Czech Republic Travel

Czech Switzerland: fairy tale in the real world! Pravcicka Brana, Divoka Souteska and certain .... bet!

Bohemian Switzerland, this is the National Park located in the north of the country, borders there with its German sister, Saxon Switzerland. Although it was officially created only in 2000, several hundred years earlier these areas were well known for their picturesqueness and unique rock formations. The area on the Elbe River, beyond the German border, delighted the Swiss so much that they called it “their Switzerland” in exile. The name has been adopted and adapted on Czech soil. In my opinion, a more fitting name is Bohemian Narnia.

Brana Pravcicka: through the arch to Aslan’s Land

The Pevensie siblings entered Narnia through the wardrobe door, and Brana Pravicka is considered the official beginning of Bohemian Switzerland. Quite adequately, crossing it is like truly finding yourself in a fairy tale. It is not surprising that it was where Hans Christian Andersen found inspiration when writing “The Snow Queen”.

It’s the largest rock arch in Europe, next to which, stands the Falcon’s Nest – once the summer residence of Prince Edmund Clary-Aldringen, today a restaurant with a gallery inside.

The gate can be seen from the observation decks, available for a small fee – 3,5 euro and which, extending for a surrounding rocks, gives the opportunity to admire the Polabian Mountains.

Funfact! Standing on one of them, willy-nilly, you’re recreating one of scenes from the Chronicles of Narnia: where Sussana, Peter and Lucy along with the beavers save Edmund. Precisely, it is where this clip was shooted.

It’s precisely where the famous scene in the Chronicles of Narnia was taken!

At the beginning, the route is not one of those extremely picturesque, not to say that it is … hideous. Unfortunately, what you see is ashes. The ashes of what used to be a lush, multi-species forest. The fire in 2022 was almost uncontrollable and within a few days it incinerated huge areas of Bohemian Switzerland… The protruding, black stumps, blackened rocks are a miserable memory of what used to live here.

Fortunately, the vegetation is starting to regenerate and around the Gate itself, the aforementioned damage is nowhere to be seen. The route is very easy, although I can imagine how on a sunny summer day it can be a bit lacking in shade. However, it’s only temporary! After some time, you passes through the forest, alive, and winding paths leads to the Falcon’s Nest.

To get to the next point of today’s trekking, you need to return to the starting point. This where you can either take the National Park bus, line n 6, the locomotive which will take you to the next stops (no, it’s not only for the kids 🙂 ) or busses running from Hrensko through Mezna to Jetrichovice and get off at Mezni Louka Hotel stop. Surely, you can take walk as well! What I personally did, is hitch – hiking 😀

This way or another, you end up at Mezni Louka Hotel, where the next trekking starts! This time we are going to …

Divoka Souteska: made with… bet?

It is a natural extension of Edmund’s Gorge, which, however, was still closed when I was there (July 2023). I mentioned this in the introduction to Bohemian Switzerland, what to watch out for when planning routes in this region. But let’s go back to the Gorge! The very idea that it would be adapted to exploration at all was born due to a certain … bet!

According to the raftsman with whom I sailed, a few men, after a few deeper mugs, made a bet that they would sail the route from Dolsky Mlyn to Hrensk on rafts. No stops! And so it realle happened! Thus, the Czech determination not to stain their honour with a lost bet gave birth to the tourism in this region.

It took place in 1877, and when several decades later the aforementioned Edmund Clary-Aldringen became the ruler of these lands, he decided with the help of Italian artisans to create chain of bridges, routes and connections to make the visiting gorge possible.

It is to him that we owe the opportunity to see such a unique landscape and rock formations that are located in Edmund’s Gorge*, named after him. and on the Wild Path. After some time of delving into the forest, the wooden stairs give way to a path, and a clear, though initially timid, sound of water reaches our ears. This is the Kamenica River, which is surrounded by wild nature on both sides! Rock combinations, vegetation, views created by nature go beyond any imagination here. It seems like an unreal creation straight from a fairy tale!

What’s more, when we continue our walk along the river, at some point path ends and leads directly into the Kamenica River! This is a sign that it’s time to take… a boat and continue exploring the Path with them. For a fee of 4 euros, the raftsman will take you on a further journey, telling you various stories about the Gorge or playing the harmonica. It is an extremely pleasant experience that makes you go back in time for a moment. The raftsman makes a loop and returns to the starting point.

Important! Remember to check what time the last boat goes, it depends ot the season. It would be a shame to miss the last one!

Travelling with a pet? Check this out: apart from nearly 20 people (that’s the capacity of the boat) I was sailing with …a dog! You can take your pet on the sailing trip and what’s more, for free! Actually, the whole Czech Switzerland is very pet-friendly and ALWAYS I was meeting the owners of pets of all siezes and breeds on the trekking paths 🙂

From there, you can choose another trekking or go back to the starting point and catch a bus back to Decin 🙂

BASE: DECIN

TRANSPORT: bus Decin – Mezna – Decin 44CZK (one way, btw, card payment available) departs regularly from the bust station in Decin. It stops, among others, in Mezna, Mezni Louka Hotel, Hrensk. You will catch it easily!

COSTS: bus ticket 44CZK (one way), boat 4euro, entrance to the viewing platform 3,5euro

TIME: it took me, more or less, 4hrs (however, I take A LOT OF photos and videos)

LEVEL: easy

Hope you like the first trekking in Czech Switzerland! Let me know and make sure to read my other articles about this place, ’cause it has way more to offer!

Ciao 🙂

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