There are only 4 places in Czechia with such an amazing natural beauty and Sumava National Park is one of them. The dense forests on the Czech-German border create the largest wooded area of the whole continent more than 140 kilometers in length. The combination of ancient woods, mirror-clear lakes and mysterious peat bogs creates a unique place for both active and calm rest at any time of the year.
In this protected area one of the most popular activities is biking. In winter time Sumava National Park turns into a ski park. Tens of kilometers of ski runs are laid here and mountain-skiing bases start working on mountain tops. In addition, not so long ago the authorities organized a horseback excursion route.
Forests occupy 80% of the park. The most popular area is Mount Boubin, where the river Vltava begins. In the park there are 8 lakes of glacial origin with crystal clear water. These lakes lie at an altitude of 1000 – 1100 meters above sea level. In the park there are lots of grassy mountain meadows, valleys and peat bogs. The park also includes the Kasper mountain range. Its slopes are attractive for biologists and geologists, because there are preserved glacier sites
Despite the fact that there are 8 lakes of glacial origin, the water is not warm so they are not appropriate for swimming. But you can sunbathe on the well-equipped beachest with white sand. Not far from the reserve are three interesting towns – Kaplice, České Budějovice, Železná Ruda, which have many historical sights.
For several decades people have been hunting in the park for animals, so only the most distant and deaf corners of it remained untouched. Besides, many species of animals have been exterminated irretrievably. Over the years, this national reserve has been closed to the public. Therefore, the local nature to this day has preserved its unique beauty and purity.
Taking into account such exclusivity on a European scale, the National Park Šumava is protected as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Since 1991, it is the National Park, adjacent to the Bavarian Forest National Park.
The settlement of the place began around the 12th century. The borders of the Czech kingdom were guarded by two groups of local residents – “hody” and “kralovaki” on the territory of the Royal Forest. Hody left the original villages with preserved architecture, and kralovaki left Kralovatsky mansions. The most popular one is the settlement Antigl.
The fundamental influence on the modern Sumava came in the 17th century with the development of glassmaking, forestry and mountain pasture cattle. The areas were noticeably shrinking and new villages of woodcutters and glassmakers had grown, which from the 20th century gradually acquired tourist value.
What to do and main attractions
Polednik lookout tower
The hills of the Sumava National Reserve are ideal for enjoying these gorgeous views of the surrounding nature. One of the most beautiful scenery of Sumava is open from the observation platform Polednik. In addition, on sunny days you can see the distant panorama of the Alps.
Glacial lakes deserve your attention as well. Everyone who travels along the marked route to the top of the Plechy mountain will have a magnificent view of the Plechy lake. Among the most popular walks is a hike to the largest and deepest lakes – Certove and Cernoe.
These places are ideal for hiking, skiing, photography, bird watching and river rafting, Besides, five large lakes and many small ones provide all the opportunities for rest by the water. Moreover, there are many place where to rent a bike. Points are in almost all the villages scattered along the boundaries of the park. The largest of them are in Boletice, Kiowa, Horni Plane.
The most interesting hiking trails stretch from the Ovesna station in the center of the national park to the northwest through giant boulders and ancient woods to Pernik Peak on the height of 1049 meters. Then they descend to Jeleni and the Schwarzenberg Canal, which by the way dates back to the 16th century. A little further they will lead to Medvedi kamen and a village station in Cerny Kriz, about 14 km from Oatsna.
At the southeastern side of the national park you will find the fjord-like artificial lake Lipno. It was formed after the construction of a hydroelectric station near the town of Loucovice. Its entire northern coast is full of small beach resorts. The region is popular not only with the Czechs themselves, but also by tourists from nearby Austria and Germany. There are also a lot of popular biking and hiking routes around the lake.
In the territory of Sumava forest there are two mountain ranges: Sumava and Kasper mountains. Kasper mountains are rich in numerous mountain streams and meadows, small lakes and peat bogs. In addition to these, the Kasper slopes are very popular with biologists and geologists.
Their interest is formed by well-preserved traces of glaciers. Therefore, there is nothing strange about the fact that there are 8 glacial lakes on the territory of the reserve, located at a kilometer height above sea level.
Flora and Fauna
Mountains and forests of the national park contributed to the development of flora and fauna. Speaking about the birds’ world, here you can meet eagles, falcons, owls, wood grouses. Nevertheless, even today in Sumava you can meet lynx, mouflon, badger, moose, orels, deer and chamois. Moreover, there grow many species of rare and interesting plants, trees, bushes, flowers.
Where to stay
Probably the most popular time for coming here is winter, while many ski resorts offer great active rest. In each of them there is a set of services such as hotel accommodation, rentals, cafes and restaurants, active rest options like skiing and snowboarding. In summer you can enjoy warmer activities like hiking and biking.
If you want to immerse in the atmosphere of the nature reserve, then choose one of those options where to stay in Sumava national park. The closest towns and the best hotels available there in the list below:
How to get from Prague to Sumava Park
There are no direct trains or buses to the national park, but you can get to the closest point and from here take a taxi.
Prague – Sumava national park by bus
The route by bus takes 3 hours with the ticket price of 100-140 Euro. At the Prague Anděl station take the bus line 853 to Písek stop. From here take taxi to Sumava.
Prague – Sumava national park by train
You can also take a fast train from Prague main station to Zelezna Ruda station and plan your route in Sumava park from here. More information about time schedule and tickets price here – Czech Railways.
Prague – Sumava national park by car
If you want more comfort, then rent a car. The distance between Prague and Národní park Šumava is 176 kilometers and you will cover it in 2-3 hours. You will need 14 liters of fuel which is another 15-25 Euro in one side.
Sumava national park review
The Sumava National Park is one of the best places if you want to go outside fuzzing city and relax. Going there you will be impressed with the natural beauty of mountains, forests, glacial lakes, flora and fauna.
As we have mentioned above there are options for active rest in winter and summer as well. But if you want to feel the place in full and enjoy every piece of stunning Sumava park we offer tours with a local guide. It is probably the best way to discover this beauty.