Bohemian Switzerland is hands down one of the most beautiful national parks in the Czech Republic and for good reason. You have sights like the Pravčicka Brana and the famous boat ride through the Edmund Gorge. The best part is when you hike the Pravcicka Brana trail you can do both!
This day trip from Prague will get you out of the city and into some of Czech’s most beautiful nature. It’s something the locals really take pride in. There’s a lot more to this country than just the beautiful city of Prague. Czechs love nature and they want tourists and visitors to come and enjoy their mountains and national parks too.
You’ll hike through a lot of forest and experience the best of Bohemian Switzerland on this day trip from Prague. The hiking trails in this national park are fantastic and well maintained. There’s the option of going yourself by public transport or rental car or you can have everything planned for you and do one of the awesome Bohemian Switzerland tours from Prague.
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What to expect when hiking the Pravčicka Brana Hike
On this day trip from Prague, you can expect a bit of planning for the hike. If you go on a guided tour of Bohemian Switzerland it’s a different story since they do it all for you. Going yourself or with a friend and taking public transport you’ll have to plan in advance a bit. It’s not that it’s challenging to get to but you have to switch from train to bus and do a bit of walking — but we’ll explain all that in the post.
On this trail you can expect a lot of tourists and guided tours. Bohemian Switzerland is probably one of the most popular places to hike in the Czech Republic right behind hiking the tallest mountain in Czech, Snezka Mountain!
There are plenty of trails to explore though, and a lot of people won’t be doing the whole hike that you’ll be doing so it should only be at the viewpoints where it will be really busy. The rest of the hike through the forest and through the little towns should be relatively quiet and relaxed!
You’ll get to experience and see the famous Pravčicka Brana which is a famous archway which has been seen in the Narnia movies. You also get to go down the Edmund Gorge which is also breathtaking.
This hike is not going to be a crazy challenging one but it is quite long. And since the national park is a few hours from Prague you can expect to be gone all day!
Practical information about hiking the Pravčicka Brana trail
Distance: 12.8 km return / 7.9 miles return
Elevation: Roughly 384 m / 1260 ft. elevation gain
Type: Loop trail
Length: 4.5-5.5 hours total (with breaks and enjoying the views along the way)
Difficulty: Medium-hard (lots of ascents and descent)
Starting the hike in Hrensko
Hrensko is the town that borders Bohemian Switzerland and where the majority of the trails begin. If you go by public transportation it will bring you right to Hrensko where you can start hiking towards the actual trails.
The beginning of Hrensko is fairly touristy and you’ll see a bunch of tourist shops and restaurants. Even though it’s touristy, the area is still beautiful. You get a feel for Bohemian Switzerland and start to see the sandstone that the national park is famous for.
The first section of the hike isn’t the most interesting as you’ll just be walking on the road. This section of the hike won’t last long though and soon you’ll be exploring the beautiful sandstone and forest in this national park.
Roughly 3 km into the trail you’ll have to pay attention. You’ll see some signage with a “green trail” called NS Okolím Pravčické Brány. It’ll be on your left side and that will be the actual start of the trail that leads you into the forest and to all the beautiful viewpoints in Bohemian Switzerland!
Hiking through the forest to Pravčicka Brana
Now the real fun starts! Once you’re on the “red trail” towards Pravčicka Brana you get away from the town of Hrensko and deep into the forest and onto the actual hiking trails.
This first section of the hike is usually the busiest area of Bohemian Switzerland since it’s the main trail that leads to the Pravčicka Gate and tours, locals, and hikers all take the same way up.
There’s a bit of elevation at the beginning here too so it’s probably the most challenging part of the hike which isn’t even that bad. If you do have hiking boots though then definitely bring them on this trail because sections like this one you’ll be happy you wore them!
After a few zig zags and walking in this part of Bohemian Switzerland you’ll start to see Pravčicka Brana come to view ahead of you.
Note: To enter Pravčicka Brana there is a 95 CZK/$4 fee. Once you’ve paid the fee you can explore the gate. You’ll see a restaurant, beautiful viewpoints, and the trail that continues for the rest of the hike.
Taking in the views from Pravčická Brána
This is the first iconic viewpoint along this hike. It’s also the spot where a scene from Narnia was filmed. There are plenty of awesome viewpoints you can hike up to at Pravčicka Brana. There are a few where you can hike a little higher up and get an awesome aerial view of the whole place.
If you’re feeling hungry or want a drink, the restaurant right at Pravčicka Brana is a great spot to enjoy the view for a bit. You can sit outside and sit directly in front of the iconic sandstone gate! At least if you’re lucky and it’s not too crowded.
Otherwise you can explore the area a bit, walk under the sandstone gate, and take some cool pictures before continuing on the hike towards the next viewpoint!
