Bohemian Switzerland National Park is the youngest of the four national parks in the Czech Republic. Some call it Bohemian Swiss or even Czech Switzerland, but whatever the name, get ready for real natural beauty and adventure. Of all 4 Czech national parks, Bohemian Switzerland is the easiest to reach from Prague. It only takes you 2 hours of a comfortable highway drive or 1.5 hours by train. A perfect candidate for 1-day trips from the Czech capital. Bohemian Switzerland is situated in the north-western part of the Czech Republic and borders with the equally beautiful, but rather more crowded Saxon Switzerland national park in Germany.
Why visit Bohemian Switzerland national park?
Wild nature and diverse landscape
Can you stay longer than 1 day? Great. Definitely worth a few hiking tours. What makes the place unique? The diversity of the landscape within a relatively small area of roughly 80 km². A landscape of impressive, high towering sandstone formations, combined with deep ravines hidden in the shade of the woods spread out along the biggest sandstone canyon in Europe, carved by the monumental Elbe River. The wild and various nature of the region has been a magnet for many romantic painters, writers and composers who used to come here to find the inspiration.
Come for the hiking (and other activities)
Hikers love Bohemian Switzerland. The large plateaus at the top of the canyon overlook the curving river and make extremely photo-friendly viewpoints, especially at sunrise or sunset. The dark green valleys are full of reliably marked forest paths, hike-able in the summer and winter. The trails in Tisa area weave through the sand-rock cities.
The crumbled sand makes them white and soft and pleasant to walk. The trails in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains area run in the shade of lush vegetation along fast little creeks. In the summer you can sit on a boulder and soothe sore feet in the fresh water. In the winter, the various streams create beautiful frozen waterfalls.
The region offers trails of all difficulty levels. Bohemian Switzerland is a great family hiking destination, but you can just as well plan many tours for the adventurer in you, the lone traveler or the romantic. Sandstone climbing is a local passion and it attracts climbers from all over the world. For climbing rules, check this out.
The Elbe Cycle Route passes through Bohemian Switzerland. It runs along the Elbe River from its origin in the Giant Mountains up to the German border at Hrensko and further on to the North Sea. Within the Czech Republic, it is marked as the route CT 2 and is partially identical with the EuroVelo 7.
Bohemian Switzerland in the winter
Most tourists come to Bohemian Switzerland from April to September, which makes the winter season in the national park a great opportunity to see the highlights without the crowds. The white of the snow makes the sandstone structures stand out and the sharp winter light inspires Instagrammers and photographers from the region as well as from far away.
Despite the wilderness certificate, the winters in Bohemian Switzerland do not get too hard. It is enough to make it snow and let the streams in the forest freeze, but it is definitely milder than in the Ore Mountains a few kilometers to the west. Boots and water/windproof clothing will be great, but for a 1-day hike, you will manage with good shoes and jeans just as well. Do not forget the gloves though, as you will want to keep your fingers warm enough to work the camera at the viewpoints.
The opening hours at the various tourist venues may be shorter in the winter, so be sure to check at one of the information centers in Decin or Krasna Lipa.