Many claim Pravcicka Gate to be the main attraction of the National Park. It’s like Tower Bridge in London or Sagrada Familia in Barcelona- a must-see on your trip list to Bohemian Switzerland.
To VISIT OR NOT TO VISIT?
While it’s a truly extraordinary and unbelievably beautiful natural phenomenon, it’s unfortunately also one of the most visited hiking trails in the whole region. Unless you plan to have a date with nature only, go ahead. There’re more tourists than you can imagine, especially at the gate itself. People coming from different directions all meet here. I don’t of course imply that you shouldn’t go there, because it would be a pity not to see 16 meters tall and 26 meters wide gate, but bide your time.
CHOOSE YOUR WAY
There’re several ways to get to Pravcice Sandstone Gate, depending on your accommodation choose either Hrensko, Tri Prameny, Mezni Louka or Mezna as your starting point. If you start in Mezni Louka, follow the red path which goes along the educational trail as well. There’re interesting points described on the information boards (German and Czech subscriptions only). It’s around 6 kilometers to the Gate from here. On your way back you may follow the red path to Hrensko and combine the trip with a boat. Hop on a ferryboat on Kamenice River (so-called Edmundova souteska) and get back on a green path from Mezna to Mezni Louka.
During the high season, the bus drives every hour or so between Decin and Mezna. Sadly in late October, the situation looks different. It runs only a few times a day, and the last one in the direction to Mezna leaves after 6. It’s better to study the schedule thoroughly beforehand. Take notice of tiny, little marks-they all have meaning.
If you want to go by car, park at one of the parking spaces in Hrensko, close to Tri Prameny or Mezni Louka. The full-day price for parking is 120 kc or 20 kc per hour. Besides chargeable parking spots, I didn’t see any free parking over there.
NO BIKES ALLOWED
Maybe because of the season or because of the restrictions, I didn’t see many bikers around. No bikes are allowed in the first zone of the National Park, the same goes for a path leading to Pravcicka Gate. There’re around 55 kilometers of cycling paths in the area, however as long as you want to get to some attractions, either it’s forbidden or barely possible on a bike.
The terrain to Pravcicka gate was, without doubt, varied, some climbs were difficult and grueling. The 3-hour walk among the majestic rock villages and sandstone formations, combined with a view of picturesque villages, dreamy valleys, or romantic rivers will last in our memory forever. No matter if you visit Bohemian Switzerland during summer or in the middle of autumn, breathtaking panoramas will remain the same. Everything started 90 million years ago when the area was covered by a shallow and warm sea. Sand laying on the ground gave birth to this empire of rocks. Each and every one of them is unique in shape and color.
NO SLEEPING ZONE
In October and November mind the earlier arrival of nights and sudden drop of temperature as you plan your trip because you may be trapped in the middle of the forest and since sleeping in the first zone of BH National Park is prohibited it may be a tough night. Take your light with you, no matter how early you set off, it may be useful on the way.