Saxony is in North-East Germany. Saxon-Switzerland National Park is just down the river from Dresden (take a boat down Elbe River or 30 minutes by car), 20 minutes north of the Czech Republic, and about an hour from the Polish border.
Saxon-Switzerland National Park is a park full of rock formations. In a way, some of the formations are reminiscent of Cappadocia, in Turkey (See the blog post here). Tall, skinny fingers of rock several stories high are reachable through the riverfront town of Kurort Rathen.
The hike from the village to the top of the hill is no easy task, with the steep dirt wooded paths and hundreds of stairs that climb up around and between the rock formations. If you can, try rock climbing up! (But pay for the guide once you arrive at the park-there are several online scams that claim to be connected to the guides but are NOT legitimate.)
Near the top of the hill, the Bastei Bridge is built across the rock “fingers”. The Bastei Bridge can be photographed best from a pay entrance to an open air museum, which is a maze of narrow paths built across the various rock fingers.
At the very top of the hill are gift shops and restaurants, but best of all-a fantastic view! (A parking lot rests at the top as well, but driving up takes away from the unique experience and sense of accomplishment of completing the hike…and one would still need to hike down a little way to reach the Bastei Bridge.)
When you realize the hike down is more challenging than the hike up, you may want to head straight to the river for a dinner cruise on the Elbe River, or just watch the boats from a biergarten. Either way, enjoy the peacefulness of the area!
If you’ve experienced Saxon-Switzerland National Park-what did you think?
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Dresden Christmas Market and Polish Pottery and Castle Trip are coming soon…!