After spending a few days in the almighty capital Prague, we headed north to the wonderful Cesky Raj. Otherwise known as the Bohemian Paradise. This is one of many national parks close to the border with Poland. The drive from Prague continued to be relatively flat as most of Czech had been so far since driving from the south, then all of a sudden the landscape started to change, hills started to appear on the horizon. The most accessible part of the national park is a place called Prachov Rocks, this is the main area to see the spectacular rock formations at their finest and what this amazing national park is famous for.
We arrived to it being so busy with tourists and decided we would return later in the day after the coach loads of people had left. Instead we found a quiet lake to chill at and have lunch. We returned in the early evening and it was great because most people had left and there was no parking fee to pay either! Although the ticket office for the park entrance had closed for the day, we were still able to go in for free and pretty much have the whole place to ourselves. We still had over 2 hours before sunset, so plenty of time to explore this unique, spectacular national park. The rock formations are unreal, like something you would expect to see in a dinosaur movie, it was like actually being in a movie set.
What made this place more surreal is that driving through the whole of Czech, its more or less completely flat and as you reach this area in the north its although the gigantic rocks seem to rise up out of the ground from nothing. Its like an enchanted other world, a rock town and we had read that people had settled here many years ago, living in amongst the pinnacles, we could see why as we got lost in the labyrinth of giant rocks weaving our way amongst them imagining what it must have been like for the people that once lived here.
We spent the night in the parking area where there was one other camper with us. The ticket office and parking tickets started at 9am and we presumed this is when it would start to get busy again. We woke up at 6am and had the Park completely to ourselves for a couple of hours as we took another route around the astonishing Rock formations. It worked our great for us as by 8.30 am we had seen the whole park and escaped before the coach load of tourist arrived and of course having all this for free was a great little bonus!
Coordinates to the parking (free after 5pm) 50.467323 15.289430
After leaving Prachov Rocks we drove a little further north to a place called Hruba Skala, stopping briefly on the way next to the cutest little chapel we had ever seen. Hruba Skale is a little village and another amazing area full of great walks through forests and a castle (Trosky Castle) perched on top of a cluster of huge rocks. We enjoyed wondering around in the forest getting lost in amongst the tree canopy. We spotted a little black squirrel that we and the boys got very excited about as we’d never seen one before and didn’t know they even existed until we googled it.
We left Cesky Raj and just before arriving in Poland, we decided to make a slight detour to Mumlava Waterfall just before the border. We found a lovely place to park and it was about a 20 minute walk through a nice forest with exposed tree roots and moss covered rock, following the pretty river to the waterfalls. Again we had arrived late in the day, so the area was fairly quiet. There are many lovely little pools, like natural baths dotted along the flowing river until you reach the main waterfall.
This place is very popular on a hot summers day and we could see why. great for family’s too we thought, as the children could have a fun, safe swim in the little pools. We continued past several smaller waterfalls before coming to a larger one. We enjoyed a dip in our own private pool before deciding to head back to the van. Its a beautiful area to explore and a great stop off in between Countries. The waterfall walk we took continued for many kms following the river so you could quite easily enjoy a full days hike in the area. For us it was all about getting a good nights sleep and waking up fresh for a new Country, watch out Poland here we come!