Bastei: crazy ass rocks just outside Dresden

In Adventures, Berlin, Walk by Claire

Germany has lists about its nature-based seven wonders of the world. They often have some really good click-bait titles too, like ‘16 Epic Places in Germany Even Germans Don’t Know About‘ (I suspect they do). These mini-Yosemite hide mostly on the southern side, mostly by Lake Constance or in epic nature reserves on the Austrian border. Inconveniently for someone living North East in Berlin, it’s hard to sneak in a very quick road trip to the south. Luckily, there’s one very magic one that doesn’t. Enter Bastei, near Dresden.

Dresden is a 200k cycle away from Berlin – or a two hour train – and right by it is some of the most ridiculous nature I’ve seen in a long time: Bastei. It’s in the countryside, away from the city, a quick just a half hour train from Dresden. You can go on bike if your knees aren’t shot from a previous day’s cycling to get there, like mine were.

A haphazard guide to getting to Bastei

The entire thing is super easy. That said, we managed to nearly go the wrong way up the hills twice – don’t ask. It’s straight out of the station, past a couple of particularly Germanic-looking pubs and you’re immediately on the Elbe River, giving 50 cents to a ferry man and having a conversation to yourself about the virtues of bridges whilst finding the whole thing really pretty quaint.

Tiny picture-perfect village

If you are me, you will notice that everyone is wearing hiking gear whilst you are in a hoodie and vans. Don’t be perturbed. Luckily, there is minimal death from being stranded on a hillside involved in a trip to Bastei, which is great. This is pretty idiot-proof nature, if you stick to the main sights – the ancient impressive rocks, topped with a 200 year-old bridge.

Looking down onto the Elbe and the village seems like peering down into a toy town. In the other direction, the ridiculous rocks stretch out in miles of nature reserve, and you can trot across them over a bridge from 1824. As you do. Despite being one of the most visited attractions, on a Saturday in March it was nicely empty, too.

Pit-stop on the way up

What is the word for an alleyway through rocks? The route up goes through a ridiculous green [Ravine? Gully? ‘Lofty perches?’ We couldn’t think of the right word] that feels like you are entering a magic world of caves for a moment. In fact, there are head-sized holes in the rocks where it’s been worn away, where you can jam your head into, if you’re keen on jamming your head into things.

From the front, the hill disappears up and there are a couple of gristly-looking rocks poking out but nothing particularly special. So, it’s worth the walk when it turns out that once you’re up there, it’s all party in the back. Standing there, looking out, the forest seems to go on forever.

Aforementioned party in the back, worth the bother

Many pictures of bridges

ClaireBastei: crazy ass rocks just outside Dresden