Chris and me visit the natural paradise Šumava in the Czech Republic at least once a year. It takes about three hours from Munich to get there. Why are we nevertheless drawn back again and again?
Natural beauty in any season
On our way to the Šumava we always cross parts of the Bavarian Forest. Here already the area is sparsely populated and the gentle hills and forested mountains tune us in on what is waiting behind the Czech-German border. Once you’ve alightned from the car and hike in the forest, the scent will blow you away.
Even in winter the Šumava is worth visiting, as it looks fantastic in snow-white. It should be noted however that in winter many people do cross-country skiing. A safe hiking trail follows the river from Modrava. There is a wonderful separate trail for hikers along the thickly frozen water.
The Šumava borders directly on the Bavarian Forest. Together with this region, the Šumava is the largest forest area in the center of Europe.
Last shelter of rare animals
Animals, which are found in the Bavarian Forest in a preserve only, run freely in the Šumava. You won’t meet them easily, but they do exist here. For example, packs of wolves and lynx live in the wilderness. There are also lizards to be found, salamanders, newts and interesting bird species such as wood or black grouse.
I got a bit nervous when I passed a sign that informed us about a nest of crossed vipers at an old tree. Animals must be expected when visiting the in the Šumava. But it is also a good sign, because it shows that the ecosystem is still intact.
Flower meadows and other color effects
In summer the village Srní offers a nice starting point for a hike, because the place is surrounded by flower meadows. There are many rare flower species in the Šumava. On our walk around the chapel ruins of Srní on a small mountain we could admire many flowers, some of them also with bumblebees:
We also saw beautiful color effects around the canal, where you walk along on this hike from Srní. Here the green moss together with the dark water provided interesting contrasts:
It’s special about the Šumava that there is moorland. The moor colors rivers and streams almost black. The appearance actually reminds me of flowing waters in mountain regions at over 4,000 meters. I saw the same color in the Tibetan Himalayas.
I do not only like going to the Šumava because of its breathtaking nature, but also because of the local architecture. The many hipped roofs in the middle of the landscape remind me of the north. Although the Bohemian Forest is not far from Bavaria, the architecture looks different here. There are pretty churches with slate cladding and many houses have small towers that make me think of chapels. You can find a very special looking church in Kvilda:
But there are also wooden houses in an unexpected Alpine style. In the village of Volary (Wallern) Tyroleans settled in the 16th century. Originally Volary was a settlement of people who had goods carried over the Alps by horses, oxen or mules. Here the wooden houses are under preservation. Volary is wonderful for taking pictures.
My tip: Šumava as an own destination
If you travel by car via the Bavarian Forest to Český Krumlov, you will get a first impression of the beautiful moorland and forest landscape of Šumava. Nevertheless, I recommend to plan the Šumavat as a separate destination, or two or three times, or … They say that those who love its untouched nature always come back here. This applies to us completely.
If you like to discovering Hidden Gems, you might also be interested in my article about Cadolzburg in Franconia / Germany.
This post is also available in de_DE.