Although the name suggests otherwise, Bohemian Switzerland is a beautiful National Park in the northwest of the Czech Republic. Since 2000, the area has been declared a National Park, making Bohemian Switzerland – Ceske Svycarsko in Czech – the youngest national park in the Czech Republic. And where does that name come from? The fact that the first tourists who came from Switzerland labeled the park as an area that was just like Switzerland. During your trip through Bohemia in the Czech Republic, a visit to Bohemian Switzerland should not be missed. But what should you really see and do in the 79 square kilometer area? We share the best tips for the most beautiful sights and hikes in Bohemian Switzerland, Czech Republic.
Tiske steny Nature reserve
One of the best things to do in Bohemian Switzerland is hiking through one of the beautiful nature reserves. The choice is huge, because everywhere you look it is stunning. If you have to make a choice between the many hikes in Bohemian Switzerland, I definitely recommend a hike through the Tiske Steny nature reserve (Tiské Stěny in Czech, which literally means Tyssa Walls) in the far west of the area. Tiske Steny is located in the protected nature reserve Labské pískovce. The area is known as a climber’s paradise due to the richness of rock formations that rise to a height of 613 meters. But hikers can also enjoy the area fantastically.
Several hiking trails start in the village of Tisá through, along and over the imposing rock formations. You can easily park your car for 100 czk per day, near the small village church. From the parking lot – check location on Google Maps – you walk up the path until you arrive at a small building where you can buy your entrance tickets. The entrance fee for the Tisá rocks is 50 czk per person (September 2021).
At the entrance you will receive a map showing two hiking trails. You can choose between a short walk of about 45 minutes or a hike of about two hours. I advise you to choose – just like us – to walk both walks. During the short walk you mainly walk through gorges and you can enjoy some stunning views. While during the long walk you have to climb stairs, some more climbing and scrambling and the views are even more beautiful due to the high altitude.
Hiking to the stone gate Pravčická brána
One of the most beautiful walks in Bohemian Switzerland is without a doubt the walk to Pravčická brána. Pravčická brána is the largest natural gate in Europe and is so high that you have the best views of the area from here. The walk to the stone gate Pravčická brána is best started from the village of Hřensko. You cannot ignore the many parking spaces here. From the parking lot you have to walk a short distance along the road after which the real walk up starts.
At the start of the walk, a sign indicates that the walk will take about half an hour, but I can assure you that you are not going to make it. Although the walk is doable for almost everyone, I have to admit that I found some parts quite tough. The route goes up steeply in some places. But I was so glad we persevered. The first view of the Pravčická brána is amazing!
The walk to the Pravčická brána is free. However, if you also want to enjoy the beautiful views over the area, you have to pay an entrance fee. The entrance fee for Pravčická brána is 95 czk per person (September 2021). This equates to approximately €3.75. Once paid, you can opt for a number of short walks, all of which lead to the most beautiful viewpoints. These walks are really worth it.
If you have parked your car in Hřensko and still have enough energy left, you can extend your walk with a walk through the Edmund gorge (Edmundova Soutěska in Czech) alongside the Kamenice River. You can walk from Pravčická brána to the village of Mezni Louka and start the walk here. Or you can – like us – start the hike in Hřensko (on another day) and end in Mezni Louka.
After about half an hour of walking along the Kamenice River, you arrive at a point where you can only continue by boat. The ride with this boat takes about twenty minutes and costs about four euros per person. The boat trip goes right through the Edmund gorge and is breathtakingly beautiful. The last part to the village of Mezni Louka is fairly uphill, but is also doable for almost everyone. It is possible to take prams and dogs on the boat. The walk through the Edmund Gorge in Bohemian Switzerland is truly breathtakingly beautiful. You don’t just walk along the river, but also through tunnels, over bridges and along steep precipices.
Another must visit in Czech Republic: Cesky Krumlov.
The perfect place to stay in Bohemian Switzerland: Krásná Lípa
The total area of Bohemian Switzerland consists of an area of 79 square kilometers and so you will find several villages and smaller towns. One of the nicest villages in Bohemian Switzerland and therefore a perfect place to stay is Krasná Lípa. We ourselves stayed three nights in Aparthotel Lípa. This fantastic aparthotel is located on the town square of Krásná Lípa. You can stay here in super spacious and cozy apartments with one or two bedrooms. Each apartment has a spacious living room, a private, spacious kitchen, luxurious bathroom and a small balcony. The Aparthotel has its own restaurant where Czech dishes are served and where you can enjoy a great extensive breakfast buffet (including wine and/or champagne!).
Best things to do in Krasná Lípa
But not only because of a wonderful stay at Aparthotel Lípa, Krásná Lípa is a great destination in Bohemian Switzerland. It is also one of the nicest and most adorable villages in the region. Below you will find information about some nice places in the village to visit.
- Pivovar Falkenštejn: Krásná Lípa has its own brewery which, like Aparthotel Lípa, is located on the town square. On the terrace you can enjoy the tastiest beers and delicious dishes on the menu.
- St. Mary Magdalene’s Church: Right next to – or rather diagonally behind – Pivovar Falkenštejn is the village church, St. Mary Magdalena’s Church. The church is the most imposing structure around the town square. Definitely worth taking a look here!
- Kögler hike: From Krásná Lípa you can start with the 22 kilometer long educational hiking trail Kögler.
How to get to Bohemian Switzerland
As mentioned, Bohemian Switzerland is located in the northwest of the Czech Republic. The best place to fly to is Czech Republic’s capital Prague. It is best to compare the prices for airline tickets to Prague. I recommend renting a car in Prague to discover the rest of the country, including Bohemian Switzerland. From Prague it is about a two hour drive to Bohemian Switzerland. We stayed for two and a half days in Bohemian Switzerland and we were able to do all the hikes described above. Of course it is also possible to book a day tour to Bohemian Switzerland from Prague.
Combine Bohemian Switzerland with a city trip to Prague and/or the Bohemian Paradise
A holiday in Bohemian Switzerland has been one of the highlights of our tour through the Czech Republic for us. However, I recommend that you definitely visit more destinations in the Czech Republic. For example, you can perfectly combine the region with a city trip to Prague or a stay in another stunning region, the Bohemian Paradise. Also in the Bohemian Paradise you can take beautiful walks and you have the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic.
Disclaimer: Our trip to Bohemian Switzerland was made possible by CzechTourism Benelux and the Ustí Region.