Did you know that you can find Switzerland in Czechia? I’m not kidding. Bohemian Switzerland, also known as Czech Switzerland, is a picturesque region in the north-western Czech Republic. Are you wondering why someone named a region after a county? Well… there’s a story to that. About 200 years ago, Swiss painters, Anton Graff and Adrian Zingg, visited the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, and found them equally beautiful as their homeland. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the must-see places in Bohemian Switzerland.
A total must-see, and my very favourite place in Bohemian Switzerland. Mary’s Rock is simply stunning. The track to this famous lookout starts in Jetřichovice. From there, follow the red trial up the hill until you reach the viewing platform. Return the same way or follow the green trial to do the loop. I highly recommend choosing the second option as it leads you through to other spectacular lookouts, Wilhelmine’s View and Pohovka. Amazing views of Mary’s Rock guaranteed. Please keep in mind that the carpark is 150 Kč per day.
Carpark: V93X+GC Jetřichovice, Czechia
Would you believe me if I told you that there was a castle on the top of this rock? It sounds a little crazy, but it’s true. Falkenštejn Castle was very difficult to access, and a long ladder was needed to climb into it. Nowadays this place looks more like a viewing platform, but the ladder is still there, and you have to climb it anyway. The walking track to Falkenštejn Castle starts in Jetřichovice, so you can visit it together with Mary’s Rock. In fact, it’s the same carpark, so if you really do both on the same day, you will pay 150 Kč only once.
Carpark: V93X+GC Jetřichovice, Czechia
The Pravčická Archway is Europe’s largest sandstone arch, and the most popular attraction in Bohemian Switzerland. Walking around this natural wonder is free, but if you want to get the best possible view, a ticket must be purchased. It’s 95 Kč for an adult, and it gives you access to the viewing platforms on the rocks. You can get there by taking the red trail from Hřensko (45 minutes one way) or Gabriela’s Trail from Mezní Louka (90 minutes one way). I totally recommend doing the longer hike. It’s much more interesting.
Carpark: V8F8+4H Hřensko, Czechia
GORGES OF KAMENICE RIVER
The best way to explore the gorges of Kamenice River is to do it together with the Pravčická Archway. Why? Because you will start, and finish in the same place without retracing your footsteps. Park your car in Hřensko, and take a boat ride through the Edmund Gorge (the ticket is 120 Kč for an adult). After that, jump on the second boat that goes through the Wild Gorge (the ticket is 80 Kč for an adult). Once you leave the gorge in Mezní Louka, take the Gabriela’s Trail to the Pravčická Archway, and then walk back to Hřensko via the red trial. Walking time to both gorges in around 20 minutes. Important notice! You can only pay in cash.
Carpark: V6FX+PR Hřensko, Czechia
The gorges of Kamenice River are currently closed after wildfires. Re-opening planned for spring 2023.
This one is for those who enjoy visiting mysterious places. The ruins of Dolský Mill are located in the valley of the Kamenice River, they have been abandoned since 1945, and according to local beliefs, also haunted. I’m not going to lie. It was a little scary to walk around the mill by myself. Although, nothing really happened, I felt some kind of weird energy there. Anyway, if you want to get to Dolský Mill, park your car in Vysoká Lípa, and follow the blue trial to the forest. Allow at least one hour for the whole visit. Return the same way.
Carpark: V932+4V Jetřichovice, Czechia
SMALL PRAVČICKÁ ARCHWAY & ŠAUNŠTEJN CASTLE
The Pravčická Archway is a total must-see in Bohemian Switzerland, but did you know that there is also its smaller version? To avoid any disappointment, the Small Pravčická Archway is less impressive than the main attraction, but still well-worth visiting. If you decide to check it out, make sure to climb into Šaunštejn Castle too. It’s a massive rock with ruins of a castle, accessed through a set of ladders. To get to the Small Pravčická Archway, and Šaunštejn Castle take the red trial from Vysoká Lípa. The carpark is 150 Kč per day.
