Mathieu’s adventures: The beautiful hike to Bastei Bridge, in Saxony

I ended up going on a hike to Bastei Bridge because I had to work from Germany (Saxony) for a few days in April. Close to the end of the week, a German colleague shot the obvious question during lunch:

What did you plan for this weekend?

My colleagues and I didn’t have anything planned, so we asked for advice:

You should go to Bastei, it’s not too far. Perfect for a walk. Beautiful. You will love it!

It seemed nice enough, so that’s what we did. I actually didn’t pay much attention to the rest, because I like surprises, so I left my colleagues to take care of the details.

bastei bridge ferry boat on river elbe

Beginning the hike to Bastei Bridge

On Saturday morning, with a lot of sun in the sky and without much preparation we left for Bastei, by car.  I casually took only good shoes, a bottle of water, sunglasses, and a Claritine pill, because my nose decided that spring has arrived.

We left the car where we were directed to park it, and saw a colorful village on the other side of a river, at the bottom of a great mid-cliff mid-hill forest. It was going to be more climbing than walking.

The hike to Bastei actually started by a river crossing quickly done by ferry. They come frequently and can carry a lot of passengers. However, the waiting time was still enough for us to remark that we were among the few to not have hiking boots, big bags, and walking sticks…

Ferry across the Elbe River, from Rathen
1 November to 14 May: Open from Monday to Friday between 04.30 and 23.45 and on Saturday and Sunday between 05.30 and 23.45.  15 May to 31 October: Open from Monday to Friday between 04.30 and 00.45 and on Saturday and Sunday between 05.30 and 00.45.
One-way tickets cost € 1.20 for adults and € 0.50 for children. 
Two-way tickets cost € 2.00 for adults and € 0.80 for children.

The so-called 40-minute hike to Bastei Bridge

We went for the smallest tour, supposed to be 40 minutes if we are to believe the sign at the bottom of the stairs going up into the forest. As you advance, the way gets more and more abrupt, but you can take your time, there is a new beautiful view at every turn. Such a good excuse to catch your breath for a moment!

The more you advance, the more interesting it gets. Every time you think you arrived at the top, you turn around a rock to discover a new place, even higher and greater than the last one.

From time to time, we could see some writings carved in the rocks, but sadly my German is limited to Hallo and Danke schön.

Saxon Switzerland National Park
Open 24h. Very crowded around noon, though, so plan ahead. Entrance is free of charge.
See on map

Bastei Bridge teaser: Felsenburg Neurathen

At one point, an old-style wooden fence appeared, and a stand. For € 2.00, you can enter in the fenced area and go walk on an iron footbridge connecting one rock peak to another. Among the beautiful sights, you’ll get to see from there, there is that of a majestic stone bridge lost in the woods one hundred meters away.

At a distance, in a different direction, you can also see a monk statue on the top of a rock, standing above the treeline. Every now and then, you can spot other climbers.

In several places, there are some holes in the rocks. Thus, they make a small platform where people throw coins and try to make them stay on it. It is feasible without too much difficulty.

Felsenburg Neurathen
Open 24h. Tickets cost € 2.00.
Address: 01824 Lohmen, Germany | See on map

sunset seen during hike to bastei bridge

The Bastei Bridge

After exiting the paid area, you can take another good look at the stunning view of the valley below. Then, you can go on the stone bridge. From there, one can see some old tiny steps carved into the rock creating some stairs for the daredevils. Luckily, you can’t access them, and it would be crazy to try!

More than an hour after leaving the village, we arrived at the highest point.  (There, you can find a hotel to have a drink, an ice-cream or even a meal.) The place is actually a plateau and you can get there by car. But why would you want to miss the fun of the climb?

Going back from the hike to Bastei Bridge

Going back, we could have chosen the same 40-minute hike, but we decided to go for a bit more. I highly recommend you do the same.

Without really understanding the signs (yes, we might be bad at this), we used a good logic plan that I cherish: By going right, you can’t be wrong.

The path continued on a road, but we went exploring. By following the small tracks, to stay as close as possible to the valley that we saw from the bridge (on the right side, of course),  we arrived at a wonderful viewpoint allowing us to have one last look at the Bastei stone bridge and its surroundings. This was definitely the most beautiful scenery yet and with the satisfaction of being almost alone in the place.

We eventually took a path that leads you to some stairs going down between the rocks, to a gorge and some amazing small clearings. The first part of the trip was about having an open view of the valley, while the second was about feeling small between the walls of rock. For me, this was the best part. It really cuts you from reality and you feel immersed in an adventure film taking place in some enchanting places.

