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Bastei Bridge – Discovering a Magnificient Part of Saxon Switzerland, Germany

Get outdoors and hike! The absolute best place to do this is the Bastei Bridge or Basteibrücke, only a couple of hours south of Berlin and a great day trip! Bastei Bridge is part of the Saxon Switzerland National Park. So read on for our travel tips to Saxon Switzerland.

Ever since we moved to the Oberpfalz (the Grafenwoehr area) in northern Bavaria we’d been hearing about and seeing stunning pictures of, Bastei Bridge in the region known as Sächsischen Schweiz (or Saxon Switzerland) in former East Germany.

The bridge is located in a national park that is both enchanting and awe-inspiring, in eastern Germany on the Czech border.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland National Park.
View of the Bastei Bridge, or Basteibrücke, from the old fortress site

Saxon Switzerland National Park is known for its natural beauty attributed to the deep gorge carved out from the Elbe river which has left pinnacles of sandstone that are reminiscent of the gigantic pinnacles of Meteora, Greece and the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, Turkey.

This is a surreal landscape that makes you want to take photo after photo after photo. On a whim, we decided to jump in the car one Saturday afternoon and take the three-hour drive from Weiden with the hopes of catching the sunset while we did a shorter Bastei Bridge hike.

A Day Trip to Saxon Switzerland National Park, Bastei Bridge (Basteibrücke)

Sandstone pillar landscape in eastern Germany.
Walking on the path, in late afternoon, golden light bounces off the sandstone pillars that the national park is famous for.

Visiting Saxon Switzerland, and in particular, the Basteibrücke means that you’re going to get out of the concrete jungle to see the scenery. Not many people know how beautiful Germany is, but if you go here you will set them straight. That’s for sure. 

Hiking is the main activity, and there are a lot of options. We took a shorter Bastei Bridge hike because I was there to photograph the sunset and we were set on finding a good viewpoint. Make sure to check the trail maps as you enter the park and carefully plan your route through Bastei Bridge, Germany.

Sandstone pillars in Germany.
Green and gray, a beautiful combination! Don’t you think?

Our favorite part of the walk was going to the ruins of the old fortifications (which are not visible anymore) where you could look out across the valley and see pillars beyond pillars climbing through and above the dark green pine trees and a panorama view of the bridge that is absolutely breathtaking. It is probably the best place to get a full view of Bastei.

The old fortress was built during the early nineteen-hundreds in order to help Germany protect its border to the east, but the area soon became a tourist attraction due to the natural beauty of the region. The bridge was built later and it too became a popular site around the turn of the 20th century, hence the large Bastei parking lot.

Power Tip: All of the walking trails are pretty steep, and they all have a number of stairs to negotiate. It is doable for most, but if you have trouble walking or climbing don’t take the longer six kilometer trail. It doesn’t sound that bad until you realize that it probably also has about 600 steps to climb as you go down to the valley floor and then climb back up again.

A high vantage point overlooking the Sächsischen Schweiz.
The beauty of Germany shines in the Sächsischen Schweiz.

When To Go to Bastei Bridge and the Saxon Switzerland National Park

This is one of the wonderful things about heading to the national park, it’s open all year long and each season brings a completely different experience. It is, of course, extremely popular with German and Czech tourists so traveling there on weekends, you can expect it to be pretty busy.

We went in late August and in the afternoon it was a bit crowded, but we wanted to stay for sunset and by that time many of the people had left. So stay late. The park is open 24 hours per day.

Pink wildflowers highlight the sandstone pillars.
Pink flowers and the eroded stone pillars make a hike through the national park a must-do for anyone interested in more than cities when visiting Germany.

Photography Tips for Bastei Bridge Germany

The bridge is a perfect place to spend the afternoon shooting photography. Late afternoon light is golden, and there are fewer people on the bridge. However, no matter what, since the valley is so deep, the sun cannot reach into all the different corners so there will be lots of shadows. Using a tripod will help take great photos. The bridge is a wonderful backdrop for portraits as well.

Other Sights And Activities In the Saxon Switzerland National Park Bastei Bridge Area

Take a boat down the Elbe River, starting from a number of ports including Dresden and Pirna. We stopped in the town of Pirna for lunch. It is a great place to walk around, with a beautiful church, medieval houses, and a central fountain. There was even a plaque that boasted Napoleon had been there in 1813.

A lone pillar at Bastei Bridge.

How to get to Bastei Bridge from Dresden

Dresden is the closest large city, and it’s only an hour drive on the A17 if you have a car. You can also get there using public transportation, and it’s only a little over an hour to do that.

You need to take the S1 from the Dresden Central Station towards Bad Schandau getting off at Kurort Rathen. Then walk down to the ferry to cross the river, and it’s a 20-minute walk to Bastei.

Jim on Bastei Bridge.
Corinne on Bastei Bridge.

Practical Information for Visiting Bastei Bridge, Germany

Bastei Bridge Parking

There are a couple of Bastei parking areas, but we recommend following the signs to the Berghotel Bastei and driving until you can’t drive anymore.

There, just before the hotel, you’ll find a parking lot which cost about 3-5 Euros depending on the length of your stay. Cost is 3 Euros per hour up to 5.50 Euros for the day.


There is no cost for entering Saxon Switzerland National Park and Bastei Bridge. The park is not stroller-friendly; however, you may take dogs in.


From the Bastei parking lot you walk through a small gauntlet of businesses which include a snack bar, a restaurant, the Berghotel Bastei, and a few souvenir shops.


Bastei Bridge, or Basteibrucke in German, in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, makes for a perfect day trip from Berlin. So, if you’re planning to spend spring in Germany, go for a Bastei Bridge hike and admire the beautiful scenery all around you.

Tell us, have you been to the Bastei Bridge or the Saxon Switzerland National Park?  Any tips?

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Pin Bastei Bridge for later trip planning.


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Wow - what beautiful scenery and stunning photos! That bridge is so unique as is the whole area. I'd love to see it in person someday.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Jill, I definitely think Bastei Bridge is your kind of place. If/when you come to Germany...don't forget!

Tom Bartel

Sunday 19th of March 2017

You got some pretty shots here, except for the one of Jim.

Corinne Vail

Sunday 19th of March 2017

Well, you know....gotta do it sometimes.

Adonis Villanueva

Sunday 5th of February 2017

Wow, what cool place! Your captures are captivating. Now I want to check out the bridge myself!

Corinne Vail

Monday 6th of February 2017

Adonis, Bastei is a surreal landscape, completely gorgeous!


Saturday 1st of October 2016

Whoa! I've never heard of this bridge - until now. Pretty amazing scenery! Adding it to the list!

Corinne Vail

Monday 3rd of October 2016

Jill, It is an amazing sight for sure. I hope you get there; you'd love it!

Vivian Lee

Tuesday 27th of September 2016

Oh my god! I was in Germany last month and I was dying to go to Saxon Switzerland! But guess what? Sadly I did not!!!! When I saw your blogpost, I thought to myself, Gosh, This must have been a sign from the universe, I am definitely going back! Thank you for your sharing... I love every lines!

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 27th of September 2016

Vivian, It is a sign! You must come back. Germany is amazing!