Mathieu’s adventures: 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.

Is Bastei Bridge worth visiting?

Every traveler should have the Bastei Bridge on their Germany vacation itinerary since this attraction is a genuinely extraordinary and breathtaking place. This well-known site provides a stunning panorama of the Elbe River and the surrounding countryside and is a real monument to the region’s natural beauty and historical significance.

The Bastei Bridge is a must-see location for anybody who enjoys the outdoors and being in nature. A spectacular backdrop for trekking and exploration is provided by the sandstone rock formations, which have been formed by millennia of erosion and weathering. The paths around the Bastei Bridge will amaze hikers of all skill levels as well as those wishing for a peaceful walk.

The Bastei Bridge, a unique sight that depicts 19th-century Germany, is perfect for history aficionados. This magnificent building, which dates back to the 1800s and has been meticulously restored throughout the years, offers a special window into the past. Visitors may tour the bridge and the surroundings around it while learning about the Elbe Sandstone Mountains’ past and cultural significance.

Lastly, a Bastei Bridge hike is a genuinely one-of-a-kind and amazing experience that ought to be on everyone’s travel wish list. Whether you’re a seasoned tourist or a first-timer, you’ll be in awe of this monument. Plan your next trip right away to experience the charm of the Bastei Bridge!

hike to bastei bridge take ferry
Elba River on our Hike to Bastei Bridge

Beginning our hike to Bastei Bridge Germany

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 with 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…

rathen ferry elbe river
Ferry across the Elbe River, from Rathen Bastei

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.

40-minute hike to Bastei Bridge
Our hike to Bastei Brücke on the Elbe River hiking trail

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
The National Park of Saxon Switzerland is open 24/7. Plan ahead though, it becomes really busy about midday. There is no cost to enter.

bastei bridge felsenburg neurathen
Bastei Bridge, Elbe River, Saxon Switzerland

Bastei Bridge teaser: Felsenburg Neurathen

At one point, an old-style wooden fence appeared, and a stand. For € 2.00, you can enter the fenced area and walk on an iron footbridge connecting one rock peak to another. Among the beautiful sights you’ll get to see at that spot, 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. Now and then, you can spot other climbers going on a hike to Bastei Bridge.

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
The Neurathen Fortress, or Felsenburg Neurathen, is open 24 hours a day. Admission is €2.00. The fortress is located at 01824 Lohmen, Germany.

hike to bastei bridge saxony
The highlight of our 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 on our hike to Bastei Bridge. (There, you can find a hotel to have a drink, an ice cream, or even a meal.) The place is a plateau and you can get there by car. But why would you want to miss the fun of the climb?

hike to bastei bridge way back
On the way back from our hike to Bastei Bridge

Going back from the hike to Bastei Bridge

Going back, we could have chosen the same 40-minute hike to Bastei Bridge, 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 the most beautiful scenery yet and with the satisfaction of being almost alone in the place.

We eventually took a path that led you to some stairs going down between the rocks, to a gorge, and some amazing small clearings. The first part of the hike to Bastei Bridge 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 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 were 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.

How to get to Bastei Bridge from Dresden

Germany’s Elbe Sandstone Mountains are home to the Bastei Bridge. You can get to Bastei Bridge by car, bus, or train.

If you’re using a car, travel west from Dresden on the A17 until you reach the Pirna-Copitz exit. From there, take the B172 in the direction of Bad Schandau and then go as directed to the Bastei.

If you’re traveling by train, the bridge is around a 20-minute walk from Lohmen-Bastei, the closest train station. From the train station, you can also get to the Bastei Bridge via bus from Lohmen.

There’s also bus 171 from Dresden to Kurort Rathen, which needs to be changed to bus number 173 to go to the Bastei. The bus ride lasts for around an hour.

Where do you park for Bastei Bridge?

There are various parking possibilities near the Bastei Bridge. There’s a huge Bastei Bridge parking lot near the bridge and more parking spots in the surrounding region. Some parking lots may charge a fee. It’s best to verify parking availability ahead of time, especially during high tourist season. Parking in the neighboring town of Rathen and taking a bus or walking to the Bastei Bridge is also an option.

About the author

mathieu letailleur the travel bunny

Mathieu is the husband of Mirela The Travel Bunny. A French engineer, Mathieu is 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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