Šumava: The last wilderness

Šumava: The last wilderness

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.

Šumava near Modrava in winter
Šumava in winter

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:

Two bumblebees on a flower in the Šumava
Two bumblebees on a flower

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:

Green color effects in the Šumava
Green color effects in the Šumava

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.

Flourishing meadow in the Šumava
Flourishing meadow near Volary

Charming architecture

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:

Church of Kvilda
Church of 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.

Wooden house in Volary
Wooden house in Volary in Austrian-alpine style


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.

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28 thoughts on “Šumava: The last wilderness

  1. I did not know this was the largest forest area in the center of Europe – so I learnt something new from your post! Thanks! I’ve never even been to Germany! I would love to go but until now this place was not on my list to visit. Now I want to go to Sumava! Nice blog post 🙂

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Jess, Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Happy you learnt something new and also got some new inspiration.

  2. I’m just starting to teach hubby that traveling when it’s cold can be still a great experience: I’ll definitely show him this post! You’re right to say that Sumava can be beautiful in any season, the photos you added are breathtaking!

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Dany, Thanks for commenting and your nice compliment. I’m keeping my finger crossed that Hubby will be convinced to go in winter. It definitely has its own charm.

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Happy you liked it, Sylvie. Thank you for your comment!

  3. I’ve never heard of this place but it sounds cool!

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Kristen, Yes, it’s still quite unknown outside the Czech Republic. I think this is part of its charms. Thanks for your comment.

  4. I never heard of this place but it is indeed a beautiful place as you have described. Awesome pictures.

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Thank you so much for your compliment, Sapna. Yes, it’s an off the beaten track destination and one of the reasons I love this place. Cheers, Ricarda

  5. Would love to visit the Czech Republic and check out the wilderness! I’ve only been to Prague once about 10 years ago, so I guess I need to go back! The wooden house looks so cute aswell! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Yasmin, Thanks for your lovely comment. I think Prague is the first place to go in the Czech Republic. However, there is still a world to discover. I also highly recomment the medieval town Czesky Krumlow. Best, Ricarda

  6. Steph @ The Pink Backpack

    This is really interesting because when I visited the Czech Republic, of course I only went to Prague as I am certain many other people do as well. It is so great to see the country’s beautiful natural landscapes 🙂 I will definitely check it out if I ever find myself in those parts again.

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Steph, Thanks very much for your comment. Sure, I also chose Prague when visiting the Czech Republic for the first time. In Bohemia there is natural beauty in abundance and also many beautiful historical towns worth visiting. Have a great day!

  7. Your photos are amazing. This reminds me so much of where I live, in totally untouched nature. I can’t wait to check it out when I return to Germany! I am definitely making my friends in Munich head there with me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Justyn, Happy you liked my photography and want to check it out. You will love it if you like natural beauty. And it’s really accessible from Munich. Happy travels! Cheers, Ricarda

  8. You always see charming architecture like this and can’t image that it still exists in this modern age but the beauty is never lost. Loved your post. Thanks for sharing this little piece of paradise.

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Thanks for your kind comment, Margaritas. I am always delighted to find great architecture in the remotest areas. Really happy you appreciate the architectural gems like I do.

  9. I haven’t heard of this place either! But I have found that almost every time I go somewhere I’ve never thought of going, it ends up being a real gem. I’m adding this to my list for sure. Lovely pics!!

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Amanda, Thanks very much for your compliment. Yes, I agree with your experience. I am experiencing the same again and again. Cheers, Ricarda

  10. Wow, this place looks wonderful! Your photos of it are beautiful. Forests, streams, and wildlife plus charming architecture! I will definitely keep this in mind for my next trip to Europe.

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Erin, Thank you so much. To have inspired to go is the loveliest feedback I can get 🙂

  11. What a beautiful place to explore nature. I love all of the unique and colorful flowers. I have never been to the Czech Republic, but I would love to visit one day.

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Stephanie, Thanks for commenting. The Czech Republic is gem in the middle of Europe and really offers a lot. I grew up in the neighboring country but first went with about 30. Since then I return every year and still discover new great places. Best, Ricarda

  12. I learned so much about the Czech Republic just from reading this out. Have been there but only visiting Prague, myb I should plan a trip in nature and woods as well 🙂

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      Hi Maša,
      Your comment makes me really happy. For me it’s great feedback you learnt something about the country from it. Thank you very much… There is a lot to see in the Czech Republic.
      Best, Ricarda

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