Where can you go to take in as much of the beauty of the Šumava National Park as possible? The possibilities are endless. Among the greatest treasures of Šumava are its lakes. You will find a total of five here. An excellent starting point for exploring them is the town of Železná Ruda. A marked trail leads from here all the way to Černé jezero (Black Lake), which is also the largest of the lakes. Climbing a steep, rocky path past the main European watershed you will arrive at Čertovo jezero (Devil’s Lake), which is the least accessible of them all, but thanks to its crystal-clear water and surrounding dark forests it is also the most beautiful. Along the hiking trail you can also head to the highest waterfall in Šumava, Bílá Strž (White Ravine), whose waters fall into the valley of the Bílý potok (White Stream) from a height of 13 metres.
Enter the temple of nature
Do you like mystical landscapes reigned over by Mother Nature? Then set off on a marked trail from the village of Kubova Huť into the magical world of the Boubínský prales, one of the most important primeval forests in Europe. Awaiting you is a true temple of nature, with centuries-old trees covered with mushrooms, twisted roots, the dark green leaves of ferns, and fallen tree trunks carpeted with velvety moss. In short, Boubínský prales is a place that has been unaltered by human hands. One of the most beautiful trips through the Šumava landscape is along the Povydří (Otter River) nature trail leading from the settlement of Antýgl to Čeňkova Pila. You set off on a marked trail to the deep canyon of the Vydra River, which flows over giant boulders and thus creates thousands of small rapids and waterfalls. You can stop at Turnerova chata (Turner’s Cottage), which is the only publicly accessible cottage in the first zone of the national park. Here they help to care for the river otters from which the river takes its name. Just sit there for a while and soak in the ambience as you observe nature’s theatre – simply balm for the soul.
The magical landscape of the Šumava peat bogs
Among the pearls of Šumava you certainly should not miss the peat bogs. You can learn about the peat bogs, which have remained here as a last reminder of the Ice Age, on the Tříjezerní slať (Three Lakes Moor) nature trail beginning in Modrava. The Šumava peat bogs contain an extraordinary diversity of plants and animals. Along wooden walkways you will walk through a magical landscape of dark water, floating islets blanketed in fog, and stunted trees, all which give the Šumava peat bogs an almost Scandinavian feel. If you want to see where the most important Czech river springs forth, then head off on the trail leading to the source of the Vltava River, which lies just half a kilometre from the German border.
Walk through the treetops
An ideal place for hiking and cycling trips into the Šumava landscape is the area around Lipno, which is the largest reservoir in the Czech Republic. Up to the hiking trail you can take the cableway at Bikepark Lipno, then on marked trails you can try Nordic walking or set off to hora Svatý Tomáš (St. Thomas Mountain) or to the Alpine look-out point. You can combine active movement with an educational experience on the many nature trails. You can head off along the length of the singular Schwarzenberg Canal, which was used for log-floating. What would it be like to walk among the treetops? You can find out for yourself on the top of Kramolín Mountain, where you can walk along a wooden path climbing to 24 metres above the ground. But the best is yet to come! You will ascend to a look-out tower with spectacular views of Lipno and the Šumava countryside. Then you get back down to earth by sliding on the longest dry toboggan in the Czech Republic. With the first substantial snowfall, Šumava turns into a skiers’ paradise, with kilometres of groomed cross-country trails and downhill slopes. It’s simply a place that you will enjoy all year round.