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Bohemian Switzerland

Prague offers visitors an abundance of big-city charm and medieval architecture, but there’s plenty more on offer in the Czech Republic. One of those places on the must-see list is Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Park, which is just a 90-minute drive from Prague. Its short distance means that day trips from Prague to Bohemian Switzerland are particularly popular with tourists and locals alike.

If you’re looking for an alternative to the atmosphere of an urban city, Bohemian Switzerland National Park might just be the answer. It’s a million miles away from Prague in terms of look and feel. There’s no sign of city life here - instead, you’ll find towering cliffs, roaming farmland, rock formations and quaint villages that offer an escape from the always-on-the-go-lifestyle.

How to get to Bohemian Switzerland from Prague, and how long does it take?

There are several ways to get to Bohemian Switzerland from Prague.

  • Car - Journey times take around 90 minutes by car, with a distance of 125km between Prague and Bohemian Switzerland.
  • Train - There is a train service from Prague, which stops at Decin. From Decin, you need to take a transfer to Hrensko, which is at the beginning of the national park. The train takes around 90 minutes.
  • Tours - Tour operators provide transport, either from your hotel or a pre-agreed pick-up point in Prague. This way, you don’t need to worry about getting to Bohemian Switzerland by yourself.

How much do day trips from Prague to Bohemian cost?

Many tours will be labelled as “Bohemian Switzerland” and “Saxon Switzerland” day trips. This is because the national park covers both the Czech Republic and Germany and, contrary to popular belief, none of Switzerland. There are two primary tour types to Bohemian Switzerland, group tours and private tours.

  • Group tours - Most group tours include a guide and a visit to Bohemian Switzerland’s popular attractions, such as Pravcicka Gate and Bastei Bridge. Pick-up and drop-off are included, with journeys taking around 10-12 hours. Prices start from about €150 per person.
  • Private tours - Ideal if you want a more personal experience or have your own small group. Private tours start from around €500, with a maximum of 6 people per tour. If you’re visiting as a group of 6, the price works at approximately €83 per person. If it’s just 2 people, then expect to pay around €250 each.

What are the best places to see on day trips from Prague to Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland?

Pravcicka Gate

Many day trips from Prague to Bohemian Switzerland include a hike to Pravcicka Gate, where you will see the largest natural arch in Europe and second-largest in the world. Once you’re at the gate, set your eyes on majestical sights such as the sprawling woodland that surrounds the Pravcicka.

Bastei

Bohemian Switzerland continues into Germany, where it’s also known as Saxon Switzerland. It’s here where those on day trips from Prague to Bohemian Switzerland will find Bastei, which features a sandstone bridge overlooking the cliffs. The bridge leads to an 11th-century castle called Neurathen, and there are sweeping views on offer at its entrance.

Tisa Rock Labyrinth

Not technically part of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, but located close enough to make it on the list. Found near the village of Tisa, the rock forms towers, gorges, caves and squares - to the point where it feels like a city entirely made from rocks has been erected. Mountain climbers are particularly fond of the Tisa Rock Labyrinth, yet it can still be explored without any climbs.

Gorges of Kamenice

The Gorges of Kamenice represent an opportunity to view gorges created by the Kamenice river. The hiking trail along the river will take you to a set of canyons: Wild Gorge, where the surrounding nature is wild and untouched, and Edmund Gorge, otherwise known as Silent Gorge, thanks to the tranquil silence on offer where it lies.

Elbe Canyon

The largest sandstone canyon in Europe, Elbe Canyon lies between the cities of Decin and Hrenski. It’s a favourite with hikers, cyclists and those who enjoy boat trips - with views on offer that include Dresden in Germany. Belvedér is the most well-known viewpoint with its panoramas of the river and canyon. Previously, it was a concert venue for the local aristocracy.

Kirnitzsch Tramway

The Kirnitzsch Tramway stretches 8 kilometres long and has been a transport method for visitors to the national park as far back as 1898. On the way, it passes the Kirnitzsch valley and features many scenic sights. From dominating cliffs to bright green valleys, The Kirnitzsch Tramway really does epitomise taking “the scenic route”.

Narnia filming sites

Movie buffs will be keen to explore parts of Bohemian Switzerland National Park, thanks to it being the location for some of the hit Narnia films. Locals even refer to the park as “the Land of Narnia”. Tisa Rocks, Pravcicka Gate, and Bastei Bridge were all locations where The Chronicles of Narnia was filmed.

Saunstejn Castle

A rock castle near the Vysoka Lípa in Bohemian Switzerland, Saunstejn Castle is popular with those on day trips from Prague. It was built in the 14th century to protect the Old Bohemian Road, which was a trade route between Bohemia and Lusatia. Today, only a few ruins remain from the castle. Visitors can still see the foundations of the wooden superstructure and several rooms of the castle.

Mariina Skala

Mariina Skala, otherwise known as Mary’s Rock, is a 428 m rocky hill near the village of Jetrichovice. It’s one of the best viewpoints in the park, which makes Mary’s Rock a common stop during an excursion from Prague to Bohemian Switzerland. A photographer’s dream, make sure to take plenty of snaps of the views from the rock, which includes nearby forests and far away mountains.

When is the best time to visit Bohemian Switzerland?

The best time to visit Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland on a day trip from Prague depends on your preference.

Autumn is full of colour, with the leaves on trees turning into a rich, golden brown; the winter offers stunning sights in the form of snow-capped mountains. Wintertime is much colder, with the temperature known to go into minus in January and February. The summer is also a great time to visit, thanks to it being hiking season and the chance to see the lush greens of the forests.

Travel tips

  • Expect to do a good amount of walking during your day trip from Prague to Bohemian Switzerland.
  • As a result of lots of walking, it’s a good idea to wear appropriate footwear.
  • You don’t need to bring a packed lunch, as there are many cafes and places to eat along the way
  • Bring a good camera - you will want to take plenty of photos
  • If you’ve booked a tour, your guide will take you to the best landmarks.