Planning to hike in Bohemian Switzerland? This is all you need to know to make the most of it
Located only a couple of hours from Prague and known as one of the most enchanting national parks in Europe, the Bohemian Switzerland National Park in Czech Republic is the perfect hiking experience for those looking forward to feeling nature at its purest form.
From vast green valleys and captivating pine forests, to giant rock towers and breathtaking views. This park is a delight for any outdoor enthusiast.
How to get to Bohemian Switzerland
First of all, even though one might be a little bit confused by the name, Bohemian (and Saxon) Switzerland are not located close at all to the Helvetian Alps. Some stories state that the name was set on the 18th century by two Swiss painters who visited this part of Europe and start comparing it to Switzerland’s landscapes. More than two hundred years later, the name was catchy and became official.
Second, reaching the Bohemian Switzerland National Park is not very difficult at all. From Prague or other major cities in the Czech Republic travelers have to get by train or bus to the small city of Děčín. Once in Děčín (15km away from the park), there are several bus options that would leave you at the two main hubs of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park: Hřensko or Jetřichovice.
NOTE: For bus and train schedules, I use the website CheckmyBus, Google Maps or the official page of the railway company. Unfortunately, Google Maps is not very helpful for getting information how to get here.
Of course, another easier and more comfortable way to get to the park would be using your own vehicle. The national park is located only 130 km away from Prague and 55 km from the German city of Dresden.
When to Visit
Each season brings a completely different and exceptional sight of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
Spring and Autumn are also considered by many the best months to explore the park. However, expect to see tourism masses each single day and a very overcrowded park on weekends and holidays.
Since there is also no entrance fees or ticketing inside, travelers can simply get to Hřensko or Jetřichovice and spend the whole day wandering around the several hiking routes the park offers.
How to Visit
Free camping inside the Bohemian Switzerland National Park is not allowed. However, there are several options in the nearby towns for all budgets. There are also a couple of hotels right at Hřensko. However, expect to pay relatively high prices if you are staying here or difficulty in finding availability.
NOTE: Hotel Labe and Hotel Praha are the two most beautiful places to stay in Hřensko. Their castle-like buildings right in the heart of Bohemian Switzerland will complete a magical experience.
Hiking inside Bohemian Switzerland
Finding the perfect hiking route inside the park should not be a problem for any traveler. With over 79 km² of forests, gorges and mountains, travelers can spend several days getting lost inside the national park. Many short and long routes are also very well signalized. Resting areas with posters are all over the place and here, you can get not only basic information about the route itself, but also distances to the next lodge and general maps of the area.
However, from all the routes you can take when hiking in Bohemian Switzerland, the short trail to Pravčice Gate is the most popular one. Pravčice Gate is a famous symbol of Bohemian Switzerland and one of the prettiest natural formations of Europe. This extraordinary giant rock arch is the largest sandstone arch in Europe and has been an inspiration for artists, poets and even movie directors.
Read more: A hiking guide in Saxon Switzerland National Park
Photographers looking for different views inside the Bohemian Switzerland National Park should visit the Edmund and Wild Gorges. These canyons, formed millions of years ago when the Kamenica river cut through the hard stone, offer a unique view of nature’s power and the particular beauty Bohemian Switzerland has.
Entering the gorges costs additionally. However, for only 70 CZK (around 2.50 EUR), the price is nothing compared to the experience itself. Especially since you can only enter the gorge in a small raft. Rafts sail for about twenty minutes crossing through two impressive giant 300-meter boulders covered with fungi, mosses, and ferns. Once you get off, another trail will take you to the Divoká Gorge, one of the most beautiful and photogenic gorges of Europe.
Read more: Packing for a short weekend getaway
Another popular trip is climbing the Elbe Sandstones. Travelers from all over the world come here to hike and climb these giants and get the best views. Here, you will not only see the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, but also its neighbor in Germany, the Saxon Switzerland National Park. Free climbing is allowed in certain areas and those who still want to give it a try but have zero experience, climbing tours operate regularly all year round.
Via Ferraty Sasko is a climbing route for adventure lovers that will take you to the top of one of the tallest boulders in the national park. Tours including protecting gear start at 700 CZK per person.
Read more: These are Europe’s most beautiful mountain regions
Travelers from all ages come to the Bohemian Switzerland National Park to get closer to nature and this is exactly what they get. Incredible views, mystical gorges taken out of fairy tales and adventure.
And even though, most people come for just a day trip, Bohemian Switzerland is the perfect stop during a road trip in Central Europe or a multiple day hiking trip.
Read more: Boofen, the wild way of cave camping in Saxon Switzerland
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