Rakotzbrücke, or the Devil’s Bridge, is an iconic arched bridge located in the picturesque Kromlau Park in eastern Germany. The circular bridge attracts many visitors, in part due to its recent Instagram fame, and is an easy day trip from Berlin. We visited the stunning RakotzbrUcke as part of a Germany road trip and loved exploring the park and the mythical bridge. For all of you planning to visit Rakotzbrücke, we wanted to share our guide on how to visit Rakotzbrücke including how to get to Rakotzbrücke from Berlin and where to take the best photos of Rakotzbrücke.
Rakotzbrucke has been closed since June 2018 but recent Instagram photos (July 2021) show the bridge fully restored and free from any contruction or maintenance equipment. Let us know in the comments if you have visited recently and if the bridge is open again!
What is Rakotzbrücke?
Rakotzbrücke is a man-made bridge that was built over a lake in Kromalu Park. The arched bridge is designed to create a perfect circle when it reflects in the still waters below. It’s also known as the Devil’s Bridge due to the belief that the magical circle must be the hands of the devil.
Rakotzbrücke was relatively unknown until recently but is now instantly recognizable having becoming Instagram famous after some stunning images were shared online.
The bridge itself is adorned with spiked rocks at either end which gives it an otherworldly feel and the architecture and leafy surroundings simply add to the devilish look!
There are dozens of so-called Devil’s Bridges located around Europe, each one with a local myth or folktale associated with it. Most of the devil’s bridges are stone or masonry arched bridges and became known as devil bridges due to their mythical qualities and tales of interactions with the Devil.
Although medieval, many were attributed to the Roman era at a time when even the Roman roads were considered the devil’s work due to the perception that Roman technology and design were beyond human skill.
Rakotzbrücke is located in Kromlau Park, a landscaped forest park in Saxony, Germany which is close to the border with Poland. The park is around a 2hour drive from the center of Berlin and just over 90minutes from Schoenefeld airport. Although there is not much else of note to see in Kromlau Park, the Devil’s Bridge of Rakotzbrücke and the surrounding area is worth the drive from Berlin.
The parkland is both sprawling and beautiful, covering over 200 acres, and is known for its azalea and rhododendron flowers. We spent a few hours enjoying the park and relaxing before continuing on to the UNESCO World Heritage Muskau Park nearby.
When to visit Rakotzbrücke
If you want to capture the bridge with a perfect circular reflection in the waters below it’s important to visit Rakotzbrücke at the best time of the year as an absence of water or a frozen lake will spoil the myth!
The best time to visit Rakotzbrücke is in the spring after the snow melts or ideally in the Autumn (August/September) when the fall foliage around the lake is really breathtaking.
When we visited in May the weather had been quite warm in Germany for a number of weeks so the water level on the lake was quite low. Despite the low water level, we were able to tiptoe through the muddy lakeside to get some great photos!
Where to take the best photos of Rakotzbrücke
The best angle to shoot the bridge is from the first viewpoint as you approach Rakotzbrücke from the car park. There is a small viewpoint with a bench and, just straight ahead of this, it’s possible to jump down to the side of the lake. From here, you can get close to the water and capture some reflection shots of the bridge.
The lake surrounding the bridge is not very big and you can walk around it in under 10 minutes to explore other angles. We did a few walkarounds but kept coming back to the first viewpoint!
Visting Rakotzbrücke photo tip: the bridge top posing photo that first appeared of Rakotzbrücke is not possible any more as climbing is not allowed ton the bridge. This is partly due to safety as the bridge is relatively narrow with no protection on the sides and also to preserve the bridge. There is scaffolding on either side which prevents visitors entering. However, it is still possible to capture beautiful photos of the bridge and to get great people shots on the water’s edge.
How to get to Rakotzbrücke
Visting Rakotzbrücke tip: There are a number of ways to get to Rakotzbrucke and the easiest starting point is from Berlin.
Car: This is the easiest and most flexible way to visit the bridge. We rented a car from Berlin Schoenfeld airport and the drive took around 90 minutes. A car also allows you to explore the surrounding area, including Muskau Park and the beautiful town of Görlitz. The car park is located just off the main road if you follow Google Maps. Parking is pay and display and costs around 1 euro per hour.
Train: Take the train from Berlin to the town of Cottbus (around 1:15minutes) and connect to another train to the town of Weibwasser (around 30minutes) – check train times here
From Weibwasser there are three options:
- On Monday through Friday, take Bus 257 to Kromlau, Gablenz, and walk 1km to the bridge – check out the timetable here
- In peak season it’s sometimes possible to catch a steam or diesel train (known as the Waldeisen Bahn) to Kromlau – check the timetable here. Taxis aren’t readily available so you may have to walk the 2km to Waldeisen train station.
- It’s also possible to hike to Rakotzbrucke from Weibwasser – it’s a 45minute easy hike but make sure to have the location of the bridge saved as it’s easy to get lost depending on your sense of direction!
If you prefer not to rush we’d recommend staying overnight in the area and heading back to Berlin the next day.
Other places to visit near Rakotzbrücke
If you do drive to Rakotzbrücke we highly recommend taking a few more hours to visit some sights in the area.
The nearby Muskau Park sits on the border of Germany and Poland and is also a stop on the steam train. It’s a stunning landscaped park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site split between the two countries. The gardens and castle are like something out of a fairytale and we spent a few hours exploring the gardens and enjoying some Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and pastries) in the café attached to the castle.
A little further south is the charming town of Görlitz which was also the filming location of filming Wes Andersons movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
A quirky adventure/amusement park, Kulturinsel Einsiedel, is also a little further south and a great stop for kids and adults.