I have always loved the term ‘boho’ when I was growing up. As a teen very much into fashion, I really liked the boho fashion style, with is supposed long flowy skirts, colourful patterns/ prints and textures.
But moving forward many many years into August 2018, I found myself over in the Czech Republic -- specifically Bohemian Switzerland region, I was greatly surprised by the newfound concept of what Bohemia is.
Beyond the fashion and infamous song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Bohemia ( It means ‘Czech’ in Latin) brings on a very different perspective. It is an entire rugged and rocky raw region in the Czech Republic with stunning sandstone rock structures, lush forests and blazing golden sunsets.
No, this is no Switzerland. Welcome to Bohemian Switzerland…here in Czech Republic…
Kickstarting our Bohemian Switzerland Adventure
A team of 10-15 of us adventure folks started our multi-day trip from Prague to Bohemia with Northern Hikes Adventure tour agency. If you are not familiar with Bohemian Switzerland, it is located at the border of the Czech Republic and Germany separated by a river called Elba River. It is one of the most spectacular natural parks in Eastern Europe, scattered sandstone rock formations all over the emerald green forestry. While the Germany side of the national park is named Saxon Switzerland, Czech Republic’s border is named Bohemian Switzerland.
Discovering the hiking trails of this Bohemian Switzerland Wonderland
The Slavic countries really love their forests and walks.
Like the many I have seen in Slovakia, Poland and more, Czech Republic also has stunning well-kept hiking trails in different areas in the Bohemia region. On our first full day after arriving, we kicked off with a 16-18 km hike, with rest, meals and beautiful stops at different viewpoints. Our muscles were a little sore after this given we haven’t had enough training before the trip, but it was definitely a good nature fix and plenty of good forest fresh air.
Discover the Intriguing Tisa Rock Town labyrinth
So introducing our 1st pitstop after we arrived by train to Prague -- Tisa Rock Town.
If you watched the movie Chronicles of Narnia, this scene will look familiar to you as quite a number of the scenes were shot here in this lovely vicinity. The 2.5 hours hike gave us quite an uphill workout, as the labyrinth Rock Town has a lot of narrow rocky paths, caves and stone stairs along the way, all of them leading to a mesmerizing view from above. Be careful when visiting on a rainy day, as it is slippery and you don’t want to slide through the gaps and fall through to the bottom.
But if you have good sturdy shoes, are sure-footed and is someone who love rocks/ good views, this place is…totally worth it!
Be prepared to get your cameras/ drones out when you come to this incredible lookout point. The unique structure of the erected sandstones in all kinds of fascinating forms/ shapes just makes such a picturesque spot for a picnic or photoshoot.
Calling all traditional rock climbing fanatics!
One unique thing about this area is that it is actually a famous rock climbing location that attracts professional rock climbers from around the world. Given the texture and form of the sandstone rock, only the strongest and most experience will dare to have the guts and skills to conquer. When you get to the top here, you will occasionally spot some of these climbers scaling the rocks.
Special note: The place is highly Instagram-able. If you plan on being here -- visit at the golden sunset moment.
Visiting the Picture Perfect Sunsets Shooting Spots
Speaking of great shots, this region in Czech Republic consists of a lot of hills or “vrch” (as called in Czech) where you will see breathtaking panoramic views during sunrises or sunsets. Here’s a list of some of our favourites:
Enjoy the Fields of Gold at Sunset at Krizovy Vvrch (hill)
Golden fields and large plains, that’s what you can expect here at Krizovy Vvrch.
We hiked up the hill 1 hour before sunset, eager to catch the golden rays. One of the Northern Hikes crew even brought their super lovable puppy along to enjoy the great open space and fields. We all had just a few moments to drink in the beauty of the surroundings as the sun set below the horizon.
Enjoy the Golden Sunset by the ‘spaceship’ lookout tower at Pastevní vrch
Day 2’s sunset shot was done at Pastevni Vrch, where it had a super cool alien spacecraft looking look out point. We went crazy here with all the drones in the air and endless golden photos as the sun melted slowly over the horizon.
Other good best sunrise and sunset spots:
- Zámečku viewpoint (Vysoká Lípa, a small part of Jetřichovice village)
Recharge: Coffee and Canyon Sightings at Rose Ridge
Calling all coffee and nature lovers, why not enjoy the best of both worlds in one of the best places in Bohemian Switzerland. We hiked up to Rose Ridge lookout point and had a lovely coffee + slacklining party here at the top. Holding a cup of specially brewed coffee prepared freshly by Bohemian Coffee House and enjoying the jaw-dropping scenery all around is just such a nice moment to savour. The view of the Elbe River Canyon from the edge of the cliff was a real kick.
After being energized by the lovely coffee, pastries and eye candy views, I proceeded to try a bit of fun -- slacklining! Slacklining consists of a lot of balance, flexibility, focus and core strength. These all use the same basic technique just like rock climbing, and yet also have an element of fun. We learnt from our Coffee and Canyons Tour guide Nicole about high lining, where it is similar to slacklining but at a much much higher point with insane mind-blowing views all around, and you are connected to a safety line in the even you lose your balance in the process.
Lose yourself in the best of Bohemian Paradise Landscape
Witness Europe’s biggest sandstone arch -- Pravcicka Gate
One can never get enough of these beautiful rock formations!
One of the highlights in this region would be the popular trail to Brána do Čech. This time we made our way through the forest to the Pravcicka gate, the biggest sandstone arch in Europe and the 2nd biggest in the world. Its beauty overwhelms you instantly and the whole surrounding gives you a sense of calm as you catch your breath under an old oak. Be sure to look around and spot the famous inn -- Falcon’s Nest.
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Beholding the pretty Falcons Nest here in Pravcicka Brana! We found some nice shade underneath the 2nd biggest sandstone arch in the world -- Chilling out here with some Kofola, Czech's own version of coke!? #bohemianswitzerland #northernhikes #pravcickabrana #sandstonearch
From here, you can continue your way on Gabriela´s trail, another great trail, which passes through many sandstone boulder structures, lush forests and great landscape.
Get an astonishing view from the robber’s castle Šaunštejn
For a lover of rocks, one cannot say no to the Saunstehjn rock castle here, and an impressive one I might add. The Šaunštejn castle gives you a wonderful view of a large part of Bohemian Switzerland and it originally served as a security point from which warning signals were shot. The hike to the castle on the Mala Pravcicka Brana trail is the most difficult part of the trail and on your way, you will get the chance to see another impressive arch, similar to the Pravcicka gate.
Go on a romantic boat trip on the spectacular Gorges of the Kamenice river
Take a break from all the walking and hiking and enjoy a relaxing boat ride down the Kamenice River Canyon.
During the 20 minutes ride, rest your feet and take in the lovely view of the river/ banks with the sunrays bounce through the canyon. You will get the chance to learn more along the way from the guide, as he will explain more about the canyon and the sandstone rocks that former over 100 millions of years ago. It is maybe a once in a lifetime experience and all you have to do is soak in the light rays shining as you sail down the misty river.
As dreamy as this sounds, a piece of advice is to bring some a mosquito repellent or bugs spray in order to make sure that no insect interrupts your mid-day bliss.
The surreal experiences we gathered here in Bohemian Switzerland as we walked the trails, climbed the rocks and breath in the freshness.. are all hard to forget. It wasn’t an easy feat to get to these lookout points, but with hard work, nature reveals itself in all its glory and beauty.