Weekend trip from Berlin: Dresden & Swiss Saxony

We set off on a crisp autumn morning for a mini road trip from Berlin this past weekend. We rented a car and jumped on the Autobahn (sorry mom) for the Swiss Saxony countryside. Our first stop was a little detour to see the popular Rakotzbrücke also known as the “circle” or “devil’s bridge.” The 19th century work of art forms a perfect circle with beautiful reflections if the water is calm. After driving for several hours through rolling green countryside, we made it to the village of Bad Schandau which is situated right on the Elbe river in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. The region is famous for its towering sand stone formations that rise over the village. With sprawling trails up the steep cliffs, you can spend a weekend getting lost (quite literally, in our case) in the beautiful deep mountainous forests of the region. (Side note: don’t be silly like us, forget your flashlight and attempt the trails without a map.) After an afternoon of hiking we found the coziest German restaurant called Gasthof Sennerhütte to enjoy a traditional meal and hefeweizen. We stayed in a lovely home stay called Rock Hostel in the perfect location right on the river surrounded by the picturesque village. Sunday morning we woke up and hiked to the stunning Bastei Bridge above the town, nestled between the salt formation cliffs where a castle once stood. We then headed toward the Czech Border to the town of Dresden, driving along the Elbe river that was lined with massive mansions and river boats. The city was once known as The Jewel Box because of its Baroque and Rococo influenced center. We were just a week too early for the Christmas markets but enjoyed a cup of Glühwein as we toured to the top of the Dresden Frauenkirche for panoramic views of the river and town. Ninety percent of the city was destroyed in WWII, but much of the city center was rebuilt to resemble it’s original stature. We can’t wait to make our way back to Dresden over the holidays.