Bohemian Switzerland is a real fairytale in the Czech Republic and was without a doubt part of our 12-day Czech Republic Itinerary. We drove to Bohemian Switzerland from Bohemian Paradise to explore more of the nature of the North-West of the Czech Republic. This gem is the perfect place to visit for nature enthusiasts and is unique as there are two national parks combined, one in the Czech and one in Germany (Saxon Switzerland). Generally, spending 1 day in Bohemian Switzerland is enough to see the main sights. Moreover, opt for an early start to get the most out of your day and avoid the crowds. To start your 1 day in Bohemian Switzerland, you can park your car at the Waterfall Parking Lot in Hrensko (€8 for a day).
Note: Some of the routes we took during the day are closed due to the risk of landslides.
Firstly, CeskesvyCarsko provides a very helpful travel map explaining the different routes through Bohemian Switzerland and gives a good indication of the available paths. During our visit, we used this map as a baseline and matched it with Google Maps.
Check this link for the latest map and route descriptions.
Once you have parked your car at the Waterfall Parking Lot, you can start hiking up to the Pravcice Gate. From the parking lot (when parked) head further away from Hrensko and just follow the crowds and signs towards the Pravcice Gate / Pravčická Brána. Total walking time to the gate takes about 60 minutes from the parking lot. In addition, this gate is the iconic symbol of Bohemian Switzerland and the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe.
After we visited the Pravcice Gate, we decided to follow the hiking trail up to Mezni Louka. Unfortunately, in 2023 this trail is closed but is expected to re-open in 2024.
In case the path opens, I would highly recommend following this red route towards Mezni Louka, as it is a great and easy forest walk. Currently, Google Maps shows clearly the path is closed. The path can easily be found on Google Maps and it clearly shows that the path is currently closed. When the trail re-opens, the trail from Mezni Louka’s side can be found when searching for Lynx’ Path / Gabriela’s Trail. Alternatively, the trail starting at the Gate can easily be found as the green dotted line continuing to Mezni Louka.
Upon our arrival in Mezni Louka, we had lunch at Hospinec Mezni Louka. Subsequently, we headed to Mezna and Mezni Mustek to be able to admire the wonderful gorges that can be found in Bohemian Switzerland.
2023 advise: The best way is to head back to the road from Pravcice Gate so you can follow the yellow route to Mezna. Another option is to take the bus to Mezni Louka and follow the green trail to Mezna for as long as the red route is out of service. The most recent information on the Gorges can be found here.
After arrival in Mezna and Mezni Mustek, it is possible to board a boat through the beautiful gorges. There are two different options for a boat ride through the Gorges. The first, longest and most popular one is the Edmund (Edmundova Souteska) Gorge. Boarding this gorge costs 100 CZK (€4) and takes you along the lowest reaches of the Kamenice River. Also, this means you will arrive near Hrensko, where your car is parked. Alternatively, the other gorge is the Wild Gorge (Divoka Souteska), which ranges only 450 meters and is only accessible by boat. Overall, I would advise you to solely enjoy the Edmund Gorge, as one gorge is enough and this will account for a nice circuit on your 1 day in Bohemian Switzerland.
2023 Advise: As the Edmund Gorge is closed, you can board the Wild Gorge to still explore one of the most beautiful gorges you might have seen. Nextly, follow the green route to Na Hajenkach to take the bus back to Hrensko or visit the Janov Lookout Tower on the way.
Even though our day ended after exploring the famous Gate and Gorges, there are still plenty of options in Bohemian Switzerland or Saxon Switzerland (if you are allowed to cross borders). Unfortunately, we still had quite a drive to go after our visit because of the bad weather. I would advise, with good circumstances, that you book your hotel in the area to get the most out of your 1 day in Bohemian Switzerland.
In case you have time remaining, you can visit Mariina Skala, a great viewpoint (428 meters) over Bohemian Switzerland. Besides that, it is a great place to conclude your day with sunset. The hike up starts from Jetrichovice and you can park your car at the Placené parkoviště. Bear in mind that the path up consists of quite a few steps.
In addition, Another great place, the Bastei Rock Formation, can be found in Germany (Saxon Switzerland). Unfortunately, we never thought about crossing the border, even though it can be easily combined with a visit to Bohemian Switzerland. Also, you can hike to Bastei from Hrensko (and leave your car) or take your car. Hiking takes approximately 1,5 to 2 hours whereas the drive takes 20 minutes. Visiting Bastei rewards you with amazing views of sandstone formations overlooking the Elbe, with the main sight being the Bastei bridge, which can be crossed.
Even though we did a lot of research and asked around before visiting the Czech Republic, as usual, you always find out about some amazing places upon return. I don’t want to withhold other amazing places in Bohemian Switzerland from you because I haven’t seen them. Especially if you can spend 2 days in Bohemian Switzerland, you have the opportunity to explore the area at a more relaxed pace. Mariina Skala and Bastei are the first examples, however, also the Tisa Labyrinth / Walls is a place that came up more often. Another place worth seeing seems to be Penzion Stara Plynarna. This Old Glassworks building turned into a pension and it looks amazing!
Even though Bohemian Switzerland is known for its nature and outdoor activities, the cuisine is a little less developed. You might not find the amazing bars and restaurants that are worth recommending in this area. First of all, I would stick to local cuisine and go with what might be in the area of your accommodation.
Additionally, bars and restaurants to visit are Pivovar Falkenstejn for the local beers and Na Stodolci as the must-visit restaurant with a great mix of local and Czech cuisine. Lastly, Restaurant Mezna Louka is great when in Mezna Louka during your trip. Hotel U Forta is recommended both as a place to stay, as well as a restaurant.
Similarly to Bohemian Paradise, you’ll see that most of the recommended restaurants are found in a hotel. Normally, I’m not too keen on hotel restaurants, but here it is a different deal!
As Bohemian Switzerland is quite a large area, there are plenty of places to stay. Whether this will be in one of the main towns (still not large), such as Decin or the central location Hrensko or at more idyllic places around.
During our time in Bohemian Switzerland, we decided to stay at Trapani Glamping Camp (Ruzova) for €45 a night. The place was amazing, however, unfortunately, the weather turned bad and we decided to leave after 1 night towards Loket.
A very special place to stay is Stara Plynarna, where you stay in the Old Glassworks Building. The place is on the luxury end, as you pay €175 per night.
Another great option is U Forta (€75), which can be found in Mezni Louka. Additionally, the place has a great restaurant.
If you would like to relax in an outside pool after exploring Bohemian Paradise, Resort Luft might be the perfect place for you! (€80)
Lastly, Na Stodolci (€100) is a very authentic pension including great food.