Bohemian Switzerland Travel Guide
Let’s face it, when you think of the Czech Republic, you instantly think of gorgeous Prague with its charming architecture and narrow cobblestone streets, but there’s so much more to this country than its capital. If you’re the adventurous type who wants to see and experience more of the world, escape the hustle and bustle and the hordes of tourists, then check out our Bohemian Switzerland Travel Guide and head towards this enchanting natural setting outside of Prague.
Two hours north of the city, you’ll find The Bohemian Switzerland National Park, also known as Czech Switzerland, an absolute hidden gem which used to be an old retreat for many artists and traders in the 19th century. Actually, the name of the park was proposed by two Swiss artists who visited the area during that period. Bohemian Switzerland lies in the northern region of Czech Republic, close to the border with Germany. This green haven is the youngest national park in the Czech Republic, and has some dramatic scenery of ancient mountains and canyon carvings that tower above the forested topography.
Day trips from Prague are available almost on a daily basis where travelers can enjoy breathtaking views of forests, rocks, and valleys as well as other natural formations. We chose to go on an excursion with Northern Hikes, and for good reason. Their tours are extremely well organized, their guides very experienced, and they offer an all inclusive experience, from special gear, clothing, lunch and snacks, and they even offer hotel pick-up, so you don’t need to worry about a thing; all you have to do is basically show up on time!
Some Bohemian Switzerland highlights:
The Pravcicka Gate monument
Also known as Pravcicka Brana, this natural arch formation is the largest in Europe and serves as a symbol of the region. This spot was used as the backdrop for the movie Narnia, and offers nature lovers an amazing experience due to its magical formations. The arch spreads across 26.5 meters and stands 16 meters above the ground, with the highest peak being 21 meters on average. The entrance of Pravcicka gate leads up to a monument with awe-inspiring views over the fascinating tree canopies below.
The Gorges of Kamenice
This is a deep and narrow valley that is carved from sandstone millions of years ago when a sea that was covering the area receded. Hiking down the winding gorge provides hikers with an opportunity to enjoy seeing lichen and moss-coated banks that are hung over grey rocks enveloped with greenery. Most parts of this site can be accessed on foot safely except for two sections which require a canoe to access through Edmund Gorge, which was also provided by our tour organizers. Trailing down the Gorge of Kamenice gives visitors an exhilarating time to reconnect with nature. The stillness of the fuzzy rocky surfaces forming the river banks is one of the most fulfilling natural experiences.
This trail stretches from Mezni Louka climbing up to the Pravcicka sandstone gate. The trail offers a breathtaking experience to hikers who get a close glimpse of the sandstone rock formations as they move along. The trail is about 6 km long. Hiking up the trail brings visitors to a cliff with a perfect view of the arch from above and the surrounding features of the Czech’s countryside that borders Germany, roughly a mile away.
While climbing up this trail, hikers can easily get tired… Enter Falcon’s Nest – with its 19th century chateaux turned restaurant, the perfect place for a pit-stop and some refreshments.
This is an epic mountain bridge situated in the German region of the park, also called Saxon Switzerland and probably it’s major highlight. From here, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view over the mountain and Elbe River along with outstanding rock formations and tree canopies lying below. The bridge links up to a castle dating back to the 11th century and referred to as Neurathen.
Elbe Sandstones Mountain
At the top, visitors can enjoy incredible views of Elbe River and Canyon, especially from the Belveder, the oldest viewing point in Bohemian Switzerland. One of those magical spots that’s perfect to catch a sunset.
Already planning your next trip to the Czech Republic? Make sure you leave a spot open for this wonderland! It’s without a doubt the place to go for all nature lovers, adventurers, bikers, climbers, and hikers from all over the world.
Photos courtesy of Northern Hikes