Prague is a family friendly city. The historical centre is relatively small, everything is close by, overflowing with comfortable, entertaining services and interlaced with public transportation means. But after a few days in the hustle of the metropolitan life, the kids get restless. Stromovka or Letna park with their playgrounds won’t do anymore.
So be ready for that and plan ahead. Surprise your family with a 1-day trip away from Prague. Take them to one of the last European regions where there is still unspoiled nature.
Bohemian Switzerland is the youngest national park in the Czech Republic. It stretches along Europe’s biggest sandstone canyon, surrounding the Elbe river right at the Czech-German northern border. The region is considered one of the 500 most visit-worthy areas of persisting “wilderness” in Europe, yet it only takes you 2 hours to get there from Prague. No matter if you drive yourself or hop on the train or decide to enjoy the ride itself even and let someone proven and trustworthy like the Northern Hikes take care of you and your family for the day.
Why come here with the kids? Because you get to see and do a lot for little effort. Which is what most families with small children appreciate. The geographical circumstances of the region allow you to get to breathtaking views in a short time and with only a few kilometers of hiking. And you can pick spots, where hiking itself is fun even for the kids.
Take the Tisa sandstone labyrinth. Just a few steps up the hill from the parking lot and already you walk among high-rising rock walls. Many of them are shaped into fairy or animal figures, there is an elephant, an eagle, a crocodile, a whale and even Napoleon’s shoe! You walk the well-maintained trails of white sand, so warm from the sun in the spring and summer that you can walk it barefoot. Infants and toddlers will love to play with it, while the bigger kids, the explorers and adventure seekers will try to climb the smaller rocks, imitating the real climbers you meet during the hike. Oh, and don’t be afraid to pick the wild blueberries. They are edible and so, so sweet! And then, before you know it, you are up on the tableland and get an awesome overview of the dramatic landscape around you. Table mountains, canyons, forests and wild meadows.
The weather conditions in the region are very mild, nothing like in the big mountains, so no need to bring any extra outdoor equipment. And yet you may experience incredible meteorological wonders. The giant river Elbe likes to play a dramatic game of hide and seek with the sun and the wind, so you don’t even need much luck to see the valleys under the viewpoints filled with mysterious fog, framed by shreds of heavy and beautifully colored clouds in the sky, an occasional rainbow or a short thunderstorm in the spring time will make you feel alive once again. Come at sunrise or stay until sunset and feed your Facebook or Instagram with pictures that will gather likes and hearts like a harvester!
You see you can stay at a place like this all day and still not deplete all the fun it provides. But it would be a shame not to mention the many other charming places this region has to offer. Definitely visit the Pravcicka Gate. It is Europe’s biggest sandstone arch and voted as the 77th natural wonder of the entire World! A spectacularly fotogenic spot! If you can’t afford a long hike because of the children, then it is best you take the easiest way to it, the 2km red trail from the Hrensko village.
Your kids will love the dinghy ride through the Gorges of Kamenice river! You thought you can only experience an adventurous and mysterious boat ride with a little water splashing surprise at an amusement park, surrounded by screaming children and the smell of burnt frying oil? Then try this! You will have your own ferryman using a long wooden pole to navigate your boat between the moss covered walls of the narrow ravine. The placid, calming atmosphere of the place will make the kids go silent and clutch the rims of the barque tightly. And you will have 20 minutes of perfect, undisturbed peace! Just don’t fall asleep so you won’t miss the waterfall gushing down the ravine walls out of the blue.
Jetrichovice is another place offering many easy and well-kept trails to beautiful viewpoints. Mariina skala (Mary’s rock), named after the Princess Marie Kinsky, being the most famous of them. And then there is Dolsky mlyn, a ruin of an old mill down by the Kamenice river and a favorite place of famous filmmakers. So it is quite possible that a brave prince in his shiny armour or a beautiful princess sat on the very same stone you are having your piknic on at this little romantic bay.
What is most important during family holidays? Easy fun and good food! So make sure not to spoil the great day out with a wrong choice of a place to eat. In fact, it is probably safest to note the good places and make sure they have table for you at lunch time.
In Tisa, this would definitely be the REFUGIO. They have some kids friendly meals on the menu, a few toys to amuse your toddler during the wait and the tastiest drink of the region, the local craft beer Falkenstejn! And they are right across the parking lot under the sand-rock labyrinth.
While near Pravcicka Gate or the Gorges of Kamenice, it is worth the effort to go to Mezni Louka and eat at the restaurant U Forta. They cook from the best local products, have friendly and English speaking staff plus there is a nice playground with some natural monkey bars close by.
In case you want to enjoy all this fun and don’t have the time or the appetite for all the planning, then check out our tours in the region, even tailor made, with door to door Prague service and with á la carte meals and drinks included.
But no matter how you travel here, whether in a rented car, by train or with a guide in the Northern Hikes WIFI connected van, act fast, the season has just begun.
Did we convince you about the beauty of Bohemian Switzerland?