Top 10 Reasons to visit Bohemian Switzerland

Top 10 Reasons to visit Bohemian Switzerland

Panorama - foto @maxime_north
Panorama - foto @maxime_north

Bohemian Switzerland’s fairytale landscape is sure to enchant anyone who visits. Combined with Saxon Switzerland, the cross-border park is home to some of the most captivating natural and cultural wonders of the world. Founded in 2000 with the mission to preserve its unique rock formations and pristine forests and rivers, visitors will be treated to over 700 square kilometers of wilderness to discover and explore.

With the wide range of transportation options available, the magic of the parks’ top sights is accessible for everyone. From breathtaking views to a thriving local culture, there are many reasons a trip to Bohemian Switzerland should be added to your bucket list.

Pravčická brána - foto: M. Rak
Pravčická Gate

Marvel at the Pravčická Gate

Considered to be the jewel of Bohemia Switzerland, the Pravčická Gate is a spectacular rock bridge that spans an impressive twenty-seven meters. This sixteen-meter high formation is the window to the romance and wonder that make this corner of the world so special. One of the world’s most majestic natural structures, a visit would be incomplete without seeing it.

Be surrounded by unique flora and fauna

Not only is the landscape of Bohemia Switzerland exceptional, but so are the animals and plants that call it home. Species that have long disappeared from other parts of the country flourish here, including some that even date back as far as the Ice Age. It’s not uncommon to catch a glimpse lynxes, otters, kingfishers, peregrine falcons, and salmon during your visit. In recent years, efforts have been made to reintroduce species that had been driven out of the region and restore the natural splendor of the area’s flora and fauna.

River in Bohemian Switzerland - foto @maxime_north
River in Bohemian Switzerland - foto @maxime_north
Bastei 1, foto Z. Patzelt
Bastei Bridge

Feel on top of the world at the Bastei

A popular day trip destination, the Bastei is Saxon Switzerland’s most famous landmark thanks to the bridge sprawling across the stunning rock formations. Constructed in 1851, this location offers tourists spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs and Elbe River below. The romance of days gone by can still be felt standing in this spot looking down at the world around you.

Elbe Canyon - foto @maxime_north
Elbe Canyon - foto @maxime_north

Float along the Elbe River

The Elbe River weaves its way through the Bohemia and Saxon Switzerland, carving out the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. While the impressive rock formations draw visitors in, it’s the river itself that’s the unassuming star of the show. Ride along its banks on the Elbe Cycle Path or flow down it on a canoe, dinghy, or steamboat. Not only is it part of the scenery, but traveling on the Elbe River also provides a convenient and comfortable route for taking in Bohemia Switzerland’s incredible sights.

Gorges - foto @maxime_north
Gorges - foto @maxime_north

Explore the remarkable gorges

The region’s gorges are truly a special sight to behold. The walls of Edmund’s Gorge tower as high as 150 meters above the Kamenice River basin. Visitors can explore most of its narrow roads, overhangs, and cliff tunnels on foot but the highest points can only be reached by a pole-steered ferry. In Hinterhermsdorf, the mysterious Upper Sluice Gorge creates a picture perfect environment with its moss-covered cliffs and clear mountain water.

Königstein - foto J. Lastufka
Königstein - foto J. Lastufka

Visit historic castles and chateaus

Bohemian Switzerland also has a number of historic castles and chateaus that are worth a visit. Děčín Castle has experienced its fair share of hard times but has since been beautifully restored and the garden-lined path up to the castle has become a popular tourist attraction in its own right. Additionally, Saxon Switzerland is home to one of the largest mountain fortresses on the continent. One of the top attractions in the area, Königstein Fortress has at some point in time been a monastery, prison, hospital, camp for prisoners of war, hideaway for nobility and so much more. If walls could talk, it surely would have many fascinating stories to tell.

Mariina vyhlídka foto: @maxime_nort
Mariina vyhlídka foto: @maxime_north

Take in the sights from the spectacular viewpoints

The covered alcove set atop Mariina Peak provides visitors with a cozy setting for taking in the dazzling views. Many of Bohemian Switzerland’s most important areas can be seen from here and other nearby lookouts can be easily accessed from this point. In Saxon Switzerland, the Brand balcony is one of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains’ most famous viewpoints. Visitors will have a great view of the Bastei and Elbe canyon from here.

Chřibská - podstávkové a hrázděné domy, foto J. Laštůvka
Folk architecture in Dolní Chřibská

Learn about folk architecture

As the area was considered to be difficult to reach for quite some time, remnants of its history have been remarkably preserved. Half-timber houses, which incorporate German framework and Slavic wooden structures, are a type of folk architecture that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. While this architectural style can be found in most villages in the area, Vysoká Lípa, Janov, and Hinterhermsdorf are the best spots for observing this piece of history.

Köglers Naturpfad
Kögler's Nature Trail

Walk along Bohemia’s oldest nature trail

One of the best ways to explore Bohemian Switzerland is on foot. Kögler’s Nature Trail is considered to be the oldest nature trail in Bohemia. Re-opened in 2006, it begins in the main square of Krásná Lípa and winds its way through the Lusatian Mountains, Kyjov Valley, and up to the top of Vlčí Hora. On the Saxon side, the Painter’s Trail is the most popular, leading through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. This area has inspired artists for hundreds of years with its magnificent views.

Dive into the local culture

Picturesque scenes dominate people’s minds when they think of Bohemian Switzerland, but it’s the traditional architecture, art, crafts, food, and drink that are the heart and soul of the region. The small villages and towns that dot Bohemian Switzerland should not be overlooked as they hold some of the greatest treasures. The centers of Pirna and Česká Kamenice have barely changed over the course of 300 years, transporting visitors back in time. Taking the time to stop in these places will give you a chance to experience local traditions, sample regional delicacies, and even pick up a handmade souvenir or two.


Pirna city center