Just a 2hours drive from Prague, Bohemian Switzerland offers a perfect refuge for everyone. In the last few years, it gets more crowded during the peak season (summer), as more and more people discover its forgotten beauty. But the fall season, the winter and the spring are guaranteed to provide you with all the solitude you need.
There is something that distinguishes Bohemian Switzerland from the other national parks. Spreading out along the biggest sandstone canyon in Europe, it features great natural diversity, concentrated to a rather small area of less than 80km2. The ups and downs seem majestic but are easily reachable (if you happen to know the right way), and the views of the post-volcanic landscape with the table-mountains and the curves of the monumental Elbe River provide a dramatic atmosphere despite being actually quite Eden-like.
RULES TO FOLLOW
There aren’t any dangerous animals, no tornados, and if you get lost, just choose one of the forest paths, keep walking it and there is a high probability that it will lead you to a neat pub with the greatest beer on earth. So you get your wilderness.
There are a few rules to follow. No open fire. The forest covers 95% of the national park and one smoldering cigarette butt on a hot day could cause quite a damage. So please, be careful.
If you came for the sandstone climbing, please choose the officially designated paths. First ascents are only possible with the authorities’ permission. No magnesium on most sites and no climbing on a wet surface, ok? We want the sand rocks to last and you to survive.
Other than that, it is pretty much just a common sense and respectful behavior. You can pick the blueberries, wild raspberries, and blackberries. If you are sure to recognize the edible from the poisonous, feel free to go for the mushrooms too, as they make for a great supper, scrambled with some onion and eggs, seasoned with a pinch of salt and cumin.
WHERE TO SLEEP, EAT AND GO
Or plan your trip to end near Krasna Lipa, relax in the Self-serving Meadow Bar in Kamenna Hurka and pitch your tent on the neighboring meadow to own the stars for just around 300 CZK (12 €) per night.
Speaking of food and good times. Bohemian Switzerland recently experienced a boom of coffee enthusiasts enjoying their favorite black drink at the many viewpoints. So don’t forget to pack a thermos or simply join us for the coffee ritual.
To be able to enjoy the views, we always recommend packing one more layer of clothing in your backpack. The wind in your hair on the upper plateaus of the canyon will make you feel happy, but it might get chilly, especially after you hiked up the steep forest paths or climbed the iron ladders to reach some of the vistas.
And where to go? The highlights are well described here. You may buy a local map in one of the tourist info centers and plan your own trek. Another great idea is to ride a bike via the Elbe Cycle Route, the nicest part leads from Decin to Dresden. If you do that, try the local specialty in the form of a river ferry to get to the other side of the river and make short trips like the one to Belveder on the Czech side or the one to Schrammsteine.
In Schmilka, just behind the Czech/German border, the ferry will take you straight to Café Richter where you can enjoy a tasty, homemade organic ice cream and coffee or a beer from the local brewery.
JOIN US FOR A TOUR
If you don’t want to plan or if you feel like meeting some new friends, join us for a day tour from Prague. They are crafted in order to include the highlights while minimizing the travel to/from hassle, so you spend maximum time in nature.
We usually hike in small groups of 2-8 friendly, open minded and nature loving fellows. And since hiking is experimentally proven to connect people, at least we have made that experience many times, chances are, you will one day be telling your grandchildren in shivering voice “Well, the two of us met a long, long time ago in the wilderness…”