While winter days are upon us, we have some ideas of how to enjoy Bohemian Switzerland during the colder months. Chilly temperatures and small windows of daylight do not stop us from making the most of the incredible landscape the country has to offer – and it shouldn’t stop you. While there are so many outdoor winter activities to choose from, we have to say, a snowy hike in Bohemian Saxon-Switzerland National Park is an ideal option, and a perfect day-trip from Prague at that. Yes, you can have castles and magical Bohemian forests and enjoy it, too!
SCENIC WALKING IN TISA ROCK TOWN
What is likely one of our favorite spots to visit in the winter is Tisa, a local favorite located in the far-west end of the park. It’s remoteness of it means it is seldom visited by tourists. The highlight of the visit is the Tisa wall – a giant wall of sandstone that looks like a levee holding up the mountain that tower over the small village. We will make our way to the top and look down into the valley below, climbing over and under the formations for an up-close look at the formations that make this region famous.
There is something magical about this spot in winter- the way the snow blankets the tall pines and sandstone rocks, along with deafening silence of being deep in a wintery wonderland, you might be in disbelief of where you have found yourself. Virtually silent outside the crunch of our shoes compacting the snowy floor, and the occasional snow-clump dropping from the trees. You also might think, ‘wow this place is like Narnia’, you wouldn’t be wrong, and it’s exactly how you hoped it would be. The movie was actually filmed in several locations throughout the National Park, and Tisa in particular for the crucial scene with Lucy and the centaur, Thomas. It’s no coincidence – Bohemian Switzerland is Narnia and Narnia is Bohemian Switzerland.
LOCAL FOOD SCENE
Perhaps the most unexpected highlight of a winter hike in Bohemian Switzerland is how good that well-earned beer tastes when you sit down in a cozy Czech lodge. Not sure beer has ever tasted so good, and refreshing. Of course, the beer is made locally by proper Bohemians. It’s name, Klíč after one of the most difficult peaks to reach in the area. (It might even give you the confidence to climb it, try and find out 😉 It doesn’t end there either, hearty dishes of local game offer a chance to experience traditional local cuisine – and what’s exploring if you cannot do a little through your stomachs? Try trout straight from the Kamenice river, a local favorite. Try beef dishes cooked with meat from local farmers who manage their cattle farms in meadows of the National Park. If meat is not your cup of tea, the vegan/vegetarian dishes are just as delightful and seasonal depending on what is available. Rest assured, you cannot go wrong, Bohemian cuisine is made to keep you a bit warmer in the winter.
The word Switzerland in the park’s title was included for it’s resemblance to the majestic snowy mountains. Two Swiss painters Adrian Zingg and Anton Graff, studying at the nearby Dresden Academy of Art, bestowed the region with the title of Bohemian Saxon-Switzerland as an endearing comparison between the two. The remainder of their homeland served as inspiration for many of their paintings as they traveled throughout the region, however their greatest legacy is the park’s namesake …. On the German-Saxon side of the park. Here, lies the remarkable “Bastei”, a bridge built solely to enjoy the view of the valley below.
Here you get a chance to see the sandstone canyons and river gorge from all angles, as you get to walk on top of the giants with epic views of the landscapes below and beyond. Bastei is also a photographer’s playground for its exceptional photogenic nature. During our winter excursions from Prague we usually save this for our last stop to catch the enchanting scenery as the sun is setting during golden hour. The rocks illuminate gold from the sun, even in the peak of winter, giving a warm glow over the winter scenery. But don’t let us convince you, let the photos do the talking.