It’s laborious to know what to anticipate from a spot known as the Bohemian Switzerland while you first hear it. However see images of this unbelievable place within the Czech Republic and also you’ll be dying to go like I used to be. That’s as a result of mountaineering in Bohemian Switzerland, a nationwide park north of Prague, is an absolute dream. The park is without doubt one of the nation’s pure highlights and positively among the many greatest locations to go to within the Czech Republic.
What makes the Bohemian Switzerland Nationwide Park so particular is the rock formations and gorges that outline its panorama. Not often flat and with a lot to see, it was the spotlight of my time mountaineering in Czech Republic. Better of all, I made a decision to hike their independently. Earlier than going I’d assumed, like many worldwide guests do, that you simply wanted a tour to correctly see the park. Whereas it’s definitely a extra handy method to go to, a tour is way from mandatory. So, if you wish to go and go to by yourself, right here’s how I did it.
Attending to Bohemian Switzerland Nationwide Park
Since that is all about visiting Bohemian Switzerland independently, let’s begin by getting there. The nationwide park is discovered up the German border nearly due north of Prague. Now, attending to Bohemian Switzerland from Prague isn’t too laborious with a automotive, because it’s a 1 hour 45 minute drive. You additionally may theoretically take the practice there, with it taking 2.5 hours, though the schedule is a bit limiting.
It’s why many individuals do a day tour from Prague to Bohemian Switzerland in the event that they don’t have a automotive. However there may be one other manner. Keep close to the nationwide park and also you’ll have much more time to spend there exploring. The city of Hrensko acts as a gateway to the park at its western finish. It’s from Hrensko which you can attain the entire above on foot, in addition to go to the Vacationer Centre to pay the 75 czk park entry price.
Nevertheless, I really stayed a bit of additional within the small metropolis of Decin. Though there are locations to remain in Hrensko, I couldn’t discover many once I appeared. The town of Decin nonetheless has fairly much more, together with the reasonably priced and secluded Lodge U Kaple the place I stayed. Better of all, Decin is far simpler to entry by practice from Prague or Karlovy Fluctuate.
To get from Decin to Hrensko, there’s native bus 434 to Krásná Lípa that continues on into the nationwide park. You will get the bus from the practice station, with the journey to Hrensko taking 20 minutes. Buses are seasonal although and most frequent throughout summer time and on weekends. I had some bother getting the bus again to Decin, which meant a number of ready.
Bohemian Switzerland Nationwide Park
Earlier than you go to, you’ll in all probability need to be taught a bit of extra in regards to the nationwide park itself. First, let’s sort out the title, as a result of it’s understandably complicated. The title Bohemian Switzerland was given to the area by a pair of Swiss artists within the 18th century. Visiting this place within the northern Bohemia area, they have been reminded of their homeland, therefore the title.
It’s the identical story for Saxon Switzerland throughout the border in Germany. That’s as a result of collectively each “Switzerlands” cowl the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and share the traits that make these parks so particular. Due to that similarity and proximity, many individuals go to each parks within the one journey. Nevertheless, seeing each in a single day will go away nearly no time for mountaineering, if that’s what you’re after.
Bohemian Switzerland was made a protected space in 1972 and later a nationwide park in 2000. This makes it the latest of the 4 Czech nationwide parks.
Coming from Hrensko, the primary place you may discover is Kamenice Gorge. That is certainly one of two adjoining gorges, the opposite being Edmund’s Wild Gorge additional alongside. The trail main into Kamenice Gorge is sort of apparent simply on the japanese fringe of the city. Following the Kamenice river, the path is extremely mild and offers you time to understand the colourful nature throughout you.
Strolling alongside the dust path listening to the river trickling helps you ease in to what might be fairly a giant day of mountaineering. But it surely additionally begins to indicate you why the Bohemian Switzerland is so particular. The additional you go alongside the trail, the larger the partitions of the gorge grow to be. You’ll begin to see some fascinating rock formations and overhang right here, supplying you with a way of why this nationwide park is so adored.
Edmund’s Wild Gorge
Ultimately, you’ll attain a number of man-made rapids on the high of which lies a ticket sales space. That is the dock for the small boats that ferry guests by to Edmund’s Gorge. It might sound unusual to take a ship experience this early on, but it surely’s the one method to get by. The boat experience by lasts about 20 minutes and prices 80 czk. It’s fairly a peaceful expertise, even when a waterfall is triggered proper by you.
On the finish of the boat experience you attain one of many park’s most iconic sights. It’s a single log cabin secluded inside the gorge and makes for one hell of a photograph. You may see it above and I simply love that spot. Then it’s again to strolling once more, following the pretty flat river by Edmund’s Wild Gorge. Nevertheless you’ll quickly attain a bridge which you’ll be able to take to depart the gorges behind and head as much as Mezni Louka. Honest warning although, it’s a fairly steep climb up, however price it to hold on along with your Bohemian Switzerland mountaineering journey.
I ought to point out that you simply do have another choice while you attain the bridge. For those who keep on with the river you’ll quickly attain Divoka Gorge, which has its personal boat experience as properly. Apparently, you may as well stroll as much as Mezni Louka from the far finish of Divoka Gorge. I simply wished to save lots of a bit of cash and see the remainder of the park.
Path to Saunstejn Citadel
After reaching the village of Mezni Louka, it’s a great spot for a break. There’s one or two locations to get meals or beer there, however you might need to wait till later. Both manner, it’ll quickly be time to proceed your journey mountaineering in Bohemian Switzerland. While you’re prepared set out east alongside the highway seeking Saunstejn Citadel. Ten minutes stroll out of the village you’ll discover an intersection with a gravel highway off to your left.
