The Elbe River rises in the Krkonoše National Park flows through Bohemian Switzerland and continues through the entire territory of Germany up to the North Sea. Thanks to the persistent erosion of the river, a canyon was created here, that is 985 ft. deep. It is the most massive sandstone canyon in Europe.
The Elbe is a very busy waterway for boats, but also an excellent place for relaxation, sport, and entertainment for all of us. Trace it on foot, by bike, or with the boat and witness the unusual natural phenomena of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
Walking and hiking around the Elbe
Are you also one of the hikers who prefer to discover new sites on foot? Take one of the hiking trails around the river. For example, from the town of Děčín through which the Elbe flows, a path is marked with a yellow sign, leading through the mountain village of Maxičky to the Dolnožľabský stream. In the middle of the journey, you find the riverbanks of Elbe, accompanying you for the rest of your trip back to Děčín.
One of the most beautiful views in Bohemian Switzerland is from the stone terrace of Belvedér. You will face not only the depth of the Elbe canyon but also the rocks belonging to Germany – Kaiserkrone, and Zirkelstein.
For tourists who prefer to climb the peaks of the rocks, there is a route through the Růžový hřeben. Climb a rocky massive at the height of 1378 ft. and you find a landscaped platform where you can enjoy breathtaking views of and into the canyon.
Růžový hřeben is located close to Děčín and you can get there by following the red trail. If you feel like having a full day trip with more excursions to reach the most beautiful views, you can continue to the Belvedér and the Elbe lookout with the same trail. On the way there refresh yourself with great food and famous Czech beer in the Hotel Belveder’s restaurant.
Elbe Sandstone Mountains
Not only on the banks of the Elbe River, but hiking trails also lead you through the entire national park or go to neighboring Saxon Switzerland. Walk along the sidewalk around Ružová, leading you through the picturesque Czech village, Pastevní vrch to the fabulous Dolský Mill. Popular tourist destinations are the Tiské Skály, a maze made up of massive, oddly shaped sandstones.
Cycling trails around the Elbe
Bohemian Switzerland is a labyrinth of bike trails, suitable for recreational cyclists as well as for experienced individuals. If you haven’t arrived on your own bike, use the rental in Děčín.
Bike paths lead along both banks of the Elbe River. Following one of them will lead you to Pirna, Germany. The way is simple – walk along the shore, without climbing too much. If you don’t feel like returning after 17 miles, come back by train.
The trail Labská trasa – Krajinou pieskovcových skál will take you along both sides of the river. The easy trail starts in Děčín and leads around the villages of Horní žleb, Čertova Voda and Dolní žleb all the way to Hřensko, where you take a boat to the other bank. On the other side, the hike is more challenging, but the trip is more beautiful – follow forest path, around the windmill of Arnoltice, back to the Elbe canyon and to Děčín. And for those who prefer the extreme challenge and adventure, there is an exciting task: conquer Děčínsky Sněžník on a bike. The hill is 2372 ft. high, asphalt road. Do you dare to do so?
Bohemian Switzerland from Elbe River
Is there any better way how to enjoy a holiday by the river, than sailing it? Cruise boats set off from the port of Děčín. From there you can navigate further to Hřensko or continue to Bad Schandau in Germany. While cruising between Děčín and Hřensko, you will see witness Bohemian Switzerland in all its glory. You will see the majestic Elbe Sandstone Mountains, rocky straits together with dense forests.
Just hop on and enjoy the cruise with beautiful views. Of course, cruise ships offer excellent food and drinks. Do you prefer private trips with close contact with the river? Experience a romantic or adventurous cruise, as well as rent a small boat, pram or canoe that will bring you to your chosen destination while rowing together.
Tip: Boat ride is included in our day tour from Prague which shows you also Breathtaking Bastei bridge and Neurathen keep ruins.
Food and accommodation on the banks of Elbe River
In Bohemian Switzerland, you can choose from a wide range of accommodation options. For example, if you prefer a river view, we recommend the Hotel Labe, which is located right in the center of Hřensko. Another option in these beautiful locations are hotels in Děčín, such as Hotel Faust. Both facilities are located so that you have all the hiking and biking trails at your feet, plus you can use the rental boats, paddleboards, bicycles and scooters nearby.
For hikers who would rather sleep right in the countryside, there are guest houses, hotels and campsites right on the hiking trails. For example, Hotel Belveder in Labská stráň, directly above Elbe Canyon. If you want to camp or come with a caravan, visit the camp Děčín. You can also rent tents here, toilets, showers, cooking facilities, and laundry are available as well, even a playground for the smallest campsite inhabitants.
How to get there?
The way to the Elbe is not difficult at all. The most convenient way is by car. From Prague it takes approx. 1,5 hours to Děčín and 2 hours to Hřensko.
Both buses and trains come to places as Hřensko and Děčín. The easiest way is to take a bus or a train do Děčín and then a tourist bus number 434 to Hřensko.
When to visit the Elbe river?
Bohemian Switzerland has much to offer in every season. Of course, the Elbe River is most visited during the summer holidays. Due to the wide range of activities, you will find many families with children, tourists, hikers, and cyclists. However, this does not mean that you will not enjoy the trip. Cycling routes and hiking trails are wide enough for everyone.
Your trip will definitely be worth it, even if you visit these sites in another season. For example, the great visit is in May, with the Elbe Music Festival, which is traditionally held at the Smetanovo nábřeží. Have fun with great music of Czech and foreign artists.
In early spring, cruises can be complicated by high river levels, rising after the snow melts. However, hiking trails are available all year round. In winter you can admire the landscape, sleeping under the snow and frozen waterfalls.
In colder seasons you can enjoy more privacy in nature and discover the national park as many guests do not know it at all. And maybe come back here again in the summer, for example, to cruise on the Elbe.