What is Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland?
It is a national park in the north-west of the Czech Republic and east of Germany – in Saxony, the landlocked federal state of Germany. It features astonishing sandstone rock formations that developed over millions of years. The beauty of the place above all lies in a combination of several natural phenomena – majestic rocks and rock cities, amazing lookouts, romantic valleys, wild ravines, deep forests, winding roads, caves, the curving Elbe river, clean rivers and brooks and unique flora and fauna. People living here for centuries have enriched the places with certain monuments and specific architecture like rock castles, historical monuments and vernacular buildings.
Nowadays, Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland is in the first place a region of tourism and relaxation offering services and facilities to please anybody coming here – from people seeking peace and quiet to real adrenaline lovers. Here are a few carefully selected day trips for the national park:
Best Day trips from Prague to Bohemian National Park
Bohemia Adventures provides some of the most thoughtful day tours from Prague to Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland national park. These tours are designed to take people in small groups in the national park and see various highlights. You could choose these tours depending on how you would like them.
Are there any restrictions on the national park?
As this is a national park, you should not leave any trails, litter, go camping, swimming or fishing here. Here you can find some rules: https://www.ceskesvycarsko.cz/en/rules-visiting-national-park
Why Is It Called “Switzerland”?
One might be a bit confused by the name expecting to get to Switzerland in the Alps. The connection seems to be less obvious here. In the second half of the 18th century, two Swiss painters came to this area and completely fell in love with it. As the landscape resembled their home, they started calling it “Switzerland”. It is as simple as that.
How Old Is the Landscape of Bohemian National Park?
To cut the long story short, about 100 million years ago there was just a sea. Large rivers brought sand and some other debris into it and they accumulated at the bottom.
Later the sea subsided as a consequence of earthquakes and they created a massive sand structure helped by super-high temperatures.
This was followed by several ice periods resulting in several meltdowns. Ice, water, wind, sunshine and dramatic changes in temperature and pressure consequently created a ravishing countryside full of amazing shapes.
What Is the Historical Background of Bohemian and Saxon National Park?
Generally speaking, here it was about Slavs and Germans
In the first millennium A.D., the region was settled by a few Slavonic tribes. In the 13th century, the area belonged to the Czech Kingdom. The Germans came to this area in the same century and there were a lot of clashes about the most important fortifications. As late as the 15th century the area on today´s German side came under the dominance of Saxony. The Czech side remained in the hands of the Czechs.
Tourism came here in the 19th century and since then Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland has been more and more popular.
Here are a few historical places in the region:
The Czech Republic – Decin´s Castle – http://www.zamekdecin.cz/web_en/
Old Town Bridge in Decin – http://www.decinek.estranky.cz/clanky/decin-city-of-bridges/old-town-bridge.html
The Loretto Chapel of the Virgin Mary – http://www.loretarumburk.cz/en/history/loreto-chapel-of-the-virgin-mary-holy-house-santa-casa/
Chateau in Benesov upon Ploucnice – https://www.czechtourism.com/c/benesov-nad-ploucnici-chateaux/
Germany – The Neumann Mill: https://www.saechsische-schweiz.com/en/
What Are the Highlights of Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland?
This National Park is full of nature and its hard to say which places to visit. We recommend to stay in or around the national park for a few days and explore the hidden beauty of it. However, if you are visiting the National park for a day or two. these are the places we think you must visit.
The Pravcicka Gate with the Falcon´s Nest Hotel
415 m above the sea level
Location – Hrensko – 15 km north of the town of Decin
Open (Time of the year to visit)
April – October
Daily, 10 am – 6 pm
November – March
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm
26 December–1 January
Daily, 10 am – 4 pm
The Pravcicka Gate is truly one of the wonders of the world which appeared in the first part of the Chronicles of Narnia. It is the biggest European sandstone arch – 21 metres wide, 16 meters high and about 8 meters thick. To get there, you should be ready for about a 3.5-kilometre hike from the parking place in Hrensko (the Czech Republic) – about 45 minutes. You constantly walk up a hill, yet it is not so demanding. Most of the hike leads through a pleasant peaceful forest full of calm sandstone rocks. You will definitely admire how some trees have become an indispensable part of rocks. You have to pay an entrance fee to get into the gate area, but it is just a few CZK. Although nobody is allowed to access the top of it, you can take plenty of pictures from an adjacent viewpoint. From there you will definitely be amazed by the views of the surrounding area. There is also a restaurant, gallery, food kiosk and toilets. The gate is definitely worth the effort you make at the beginning. You will surely not regret it!
