Saxon Switzerland is the German section of the Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Park. On the Czech side, you can find the famous Pravčicka Brana trail and on the German side, you can find the beautiful Bastei Bridge.
Since both parks are so close many people turn it into a full day trip and visit both Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland and most guided tours of the national park go to both as well. In this post, we’re going to talk specifically about the Bastei Bridge which takes you to the iconic bridge overlooking the national park.
The Bastei Bridge was created by water erosion over a million years ago and is now visited by over 1 million people a year! In this post, you will learn why it’s such a popular spot and why you should add it to your bucket list too.
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What to expect when visiting the Bastei Bridge
The Bastei Bridge is by far the highlight in Saxon Switzerland, but it’s really just a sample of what this beautiful national park has to offer. The Bridge is more of a viewpoint walk than anything but it’s also a little bit of a hike to Bastei Bridge. If you’re young and fit, you’ll have no problem going on this “hike” but we had n 84-year-old man on our tour, and he decided to stay up by the tourist viewpoint.
A little side note to add here is that there are endless hiking trails in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. So if you’re up for it, put on some hiking clothes and after you’ve reached the Bastei Bridge, you can continue hiking around in the national park. If you’re looking for specific trails, you can check out MapyCZ or AllTrails.
The reason we’re only mentioning this small section in this post is because most people do a day trip to Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland from Prague or Dresden. So most people only have enough time to do this short hike to Bastei Bridge.
But Saxon Switzerland itself deserves more than just a few hours so if you have the time you should totally spend a full day hiking here. You can expect some great viewpoints of the national park and greenery all around you.
Saxon Switzerland is known for its sandstone formations all around the park and even Bastei Bridge is a rock formation from many centuries that’s been carved into a beautiful bridge.
If you walk around, you’ll get to a few viewpoints where you can take awesome pictures of Bastei Bridge and then actually walk across and stand on this famous landmark.
Starting by the parking lot in Saxon Switzerland
Whether you’re renting a car from Prague or Dresden and driving your own or doing a guided tour of Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland, the walk starts from the same place. There’s a parking garage on the left hand side when you enter the Saxon Switzerland National Park and from there you’ll start your walk/hike to Bastei Bridge in Germany.
OBS: Parking cost €3 to €5.50 depending on how long you park for!
Fun fact, this is our first time ever exploring and hiking in Germany! We actually came here from Prague on a guided trip of both Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland. Next time we come back we’re going to explore a lot more of the national park and not just this little section!
So a few minutes after you’ve started to walk, you’ll pass by the touristy area where you’ll find a few shops, restaurants, and toilets. From there you’ll follow the signs that point to Bastei Bridge and down a set of stairs.
Almost instantly, the bridge will come into view and you’ll see some similarities to Pravčicka Brana if you’ve been to Bohemian Switzerland on the Czech side of the national park.
Take in the views of Bastei Bridge
The best part about the hike to Bastei Bridge is that there are quite a few viewpoints actually surrounding the bridge that are equally as cool as the bridge itself. There are a few viewpoints that are above the bridge where you can get some really cool photos.
This part of Saxon Switzerland is beautiful and it’s so nice just exploring the area and getting cool photos of the bridge.
You’ll also notice a lot of climbers in the area. One thing that Saxon Switzerland is really known for outside of the Bastei Bridge is how climbing-friendly it is. The sandstone formations are (supposedly) ideal for climbers so you’ll see them all over the place.
Walk across Bastei Bridge
Once you’ve taken in all the views and admired the bridge from the viewpoints it’s time to make the walk across it (another great spot for photos). From there, you can follow the hiking trails if you want to extend your hike and see more of Saxon Switzerland.
After that, it’s time to head back! Visiting the Bastei Bridge is a short and sweet experience. It took us just under an hour to see the whole thing even with taking a bunch of pictures and taking in the views of Saxon Switzerland.
What to bring hiking in Saxon Switzerland
You’re more than likely going to be exploring more than just this short hike in Saxon Switzerland so it’s good to be prepared for the day with food, clothes, a portable charger, etc.
Thankfully you’re never going to be too far away from a restaurant or shop so if you do forget food and water you can always buy some along the way.
Saxon Switzerland packing list:
- Water! We always fill up our LifeStraw bottles before going on a trip. Make sure to fill it up beforehand as we didn’t find any water tabs where we could refill them. But if you ask nicely at one of the restaurants, they will probably let you refill it there!
- Sunscreen is highly recommended when visiting Saxon Switzerland, especially during the summer months. Most of the places in the national park are quite exposed to the sun all day.
