Although the area of all National Parks of the Czech Republic covers only 1,5% of the country, the protected nature is so unique and exceptional in Europe that ranks them as one of the most beautiful national parks in all of Europe. Well-marked trails suitable for hiking, cycling or skiing activities are a guarantee of great active holidays spent in the heart of Europe.
National Parks of the Czech Republic
1. Czech Switzerland National Park – unique sandstone mountains
Czech Switzerland National Park covers an area of 80 square kilometers and is located in the northern part of the country. It is the youngest of four national parks in the Czech Republic established back in 2000.
Pravčická brána, Czech Switzerland National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by gravitat-OFF
Its area is covered by forests and together with the neighboring Saxon Switzerland National Park in Germany protect unique sandstone territories across Europe. Here you will meet even with some folk architecture, which is preserved in the surrounding villages.
Pravčická brána is a symbol of this national park and one of its most attractive places to visit. It is also the biggest natural arch in Europe made of sandstone.
Best starting points for exploring the area of Czech Switzerland National Park include Hřensko, Jetřichovice or Kyjov.
Gorges in Hřensko, Czech Switzerland National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by andreasmetallerreni (pixabay.com)
There are several gorges located near the village Hřensko. The two most famous of them are known as Divoká (Wild) and Edmund’s gorges. You can explore them on a raft or on foot.
On a tour through Czech Switzerland National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Julius
Sandstone rock wall in Czech Switzerland National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Julius
One of the things I liked the most during the tour around this national park were the high sandstone rock towers built by nature that we were passing by and the great green forest all around.
However, I didn’t like walking on the sandy trails too much as we came back home with our shoes full of sand. But it was worth it anyway! 🙂
Walking along the high sandstone tower, Czech Switzerland National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Julius
2. Šumava National Park – the largest national park
Šumava National Park is with its area of 680 square kilometers the largest national park in the Czech Republic, established already in 1991. It continues on the German side as Bavarian Forest National Park and together form one of the largest forest complexes in Central Europe covering an area of 920 square kilometers.
Cross-country skiing trail, Sumava National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Julius
In 1990 it has been listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Forest. There are lots of hiking and cycling trails throughout the national park and during winter it is an ideal destination for those who like cross-country skiing.
The best starting points are Prášily, Železná Ruda, Srní, Jelení and its most beautiful places include Bílá Strž waterfall, Černé jezero glacial lake among others.
Plešné jezero lake, Sumava National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Donald Judge
Typical landscape in Sumava National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Zdenek Svoboda
If you like Czech nature, then you will also like its cities and towns – read more about them in another article – 30 of the Most Beautiful Cities and Towns in the Czech Republic.
3. Krkonoše National Park – the highest mountains
Krkonoše are the highest mountains of the Czech Republic and also one of the coldest places in the country. Founded in 1963, Krkonoše National Park is the oldest national park in the Czech Republic.
This national park offers some of the most famous winter resorts in the country with great ski slopes, maintained cross-country tracks and, of course, the perfect snow conditions prevailing usually from late November until late April.
Hiking trail to Sněžka, Krkonoše National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Julius
Even during the summer, it is one of the most sought-after destinations among lovers of mountain hiking. There are 800 kilometers of marked hiking and cycling trails throughout the park, so it is not likely you will make all of them during one week holiday. 🙂
As other national parks, even this one has its part in another country – Poland, where it is known as Karkonosze National Park. They together form a Biosphere Reserve that is inscribed on UNESCO Heritage List.
Chairlift and ski jumps in Harrachov, Krkonoše National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Krzysiu “Jarzyna” Szymański
Some of the best resorts include Harrachov, Špindlerův Mlýn, or Pec pod Sněžkou from where you can get on top of the highest mountain in the Czech Republic – Sněžka (1602 m). And finally, do not forget to visit Pančava waterfall – the highest waterfall in the country!
Pančava waterfall, Krkonoše National Park, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Jakub jaros
4. National Park Podyjí – smallest but unique
National park Podyjí together with its Austrian part called National Park Thayatal protect a unique natural area in Europe. The core of the national park is made of very well preserved forested area in the valley of the river Dyje (Thaya).
Although this is the smallest park in the Czech Republic, National Park Podyjí boasts an extraordinary number of unique plants and animal species. However, this national park offers more than just amazing nature with unique flora and fauna. Its visitors can also find historical buildings, technical monuments, rural architecture and small picturesque villages and towns around the park.
National Park Podyjí, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Martin Vavřík
76 kilometers of well-marked hiking trails are waiting for you and take you through all natural landmarks of the national park including river valley, attractive lookouts, moors and numerous historical monuments on both sides of the border.
Don’t worry if you prefer cycling as the half of all tourists coming to National Park Podyjí are coming here on their bikes as it offers also ideal cycling conditions.
Znojmo, National Parks of the Czech Republic by RomanM82
You can start your tour in Znojmo, which is well known for its wines or on the opposite side of the park in Vranov nad Dyjí where is also one of the most beautiful water reservoirs in the Czech Republic.
Where to go further?
These were National parks of the Czech Republic, but by far not all of the country’s natural places. You can further visit Czech Paradise protected landscape or Adršpach-Teplice Rocks which are famous for their sandstone formations.
And finally, there are already some negotiations to make Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area a new national park in the Czech Republic.
Czech Paradise Nature Reserve, National Parks of the Czech Republic by Julius
Which parts of the Czech national parks have you already visited? Tell us below in the comments.