You may have noticed that all of my walk itineries have something in common ; they are all deserted ! Rarely do you cross paths with another human and your dog is constantly off-leash.
This walk is therefore an exception ; in fact, the other extreme entirely (unless you do it in February and miss out the section in the gorges). However, I decided to include it in my blog because if you can bear walking alongside many other people (mainly German, as the location is just next to the border), then you will not regret the drive, nor walking with humanity, as the scenery is literally breath taking.
There are many other itineries in this area – known as České Švýcarsko, Bohemian Switzerland. The name of this region (which was pronounced a national park at the Millenium 2000) was inspired by two Swiss artists who were reminded of their homeland. Apart from the gorges which are closed in Winter, all my other itineries in the region can be done during any season and I will detail some of my favourites which if done between end of Jan – March, are totally deserted and much more fun for you and your dog.
This present itinery (which includes the gorges) is only feasible between 30th March – first weekend in November as outwith this period, the boats do not operate. Your dog can take the boats too (muzzled and for a fee of 40 kč). I took my dogs, knowing that it wouldn’t be the walk they’d rave about most.
Access : Drive from Prague in the Ustí nad Labem direction and make for Hřensko. Park at Mezní Louka
Difficulty :easy (leisurely) Distance : 18,5 Km Time :4,5 h (but can easily span into a leisurely day trip)
summarized itinery : mezni louka (blue trail) – Divoká Soutěska (yellow) – mezní můstek (yellow) – Tichá soutěska – Hřensko – hotel klepač (red) – Pravčická brána (red green) – mezní louka
Detailed itinery : From the carpark at mezní louka, walk out onto the main road and go right, past the hotel. You will then follow blue trail markers down a wide path, through a beautiful forest towards the river. At Divoká Soutěska, switch to the yellow trail where you will walk along the right hand side of the river, treading on modern wooden boarding. These gorges (Kamnitz Gorges) were widened in 1889 by Prince Edmund (an Austro Hungarian family of duo Bohemian and Catholic Dutch noble origin).
When you cross the little bridge, you will find yourself at the first boat jetty. It costs 80 kč for adults and 40 kč per dog. You will embark and be transported by a cheery Czech gondalier the length of Divoká soutěska (which translates as “wild gorge” but certainly not “wild” in the sense of “white water rafting wild”, as it is very tranquil). When you disembark, you will continue to follow the yellow trail, now along the left side of the river. The scenery is beautifully picturesque and you will arrive at Edmundová soutěska, Edmund’s gorge where there is a snack bar and your next point of embarcation. This gondola ride is slightly shorter but also beautiful and will leave you at Tichá soutěska. Your gondolier will point out various rocks along the way , all of which have been named : King Kong, little tortoise, baby snake …. You then continue on the yellow trail until you reach the road, at Hřensko-hotel klepač.
Now you must switch to the red trail which follows the road up to the right. Soon the red trail leaves the road and you will head up to the left for a steady climb. Keep on the red trail all the way to the sandstone archway. You can enjoy a cool drink sitting almost under the arch.
The Falkon’s nest, Sokolí hnízdo was built in 1881 by Prince Edmund of Clary-Aldringen. In order to walk right up to the top to get a perfect view of the arch, you need to pay at the turnstile. The sight is absolutely fantastic ; one of nature’s many wonders. This natural sandstone arch is the biggest in Europe, and spans 26,5 m with an inside height of 16m. Unbelievably, visitors used to be able to walk along the top of the arch however the erosion which resulted from this practice, finally caused access to the top of the arch, to be prohibited.
Finally, follow the red/green trail, known as Gabriel’s way, all the way back through the rocky trail and beautiful forest to Mezní Louka, where you can enjoy a nice meal or snack, in the restaurant or Summer snack bar Fořta, at the foot of the trail, opposite the carpark.
We hope you have enjoyed seeing Edmund’s gorge and the magnificent Pravčická Brána.