- Not to be confused with Switzerland, a country hundreds of miles to the southwest.
Bohemian Switzerland National Park (Národní Park České Švýcarsko) is in North Bohemia.
Bohemian Switzerland (Czech: České Švýcarsko; German: Böhmische Schweiz), also known as Czech Switzerland, is a picturesque region in the north-western Czech Republic. It lies on the Czech side of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains north of Děčín on both sides of the Elbe River. It extends eastward into the Lusatian Mountains and westward into the Ore Mountains. Its highest elevation is the mountain Děčínský Sněžník at 726m above sea level. It has been a protected area (as ChKO Labske Piskovce) since 1972.
The region along the right side of the Elbe became a national park on January 1, 2000, the České Švýcarsko National Park. The National Park is adjacent to the Saxon Switzerland National Park (Sächsische Schweiz) in Germany.
As early as 1972, the whole of Bohemian Switzerland was placed under protection. When, in 1990, the status of Saxon Switzerland was raised to that of a national park, efforts were stepped up to place the Bohemian part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains under national park protection as well. A plan devised in 1991 envisaged that this would also include the Růžovský vrch (formerly Rosenberg). This plan was heavily resisted by various groups, such as the owners of hunting land and the forestry industry. A compromise proposal also fell on stony ground.
In 1999 the Czech government decided to create the Bohemian Switzerland National Park (Národní park České Švýcarsko) to its originally envisaged extent. On 1 January 2000 the valuable forest and rock landscape, the gorges of the Kamnitz and the area around the Růžovský vrch were given national park status. The headquarters of the national park authority is located in Krásná Lípa (Schönlinde), and there are information offices in Hřensko (Herrnskretschen) and Jetřichovice (Dittersbach).
Flora and fauna
- There are buses into and through the park from Děčín, notably the 434, which run approximately hourly.
- There are buses to Mezní Louka via Hřensko from Schmilka, a short ferry ride from a stop on the Dresden S-Bahn (8 per day). Three of these originate in Königstein and pass through Bad Schandau.
- There is a ferry (1.50€) to Hřensko from the Schöna terminus of the Dresden S-Bahn.
- A more expensive tourist "train" (bus) runs from Konečná to Mezní Louka via Hřensko six times per day, usually just ahead of the other buses.
- A local train line from Děčín to Rumburk and Sebnitz in Germany serves towns on the eastern side of the park including Krásná Lípa, and skirts the park boundary for several km.
Fees and permits
- 1 Pravčická Brána (Großes Prebischtor). The largest sandstone natural bridge in Europe, with a height of 16m and a span of 26.5m. It has been open as a tourist attraction since 1826 and is one of the most impressive natural monuments in this mountain range. The entire area is privately owned by the former hotel and now restaurant Sokolí hnízdo. It is accessible via a 4 km long hiking trail from Hřensko, or a more scenic (and gradual) 7km route from Mezní Louka. There are short trails to several breathtaking viewpoints. It cannot be accessed outside business hours, which are seasonal. 75Kč.
- 2 Edmundova Soutěska (Edmundsklamm). The lower of two narrow canyons on the Kamenice River. A trail was hacked through the canyon in 1889, with a gap of perhaps 700m where you take a boat (140Kč). The boats run from 09:00 - 17:00, with the last boat downstream (toward Hřensko) at 18:00 (reduced hours outside summer).
- 3 Divoká Soutěska (Wilde Klamm). The upper of two narrow canyons on the Kamenice River. This one has been open for hiking since 1898, but its trail has a gap of 350m where you take a boat (140Kč). The boats run from 09:00 - 17:00 (reduced hours outside summer).
- 4 Dolský Mlýn (Grundmühle). Former watermill in a canyon, now dilapidated and scenically overgrown. Dating to at least the 1500s, it was abandoned in 1945.
- Apartment Cottage, Kamenná Horka 110 (Krasna Lipa, center Bohemian Switzerland), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Family accommodation with a large garden, a natural swimming pond.