Important link- http://www.pbrana.cz/en/
The Gorges of the Kamenice River
The Edmund and Wild Gorges are again in Hrensko in the Czech Republic. Both of them are open from the end of March to the last week in October.
The entrance fee for the Edmund Gorge – 80 CZK (adults), 40 CZK (seniors, children and the disabled)
The entrance fee for the Wild Gorge – 60 CZK (adults), 30 CZK (seniors, children and the disabled)
Here you will walk beneath rock ledges, through several tunnels and across narrow bridges. You will be so deep in the heart of Bohemian Switzerland that some parts are only accessible on a small riverboat. The cruise between the narrow sandstone walls is one of the most serene experiences and favourite spots in the national park. The people operating boats keep telling made-up stories about the rock shapes – what they might resemble. You will only be given a maximum of 4 true pieces of information – the name of the river, the duration of the boat ride, the length of the canal and the beginning of the operation, yet you will not mind. All the rest is left to your imagination There is a lot of fun on the boat and the serenity down there is priceless!
The Bastei Bridge
You can find Bastei (305 m above sea level) in Saxon Switzerland (Germany). The Bastei rock formation has plenty of viewpoints over the Elbe Canyon on the right bank of the river Elbe. You can walk across the famous sandstone bridge that connects Bastei and the ruins of the old Neurathen rock castle from the 13th century. The bridge was built around 1850 as the first tourist structure in Europe. If you want to enter the ruins, you pay a symbolic entrance fee – 2 EUR per person.
Bastei is truly something exceptional – a romantic bridge high on rocks overlooking the Elbe river canyon and its curving part along with a town of majestic rocks and ruins of something that is hardly believed to have been incapability of human being. You feel like a bird!
It is possible to see all the three highlights in a single day since there are quite a few companies focusing on it:
Places to see in Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Park
As we mentioned before this National park is full of surprises and Nature Magic and here are few other places that we recommend to visit if you are in the area for more than a day
- Tiské stěny (Tyssaer Wände), a rock labyrinth
- Děčínský Sněžník (Hoher Schneeberg), highest mountain of Bohemian Switzerland with its observation tower
- Šaunštejn Castle (Felsenburg Schauenstein), a robber baron rock castle near Vysoká Lipa
- Mariina Skala (Marienfels), viewing point near Jetřichovice
- Vilemínina stěna (Wilhelminenwand), viewing point near Jetřichovice
- Rudolfův kámen (Rudolfstein), viewing point near Jetřichovice
- Pavlinino Udoli (Paulinengrund), the deeply incised, romantic valley of the Chribská Kamenice (Kreibitzbach) stream
- Falkenštejn Castle (Felsenburg Falkenstein), rock castle
- Rock chapel in Všemily
- Belvedér (Belvedere) near Labská Stráň, mountain
- Malá Pravčická brána (Kleines Prebischtor), natural sandstone arch
- Na Tokani (Balzhütte), historic inn and hostel
- Emperor’s View on the Stoličná hora (Quaderberg) near Děčín
- the well-tended villages with their Upper Lusatian house
How to get to Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland from Prague?
Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland is about 126.5 km from Prague and you can choose various way to get here like Public Transport of Bus or Train or you can choose to drive there.
Going to Bohemian National park with Public Transport
The wonders of Bohemian Switzerland are easily within reach of the Czech Republic’s capital city. Trains run regularly from Prague with international and domestic express connections arriving in Děčín about every two hours. This journey takes just over an hour and a half and is a great jumping point for the rest of your adventure.
