Czech Switzerland and its surroundings
Czech Switzerland National Park
was declared as of 1 January 2000 and 97% of its area are covered by forests. The headquarters of the National Park Administration are located in the town of Krásná Lípa. Unique geomorphology of the rock city and related diversity of plants and animals are the main objects of protection in the České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland) National Park. Typical are countless ledges, canyons, sandstone towers and table mountains rising above the boundless sea of forests which literally consternate each perceptive visitor. The landscape of the Czech Cretaceous Basin is enriched by tertiary igneous rocks dominated by the highest mountain of the České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland) National Park - Růžovský vrch (619 m, national nature reserve) with primaeval forest ecosystems.
The Labe canyon, by contrast, represents the lowest point in the Czech Republic (114 m). There are well-preserved remains of natural forests on inaccessible buttresses with rare animals such as garden dormouse, grey falcon, black stork, bobcat or insect species that cannot be seen anywhere else; of vascular plants, let's mention at least typical marsh tea, ground yew, twoflower violet or twisted stalk. Typical is extensive presence of fernworts with hard-fern being the characteristic species in the territory. Of non-vascular plants, we can find various types of hornworts and many rare fish species.
Typical is climatic inversion when the cold wind flows down the bottoms of gorges which results in so-called vegetation inversion. As a result, there are submontane and montane animal and plant species at altitudes of around 150 metres above sea level. In addition, the unusual harmony of nature is supplemented by numerous monuments of national architecture - timbered and upper lusatian half-timbered houses in municipalities along the borderline of the National Park.
Tips for trips
The České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland) National Park attracts visitors and cyclists to a whole number of atractions, unique natural monuments and a large number of breathtaking views. Go out and explore the youngest but the more interesting national park at the border of the Czech Republic and Germany. Also nature lovers will be happy here as the local nature hides various ranges of plants and rare species of animal. And if wandering around the national park is not enough, it is possible to visit the Saxon Switzerland in the neighbouring Germany.
A unique stone formation which is the symbol of the České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland) National Park is situated not far from Hřensko. There is no larger sandstone stone bridge in Europe. In its vicinity, there are several observation points offering a clear view of it or you can admire the dominant of the entire region from Falcon's Nest pleasure chateau where there is not only a restaurant but also the National Park Museum.
Tourist trails through the České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland) National Park also lead to the river Kamenice which offers a favourite attraction for the tourists - a trip through gorges, deep canyons between the sandstone rocks. The first one, Edmund's Gorge was opened as early as in 1890, and Wild Gorge was added just 8 years later. Since then, you can enjoy the trip with a commentary of the ferryman who controls the ferryboat with a pole to this day. Adventure walk along the river features overhanging rocks, narrow footlogs, bridges and tunnels.
Jetřichovice observation points
An 8-kilometre walk along the nature trail from Jetřichovice will guide the visitors through sandstone rock area which is rich in rock cities, walls and other formations. The main destinations are 3 peaks with lookout alcove - Maria's lookout, Vilemína's wall and Rudolf's stone. The hike which is rather strenuous is rewarded by beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
From the bird's-eye view
There are numerous observation points and lookout towers in the Czech-Saxon Switzerland. You can feast your eyes on the natural sceneries throughout the year from an open lookout tower at the Pastýřská stěna (Shepherd's Wall) in Děčín from which the longest via ferrata in the Czech Republic is also accessible. Other breathtaking views open up from the Růžová vyhlídka (Rose Lookout), Spravedlnost (Justice) hill or from the peaks of Tiské stěny (Tisá Walls). Růžový vrch (Rose Hill) with the height of 619 metres above sea level is the highest point of the national park.
Also the German side of the park offers amazing views, e.g. from the Bastei stone bridge, from the Affensteine stone group and, mainly, from Carolafelsen, the highest and most frequently visited point, as well as from Zirkelstein table mountain.
Through the national park in a saddle
There are almost 50 kilometres of marked cycling routes leading directly through the České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland) National Park along which visitors can explore the beauties of picturesque landscape. The favourite routes include well-maintained Labe cycling route or the cross-border route along the Křinice valley and the Labe canyon. Enthusiasts will surely appreciate hippo-routes offering up to 37 kilometres of itineraries through parks reserved for horse riding.
A municipality situated in the lowest point of the Czech Republic with its 115 metres above sea level is the so-called entry point to the České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland) National Park which makes it an ideal starting point for trips to Pravčická brána or to the gorges. But even Hřensko itself offers a view of the remarkable natural scenery, a valley situated between high rock walls at the confluence of the rivers Labe and Kamenice.