- A power bank is never a bad idea to bring!
- Proper hiking shoes are a good idea too! This part of Saxon Switzerland is quite touristy and the walking trails are really nice so sports shoes will be fine, but if you do the day trip from Prague that we did, you want to wear proper hiking shoes.
Before you go visit the Saxon Switzerland
Check the weather
No matter where you go, it’s never a bad idea to check the weather before you go. Saxon Switzerland has pretty consistent weather and if you look a day in advance or so, it hopefully shouldn’t change too much
Most of the walk is in the forest and you get a little sheltered but if it rains you will most likely still get petty wet! You can see the weather for Saxon Switzerland here.
Wear hiking shoes
If you plan to do a lot of hiking in Saxon Switzerland then hiking shoes will become your best friend. Especially when you have comfy and light hiking shoes like these ones from Columbia. It doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing hiking shoes because they’re so comfy.
Book your guided tour beforehand
If you’re planning on going on a guided tour from Dresden or Prague to Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland you can book it way in advance. Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland is one of the most popular day trips from Prague (and Dresden) and the tours tend to fill up.
Two tours we can highly recommend are:
- Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland guided tours from Prague
- Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland guided tours from Dresden
(If you have a car then you can completely disregard this section).
How to get to Saxon Switzerland
Most people do day trips to Saxon Switzerland from Prague and Dresden so we’ll explain how to get there from both of those places by public transport and guided tour.
From Prague to Saxon Switzerland
By car: It takes just under 2 hours from Prague to Saxon Switzerland by car. You can follow Google Maps from Prague to Saxon Switzerland here.
By train: It takes roughly 2.5 hours to get from Prague to a town within walking distance from Saxon Switzerland. You can see the train schedule online here.
By guided tour: The easiest and best way in our opinion is to go on a guided tour. The convenience of getting picked up at your place and not having to worry about a thing is so nice. This Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland guided tour from Prague is one of the best!
From Dresden to Saxon Switzerland
By car: It takes just under an hour to get from Dresden to Saxon Switzerland by car. You can follow the google map from Dresden to Saxon Switzerland here.
By train: It takes roughly 30 minutes to get from Dresden to a town within walking distance from Saxon Switzerland. You can see the train schedule online here.
By guided tour: A guided tour from Dresden is a nice way to enjoy Saxon Switzerland! Guides will pick you up, show you the best spots around the park, and tell you all about the history of Saxon Switzerland. This Saxon Switzerland tour from Dresden is great.
When is the best time to visit Saxon Switzerland?
As we mentioned before it’s best to try and visit this national park during the shoulder season. Summer months get crazy busy with local and international tourists. May-June, and September-October are great months to visit Bohemian Switzerland.
If you are traveling during the summer months and aren’t on a guided tour then try to go in the morning or later in the evening. That way you avoid a lot of the crowds and can have the park and Bastei Bridge more to yourself. During the day and later in the afternoons it gets really busy with tours. It can get very crowded and sometimes it’s even difficult to reach some of the viewpoints!
Other questions related to Bastei Bridge and Saxon Switzerland
Is Saxon Switzerland in Switzerland?
Saxon Switzerland is actually in Germany in the Saxony region of Germany. The reason for the name “Switzerland” is because of two Swiss painters (Adrian Zingg and Anton Graff) who came to visit this area thought it reminded them of home.
What is Bastei Bridge?
Bastei Bridge is the iconic rock formation that can be found inside Saxon Switzerland National Park. The Bastei Bridge was created by water erosion over a million years ago and now it’s the famous bridge that overlooks the Elbe River.
Is Bastei Bridge in Germany or Switzerland?
Bastei Bridge is in the German National Park called Saxon Switzerland. Bastei Bridge is located in the Saxony region of Germany near the Elbe River and the town of Lohmen.
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Recap of hiking in Saxon Switzerland to Bastei Bridge
Bastei Bridge is the most iconic place to visit in Saxon Switzerland and for a good reason. The whole area including Bohemian Switzerland is absolutely beautiful!
Even though this location is just a stop along the way, you can easily spend a full day between Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland. The sandstone, hills, and walking trails are just perfect there. And if you’re driving by yourself, and have the time and freedom to do it, we can also highly recommend visiting the Königstein Fortress.
Enjoy your time visiting Bastei Bridge and the rest of Saxon Switzerland! If you have any questions about booking a guided tour or Saxon Switzerland in general, feel free to DM us on Instagram or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!