to the other side, be prepared for a 30-minute uphill hike to Bastei Bridge. You can’t miss it. It’s a well-marked path.
For cheaper train tickets (this is a little trick very few people know about), I recommend purchasing a Sachsen-Ticket. The larger your party, the cheaper. Just to give you an idea, at the time of writing this post, you can get tickets at a price of €33 for two passengers and €57 for five passengers in second class. On top of that, it grants unlimited access to all public transport within the region of Saxony during that day and until 3:00 am the next day. Tickets can be purchased at the vending machines at any station. BUT WATCH OUT! Make sure to bring a pen with you to write down the name of all the travelers directly on the ticket. You can get a big fine if you don’t do it. And I can guarantee ticket inspections are common in Germany, so chances of being caught are high.
Getting to Bastei by car is of course also a possibility. Some of the nearest cities around are Berlin or Prague.
Insider Tips For Visiting Bastei Bridge
What To Bring
Most of the time you’ll be walking on paved trails, so there’s no need to wear hiking boots. That said, I do recommend bringing comfortable footwear and sports clothing. Brace yourself for walking up a bunch of steps and, especially if visiting during the summer months, some sweating might be involved as well. So a bottle of water or two won’t hurt.
Best Spot For Views
Thought you’d be able to enjoy wonderful views of the bridge from any angle? Well, let me save you the disappointment. There are only two spots from where you can actually have views of the bridge, and one of them is paid.
The free viewpoint is perched atop a hill, on the left as you face the bridge. There’s a downside to this observation desk, though. Given the park’s popularity among tourists, especially during peak season, it’s fairly common to find long lines of people waiting to take in the views and a couple of photos (yes, just a couple because you’ll have to make it snappy and make room for the next person in line). Forget about enjoying it at your own leisure, unless you plan this hike for the early morning to avoid the crowds.
As for the paid viewpoint, I’d say it’s not really worth the money. Tickets grant access to the premises where Neurathen Castle once stood. You can walk around the area freely, where you’ll find the former castle yards and a cistern, among other things. But as far as views are concerned, they aren’t any better than the ones from the free viewpoint. Same view, just a different angle. So if you see some visitors standing there and feel tempted to pay the entrance fee for “good views”, just save yourself the time and money. I can guarantee they’re in no privileged spot.
Rathen: A Town You Should Check Out
If you’re not on a tight schedule, I highly recommend going for a stroll around Rathen. It’s just a small town, so it won’t take more than 10 minutes to see all its cute traditional houses.
I hope this post helps you plan your hike to Bastei Bridge. And if you’re struggling with your Germany trip prep, remember I can assist you with putting together a custom itinerary to suit your needs. You’ll find more information about custom itineraries here.
|TO-DO LIST BEFORE YOUR TRIP|
🛌 Book your accommodation. I recommend staying in Dresden. Here you’ll find a bunch of different options.
FURTHER CONTENT ABOUT GERMANY TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
👉 Munich in 2 Days: 10 Best Places to Visit
Follow Beidoo on Instagram for daily travel tips, recommendations and honest opinions about destinations worldwide.