Have you ever walked in Divoká Šárka and thought “This would be so wonderful if only it weren’t so crowded.”? Well perhaps you’ve just not been choosing the best trail!
Pähkel, whose Estonian name is a translation of the French one Noisette which was given to her at birth exactly five years ago to the day, had a spring in her step as she proudly led us round this demanding 9Km circuit. Gripping a precious stick between her jaws for the entire 2 hours, this comical, sociable Boxer introduced us to a carefully chosen circuit which deviates from the more popular paths, without missing any of the spectacular viewpoints.
Difficulty: moderate to difficult Distance : 9Km Time : approx 2h
Tips: Although the climbs are fairly strenuous, the paths are not dangerous. However several viewpoints demand that you exercise caution and it is advisable to put your dog on leash or have him wait at a safe distance while you approach certain cliff edges.
Divoká Šarka is our city’s largest nature reserve and is located in Prague 6. Several sources attribute its name to Šarka the warrior from the Maiden’s War in Bohemian legend who acted as bait to the chieftain Ctirad, for whom it was love at first sight. Untying her, he and his soldiers witlessly consumed the mead she offered which of course had been laced with a sleeping potion. Šarka then blew a horn to summon her female army who slaughtered the men, captured Ctirad and tortured him to death. Riddled with guilt for killing her lover, Šarka hurled herself off one of the cliff tops. However the records of Prague 6 claim that such sources are indeed mistaken and maintain that the name of the nature reserve is derived from the old Czech “šarý” meaning “dusky and dim”. Alas, we are no further assisted in determining which version is correct, as “divoká” meaning “wild” is, I believe, as fitting an epithet to describe the aforementioned lady as it is to describe such scenery!
So as you stand perched at dizzying heights on Divčí skok or on one of the other viewpoints, peering cautiously into an abyss of darkness, you can decide for yourself whether he who named the nature reserve had been inspired by the legend or enthralled by etymology. Personally, while I trust the accuracy of the Town Hall’s records, I’m inclined to find Smetana’s dramatic, poetic symphony about Šarka the warrior a rather fitting accompaniment to the landscape of Divoká Šarka!
Access: By bus, tram or metro to Nádraží Veleslavín then walk to starting point. By car: park free of charge in the car park at the end of Nad Lávkou. This is the starting point.
Detailed description: From the carpark, follow red trail markers to climb into the forest on a narrow path but where the trail dips back down again towards the left (#5) you will already leave this marked path and continue sharp right,upwards, until you arrive at the first viewpoint (#6). Four tin masks which have been nailed to a dead tree, glint in the sunlight. The view across the valley is wonderful! Then there is a choice of paths and you must continue upwards, going straight on. Go left (#7) on a path bordering the edge of the reserve. You will spot a high-rise blue and yellow building through the trees. At the end of this path, turn sharply downwards to the left. Your path will intersect the red trail once again but you will keep going straight on (#9) until you reach the cycle path, where your dog will be able to drink in Šárecký potok, then you will go left. Follow the cycle path which runs alongside the stream, cross the small wooden bridge and continue to the next wooden bridge (#10). Do not cross this bridge. Turn sharp right and you will find a wide forest trail branching up towards the right. Climb this long track through the forest, go left into a beautiful grassy field (#11) and follow the path round to the left. Your dog will be able to let off steam in the huge field to your right ; if he isn’t already exhausted that is. Follow the path veering towards the left then straight on to continue to the next viewpoint (between #15 and #16). The height of the cliff (or from your perspective the depth of the abyss) is truly breathtaking (#16)! Then retrace your steps along your access path (see map) and keep right to descend on a path which leads to Čertuv Mill. You will cross the wooden bridge to the right of this 18th Century mill and as this is the final water source on the circuit, you may want to encourage your dog to drink as he is about to endure a rather long and steep climb. And so are you! Head towards the apple orchard. This place (between #20-21) is known as přírodní divadlo and you can climb the steps of the delightful lookout pictured below.
Now, follow the path to your final viewpoint (#22) which is also the most popular one, due to its proximity to the Europska and tram stops. Inhabited apparently since the Medieval era, upon this vast hilltop plateau, between the 8th and 10th Century stood a fortified settlement. Archeological findings suggest that the settlement was an important hub for trade and perhaps gatherings of the elite. You can access more information via the link provided below.
Finally, to head back to the starting point, you may prefer to cut across the vast fields with your dog in order to avoid at least the first section of what is one of the busiest walkways in the park #23 – 24 (a surfaced path with several benches, which you will spot over to your left). Then go straight on, following the final section of this wide path and you will pass a cafe/restaurant behind the fence on your right, and finally arrive back at the car park.
Dogwalksprague wishes Pähkel the Boxer a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY !
A full online map is provided, compliments of Pähkel’s owner at 👉
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You can find further information about hradiště (the fortified settlement) here 👉