From Děčín, there are several transport options to choose from depending on which part of Bohemian Switzerland you are planning to visit:
Bus Route to Bohemian National park
Take bus 434 in the direction of Hřensko to reach Mezní Louka. This is where you’ll want to go if you’re heading towards the Soutěsky and Pravčická brána. During the high season, it’s also possible to take this bus to Jetřichovice and Krásná Lípa, where you’ll find the Kyjov Valley.
If you’re travelling to Jetřichovice, bus 435 will take you directly there.
Taking a Train to Bohemian National Park
Taking train U28 to Schöna is another option if you’re planning to visit Soutěsky and Pravčická brána. This train also travels to Bad Schandau in Saxon Switzerland and to Rumburk.
Train U8 travels to Česká Kamenice, Jedlová, Krásná Lípa, and Rumburk. The Jedlová stop is the one to take if you want to explore the destinations in the Lusatian Mountains.
To know more about public transport to Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland please visit https://www.ceskesvycarsko.cz/en/how-get-here
Going to Bohemian National Park with Car
If you are choosing to get to the national park with your personal transport than you are also up for a beautiful ride. You can choose to go by motorway or completely skip the motorway and choose to go from the countryside. Both ways you get to see some magic of Czech republic beauty. Here is the Map to go from Prague to the centre of Bohemian National Park
Other Ways to Explore Bohemian Switzerland National Park
Take a day tour with tour operators
If you are in the Czech for a short stay and don’t have many days to spend then we highly recommend taking a Day tour with Tour operators like Bohemia Adventures. These day tours are designed to pick you up from your hotel and take you to the centre of the National park. You get to see the Top highlights of the national park along with great lunch, a Guided tour and then drop off at your hotel in Prague. Everything about your day tour is taken care of by the tour operator and all you have to do is get your camera and be prepared to enjoy a day full of fun in nature.
Take a Private Trip by Bohemia Adventures
Since the Global pandemic has become a new normal of our world so at Bohemia Adventures we are focusing particularly on our private trips. These are some coolest and amazing ideas of how you can make an absolutely memorable day out of your trip. Travel is a luxury now in the face of global travel bans and restrictions so when you do get a chance, make the best out of it. Check out some of the coolest ways of creating a private trip. This could be just what you are looking for.
How to Prepare for the Weather and the Terrain when visiting the Bohemian National Park?
Now everybody knows how unpredictable the weather can be. This region used to have four regular seasons but they seem to have gone. Therefore, it is essential to check the weather forecast online the day you go and ‘do your homework. On the whole, you do not need to worry about any dramatic changes in weather and conditions, yet luck favours the prepared. What you will definitely need is the following:
- A pair of quality hiking shoes
- A quality hiking wear – at least 3 different layers in case the weather changes
- A cap
- A backpack – for some snack and a bottle of water and for storing unnecessary hiking wear layers if the weather is really fine
- A raincoat or an umbrella
- A pair of sunglasses
- A hat and a pair of gloves or mittens – autumn, winter and early spring
- A smartphone or a camera
What Wildlife Can I Expect in the Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland?
There is beautiful wildlife in Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland, yet you do not need to worry about any big dangers from wild animals.
The territory of the Bohemian – Saxon Switzerland National Park is very forested and rocky and relatively little disturbed by human intervention. This allows the occurrence of many species of animals, with often very different demands on the environment, in a relatively small area. Species diversity is significantly increased by species associated with their occurrence on watercourses and their surroundings, ponds or peat bogs. The Elbe River Corridor, in turn, serves as an important migration route and wintering ground for many bird species especially at the end of winter, Recently the protected peregrine falcons, black storks and great eagle owls begin to nest again in Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
Please check the official website of Bohemian National park for more details https://www.npcs.cz/zivocichove-ceskosaskeho-svycarska
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know when I visit Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland?
First aid in the national park:
Bohemian and Saxon National park have their first aid team and can help in times of emergency. Please visit https://www.ceskesvycarsko.cz/en/informace/prvni-pomoc-v-np for more information about this.