Endless dense forests, crystal-clear glacial lakes, lofty slopes, wild rivers and mysterious peat bogs veiled in the mist – this is the Šumava, a mountain range extending along the border between Bohemia and Germany and dubbed “the green roof of Europe” for its location and its uninterrupted forest.
Every year the Šumava lures countless visitors who enjoy active holidays. The entire mountain range offers a fantastic combination of amazing scenery and historical places of interest, crisscrossed with a network of cycling and hiking trails. You can travel tens of kilometres by bike through dense forest, which until recently was out of bounds to the public. The region was on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain and many dramatic tales involving people who fled this way to freedom were played out here. You can even walk through a village whose name was erased from maps, and hear the stories of the people who lived there.
The Šumava National Park contains many natural wonders, two of which are the glacial lakes of Plešné and Černé. Their alpine feel, which reminds visitors of pristine lakes in Canada, is enhanced by the rugged landscape in which they are set. A hike to the tops of the surrounding peaks, heading across wilderness where man has left no trace, is an incredible experience. Thanks to its relatively easy-going terrain and impressive scenery, Šumava is truly a hikers’ paradise. In the Czech Republic the pure drinkable waters of the River Vydra, the mountain village of Kvilda and the trail to Černé and Čertovo lakes are synonymous with hiking amid awe-inspiring natural surroundings. Perhaps you’ll discover the source of the Vltava and remember your time here for the rest of your life.
Lipno – the Czech sea
The Czech Republic may not be able to offer its visitors a seaside experience, but the next best thing can be found between the hills of Šumava. The Lipno Reservoir is the largest body of water in the country and is the ideal place to get wet doing every possible activity.
Your active holiday in the Šumava should definitely include a visit to one of the most attractive towns in the country – Český Krumlov with its perfectly preserved UNESCO-protected historical centre. Further down the river you’ll come to the proud medieval castle of Rožmberk and the monastery at Vyšší Brod, where for centuries the monks have kept precious sources of learning safe. Your holiday in the Šumava should also include a tour of the monastery at Zlatá Koruna, which astonishes visitors with its idyllic setting on the banks of the Vltava River.