Life is full of small miracles and surprises. Sometimes we dream of visiting places for a long time and sometimes, just by surprise, those places finds us on our way somewhere else. This is how, just by surprise, on our way home to Baltics we found Saxon Switzerland. And this is why road trip is the best way to travel!
Saxon Switzerland is a hilly national park in Eastern Germany on the border with Czech Republic and Poland. It is located in the region of Saxony just 40 kilometers away from Dresden on the banks of beautiful river Elbe. Together with Bohemian Switzerland, national park in Czech Republic, Saxon Switzerland forms Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
So these are the facts, but facts is not enough when talking about Saxon Switzerland. You need to feel that place! Personally, I think that it is one of the most beautiful natural sights in Europe. Mountains here looks like made of wet sand. Something similar to sand castles that we used to built on the beach when we were little. With all the forests spread out between them and with river Elbe peacefully floating into horizon, the view from Saxon Switzerland peaks is incredible.
Despite the fact how beautiful this whole park is, as always, there are several places that pops-out from all the other. Personally, during our afternoon wanderings I discovered three special places, that I want to share with you, Dear Reader. Why? Because you have to visit them. Unquestionably!
Bastei is definitely the most iconic place to visit in Saxon Switzerland. This bridge takes all the spotlight from other beauties in this national park. And not without a reason! For us it was no. 1 place to see in Saxon Switzerland.
Bastei is a rock formation nearly 200 meters above river Elbe. Rocks in Bastei formation are combined with almost 100 meters long man-made bridge, which makes them top sight to see in Saxon Switzerland. In addition to this, there are long walking paths above the Elbe, several outstanding scenic overlooks, hotel and restaurant that could be find in Bastei. As we were there in autumn, there weren’t crowded at all, so we had a chance to enjoy and picture Bastei as much as we wanted.
However, it’s noteworthy, that we had difficulties in finding it. When we started our journey towards Saxon Switzerland we knew that we want to see this place. And as we got used to Google Maps taking us straight to the place where we wanted be, we entered ‘Saxon Switzerland’ and started driving. However, this time the most popular place (as Bastei is), was 20 kilometers away from where Google took us. And the same happened, when we finally did some research and entered ‘Bastei’ – we ended in a beautiful town of Rathen from where we could only walk to Bastei bridge1. So, take it from our experience, if you want to drive as close as possible then search for such places as Berghotel Bastei or enter ‘01847 Lohmen’ address.
Nevertheless, places that we had a chance to see while searching for Bastei bridge were also very spectacular. On our way we crossed several cute little towns, but only one of them took all of our attention. This was Rathen, a town which could be seen from Bastei peaks.
Rathen is located on one bank of river Elbe with its back guarded by Bastei. It has all the attributes that cute German villages should have: timber-framed colorful houses and perfectly preserved little backyards. In addition to this, it is surrounded by extraordinary nature pearls.
Rathen is a nice choice to have lunch in after climbing down from Bastei peaks. It is peaceful, quiet and beautiful with the fresh nature aroma in the air. So, basically, it is a perfect choice for holiday people.
Bad Schandau was the first place where our GPS took us. Because, as it turned out, this town is a central holiday resort in Saxon Switzerland. Due to variety of attractions that this town offers, in my opinion, Bad Schandau is a perfect place to stay in Saxon Switzerland.
Town is located on one bank of river Elbe. It has very cute old town with cosy Medieval streets, shops and cafes, lovely houses and beautiful church in the middle. What is more, Bad Schandau offers a variety of relaxing activities – from spa to long walking paths in the national park or by the river.
However, if you’re not planning on staying through the night, Bad Schandau should still be marked on your map as a place to have cup of coffee or glass of hot wine in. Those kind of little towns like this one has a super power to turn relaxing holiday mood on instantly.
While in Saxon Switzerland, we decided that it definitely belongs to our Top3 places that we visited this year.
Anyway, what are your thoughts about this place? Have you ever been to this part of Saxony? Do you plan to visit it? I am waiting for your thoughts in the comments!