When should you visit a historic site? Historic sites are locations where pieces of political, cultural, or social history have been preserved. Often due to their cultural value. Historic sites can be temples, whole cities, pyramids, castles, churches or any other kind of buildings.
If you are not visiting during low season (June-September): Get up very early and start exploring at 6 AM or even earlier. Then you’ll have about 2-3 hours to explore the temples without crowds. Easiest way to get around: Rent an e-bike. Rest during midday and get back around 4 PM to experience the gorgeous sunset. Plan 2-3 days in total.
November - February: The best weather with sunshine, not too hot and dry. Also the most popular months, with highest rates. December and January are the absolute peak tourist months.
March - May: Still popular but already considered shoulder season. Very hot (40°C). Rain can already occur in May.
June - September: Rainy season. Lowest prices, less tourists. Rain in Bagan is not as bad as in coastal regions. Travel experts say, September is not a bad month to explore the temples, while experiencing a great lush scenery.
Sweet Spot Month:
A great month is beginning to mid-OCTOBER. You can usually already fly with the balloons. The scenery is lush and green. Less tourists than in peak season. A little rain is still possible but not really bad.
Over and over again people recommended autumn for thinner crowds, cooler temps, and a more peaceful experience. The tress in Pennsylvanian are stunning in the fall.
When not to go - July. From everyone I have spoken to this is the most heavily visited month of the year.
However, the Battle of Gettysburg took place July 1, 2 & 3, 1863. If being there on those dates of remembrance is important to you, there is an annual reenactment of the battle. Here is information to purchase tickets to that event. http://www.gettysburgreenactment...
JUNE - SEPTEMBER (monsoon season): During and immediately after monsoons is the best time to visit: Lush green vegetation and exciting streams and waterfalls forming randomly amongst the caves. The climate is also pleasant. Beginning of June might still be hot and humid. To be on the safe side visit mid-June or later.
OCTOBER - FEBRUARY (winter season): Also a great time to visit the caves. Mild climate, cooler and dry.
MARCH - MAY: Too hot and humid. A single cave tour takes about 3-4 hours and temperatures up to 43 °C (110°F) would lead to an unpleasant experience.
TOURIST CROWDS: The caves are popular and often crowded. Especially during peak season from December until March. Try to be there early right before 9 AM to beat the crowds. It usually gets more crowded after 11 AM.
OPENING HOURS: 9 AM - 5:30 PM (sunset). Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays.
The temple is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but the last ticket gets already sold at 5 p.m. To avoid the crowds and the heat as well visit the caves early in the morning or late afternoon. Dambulla gets busy with pilgrims, locals, and tourists throughout the year, especially at weekends. It's a steep walk to the top with hundreds of concrete steps and without any shelter. The walk takes at least 10 minutes but it depends on your fitness level. It's a strenuous climb up but you get rewarded with a spectacular view from the top.
Tip for the Entrance: When you enter the cave area, you have to remove your shoes and walk barefoot. The stones are hot most of the day. It's advisable having a pair of socks to protect the feet from burning heat and sharp rocks.
Showers can occur throughout the year. During May decreasing rainfall while June to September are the driest months. Therefore, it's often overcast from June to August. It's a tropical climate with humidity around 80 % most of the time. Most precipitation from October until December. January to April it's frequently sunny. Dambulla is a year-round destination; usually the most pleasant weather conditions between January and September with showers or even downpours just for an hour.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for LKA at location (7.88,80.65) from 1991-2015
Located in Saxon Switzerland National Park are the famous Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Here you visit breathtaking sights like the Bastei Bridge, hike stunning trails and even climb gorgeous rock formations. The region got already developed for tourism at the end of the 18th century. Many visitors come here simply to visit the main attraction the Bastei Bridge, and the remained ruins of the Neurathen Castle. We spent more than a week here, because there is so much more to explore.
We wrote this guide for everyone: Sightseeing only visitors, as well as hikers and climbers. We even provide the best accommodation tips as well as personal tips for cruise tours from Dresden. Read our complete guide below, including weather details and tips for the Bastei Bridge or jump directly to 9 Must-Do Sights and Hikes in Saxon Switzerland National Park with many insider tips!
Avoiding the Crowds in Saxon Switzerland
It is the most popular place in Saxon Switzerland, with around 1.5 million visitors each year. To enjoy this beautiful place; the Bastei without crowds, you should visit this fascinating sight in spring, autumn or winter either very early in the morning or late evening. We visited this magic sandstone bridge several times in May. We enjoyed most our visit at 6.30 on a Sunday morning. We shared this incredible impressive Bastei Bridge and the surroundings with very few people. Avoid midday when the bridge and the castle ruin are overrun.
Opening Hours Bastei and Fortress Königstein
- The reproduction of the Neurathen Castle is accessible 24/7. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the entrance fee of 2 € has to be paid at a cash desk and afterwards, you are asked to put the payment into a metal box. This is a fabulous opportunity to enjoy this magical place at sunrise or sunset with a few people and photographers only. If you like to watch the sunset or sunrise in the summertime, it is best to stay next to the Bastei in the Berghotel Bastei.
- The Fortress Königstein is utterly overrun nearly the entire day because of the many tour buses. The crowds start to thin out after 3 pm and the last hour is the quietest of the day. Open from 9 am – closes at 6 pm from April to October and 5 pm from November to March. Last admission one hour before closure. The Historical Christmas Market, every weekend in the Advent, is a highlight not to be missed in December. These weekends are pretty popular. Book your hotel in advance.
