Gabrielina stezka in Czech Switzerland. via NP České Švýcarsko

Czech Switzerland dominates the list of the Czech Republic’s top 10 natural attractions

Seven of the top 10 natural sights in the Czech Republic are in Czech Switzerland

While foreign tourists flock to Prague in the summer, local residents try to get out of the city and see some of the Czech Republic’s natural wonders.

In terms of the overall numbers of visitors, seven of the top 10 natural sights are in one area known as Czech Switzerland (České Švýcarsko). The national park in the northwestern part of the country covers 79 square kilometers. It is filled with large sandstone outcroppings and has a long colorful history as a place where not only the rich would build castles, but robbers would hide. It has also a favorite location for filmmakers both in the past and present.

Moravia, the eastern half of the Czech Republic boasts two top natural sights and there is one in Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj) in the Hradec Králové region.

The list comes from CzechTourism and relies on absolute figures of visitors without much editorial judgment. The main sights in Czech Switzerland and the trails leading to them, and even a crossroad along the way, are counted as separate items. The top two items are a large canyon, and a smaller section of the same canyon counted as its own attraction.

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Places that didn’t make the list include sights in the Šumava forest and the Krkonoše mountains, which are also worth a look.

The top 10 nature sights according to statistics from CzechTourism are:

10. Soorgrund
České Švýcarsko, Ústí nad Labem region

Also called Drozdí soutěska, Soorgrund is a romantic spot with a waterfall and high rock formations on the stream called Koutský potok, in the wildest and best-preserved part of Czech Switzerland.

It is on the blue-marked hiking path that meets a bus stop called Jetřichovice, Vysoká Lípa, Divoká soutěska. The closest village is Vysoká Lípa.

More here.

Number of visitors in 2018: 123,100

9: Mezná
České Švýcarsko, Ústí nad Labem region

The village of Mezná serves as a gateway to much of Czech Switzerland and is a stop on an education trail established in the 1970s. The same trail leads to Edmundova soutěska and Pravčická brána, the second and third most visited nature spots. Mezná itself, with fewer than 50 permanent residents, has folk architecture and views of the rocky landscape. Camping — for caravans, tents and under the stars — is allowed nearby at Mezní Louka.

More here.

Number of visitors in 2018: 123,400

8: Živá voda Modrá
Modrá, Zlín region

An underwater tunnel is the main attraction at Živá voda Modrá. The name “živá voda” means living water. Unlike most other natural sights on the list, this is more of a small educational theme park, and it charges a modest admission. People can learn about the flora and fauna of the Morava river and its surroundings.

More here.

Number of visitors in 2018: 130,000

Prachovské skály
Prachovské skály. via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

7: Prachovské skály
Prachov, Hradec Králové region

The towering sandstone rocks known as Prachovské skály (Prachov Rocks) rise up in the forest not far from the town of Jičín, which also is worth a quick look. The rocks formed some 60 million years ago, and have been aged by rain and other natural forces. Some of the rocks have colorful names like Devil’s Kitchen.

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The rocks are part of the Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj) protected landscape, and easily reachable by bus or car, or on trails from Jičín. There is a modest admission fee to the area with the rocks.

More here.

Number of visitors in 2018: 162,500

6: Gabrielina stezka
České Švýcarsko, Ústí nad Labem region

The trail Gabrielina stezka is considered the best in Czech Switzerland, offering some good exercise and incredible views of the area. It connects the Mezní Louka campground to the rock arch Pravčická brána. The trail is named after the sister of 19th century Austro-Hungarian Prince Edmund Clary-Aldringen, who promoted tourism in the area.

More here

Number of visitors in 2018: 179,100

Punkevní jeskyně
Punkevní jeskyně. via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.5

5: Punkevní jeskyně and Macocha
Vavřinec, South Moravia

South Moravia is home to a network of caves, with Punkevní jeskyně (Punkva Caves) and the Macocha Gorge among the most accessible. The caves, discovered in the early 19th century, are north of Brno, near the town of Blansko. The cave walls and ceilings feature stalactites and stalagmites. The Macocha Gorge is 139 meters deep.

Visits are only possible in a tour, which includes a boat trip on an underground river for part of the way.

More here

Number of visitors in 2018: 217,000

4: Tři prameny
České Švýcarsko, Ústí nad Labem region

Another stop in Czech Switzerland, the crossroad at Tři prameny (Three Springs) is between the town of Hřensko, the campground at Mezní Louka and the Pravčická brána stone gate.

Number of visitors in 2018: 254,200

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3: Pravčická brána
České Švýcarsko, Ústí nad Labem region

The natural rock arch Pravčická brána (Pravčice Gate) is the largest of its type in Europe. Film fans may recognize it from the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen visited twice in the 1800s. Due to the fragile state of the rocks, it has not been possible to climb on it since the 1980s.

The gate and the nearby Sokolí hnízdo (Falcon’s Nest) chateau, built by Prince Edmund Clary-Aldringen, are private property. A modest admission fee is required to get close to the arch and helps to cover the costs of preserving it.

Pravčická brána
Pravčická brána. via iStock

More here

Number of visitors in 2018: 270,800

2: Edmundova soutěska
České Švýcarsko, Ústí nad Labem region

Boat trips can be arranged on Edmundova soutěska (Edmond Gorge), a canyon with high cliff and a part of the Kamenice River. The gorge is named for Prince Edmund Clary-Aldringen, who built bridges and weirs to make it accessible. There is a trail from Mezná to the boat landing and another landing at Hrensko. The boat tours have a fee. Bikes are not allowed on the boats. Trails for hiking are above on top of the cliffs. Edmundova soutěska was previously called Tichá soutěska (Quiet Gorge).

More here

Number of visitors in 2018: 280,700

1: Soutěsky Kamenice
České Švýcarsko, Ústí nad Labem region

A collective name for the gorges on the Kamenice River. In addition to Edmundova soutěska, there is also the Divoká soutěska, or Wild Gorge, that can be seen by boat. It goes from Mezná in the opposite direction of the Edmundova soutěska.

Number of visitors in 2018: 402,000

More here

Kamenice River. via iStock

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