Making the trip in this order was luckily the best idea. It wasn’t too warm to climb in the morning. Plus, the cold of the rocks and the humidity of the moss was highly appreciated during the afternoon. At noon the sun was now giving his best.

The trip finished by following a river where you can rent a rowing boat or a pedal boat. Then, you come back to the village where fish restaurants seem to be the specialty.

About the author

Mathieu is a 30-year-old French engineer, currently living in Bucharest, Romania. He is a curious cat and enjoys discovering new places and how various things work. Pizza and tiramisu expert.

When asked to say something about himself, Mathieu chose to be a man of few words. So he said: “Something.” 

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18 Thoughts to “Mathieu’s adventures: The beautiful hike to Bastei Bridge, in Saxony”

  1. The views from the bridge look breathtaking! Bastei looks like the perfect little town for a work day trip!

  2. What a lovely hike! I especially love that there was a hotel at the top to have a drink and a snack – I love when that happens at the end of a good hike, especially if I didn’t know to expect it! Great tips, I hope I make it to this part of Germany someday.

  3. The walks on the iron footbridge connecting one rock peak to another seem to be so exciting.
    Plus, I have never seen before rocks like those with the monk statue. So unusual!

    I have already heard of beautiful German nature and your post definitely proved it. Well done!

  4. I loved your journey to Bastei! What a fun place to hike. The monk on the rock was adorable! Glad you didn’t miss it. I’m really in love with Germany so thanks for introducing me to a new place. ?

  5. But of course you had to do something on the weekend when in Germany! Whatever were you thinking? ? And time for that travel language app so you manage a bit of German when adventuring. LOVE your mantra “By going right, you can’t be wrong.” Works unless going right takes you off a cliff. Putting Bastei Bridge on our must visit list for the coming year. Great post!

  6. Sounds like a fairly intense hike. But those views!! I haven’t heard of this hike before, but it sounds like one I might try to tackle!

  7. Bastei looks like a nice place .. The view from the top looks great .. I also have the mentatlity to shut myself down from the details of the place I am going to visit .. I usually plan only the minimal stuffs , like accommodation, Transport etc .. Not in detail ( looking at the track , calculating exact time from point to point etc ..) That kind of kills the excitement for me ?

  8. Woah those massive rocks are incredible – what an effort to get the statue up on the top, don’t you think?! It looks quite magnificent. I love how spontaneous this trip was – sometimes they are the best trips – even with your limited German! A great hike for sure. But I never trust any time schedules for hikes. They’re always longer than what you get told!

  9. Very cool landscape photography! I didn’t know this place existed and now I am transfixed by the rock formations. It is hard to hit 45min hiking target when you keep stopping to take hundreds of photos.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!

  10. What a nice alternative to travelling. I think a good hike sometimes helps you to find things that are lesser known. Although, if something says 40 minutes, it would probably take me best part of an hour and a half. Thank you for sharing your adventure.

  11. Sometimes those spontaneous trips where a lot is left to surpise are the best trips. It looks like a beautiful hike with some great views. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I am not a sporty traveler and I always stroll around. I truly enjoyed reading your post. Even if I will never hike, at least I saw the beautiful views you captured while above. Thaks for sharing it.

  13. These views are definitely breathtaking! I’m glad that you had a great time there! ?
    I’ve never heard of it before but I would like to visit it one day ?

  14. The monk statue perched on top of that cliff looks pretty cool! The views from the paid area are awesome. I am not very fit but a 40-minute hike with those views sounds totally worth it. Even the stone bridge looks cool.

  15. Honestly I haven’t heard of Bastei, now that I have read about your experience, I would love to visit this place. The hike sounds fun and the view from the top is a delight. The monk statue on top of a hill is amazing!

  16. Love that expression, “By going right, you can’t be wrong” – think I may have to use that next time I’m deciding on a route ? So how long did the supposed 40 min journey actually take you in the end? Totally agree that the views are worthwhile, however long it took x

  17. The Bastei bridge looks like something made out of a film. I always wonder how people can make bridges on a difficult situation. The views are equally breathtaking and mesmerizing at the same time that can beguile every travellers looking for a touch of nature. I would love to go there someday.

  18. That is one of the prettiest hikes I have ever seen! I am not an outdoors girl, but I feel like I would have a great time doing this anyway!
    Absolutely lovely!

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