Bastei area is in Saechsische Schweiz most touristically developed. The scenic path goes through a wonderful landscape of rock towers, visits a place where once a mediaval castle was nesting, in the lower part there's a theatre in nature and a small lake to make the round tour more interesting. For a normal hiker everything is too artificial. The path is overprotectd and so suitable for almost everyone who can do 200 meters of altitude difference, there is an artificial stone bridge which overcomes difficulties of coming from one tower towards others, but the scenery is so beautiful and views down on Elbe river so breathtaking, that I am posting this short description and a few best photos.
See more of an overview on the main page of Saechsische Schweiz.
Getting There and FeesThe Bastei area rises above the Elbe river near Rathen, on the place, where the river makes two nice bends. You can start a hike from below, from the river banks, or even from the oposite side of Elbe, using a boat, which regularly drives across, but the majority of tourists comes in the area from the top, parking on the fields of the upper plateau. If so, come from the north, from the road, which connects Hohnstein (nice castle there) and Lohmen. Just west of the village Rathewalde (you can park also there) deter towards the south, then park either on the first big parking place on the field and take a bus or walk those 2 km, or continue just towards the Bastei restaurant and try to park there (2 hours cost 2€, then you're already at 5€ etc.). To find the place, even if you don't have a map, just follow inscriptions "Bastei".
The path itself is free of charge, but in the upper area you can add a visit of the ancient castle. For that short round tour you are charged 2€ and it can certainly be recommended. Very interesting place, with additional vistas on the area!
Route DescriptionThe route itself needs little or no description. Just to build some expectations, here are a few details.
From the restaurant on the top of cliffs, you will certainly go on the highest panoramic point, which offers a most stunning view over the area itself and down on Elbe river.
Then you proceed down by a comfortable path a few turns and soon find yourself among the rock towers. A stone bridge brings you across them, from it, you have nice views on both sides. In addition, tourists also enjoy views on climbers who can find nice routes on the side towards Elbe river.
On the other side of the bridge, there is the entry point into the ancient castle. There you will do a short, 20 minutes round walk, from one tower to another, and also into the well protected places among them, where once huts were, the water reservoir etc. Inscriptions on tables teach you about the history of this interesting place.
Coming out of the castle, you proceed down the hill. There are still some interesting passages, on the place where you exit rocks there was once the entry into the fortified area. Then you continue by a path down. When in the valley of Amselgrund, you can deter left and visit an open air theatre. The more interesting option would be to come there and see one of those shows in the spectacular surroundings. From the theatre you return in the valley and continue by it upwards. Soon you reach Amselsee - a small artificial lake, which fills the whole vally. Walk along the lake and then decide how to return up on Bastei parking place. The first path goes by Swedish holes, the other one a bit more around.
For the whole circle you will need around 2 hours. We spent a lot of time enjoying great places, and so missed the deadline and the cheapest parking fee for a few minutes.