The Rakotzbrücke (Rakotz Bridge / Devil’s Bridge) is one of the most famous landscape attractions in East Germany. Landscape Photographers love the location for its famous reflections, which create a perfect circle with the bridge. Due to this, you can explore thousands of different pictures of the bridge on Facebook and Instagram.

I decided to visit the famous Rakotzbrücke during a short trip to the Spree Forest region, which is close to the polish border. The Rhododendron Park Kromlau (where you can find the Rakotz Bridge) is a 200 acres landscaped park next to Gablenz in Saxony. The park was build in the 19th century and has no entry fee. You can reach the park within a five minutes walking distance from a parking area next to the main road. It’s an easy walk.

Landscape Photography: Don’t expect too much!

Most of the pictures of the Rakotzbrücke are highly edited in Photoshop. They arouse nearly unattainable expectations of the park, which could negatively influence your travel experience.

The reason for that is simple: the park has many small ponds and lakes, which do not look like a spectacular landscape photography location in the first place. The Rakotzbrücke itself is quite small and the water of the lakes looks brown and dirty.

To give you an visual example: Take a look at my first shot of the bridge (at the evening of my arrival). Are you Impressed? I bet you are not, but let me explain to you how to get an amazing shot of the scene!

The historical Rakotzbrücke during the evening hours

Not really spectacular in the first place: The historical Rakotzbrücke

Don’t give up on The Rakotzbrücke: Timing is everything!

After my first (frustrating) shot, I decided to give the park another chance. Sunrise, sunbeams, maybe some fog in the morning; this combination sounded much better for a great landscape photo then the dreary colors of the first evening. Due to that, I got up at four at the next morning and drove back to the park.

And to get up early was worth it! After the sun got up, several sunbeams made their way through the trees and enlightened the beautiful trees and rocks. The leaves started to glow yellow and light green colors and gave me my first “wow” moment at the Rakotzbrücke. Additionally, fog started to rise up and created a mystique atmosphere over the water level; a perfect scene.

This beautiful landscape photography location taught me once again, that you need enough time to get a great shot (I stood nearly two and a half hours at this location). Tip: Take your time and visit this wonderful location in East Germany more than once to picture your own photographic memory. Think about the daytime and walk around the whole lake to find your personal photo spot. Good luck!

Update 2020: The Rakotzbrücke is currently under reconstruction. Due to that, I don’t recommend to visit the place for photography reasons (until they finished the work).

Sunrise behind the Rakotz Bridge

Landscape Photography in East Germany – Sunrise behind the Rakotz Bridge

Landscape Photography Award: What an Achievement!

Such a great honor! National Geographic picked my landscape shot of the Rakotzbrücke for their “A Spark of Genius” Assignment.

It’s a great feeling to see my own picture being published on the National Geographic homepage. All the hard work and practice finally pays off.

Thanks to all my supporters!

Awarded by National Geographic: Lukas Petereit

Awarded by National Geographic: Lukas Petereit