Welcome to Bohemian Switzerland, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Europe. This picturesque region in Czech Republic boasts breathtaking landscapes, magnificent rock formations, and enchanting forests.
Take advantage of my sample itinerary and start planning an adventure-filled weekend getaway to Decin – gateway to Bohemian Switzerland.
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How to get to Decin and Bohemian Switzerland
To reach Decin, the gateway to Bohemian Switzerland, several transportation options are available. If traveling internationally, the most convenient way is to fly into Prague's Václav Havel Airport and then take a train or bus to Decin.
From Prague, there are regular train services to Decin, with a journey time of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Alternatively, one can opt for a direct bus service from Prague to Decin, which takes around 2 hours.
If already in the Czech Republic or a neighboring country, Decin can be easily accessed by train or bus from various cities, including Dresden, Berlin, and Hamburg in Germany. Aboard the train, you’ll be granted scenic views of the surrounding countryside along the Elbe River, adding to the overall charm of the journey.
Where to Stay in Decin
Day 1: Arrival and Kamenice Gorge (plus Prebischtor)
Upon arrival in Decin, take a moment to soak in the charming atmosphere of this historic town. Stroll through the streets, marvel at Decin Castle, and savor a delightful breakfast at Kafe na Mape for a tasty bagel and scenic views.
Embark on an adventure to the renowned Kamenice Gorge, a true natural wonder. Take a short train ride to Hřensko (train station: Schöna, on the German side), a small village at the gorge's entrance. Hike into the gorge and hop on a boat to navigate the emerald waters of the Kamenice River, surrounded by towering sandstone formations.
After the boat trip, head to Mezni Louka for lunch (try U Fortuna for traditional Czech dishes) before continuing to Prebischtor, the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe. Follow well-marked trails through forests, wooden bridges, and rocky pathways. You'll be rewarded with stunning vistas.
While Prebischtor is a popular and therefore busy destination, you should still be able to enjoy some tranquility along the extensive trail network leading to and from Prebischtor.
Return to Decin and enjoy a relaxing evening at a local restaurant like U Mostu, savoring traditional Czech cuisine and regional specialties. Try regional specialties like svíčková (marinated beef with cream sauce), vepřo-knedlo-zelo (roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut), or trdelník (a sweet pastry).
Day 2: Hiking in Jetrovice
Rise early for a packed second day. After breakfast, head to Jetrovice, a small Czech village nestled in the Bohemian Switzerland hills. Reach Jetrovice from Decin by train (around 20 minutes) or bus (30-40 minutes).
Explore stunning hiking trails, such as the round trip to Jetřichovice Rocks, known for its captivating beauty. The 4-5-hour hike includes ascents to Falkenstein Castle, Rudolfstein, and Mariina skála, offering panoramic views across Bohemian Switzerland.
While the narrow staircases do overcome quite some differences in altitude, the trails are well secured and once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of panoramic views.
Return to Decin and enjoy a meal at Pizzerie u Nuhiho for classic Italian delights. The welcoming owner (and cook) serves mouthwatering classic Italian delights, from brischetta, to pizza and pasta. After dinner, take a leisurely walk along the Elbe River, admiring the illuminated Decin Castle.
Day 3: Departure and Reflection
On your final day in Decin, it’s time for one final hike, this time in Decin itself.
This last scenic walk starts in Decin Nemocnice, the final stop on city bus 201 and 207 or a short walk from Armex Live Centrum. Enter the park located behind Decin Hospital, from where a paved path leads up to the panoramic terrace and sandstone obelisk at the top of the Quaderberg bluff. The spot offers a great view of the city and the Elbe canyon.
From here, the red trail sets off along the ridge. It’s an easy walk to the views at Sneznicka vyhlidka and the picturesque stone pavilion Labska straz. To go back down, you may either take the same way back or take the trail winding its way down through the forest from the stone pavilion.
As your weekend adventure comes to an end, bid farewell to Decin and Bohemian Switzerland. Whether you're heading home or continuing your travels, you'll (hopefully) leave with a deep appreciation for the rich heritage that make Bohemian Switzerland a true haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.