Carpark: V964+Q3 Jetřichovice, Czechia
BELVEDÉR VIEWPOINT & LABSKÁ STRÁŽ
Bohemian Switzerland is well-known for its beautiful viewpoints. Here are my favourites, Belvedér and Labská Stráž, both perfect to watch a sunset. The first one is easy to find. Simply copy, and paste the below coordinates, and follow the google maps directions. There’s a restaurant right at the viewpoint, so you will basically walk through it. It’s not a big deal though. I have a feeling that it was opened there to attract tourists. Labská Stráž is a bit of a pain, and I don’t think I can explain how to get there. I was trying to find my way for at least 30 minutes, and fortunately enough, I met a local who pointed me in the right direction.
- Belvedér – R6XC+RJ Děčín, Czechia
- Labská Stráž – Q6PF+43M Děčín, Czechia
PANSKÁ SKÁLA & ZLATÝ VRCH
Panská Skála is a spectacular rock formation of columnar basalt created by a series of volcanic eruptions. Sounds interesting, right? It’s such a cool, and lovely place. There’s a small lake next to the rock, and a couple of benches, so you can come here to relax a bit. If you are thinking of climbing the rock, it’s possible. I did it myself. Just be mindful that the columns are slippery, and it’s easy to get injured. If you like this place, go and check Zlatý Vrch too. It’s also a basalt rock, but much bigger, and located only 10 km further away.
- Panská Skála – QFCP+98 Kamenický Šenov, Czechia
- Zlatý Vrch – RFG9+39 Česká Kamenice, Czechia
How about wandering between the ledges, and squeezing between the cracks? The Tisa Rocks are a group of rocks with pillars up to 30 metres high that form a labyrinth. The main entrance to this rock maze is near St. Anne Church in Tisa. From there, follow the red trail to get to the ticket office. That’s the beginning of two walking tracks. The Little Tisa Rocks with 19 rock formations, and the Big Tisa Rocks with as many as 56 rock formations. Allow three hours to do both walks. The carpark, as well as the entry fee, is 50 Kč for an adult.
Carpark: Q2PH+88 Tisá, Czechia
Who doesn’t love viewing towers? Interestingly enough, Bohemian Switzerland has heaps of them. I managed to visit only three, but if you do some research, you will find many more. The Janov Observation Tower is accessed by car, and there’s no admission fee. The Kaltenberg Lookout Tower stands on a hill, so you have to walk up there. Once you park your car, follow the blue trail, and then the red one. There’s no admission fee either. The Falcon Hill Lookout Tower has an entry fee of 30 Kč, and you can park next to it.
- Janov Observation Tower – V769+7W Janov, Czechia
- Kaltenberg Lookout Tower – RFG7+9MH Česká Kamenice, Czechia
- Falcon Hill Lookout Tower – Q7JC+5F Dobrná, Czechia
If you enjoy climbing ladders, the Narrows Stairs are for you. It’s a short, but enjoyable walk that starts near Saula Information Center. There is a sealed road going much further, but unfortunately, it’s closed for private vehicles, so you need to leave your car right next to the information center. It takes no less than 40 minutes to walk along the road, and get to the wide valley under the cliffs, from where you choose between two different paths, through the gorge or by the Narrow Stairs. The carpark is free. Return the same way.
Carpark: VCFW+4R Chřibská, Czechia
Griesel’s Pond is the weirdest place I’ve visited in the Czech Republic in my whole life. Totally bizarre, and I’m going to tell you why. The first thing that caught my attention was the Naiad’s Cave with a creepy wooden puppet on a swing. I wasn’t prepared to see that, so it got me a little scared, but I kept on walking. I made it to Dwarf Cave and found it pretty freaky too. On my way back, I also checked the Mill Race Tunnel, and the Rock Channel. For me, not a must-see in Bohemian Switzerland, but there’s no accounting for taste. Enjoy!
Carpark: R9WW+27 Jetřichovice, Czechia
These are the must-see places in Bohemian Switzerland. Are you going to watch a sunset from Mary’s Rock or take a boat ride through the gorges of Kamenice River? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
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