This highway will start to steer you into the forest and is definitely marked on Google Maps. What’s not proven is which you can department off fairly quickly onto a path to the appropriate persevering with east. This was the trail I took, bringing me to the southern strategy of Šaunštejn Citadel. The path might be marked by indicators with yellow and white horizontal traces.
It’s necessary to grasp that the entire Saunstejn space is totally off the small vacationer map you’re given and I wasn’t Google Maps. These days I’d use a correct mountaineering app like OsmAnd, which really reveals the paths on it. In any other case, I’m afraid you’ll simply must wing it like I did. Anyway, taking this route you’ll stroll about 2km from the principle highway.
Quickly you’ll attain the rocky base of what’s generally known as Saunstejn Citadel. Whereas it would simply appear to be a big rocky outcropping right now, there as soon as was certainly a fort right here. The fort was constructed on the rocks right here again within the 14th century to guard an area commerce route. For the fort they used the rocks as a basis, constructing its construction with wooden and carving out rooms. Solely the carvings and some foundations now stay.
The enjoyable a part of Saunstejn Citadel although is the expertise of climbing to the highest of it. To succeed in the highest it is advisable scramble up a number of ladders, typically getting by very tight squeezes as you do. It’s an entire different problem than mountaineering, serving to the expertise stick out in your thoughts.
Finally although, you need to attain the highest for its views. Up there you’ll be capable to gaze out over the area’s forest, plus the beginnings of fields and meadows close by. Definitely worth the climb, belief me.
The Higher Saunstejn Path
Having skilled Šaunštejn Citadel and its views, it’s time to take the opposite path again to Mezni Louka. I don’t know if that is really the principle path or not but it surely’s positively the extra fascinating one. Leaving north from Saunstejn you’re instantly handled to a cliff-side path with improbable views. After a whilst you’re additionally capable of look again to Saunstejn and see its rocky mastiff poking by the timber.
Truthfully, this may occasionally properly have been my favorite Czech mountaineering spot I skilled throughout my journey. The paths have been by no means straight and boring; you had stellar views; and there was loads of ups and downs alongside the way in which. It was throughout this a part of the day the place I first actually felt like I used to be doing a correct mountaineering day.
The meandering path northwards will deliver you to a path operating east which you’ll need to take. However first it is advisable discover the Malá Pravčická Brána or Little Pravcicka Archway. I say this as a result of I utterly missed it, being off the map as I discussed. Images of the arch look cool, so I’m mildly dissatisfied by solely figuring out about it after the very fact.
Anyway, take the brand new path east and shortly sufficient you’ll attain a serious intersection and begin to see signposts. Whereas there have been some easy paths to take, I opted for the dust monitor up over the ridge line. It not solely had fewer folks on it, however you’re up among the many timber and the wind because it loudly rushes by. One other perk is that the principle route brings you again to the 25861 highway, whereas this fashion curves round to deliver you into Mezni Louka from the north.
Visiting the Pravcicka Arch
Once more again in Mezni Louka it’s time to set out for out final vacation spot, which simply so occurs to be the park’s most iconic. The Pravčická Arch is well the principle attraction right here and as such is the place the park is most busy. You’ll seemingly discover this as quickly as you step on Gabriela’s Path that leads north west out of Mezni Louka.
The paths listed below are fairly mild and higher maintained than over close to Saunstejn. That’s clearly because of the elevated site visitors they see. Following the Lynx Path brings you to the principle a part of Gabriela’s Path that’s up by the German border. It was solely upon reaching the path that I started to see the tour teams and huge households. Granted it was the Could Day public vacation which may clarify why it was so busy.
The path to Pravčická Arch is 5km lengthy however actually was among the best mountaineering in Bohemian Switzerland I encountered. Attending to the bus cease and even Hrensko is significantly simpler, so don’t fear an excessive amount of in the event you arrive drained. The primary actual clue that you simply’ve arrived is the sight of the historic Falcon’s Nest lodge. This grand outdated constructing dates from 1881 and is sort of a glance all by itself. It’s right here that you simply’ll must pay the doorway price of 95 CZK to proceed up the hillside to see the arch.
Previous the Falcon’s Nest is the place you’ll get to correctly admire the Pravčická brána. One look and also you’ll consider that it’s the most important pure sandstone arch in Europe. Whereas the arch has been off limits for some time now resulting from erosion, you may sit underneath it or climb to a close-by statement deck. Up on the slender terrace you get an excellent view of this icon, to not point out your entire area. I particularly favored all of the rock formations seen within the valley on the far facet of the ridge.
Now all that’s left to do is get all the way down to the highway and get the bus again.
Issues to Carry for Your Hike
Everytime you’re mountaineering, it’s all the time greatest to consider what you’re bringing with you. Regardless that this nationwide park isn’t particularly distant, packing the appropriate stuff will make your day extra pleasing. This implies the standard necessities like water, sunscreen and correct footwear.
Having money with you is smart as properly, particularly as there’s meals out there in Mezni Louka and Hrensko. That being mentioned, I like to recommend bringing snacks like muesli bars or path combine to maintain you going. I additionally counsel bringing some type of digital camera as you’ll need reminders of your time in Bohemian Switzerland Nationwide Park mountaineering.
Lastly, having a mountaineering app like OsmAnd actually is useful when navigating much less widespread routes. That was the app my pal and I utilized in Kosovo, and it proved actually helpful.
Would you wish to go mountaineering in Bohemian Switzerland while you go to the Czech Republic subsequent? Have you ever visited the Saxon Switzerland Nationwide Park throughout the border? Please share your ideas within the feedback under.
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Now, in the event you’re on the lookout for a information to the Czech Republic, then you need to actually take a look at this Lonely Planet information. I’ve typically travelled with Lonely Planet guides and so they can actually make life simpler.
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