05 July 2016

Dawdling in Dresden: Bastei and the Saxon Switzerland National Park

When we were in Dresden, we didn't just see palaces of the Saxon royalty. We also went outside and enjoyed the amazing nature surrounding the area. So one day, we did a daytrip to the southeast, by taking the train to Saxon Switzerland National Park.

When I first heard of the name of this national park, I was confused. But apparently, the name reflects what the early explorers thought of this area. They thought that the area reminded them of Switzerland, so they named it such. In fact, this is also the case across the border in the Czech Republic, where the area is called Bohemian Switzerland.

Anyway, we wanted to go here to visit Bastei, which is a series of rock formations towering next to the Elbe River. So we hopped into a train, and after some time, we got off at a rural station, crossed a ferry, and climbed up.

The Elbe is very pretty here. It winds along the shore, and the train line follows it. While we were up there, we saw several trains pass by, and later on I learned that this is the line that is taken by trains going from Berlin to Budapest and Prague. It's a pity that the train from Berlin to Budapest takes 12 hours (we once seriously considered doing it), but people told me that the scenery is definitely pretty in this route.

Perhaps the thing I found the most amazing here is the rock formations. I loved going up ladders and stairs so that I could get a good look! I am not a rock climber, but I definitely appreciate the view.

Oh yes, there is a stone bridge here, made a long time ago. And somehow that was a great thing, because plenty of people trek and climb the paths so that they could get on the Bastei Bridge. I am not a sucker for bridges, I know that installing a bridge in this location is an architectural feat, but somehow I still find the rock pillars way more interesting than the bridge the humans built.

Anyway, this is a good day trip from Dresden, so I definitely recommend this if you're in the area. When we went, it was late spring, and it rained the day before, so the paths and the trails were a little muddy. Don't go here without good shoes, as sometimes things are rather slippery.


  1. At first glance, the river looks like a road! Amazing.

    1. Zhu,

      Haha, I can see that, now that you mention it!