Sumava, or as it is called by the Germans Bohemian Forest, is the largest forest area in Europe, which is located on the territory of three states – the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. Its area is more than 90 thousand hectares.
Since 1990 the unique nature reserve has been under UNESCO protection. The place is suitable both for active rest, as well as a great opportunity for family holidays.
Recreation and attractions
One of the most popular resting places in the Šumava region is the Lipno reservoir, whose northern shore is almost entirely built up with hotels and pensions. Not only Czechs like to come here in the summer, but also people from neighboring Austria and Germany, so in the high season to find a free room is quite difficult.
Lovers of active recreation enjoy diving and sailing here. In the summer a ship plying the lake, the passengers of which take a two-hour tour of its most beautiful places. Numerous holidaymakers often visit the picturesque town of Frimburk, located a little downstream of the reservoir on the Vltava River.
In the summertime, hiking and biking tours are organized in the national park, and fans of canoeing and water sports go on trips along the Vltava, Vydra and Otava. The Sumava Glacial Lakes with their crystal clear water deserve special attention. Located high in the mountains, they do not have time to warm up even in summer, so here more often enjoy the magnificent scenery than swimming.
The area around Sumava is rich not only in nature, but also in architecture, including the castles of Velgartice, Bezdekov, Švigov and Strakonice, as well as numerous ancient churches, chapels and monasteries.
In the foothills of the Šumava Mountains there is one of the most beautiful towns in the country, Český Krumlov, whose historical center is protected by UNESCO.
In winter, popular destinations include Špíčák, Lipno-Kramolín, Kašperské Hory, Zadov, Nové Hutě, and other resorts. Most of the slopes are gentle, so they are perfect for beginners and skiers of all ages.
Most likely the name Shumava comes from the ancient Slavonic word “šuma” which means “thick forest”. The highest point of the mountain range in the Czech Republic is Mount Plech (1378 m). By the way, from here rises the Vltava River and several other major rivers.
The period of development of the Šumava, where islands of pristine nature are still preserved, falls in the XII century. Up to the middle of the XVII century practically the whole territory of the reserve was covered with primeval forests, but with the development of forestry and glassblowing and as a consequence, with the appearance of worker settlements, their area has decreased considerably. In addition, precious metals and iron ore were once mined on the territory of Šumava.
Sumava is a great option for a varied recreation and unity with nature. If you get tired of the noisy metropolises and want to enjoy the beautiful scenery, breath in the cleanest air and travel among the many natural attractions while staying in comfortable villages, you should visit this magical land.
Šumava – Czech Republic
It is one of the oldest highlands in Europe. Šumava is the largest National Park in the Czech Republic (69,030 ha).
Czech Republic, Kašperk Castle: An impregnable fortress – VIDEO
A beauty that adorns the Sumava peaks, and the tallest royal castle in the Czech Republic. Kašperk Castle may also seem impregnable to many tourists today, at a time when it is no longer necessary to defend against any military incursions.
The enchanted root at Kašperk
Šumava is riddled with green “I”, so there is enough information for tourists here. The most direct path to Kašperk Castle, over two kilometers long, leads from Kašperské Hory. However, if someone goes to Kašperk from elsewhere, the most dramatic point awaits him a few hundred meters under the summit, where there are several signs, but it is not actually clear which way leads to Kašperk. This is where it very often happens that from simple travelers become allies, looking for a common goal. It is no coincidence that numerous groups come to Kasperk made up of people who did not know each other an hour ago.
Those who chose the place to build the castle, just like the builders of Kasperk, have accomplished their task perfectly. The enemies who wandered beneath the castle no longer had enough energy to fight, and most of the wandering tourists again seize the stalls with Sumava delicacies, garlic soup, and beer. If hungry and thirsty people were offered better service here, they’d probably make more money.
As perfect a view as Kasperk Castle offers. But, if the weather is unfavorable, Kasperk is not very comfortable. Considering that it’s only a couple of miles to Quilda, the coldest place in the country, so it’s really worth keeping an eye on the weather forecast. Even in the summer.
Kasperk for King Charles IV
Kasperk Castle was built as a watch castle. Its warriors guarded the border with Bavaria, the gold route and on it once rich deposits of gold. Even today one can still see the adits in many places where gold was once mined. The path leads from the Kasper Mountains along the so-called Amalina Valley along the Zlata Potok. It was once part of the important trade route to Passau in Bavaria, so it had to be carefully guarded. That is why in 1356 Emperor Charles IV ordered a castle to be built on Mount Zdanov.