PS: Use the bathrooms, fill up your water, and do anything else you need to do here as the next section is quite long and there are no bathrooms along the way until you reach the town in a few hours!
From Pravčická Brána to the town of Mezna
If you do end up going on a guided tour of Bohemian Switzerland then you won’t be hiking this full section as you’ll have a shuttle that drops you off in the town of Mezna where you’ll continue to the famous Bohemian Switzerland boat ride through Edmund Gorge.
Doing this trip yourself though you’ll get to experience some parts of the national park that don’t get too busy and this section of the trail is really beautiful. In terms of scenery, it’s not out of this world but the calm and peacefulness you get walking this stretch of the hike are worth it in our opinion.
In a way it’s similar to a lot of other hikes in Czech like the hike to Velka Amerika or Vyhlidka Maj where you walk through beautiful Czech countryside. On the way from Pravčická Brána to Mezná you get that full experience where you’ll be walking both through the forest and next to towns on small country roads. It’s simply beautiful and something you can only really experience in the Czech Republic.
This is also a good section of the hike to stop at and have some lunch if you’re hungry. Resort Mezná and Hostinec Mezni Louka are both great options for lunch if you’re looking for some traditional Czech food!
At this point of the hike you’ll probably be quite hungry since you around 10 kilomenters down!
Down to the Edmund Gorge boat ride
Once you’ve enjoyed a well deserved break full of heavy Czech food, maybe some coffee, and hopefully a desert you can continue to the last stretch of the hike. This part is probably our favourite!
From the town of Mezná you’ll start by walking down a long staircase that brings you down into the gorge. You’ll get to a bridge that you’ll cross and from there you’ll turn right and start to walk parallel to the Edmund Gorge.
This section is gorgeous because you’re down in the depths of the forest walking parallel to the Kamenice River! The trail is super well maintained but it still feels like you’re very remote and deep in the Bohemian Switzerland Forest.
Once you cross the bridge and walk parallel to the gorge it’s less than 2 km of walking until you reach the point where you can’t walk anymore! That’s where you’ll finally be able to rest your legs and enjoy the famous Bohemian Switzerland boat ride.
💸 Note: Bring some cash for the boat ride. There’s a little ticket office where you can buy your tickets from. They cost less than 80 CZK / $4 a person!
Famous boat ride down the Kamenice River
Before you even hop on the boat make sure to look back and get a picture of the little log cabin behind you. It’s one of the most iconic pictures in Bohemian Switzerland and when the forest is all lush and green it looks awesome.
Everyone doing this hike or on a tour of Bohemian Switzerland will make their way to this area because the boat is the only way you can get back to Hrensko and the beginning of the hike.
You can find some information on the Edmund Gorge here which describes that area a little bit. You’ll be on the boat for roughly 20 minutes. You’ll get out right at the edge of Hrensko.
The last stretch back to Hrensko and the bus stop
The last little section of the hike is just walking back the same way you started the hike. You’ll walk by the touristy part of Hrenkso past all the shops and restaurants.
Basically, you’ll just cross the street and catch the same bus but in the opposite direction of where you came from in the morning. The buses do run fairly frequently but it also depends on what time of year you come, the day of the week, and how late in the day you get back to Hrensko.
Bonus info: Late spring/early summer and late summer/early fall are the best times to hike the Pravčicka Brana to Edmund Gorge trail. There are way fewer tourists in May-June, and September-October than during the peak summer so you will have a lot more room on the trail.
What to bring on the Pravčická Brána Trail
It’s going to be a full day trip from Prague so you’re going to want to come prepared with food, clothes, a portable charger, etc! Thankfully, there are lots of restaurants and shops in Hrensko so if you do forget food and water you can always buy some when you get there.
Bohemian Switzerland packing list:
- Water! We always fill up our LifeStraw bottles before hikes and even during them when we can. Make sure to fill it up beforehand and ask to refill it at one of the restaurants along the way.
- Sunscreen is highly recommended when hiking in the Czech Republic. There are certain sections of the hike that are quite exposed to the sun and it gets very hot in the summer in Czech!
- A power bank is always nice to have on a hike! You don’t want a dead phone halfway through a hike. Thankfully you can charge your phone on most trains in the Czech Republic.
- Proper hiking shoes are always recommended here! When hiking here in Bohemian Switzerland it’s always nice to have hiking shoes.
You can check out this great list of hiking gear to get some more inspiration!
Before you go hike in Bohemian Switzerland
Check the weather
No matter where you hike, you should always check the weather before you go. Bohemian Switzerland has pretty consistent weather and if you look a few days in advance it shouldn’t change too much.
Most of the hike is in the forest and you are quite sheltered but there are sections where you will be exposed to the sun or bad weather so it’s good to be prepared. You can see the weather for Bohemian Switzerland here.
