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Top Reasons To Visit Bohemian Switzerland National Park

Mariina Skala Bohemian National Park Czech Republic

Hummingbirds hover above the glistening mystical streams; green, lush moss wallpapers the magnificent sandstone rocks; the sun beams down over the silent pine forest. This description is that of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park Czech Republic (České Švýcarsko), a fairytale landscape full of deep valleys, soaring sandstone towers and some spectacular vistas.

The Czech Republic is home to four national parks and the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, or Czech Switzerland National Park is the youngest of them all. Mostly unknown to visitors of the Czech Republic, this magical and unique national park may not be as famous as others in Europe such as the nearby Saxon Switzerland National Park, but its maze of intertwined sandstone valleys, bridges and naturally formed gates make the Bohemian Switzerland National Park a hidden gem and one that has plenty going for it…

1. Pravčická brána

Follow the popular route of Gabriel’s Trail and after 6km you’ll reach the icon of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park; Pravčická brána, a natural formed sandstone gate. As the largest arch in Europe, this magnificent beauty one of the most striking natural monuments in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

Pravčická brána Bohemian National Park Czech Republic
Think you’ve seen it before? That is because it was featured in the Hollywood movie The Chronicles of Narnia! Although unfortunately, you are no longer able to walk across the gate, so the actors/actresses were pasted in using a green screen in the filming studio.

This is also the location where the famous fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen wrote part of “The Snow Queen”

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2. Kamenice River Boat Trip

While the Bohemian Switzerland National Park is abundant in fascinating towering rock formations, the park is also home to an idyllic and mystical canyon, where you’ll find Edmunds Gorge and Divoká Gorge (meaning Wild Gorge). The gleaming and musty teal Kamenice River runs through this shaded canyon with 40-metre cliff walls either side. Here you can board wooden boats manned by ferrymen with a bargepole and travel through two gorges on an eccentric trip through this magical landscape.

Kamenice River Boat Trip Bohemian Switzerland National Park Czech Republic
Don’t forget to pull the rope and activate the waterfall, which gushes out between the rock formations into the twinkling gorge below!

3. Jetřichovice

This historical town is the gateway to numerous hiking trails and sandstone towers that rock climbing enthusiasts dream about. It is also one of the best places to stay in the BohemianSwitzerlandd National Park.

But before you head off for your adrenaline dose, make sure you spend a little time just wandering through this picturesque town, home to numerous traditional style homes that have become an attraction in the town themselves.

Jetrichovice © Zdenda.D

4. Mariina Skála (Mariina vyhlídka)

Probably one of the National Park’s best-kept secrets is the lookout tower located on the top of a sandstone rock close to the town of Jetřichovice. Mariina Skala (Mary’s Rock) is one of the best viewpoints in Bohemian National Park and it is the perfect spot to head to for sunset. But this view doesn’t come without pain; it’s 600+ stairs to the top will test your leg muscles and count for your cardio workout for the day. But trust me – the view is 100% worth it!

Mariina Skala Bohemian National Park Czech Republic

5. Šaunštejn Castle

Another site located not far from Jetřichovice is  Šaunštejn Castle, a relatively unknown lookout point and home to the ruins of a 14th Century stone castle. With views out over the National Park’s forests and valleys, this picturesque spot is the ideal location if you’re looking to propose or watch a romantic sunset. While not as strenuous of a hike as Mariina Skala, you’ll still be required to climb some pretty steep ladders to enjoy the view!

View from Šaunštejn Castle Bohemian Switzerland National Park

It is best to adventure into the Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Parks with a knowledgeable and English-speaking tour guide; I spent the weekend exploring Bohemian Switzerland National Park with the helpful Vitek, from Northern Hikes Tours on their popular Bohemian Switzerland Tour (00 420 730 962 221, info@northernhikes.com).

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Jaynie Anderson Wall
    April 22, 2016 at 8:28 PM

    Amazing! So much to offer in Switzerland. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Jiri Duzar
      April 30, 2016 at 5:35 AM

      It’s Bohemian Switzerland, one of 4 national parks in the Czech Republic 🙂

  • Reply
    Adina Mera
    April 22, 2016 at 11:57 PM

    This place looks so gorgeous. Great photography, you captured it beautifully! I would love to visit Switzerland. It’s on my top 10. 🙂 Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      Jiri Duzar
      April 30, 2016 at 5:37 AM

      However this place is in the Czech Republic. The name Bohemian Switzerland was inspired by the Swiss painters, who were reminded of their homeland by the geography of northern Bohemia (Czech Republic).

  • Reply
    Jen Sotolongo
    April 23, 2016 at 3:49 AM

    Is this park near the German border near Bad Shandau? The scenery looks very similar and it’s a popular rock climbing area as well. We spent a short amount of time in Czech Republic last year and I wish we had had more time. This park looks lovely and like a nice escape to nature.

  • Reply
    Christabel
    April 23, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    Definitely a hidden gem – the pictures are absolutely stunning, I can only imagine how breathtaking it is in person!

  • Reply
    Anshula
    April 24, 2016 at 12:50 AM

    How have I never heard of this place? It was in Chronicles of Narnia and the Snow Queen was written there? Wow! I’ll definitely be checking it. It truly sounds and looks (your pictures are gorgeous) like a fairytale!

  • Reply
    Amanda Williams
    April 24, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    I’ve never heard of this place either. How is that possible? I will pin this!

  • Reply
    Brooke Louisa Nolan
    May 4, 2016 at 9:28 PM

    I’ve literally just got back from here a couple of days ago. I tried to find the Mariina Skála but ended up at the wrong viewing point. Now I’ve seen your photos I’m even more gutted, looks stunning! I still had a great time though and did it self guided from Prague http://www.giveintoadventure.com/escape-the-city-prague/

  • Reply
    Me-anne Lao
    May 11, 2017 at 8:04 PM

    Hello. How can i reach both gorge? If we are to start from meznai louka or jetrichovice?

    • Reply
      Samantha Hussey
      May 12, 2017 at 12:01 PM

      The best way is to walk. I’m sure there is a local bus but I have no idea where you would find the bus schedule. From Meznai Louka its roughly a 5km walk, from Jetrichovice a bit further. If you are staying in a hotel nearby they will be able to offer you better advice. We had private transport for the whole trip which enabled us to move around the area with ease.

    • Reply
      Aleš Kubica
      May 12, 2017 at 4:37 PM

      There is tourist bus schedule for Bohemian Switzerland: http://www.cottage.cz/jizdni-rad-turisticky-autobus-434
      From Jetrichovice to Pravcicka gate is around 13 km. Use red tourist trail throught Mezni Louka (6 km to Pravcicka gate). Guide Ales

      • Reply
        Samantha Hussey
        May 12, 2017 at 4:57 PM

        Thanks Ales for replying!

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