Kasperk Castle is not a very extensive structure. The nobility lived in the palace and two adjoining towers. Part of the castle is also an elongated courtyard, which was used for household purposes. The entire castle is beautifully fortified, both by long fortress walls, as well as difficult terrain. From Pusty-Gradek, which stood on the same mountain since the fifteenth century, today only ruins remain.
Kasperk Castle, thanks to constant care, is in good shape. There was probably not a single year in the new millennium in which something was not repaired in Kašperk. Since 1616, the castle has been managed by the town of Kašperské Hory.
Text/photo/video: Klara Svobodova
Translation: Alla Kutserova
Czech Republic, Šumava: Černý and Čertovo Lakes – remnants of the Ice Age – VIDEO
Not far from the town of Železná Ruda during one trip to Šumava you can visit two beautiful glacial lakes at once. In addition, the larger of the two, the Black Lake, is the largest lake in the Czech Republic that arose without human help.
Czech Republic, Šumava: On the way to Špičák – VIDEO
Thinking about where to go on the Šumava? If you don’t want to drive, a great option could be Mount Spicak and its surroundings. You will find beautiful nature unforgettable views and the opportunity to visit two nearby glacial lakes.
CR, Klatowy: Gateway to Šumava – VIDEO
Klatowy is an important point in a relatively inhospitable region. Further west, in the border region, there is no shortage of work, so unless you want to be a farmer, you are forced to go to town – looking for work, entertainment, shopping or learning.
Czech Republic, Javorná na Šumava: A unique church and base for TOURS – VIDEO
On the border of the Šumava Regional Landscape Park and the Kohanov Nature Park, just off the main road from Klatov to Iron Ore, you will find a village called Javorná. Stop for a moment near the local church of St. Anne with its unique towers covered in shingles, or use Javorná as an excellent base for hiking and cycling tours of the surrounding area.
CR, Susice: Royal City on Otava – VIDEO
Among people, Susice is famous for its legendary matchmaking factory and among watermen for its campground, where most of them start their journey on the Otava River. They are located on the border with the Šumava National Park and the Šumava RLP, which has recently increased the tourist importance of Susice.
CR, Kasper Mountains: a small town protected by Kasperk – VIDEO
The small town closest to or in the vicinity of Kašperk Castle, Kašperské Hory is the jewel of Šumava. At first glance, many tourists are likely to fall in love with it. It is an ideal base camp for hiking in the surrounding area by bike or on foot.
Czech Republic, Susice: Walking through the gates of Šumava
The town was founded in the wide valley of the Otava River under the Svatobor mountain range already during the time of the arrival of the Slavs. The wealth of Susice came mainly from gold mining in Otava and the Golden Trail. But the most famous Sushice product is undoubtedly the Solo matches. A factory for their production was built in the town in 1839 and functioned until 2008.
Czech Republic, Gorshovský Týn: The Royal Gorge Educational Trail
The castle of Hořovský Týn includes a large natural complex with ponds, which used to be a Renaissance garden. It leads to three historically valuable structures: the Loreto Chapel, the Glorietta and the summer palace. And although cyclists are forbidden to enter here, no one observes it.
CR, Šumava – Kvilda.
A small mountain village, with a long history of gold mining, through which the Golden Road trade passed. Today a bustling tourist center visited year-round. The area of bogs, mixed forests and nearby settlements forms an area called Kvildsko, where in the cold region, located at an altitude of more than 1000 meters above sea level, nevertheless there are many rare vegetation species.
CR, Šumava: Stožec – close to “western” Germany
The National Park Sumava on the Pilsen side begins with this border village with a lumbering past. The area is formed by hills and mountains, with the highest peak Stožec (1065 m asl). There once stood a fortress, of which there is little preserved. Through the village there runs the railroad (since 1910) and the Studena Vltava.
Czech Republic, Šumava: Antigl – Turner’s Hut – Čenková Pila
Among the areas that attract us with their beauty is also the Šumava Povydří, through which in the past ran the Golden Road, a major trade route connecting the Danube region and the Czech lands. One of the places where the caravan spent the night and the traders rested after a day of marching was Turner’s Hut (Turnerhütte).
CR, Klatowy Catacombs: Science-Based Mystique – VIDEO
We received a very warm welcome at City Hall in the equally hospitable town of Klatowy. Václav Chroust, vice-mayor and chairman of the NGO Catacombs of Klatovy, left his duties for a moment and led us around the town hall, through the cold mystical dungeon, but mostly acquainted us with the rich history of the town.