Wear hiking shoes
Even though it’s not a hike up a mountain you’re still walking in forest trails, rocks, and all that so it’s nice to have the proper footwear. We wear our hiking boots on most hikes. You never know when the trails are going to be muddy or rocky or whatever.
Book your guided tour beforehand
If you’re taking public transport then you can completely disregard this section because you can just buy the tickets at the bus and train stations and go on your own!
However, if you’re planning on going on a guided tour it’s best to book it in advance. Bohemian Switzerland is one of the most popular day trips from Prague and the tours fill up fast. Especially because it’s just so convenient to go on a tour. They pick you up in front of your accommodation and then drop you off as well.
This guided tour of Bohemian Switzerland is our favorite one. The company is fantastic and has great guides. Lunch, snacks, and transport are all included in the price so you don’t have to worry about anything besides enjoying the day trip!
How to get to Hrensko in Bohemian Switzerland from Prague
Most people that visit Bohemian Switzerland national park come from Prague. If you’re coming from somewhere else you can still use the resources below, you just have to adjust your departure location.
Prague to Hrensko by public transport
Since there is no direct way to get from Prague to Hrensko by public transport, you have to take a train and a bus to get there.
There are essentially three steps to get to the beginning of the hiking trail in Bohemian Switzerland.
- Take the train from Prague to Decin. You can find the timetable here and book your train ticket.
- Walk from the Decin train station to the bus stop. It’s a 1-2 minute walk just on the main road in Decin.
- Take the bus from Decin to Hrensko. You can buy the ticket on the bus with cash.
The train from Prague to Decin leaves quite often from Prague. It’s best to leave early in the morning though to maximize the full day in Bohemian Switzerland. You can find the train schedule from Prague to Decin here. It takes just under 2 hours with the train and costs about 180 CZK / $7.
Once you’re in Decin, you will leave the train station and walk to the main road where the buses leave from. You’ll take it north in the direction of Hrensko. If you’re not sure you can always ask for “Hrensko” when you see a bus. The driver will hopefully understand.
The bus ride is quite short and takes about 15 minutes from Decin to Hrensko. It will be quite obvious when you get there. The scenery starts to change and you’ll even see the town at the Hrensko bus stop. The bus driver will also usually yell “Hrensko” to help all the tourists.
Remember to bring cash as you’ll need it for the bus and the boat ride in Bohemian Switzerland!
Going back to Prague from Bohemian Switzerland will be the exact same way but opposite. You’ll take the bus from Hrensko to Decin and then the train from Decin back to Prague.
Go on a guided tour
If you take the guided tour route the only thing you’ll have to worry about is waking up early enough in the morning to be outside your hotel or accommodation for pickup. Be prepared for a long day as you will be gone for 10-12 hours. When we went we were gone from around 7.30 am to 7.30 pm.
When is the best time to hike the Pravčická Brána Trail?
As we mentioned before it’s best to try and visit this national park during the shoulder season. The summer months get crazy busy with local tourists and international tourists. May through June, and September through October are great months to visit Bohemian Switzerland.
Of course, if you’re travelling during the summer it’s still going to be absolutely beautiful here it’s just going to be a bit busier. Thankfully, if you do the whole trail you’ll have sections that aren’t as busy. It’ll be more the viewpoints that will be packed with tourists!
Other related questions about Pravcicka Brana and Bohemian Switzerland
What to do in Bohemian Switzerland?
There is quite a bit to see and do in Bohemian Switzerland but it’s mostly outdoor activities and enjoying the beautiful nature. A few of the highlights in Bohemian Switzerland are Pravčicka Brána, Kamenice River, a boat ride through Edmund Gorge, and lunch in Hrensko!
The national park is quite big so there are a lot more trails and viewpoints to see but most of the stuff to do in Bohemian Switzerland will be hiking and exploring.
Where is the Bohemian Switzerland National Park?
Bohemian Switzerland National Park is roughly 2 hours north of Prague. It’s in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic and more specifically the Usti Nad Labem region of Bohemia. The national park is also close to both the German and Polish borders.
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Recap of the Pravčicka Brána hiking trail
The Pravčická Brána hiking trail is a good way to see most of the highlights in Bohemian Switzerland. You get a taste of the whole national park from the town of Hrensko to the famous sandstone gate where Narnia is filmed and then even a beautiful boat ride down the gorge.
This is a packed day trip from Prague full of fun and beautiful views, and one of the best day trips in our opinion. Whether you decide to go on your own via public transport or on a guided tour, we hope you’ll have a great time!
Bohemian Switzerland is incredible and it highlights Czech’s beautiful nature very well. Once you explore more and more places like this in the Czech Republic you’ll understand why the Czechs love the outdoors so much!
If you have any questions about this hike and day trip feel free to DM us on Instagram or leave a comment below. We hope you have the best time and enjoy this awesome national park in the Czech Republic.
Have an amazing time in Bohemian Switzerland!