The Guide to the Devil’s Bridge (Rakotzbrücke) in Germany


We are bringing back Melissa Wilson to share another of her amazing travel locations.  you will remember Melissa from our recent article on the Leutasch Gorge.  Today, Melissa is sharing her knowledge about the Devil’s Bridge (Ratotzbruke) in Kromlauer Park in Germany.  Melissa visited this awesome location in late August of 2017.

The Devil’s Bridge

Rakotzbrücke, or Devil’s Bridge, is a picturesque bridge in Germany’s Kromlau.  It was commissioned in 1860 by a knight in the local town.  The bridge was built out of local stone and designed so that the reflection would perform a perfect circle.

The bridge gained its name because of the saying the bridge was so dangerous, only the devil would have built it.  While I would love to walk across it, I don’t think I would be so confidant in a horse and carriage going across.  As one would expect, you are no longer permitted to cross the bridge, even on foot, in an effort to preserve it.

How to Get There

The Devil’s Bridge is located in Kromlauer Park, which is almost 6 hours north of Munich.  Melissa said it was easily located with GPS assistance, and well worth the overnight visit.  They stayed at a nearby Air B’n’B, which was a great experience.  They stayed with a very kind family that rents a little apartment on their property.  While the hosts spoke very little English, they were very nice and served plenty of beer and snacks.

Melissa says there is an option to take a train, but it is a bit more complicated.  She recommends renting a car if you are going to make the trip.  We have always found renting a car is a favorite experience of traveling anyways as you get to experience so much more of the country!

If you must take a train, take it to Weißwasser (via Cottbus if coming from Berlin, or you can access it from Dresden). From there, take Bus 257 to Kromlau, Gablenz, and walk from there about 1km to the Devil’s Bridge.  Take caution if you go this route because the bus does not run daily (mostly M-F, but check the schedule)and taxis likely won’t be present in these small village towns.  You may get stuck doing a fair bit of walking if you aren’t lucky.

Once you get to Kromlauer Park, it is a very easy walk to the Devil’s Bridge, with lots of signs and an easy path from the parking lot through the entrance to the bridge.

Planning

There isn’t too much planning you need to do before heading to the Devil’s Bridge (hopefully, we get most of that done for you!).  Melissa recommends mapping out the site and your route beforehand so you have a good idea of where you will be going.

She said they did a lot of research and planning and decided renting a car was the best option.  Piggyback off her time and effort, and just make the arrangements to rent a car beforehand.  If you aren’t familiar with driving in Germany, Melissa says it is worth the time to study the major road symbols and traffic laws before you get there.

Finally, don’t forget to plan in the travel trim you will need and make overnight accommodations if needed.

Should you Expect Crowds?

At least in late August, Devil’s Bridge was surprisingly not crowded.  This is amazing for such an iconic location, but it helps that it is not really convenient to reach for the average tourist without a car.  Nevertheless, as I see more and more images of the bridge on Instagram, it is only a matter of time before it is crawling with people, so get there soon!

What it’s Actually Like to Visit the Devil’s Bridge

In Melissa’s own words:

My experience at (the Devil’s Bridge) was surreal-in a good way-and almost magical. I feel so lucky to live in a time where a little internet research showed me more options. I felt like (the Devil’s Bridge) couldn’t be real because (it is) just this virtually untouched hidden gem that is not well traversed.

Other Tips for Visiting the Devil’s Bridge

  • Fall or Autumn is the best time to visit the Devil’s Bridge as you get a more scenic view with the bridge surrounded by colorful foliage.
  • You may get skunked if you visit in the middle of summer, as there could be no water in the lake, or in the winter, where the lake could be frozen over.
  • Melissa recommends giving yourself a full day to travel and see the Bridge.
  • Melissa recommends taking a visit across the border into Poland if you have extra time as there is a nice park just across the border that is fun to visit.
  • With any extra time you have, Melissa says to just enjoy the German countryside as it is a magical place to drive through.
  • Having a small backpack is great at Devil’s Bridge to carry some snacks and camera gear to record this iconic location.   You can see our recommended camera backpacks that we love, or check out Nomatik for a great travel backpack.
  • If you don’t want to bring a bag or carry food, there are plenty of places nearby to grab food, and a little café at the edge of the park that serves coffee and ice cream.
  • For the most comfort, Melissa recommends wearing some hiking clothes and good shoes. Hiking shoes, or the Tevas Melissa wore, would be best, but you get buy with just tennis shoes.
  • The Bridge is free to see, but the parking lot does have a small fee.
  • While the Devil’s Bridge is the highlight of the Park, Melissa says there is much more there that is definitely worth seeing.

Warning

It has been reported that starting in June 2018, there was construction going on to maintain the Bridge.  The construction has left the area around the bridge closed and left the area under the bridge without water.

Be sure to check for updates on the construction before planning a trip to see the Bridge.  If anyone has an update on the progress, please let us know.

What’s with all the “Devil’s Bridges” in Europe?

Any well-seasoned Europe traveler will know that are dozens of bridges throughout Europe that bear the moniker of “Devil’s Bridge.”

The legend behind each bridge is different, but most of the so-named bridges are built of stone and feature striking arches.  Most are medieval, but many trace their roots, perhaps in legend only, to Roman times, where the engineering was considered so skilled it must have been the work of the devil.

About Melissa Wilson

Melissa is a licensed veterinary technician, where she works in a busy practice and loves what she does. She describes herself as a voracious reader, avid hiker and has an obvious love of travel. She tries to experience at least one new place every year. She speaks conversational Spanish and is in the process to trying to learn German.

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