“It’s only three hours from Berlin…this is an experience we’re never going to forget, just take it all in”. (Overheard American tourists)
We spent our pre-easter weekend between a rock city and a hard place, Skalne Miasto (Czech Republic) and Bastei (Germany). Two of the more unique places that we’ve seen in Europe, not just in terms of there being very few things like it, but just in the movie-perfect scenery that’s available.
There is also another attraction close-by called Festung Königstein (eng. Konigstein Fortress) which is a great hilltop fortress offering spectacular views. There are lots of other places with the same name (Konigstein) in Germany, so make sure that you are going to the right one. The correct one is very close to Bastei, the second closest one is around 4 hours away – don’t make this mistake!
PROs and CONs
*Both are easy to find*
*Both have parking – both paid*
*Skalne Miasto didn’t seem to be card friendly, there is a bureau de change on-site*
*Both can easily be done on the same day as each other*
Skalne Miasto (eng. Rock City) covers 17km2 in Bohemia. They are otherwise known as the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks due to the fact that the rocks are located between these two locations. We set our sat nav for Adršpach and had no problems finding where we had to go due to it being well sign-posted. It was also one of the only things around to do, so we couldn’t really miss it.
Entering from the Adršpach side you are greeted with an incredibly beautiful and still lake surrounded by large rock formations and trees. You are able to hike around the whole lake itself and take advantage of its many view points. However, the main sights are still to be seen.
The walk is pretty comfortable for the most part, although the recommended way back does contain a lot more stairs and ups and downs. If you just walk the first half of the suggested walk and then walk the same way back then you shouldn’t have too many problems as it’s mostly flat. Yes, we were surprised that the first half is flat as well considering the landscape that we were walking through.
This gate should really lead you straight into middle-earth, and that’s definitely what we felt was about to happen after going through it. It’s pretty rare that we see something in real life that looks “movie perfect”, but this part was definitely one of those moments when you get a strange experience. One that really does make you want to stay for just that little while longer. The travellers version of the “just one more turn” syndrome in gamer culture.
The halfway point is marked by a small waterfall – sadly you aren’t able to get to that dry point in the picture and have a picnic, but damn I would have loved to. Surprisingly it’s actually more appealing than the large waterfall that they also have there, although the entrance to the larger one is also something rather Tomb Raider-esque!
For an afternoon’s walk this place is amazing. It’s all around a well trodden path, so for those of you who would like to climb up the rocks then…well…I’m sorry. But, it does mean that for those of you who like to experience nature in comfort then this is definitely for you – the first half anyway.
Bastei is a rock formation 194 metres above the Elbe River in Germany. It is essentially next to Dresden, and it worth seeing if you are even remotely close. Originally there was a wooden bridge, however that has since been replaced by a stone one, which i greatly appreciate.
The scenery that is generally in the area isn’t to be sniffed at even if there wasn’t the rather amazing bridge there to accompany it. We even saw some people who were standing on top of some of the rock formations in the photo above. We have no idea how they got there and if it was safe, but if you’re adventurous…well…it’s there for you to explore – apparently.
There’s a lot more here to explore as well, but this is definitely the main event. I’m pretty bad with heights, but walking across the bridge and surrounding rock formations didn’t cause me any problems at all. People were quite happily walking around with their dogs and children – hell, there was even a guy cycling his bike down some of the bits where railings were advisable. Not sure if this says that it’s safe, or that Germans are crazy. Maybe a bit of both.