Rakotzbrücke, also known as the Devil’s bridge is a famous bridge in Eastern Germany, located in the Kromlau Park in Saxony. In recent years it has become even more popular via Social Media and other Travel Bloggers.
A common question I get about this place is if I think it’s worth the visit or not. And I would say it depends on what you like and enjoy.
For me, I think it was worth to see and visit, and here you can read more about the Rakotzbrücke itself, how to get there + more tips, photos, and useful information before your visit.
Short Facts about the Devil’s Bridge
- Location: Kromlauer Park, Gablenz, Saxony, Germany
- Built in: 1860
- Commissioned by: Friedrich Herrmann, the knight of Kromlau
- Length: 35 m
- Common names: Rakotzbrücke, Rakotz Bridge, Devil’s Bridge, & Kromlau Bridge
- Legend: Satan helped Friedrich build the bridge, therefore the name; Devil’s Bridge
This place would fit right into a storybook where trolls are living under the bridge. Rakotzbrücke is beautifully nestled inside the forest of Kromlau Park. It’s quite old, but it’s not ancient. The Devil’s bridge was built in 1860, which makes it about 150 years old.
The most interesting part though is the story behind the bridge and how Friedrich the knight built the bridge with help of Satan himself. The design is quite unique although there are other Devil’s bridges in Europe as well.
The design and legend have made Rakotzbrücke famous, not only in Germany but all over the world. Especially these days, thanks to Social Media. Each year, this place is visited by thousands of photographers and Instagrammers who want to photograph the bridge and the beautiful reflection from Rakotzee.
What is a Devil’s Bridge?
A Devil’s bridge is a stone or masonry arch-bridge that has a devil-folklore tied to its construction. Mostly because these bridges are so spectacular and hard to build that people, in general, said that they could only have been built with help from Satan.
In some way, it totally makes sense. Most of these bridges were built between the year 1000-1600 during the medieval era. And they are so technologically advanced that there was no other option than to reward the devil for such unbelievable design.
The history behind the Devil’s Bridge in Park Kromlau
In 1860, a local knight named Friedrich Herrmann Rötschke commissioned the bridge. Not much is known about this knight, except that he was a local authority. It wasn’t built for functionality, but rather beautiful aesthetics.
How it was built
Despite the said help from the Devil, this bridge is manmade by hand. It was constructed using boulders and basalt, where the large boulders were built directly into the arch. The Basalt was brought here from other areas.
The rock spires are also manmade in order to make it appear as rock outcroppings.
The legend behind the Rakotzbrücke Devil’s Bridge
Similar to other Devil’s Bridge legends it states that it was built by help from Satan. In the case of Rakotzbrücke, it is said that Friedrich had a deadline to complete the project, but was sufficient of time. Due to the deadline, he called the Devil for help.
The Devil agreed to help as long as Friedrich agreed that the first live being to cross the bridge was going to be delivered to Satan. Friedrich is said to have agreed on the simple, yet gruesome term. The devil helped complete the bridge, but now the story takes an interesting turn.
The story goes on and states that the builders tried to trick the devil after the completion of the bridge. The first living being who crossed the bridge was a rooster or goat, and not a human being like the Devil expected. This caused an outrage and the devil is said to have slaughtered the poor animal before leaving.
Best time to visit
No matter the time of the year – Rakotzbrücke is beautiful and worth visiting. But perhaps the best time to visit is when the Rhododendron is in full bloom. It makes the whole Kromlau Park come alive and the colors are lovely.
However, I’ve seen photos of this place from all 4 seasons of the year, and they’re all beautiful. You can also come here when the autumn is starting and the leaves are changing colors before they fall to the ground.
How to get to Rakotzbrücke
It’s quite easy to get here if you’re going by car, but it’s also possible to get to Rakotzbrücke by train or bus. Use GPS or Google Maps to find your way if you’re going by car.
If you choose Public transport, you can take a train to Weißwasser (Oberlausitz), and then take bus 257 to Kromlau, Gablenz. From there you have to walk about 1 kilometer to the bridge. There are signs leading the way to the bridge, but it might be a good idea to also put the exact location of Rakotzbrücke on your phone.
Also, if you come here by public transport, prepare to wait for buses. The villages around here are small, and the bus schedule is quite limited. Taxis are not always available either, so you might have to wait a while unless you come here with a guided tour.
Parking near Rakotzbrücke
There’s a small parking area next to Kromlau Park that cost about 2.50 euro (GPS coordinates of the parking lot: 51.537472, 14.635447). The parking is paid for automatically in the machine, so make sure to bring coins.
After you’ve parked the car, cross the road and follow the signs and you’ll be at the Devil’s Bridge within a few minutes.
Visiting Kromlau Park
In addition to the bridge, you might also want to go for a stroll in the other areas of Kromlau Park. It’s famous for its many Rhododendrons and Azaleas. The forest itself is also beautiful, especially during autumn when the leaves are changing colors.
The entrance is free of charge.
The famous Instagram shot of the Devil’s Bridge
So, let’s talk about the famous Instagram photos from Rakotzbrücke. Several big influencers have come here and posted photos of themselves jumping on the bridge. This can only be done by two scenarios, either they’ve photoshopped themselves inside the picture, which is totally legal.
Or, they have illegally walked up on the bridge and actually jumped. Personally, I would say that neither is ok since the first scenario with photoshop gives false hopes. It also encourages others who don’t understand it’s photoshopped and thus sneaking up to the bridge and take a photo, breaking the law.
Of course, every individual has to be responsible for themselves, and this is not me pointing any fingers. I simply wish to inform people about the real experience, so that you don’t expect to come here and walk on the bridge.
The Rakotzbrücke is protected and might be damaged if people are walking on top of it due to several reasons. Please keep this in mind, so that more people visiting afterward can enjoy the same beautiful view and the bridge itself.
What to expect
Depending on what time of the year you go to Rakotzbrücke and the recent weather, this place can look different. It will most likely still be beautiful and worth a visit, but keep that in mind and don’t come here with too high expectations.
The water level can be lower, which means that you won’t see as an impressive reflection. There can also be an ongoing construction, so you’re not allowed to walk inside. Then you can only see the Devil’s bridge from a distance unless you sneak inside.
Flights, Hotels, & Rental Cars
Flights to Germany
The closest cities to fly to is either Dresden, Berlin or Leipzig. From there it’s easy to rent a car and drive to the bridge.
Hotels near Rakotzbrücke
We stayed in a town called Spremberg, and it was just a 30-minute drive to the bridge. We came here to get some nice photos and wanted to experience Rakotzbrücke without the crowds, so we went here at sunrise.
Car Rental in Germany
The easiest way to get to Rakotzbrücke is by car. So, unless you have a car or live nearby, my best suggestion is to rent a car since there are some other nice places nearby as well. It will give you more freedom and non-dependant on public transport and their scheduling.
Map of Rakotzbrücke
Down below you have a map of the Devil’s bridge. I’ve marked the exact location of the bridge so it’s easy for you to find it!
Other attractions near Rakotzbrücke
- Kulturinsel Einsiedel
- Saxon Switzerland National Park