Day 1) Prague – Klecany – Melnik (12 km / 7.5 miles)
Your first day’s walk will start at Prague’s Stromovka Park, a former royal game preserve sloping down to the Vltava River. After crossing the river you can visit the Baroque-style Troja Palace, today the Prague City Gallery, the extensive Botanical Gardens with their magnificent Fata Morgana Greenhouse, and the vineyards covering the hill above the palace. The trail then follows the bank of the Vltava River. The only climb comes at the very end when you leave the riverbank and walk uphill to the center of village of Klecany. A car transfer at the end of the day will take you to the castle town of Melnik at the confluence of the Vltava and Elbe rivers.
Overnight in Melnik
Day 2) Melnik – Kokorin – Litomerice (14 km / 9 miles)
Your walk starts at Libechov chateau and park with its architectural follies. Set into this bucolic scene are fascinating statues and carvings by romantic-era sculptors. The trail continues on gently rolling terrain through several villages and very popular recreation areas located in the Protected Landscape Area Kokorinsko. The walk ends at Castle Kokorin, a romantic reconstruction of a former medieval fortress. In the afternoon you transfer to Litomerice, located at the confluence of the Elbe and Eger rivers. Litomerice’s historic center makes it a jewel of the Bohemian region.
Overnight in Litomerice
Day 3) Litomerice – Varhost – Decin (12 km / 7.5 miles)
The trail leads directly from the city center, follows along a lovely stream, and continues uphill through villages and forests. You will rise through beautiful countryside to the peak called Varhost (639 m). Its 15-meter-high observation tower offers a 360-degree view of the picturesque countryside. From the top you can see the Labe (Elbe) River and its meanders in eight different places. In the afternoon you will be transferred to Decin.
An alternative or additional walk (10 km / 6 miles) at the start of the day takes you to the former WW II concentration camp of Terezin.
Overnight in Decin
Day 4) Decin – Hrensko (21 km / 13 miles)
First you climb from the city center to the top of the bluff overlooking the Elbe River. From there it is a lovely trek along a high trail that offers many magnificent views of the river and the cliffs along it. The last part of the nature walk leads through the forested canyon of a mountain stream. Your hike ends at your hotel in the town of Hrensko, the last Czech town before you cross the German border, and the gateway to the Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland National Park.
Overnight in Hrensko
Day 5) Hrensko – Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland – Bad Schandau (16 km / 10 miles)
The impressive Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland is a unique landscape of spectacular sandstone rock formations, narrow passes, rocky viewing platforms and green woods that stretch all the way to the German border. The trail will take you up to the largest natural arch in Europe, the Pravcicka Gate, an icon of the national park. On your descend back to Hrensko you first go down into green forest, then into the deep and mysterious canyon of the Kamenice River, so narrow you have to ride down by boat. At the end of your day you will catch a steamboat that will take you to Bad Schandau, Germany, a lovely riverside spa town.
Overnight in Bad Schandau
Day 6) Bad Schandau – Schmilka – Bad Schandau (12 km / 7.5 miles)
A morning ride will take you to the trailhead in the German border town of Schmilka. You have one steep climb at the start; the rest of the day is a pleasant stroll through the forest, with the great river valley on the left side and the stacks and towers of rock on your right. At the end of your walk enjoy a ride down from the bluff in the historic elevator; later you might even want to go for a swim in the pool of the local spa.
Overnight in Bad Schandau
Day 7) Bad Schandau – Kurort Rathen – Dresden (5 km / 3 miles) – Dresden
Today you will explore the most popular site of Saxon Switzerland National Park – Grosse Bastei (Big Bastion). After a very steep climb you will be rewarded by a fabulous view of the Elbe River and the surrounding cliffs and villages. You will experience the Elbe River steamboat ride at the beginning of your day, and a ferry ride at the end of your entire tour. Enjoy!
Overnight in Dresden
Day 8) Dresden
Dresden, known as the “Florence upon the Elbe” was severely damaged by air raids at the end of World War II. The city has survived and been resurrected as one of Germany’s great cities, offering many places to explore.