View on the Bastei rock formation at the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Rathen (Germany)
Bastei and Bastei Bridge - the highlights of Saxon Switzerland - are free of charge. There are no opening or closing times. The area is not fenced. You can visit the famous Bastei rock formations at any time of the year. There is only a small fee for the entrance to Felsenburg Neurathen within the compound.
There are also two parking lots: A large one at the beginning of Basteistrasse (just behind the petrol station) from there you can walk (3.5 km or 2.2 mi) or take the shuttle bus. The other parking lot is very close to Bastei but much smaller. However, expect to pay for parking and the shuttle bus.
The Bastei is a rock formation rising 194 metres (about 636 ft) above the Elbe River in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains of Germany. Reaching a height of 305 metres (about a 1000 ft) above sea level, the jagged rocks of the Bastei were formed by water erosion over one million years ago. They are situated near Rathen, not far from Pirna southeast of the city of Dresden, and are the major landmark of the Saxon Switzerland National Park. They are also part of a climbing and hiking area that extends over the borders into the Bohemian Switzerland (Czech Republic). The Bastei has been a tourist attraction for over 200 years. In 1824, a wooden bridge was constructed to link several rocks for the visitors. This bridge was replaced in 1851 by the present Bastei Bridge made of sandstone. The rock formations and vistas have inspired numerous artists, among them Caspar David Friedrich ("Felsenschlucht").
The spa town of Rathen is the main base for visiting the Bastei; the town can be reached from Dresden by paddle steamer on the river Elbe.
The Saxon Switzerland National Park (Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz) is a National Park in the German Free State of Saxony (Freistaat Sachsen), near the Saxon capital Dresden. It covers two areas of 93.5 km² (36.1 mi²) in the heart of the German part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, which is often called Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz). The National Park adjoins Bohemian Switzerland (České Švýcarsko) National Park in the Czech Republic.