Tips for Photographers
To get the perfect shot of the Bastei Bridge come here early morning. To experience the sunrise at the Bastei is a must but pretty early during summer. We had chosen the Berghotel Bastei next to the bridge and enjoyed our breakfast afterwards.
Weather and Hiking Conditions
Usually, best-hiking conditions for Saxon Switzerland and the Bohemian Swiss are from April to October. Trails are slippery when wet, especially the iron stairs and stone steps. Leave the mountains during thunderstorms, don't walk on the iron stairs. Winter is awesome as well when the hills are covered in snow, but the weather is more unpredictable. During summer it's pleasant warm around 20°C at daytime, but it can get hot while hiking without any shadow in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Expect minus degrees at day and night on top of the mountains during winter. It is several degrees warmer at the foot of the mountains. Rain (snow in winter) occurs throughout the year, occasionally heavy thunderstorms during summer. We experienced a thunderstorm and hail at the end of May.
Best Accommodations Nearby
- The Berghotel Bastei in the heart of the National Park and next to the famous Bastei Bridge is the best choice if you are limited in time. You couldn't wish for a better location. The balconies have spectacular views. The breakfast buffet offers a huge variety, and the panorama restaurant is perfect for bringing the day to a close with an excellent dinner. Lots of hikes can be done from here as well.
- Bad Schandau (Hotel List) A small town ideally located in the middle of the National Park close to all attractions and hiking trails the Saxonian Switzerland has to offer. Bookmark the link, check out the many hotels and get the best prices for Bad Schandau.
- We like the little village Schmilka with an exceptional organic bakery the "Schmicksche Mühle" and the organic boutique brewery most. They also offer delicious food which you can enjoy in the beer garden of the old school "Zur alten Schule". Moreover belongs the Hotel Zur Mühle Boutique & Spa to the bakery and brewery.
Directly behind the hotel starts the "Painters Way" a gorgeous hike up to the most famous rocks. The bus for hikers departs 200 meters away. Schmilka is located next to the German-Czech border and one of our favourite hikes to the "Prebischtor". More about the different hiking trails in the description.
Getting to the Bastei from Dresden (Tips & Tours)
For those who are limited in time, you can either take a train from Dresden to Rathen or book a guided tour. The train (S-Bahn) from Dresden Central Station to Rathen operates at least twice each hour. From here you can take a ferry boat to cross the river Elbe. You can't miss the ferry; signs are leading to the jetty. After the short ferry ride, it’s a steep trail up along many steps through the forest to the Bastei Bridge. However, consider that there is much more to explore than this picturesque and famous bridge. To discover this excellent hiking region, you can book a guided trip from Dresden to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains as well: From Dresden: Hike Through Saxon Switzerland incl. Transfers. This is a wonderful hiking tour with extremely friendly and very knowledgeable guides.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is usually swarmed with tourists. Sometimes it even becomes difficult to move around. To beat the crowds you need to:
- Avoid weekends, go mid-week.
- Arrive early, if possible between 6 A.M. and 7 A.M.: It's a perfect time to enjoy the magic of this temple in solitude. If you can't make it that early try to be there at least between 7 - 8 A.M when it‘s still relatively quiet compared to later in the day. TIP: Stay at the closest hotel (walking distance) and get there easily first thing in the morning. See our guest house/hotel recommendation below (Where to Stay).
- You could also arrive late, about 1 hour before it closes. Then you may have the last minutes almost for yourself.
Opening Hours (Entrance Fee 400 Yen)
Open year-round from 6:00 .a.m.
Closes at 6:00 p.m. (18:00) or 6:30 p.m. (18:30), depending on the season. More details (and night opening hours) here: Kiyomizudera Opening Hours
Spring and Fall Illumination
During fall season the temple and the gorgeious autumn colors are illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00 (6 p.m. - 9 p.m.). This happens also in the spring. Illumination periods are:
- Spring: mid-March until mid-April
- Autumn: mid-November to early December
It's crowded during this time but definitely worth it. Tip: If you'd like to dodge the heavy crowds during the illumination do not get there early around or before 6 p.m. Instead arrive between 8:30 p.m and 9 p.m. They don't close at 9 p.m. It's usually open until 10 p.m. That means you still have an hour or longer with less crowds.
Nature's seasonal highlights at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto are cherry blossoms in spring and the changing leaf color in autumn. The temple features about 1500 cherry blossoms and 1000 colorful trees with changing leaves.
The temple is one of Kyoto's top cherry blossom spots, with almost 1500 mountain cherry and somei yoshino trees. The blooming season is very short. It only takes about two weeks from the opening of the first blossoms until they are falling from the trees. On average the first blossoms in Kyoto open end of March. They reach full bloom around April 5. However, the start of the blooming season can vary by one week (plus/minus) each year. Generally, your best bet is to visit early April, if you'd like to spot them. A great map and table with dates for Kyoto and other cities: JNTO Cherry Blossoms Timetable Tip: The blossoms are illuminated at night, creating a beautiful romantic scenery. If you don't mind the crowds, visit during the spring illumination.
The leaf changing colors are almost equally beautiful and Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a truly spectacular autumn color spot. Compared to cherry blossoms, the gorgeous leaf colors last much longer: The foliage season in Kyoto lasts from mid-October until mid-December, with a peak in mid-November. Your best bet to spot the beautiful fall foliage is between mid-November and late November. However, any time within the two months is usually worth it. Tip: Like for the cherry blossoms in spring, the fall illumination of the autumn foliage creates a beautiful atmosphere.