Jolien and I now know each other for almost 2 years. For our first vacation together in 2013 we went to the Czech Republic. To be more precisely, Bohemian Switzerland. We also went to the capitol of Czech Republic, Prague but that is a story where we will write about later.
Bohemian Switzerland is located in the north of the Czech Republic. It is the youngest National Park in the Czech Republic and is roughly 80 km2. It also borders the German part of the park which is called Saxon Switzerland.
It was the beginning of December and the weather that week was excellent. A bit cold, no rain and even some periods of sun. We found a really nice apartment on AirBnB in Jonsdorf (Germany) and off we went. We both love the outdoors and we decided that we wanted to hike for a couple of days. After arriving in the park we first went to the visitor’s center in Krásná Lípa. I always advise people to go to the visitor’s center first because they can advise you on all the best routes for hiking in the area. And even more important, they can also inform you about the condition of the tracks and what the weather is going to be like the next couple of days.
Here are the trails that we walked during our stay in Bohemian Switzerland:
Not really a trail but a must see when you are in the area. Panská Skalá is a basalt rock formation which consists of thousands of polygonal basalt pillars. The pillars are probably formed millions of years ago during the tertiair by volcanic eruptions. During our stay, there were not many tourist. But I can imagine that during the summer holiday the parking lots will be filled with busses and cars. Make sure you climb to the top of the formation because there is a great view of the surrounding mountains.
Jetríchovíce & Mariina Skálá
We woke up very early that morning because we wanted to see the sunrise from the top of Mariini Skala. This is a really nice lookout point with small (open) hut which we saw the day before. As soon as we looked out the window that morning we saw that it was really misty. Sadly the mist did not disappear when we approached Jetrichovice by car. We looked at each other and decided that we still wanted to climb up. We turned on our flashlights and started walking up slowly. The route was well marked but with all the rocks and hardly no light we still needed to be careful. As soon as we reached Mariini Skala the mist still did not disappear and we totally missed the sunrise.
Where we sad? No, off course not. The mist had one big advantage… Hoarfrost settled down on the vegetation around us and from that point on we walked through a winter wonder land. The route we walked was a loop of 9 kilometer and it followed a route passing several lookout huts. The trail was not really difficult. It mainly consists of gravel roads but the climbs to the lookout huts can be challenging. It is also a nice route to walk with children. Do you want to walk longer trails…? That is possible, you can easily extend this trail.
Also nice to see is Falkensteyn ruins. Turn right and follow the gravel road as soon as you leave Jetrichovice. You will first pass the old Sanatorium of Jetrichovice (Maybe a nice place for urban explorers?). Falkensteyn is an old ruin but only accessible by a narrow crack in the rocks. Watch out because the crack is tricky and goes up very steep. Furthermore you will have to look for the entrance.
Kamenice River – Divoká Souteska
A steep climb down on narrow path leads you to the 35 kilometer long Kamenice River. Over centuries the river carved its way through the soft sandstones rock leaving a beautiful gorge behind. The Kamenice empties itself into the Labe (Elbe) river in Hrensko. If you want to walk the entire river you will have to do this in summer. There are a few dams in the river where you will have to transfer on to a boot. Due to the fact that we were there in the winter period the boats where not accessible. We could only walk a few miles. My guess is that this place is also really touristic in the summer.
Pravcická Brána & Falcon’s Nest
Pravcická Brána is the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe. Right next to the arch is the Falcon’s Nest where you can get the necessary refreshments. To get there you need to walk up a gravel road which turns into a narrow trail following the cliffs. We did not go into the falcon’s nest because it was closed but the route up was really beautiful. Extra special was the fact that we were the only ones on the mountain. And we had a beautiful sunset over the valley as an added bonus. The trip up was a small one of only 2K (one-way).
The Děčínský Sněžník (High Snow Mountain) is the highest peak in Bohemian Switzerland. It lies just west of Děčín at 722.8 meters above sea level. On top of the peak stands an awesome observation tower and Inn. The route up the mountain is rocky and follows and crosses a small river. When we were there the river was mainly dry and the remaining water was frozen. Also hoarfrost settled down leaving us with a sight to never forget. Our trip was only 8K up and down the mountain. So not really difficult and perfect to go up with kids.