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Majestic Šumava walking holidays

Highlights: 
POLEDNÍK-Observatory over Prášilské Lake
Moors, peat bogs and a glacial lake
The Schwarzenberg canal
Český Krumlov
Duration: 
8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
Activity level: 
moderate
Comfort: 
4
Availability: 
April - October
Overview
Itinerary
What is included

Our self-guided walking holidays begin in the western part of Šumava, in the former glassworkers’ settlement of Prášily. In the days to come, we can expect an ascent to the Poledník summit, with an observatory of the same name at a height of 1,315 m. We view from up close the partially regenerated nautical canals, which have served towards floating wood from the inaccessible regions of the Šumava primeval forest. We visit Bučina, the rainiest place in Šumava with a beautiful view of the Alps, and at Fürstenhut we sleep over completely alone in the romantic gamekeeper’s lodge on the bare plain of the defunct settlement. An ascent to the glacial lake, a stony granite sea with a surface area of 6 ha and an attractive pension in the woodcutters’ settlement awaits us on the sixth day of the trip. We end our wanderings of the deep Šumava forest with a scenic train ride to Český Krumlov – a town on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Day 1
Morning arrival to municipality of Prášily, Prášilské Lake, the Poledník summit with observatory, moors and peat-bogs                 
Prášily is a former glassworkers’ settlement and the gateway to the western part of the Šumava National Park. The local glassworks specialised in the production of mirror glass, but the glassworks were replaced by wood-processing production at the beginning of the 19th century. On a route 17 km long and with an elevation of 630 m, we set off from the municipality centre, along a road to Srní, keeping with the red tourist sign. But after about 400 metres, we turn off on a narrow path to the forest and ascend 4 kilometres, all the way to the lake and to a height of 1,079 m. The countryside opens just below the lake, and we are rewarded by beautiful panaromatic views. Prašilské Lake is of glacial origin, goes to a depth of 15 m and is dammed by a 9 m-high bulwark of granite boulders. 
We continue from the lake, keeping with the red, after which we ascend steeply to the Poledník observatory. 223 stairs and a metal ladder at the closing phase lead to the highest plateau of the 37 m-high observatory. The views are breath-taking. The concrete tower on Poledník is the only preserved part of the former military grounds built in the 70s for state anti-aircraft defence and intelligence activities – wiretapping of radio operations in neighbouring Germany. After 1989, the surrounding buildings were torn down and the tower converted into an observatory by the Šumava NP administration. 
Over the three-lake bog and a mountain high-moor, we continue all the way to the Vychnicko-Tetovický nautical canal, which until the beginning of the 19th century served to float metre wood to the nearby Čeňkova pila. The original arched stone bridges have been preserved in several places along the canal route, as have the remains of the walled riverbed in many places. We end today’s route at Antýgl, a former glassworkers’ settlement with several typical Šumava buildings, a little bell and a chapel.

 

Day 2
Hradlový Bridge, a peat-bog with the narrow Březnik footbridge – the most beautiful Šumava views                        
In the morning, we set off to Antýgl, southwards along the asphalt forest trail, all the way to the replica of the Rechle gate bridge, over the Vydra rivulet which served to catch floated wood and direct it into the nautical canal. From there, we ascend the slope along the forest foot-trail marked by the red sign and continue to the former fishing and hunting settlement of Modrava. We connect to the green sign and slowly ascend the Modrava mountain slope to Cikánská slať (Gypsy moor) – a peat-bog over which we cross on narrow wooden footbridges. Now we draw near to Březník, a former lumberjack settlement. With its average precipitation of 1,500 mm, this place is among the rainiest in Šumava, but there is also a very impressive view into Luzenské valley and the summit of the Luzný hill 1,378 m on the Bavarian side of Šumava. We can have a bite to eat in the only preserved settlement building – a repaired gamekeeper’s lodge – before the undemanding trip back to Modrava. On this day, after not even 20 km, we settle in at the stylish little Modrava hotel. In the municipality you can visit an interactive exposition in the lumberjack museum.
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Day 3
The rivulets of the Vltava – the longest Czech river, the Bučina settlement with a view of the Alps, a night at the gamekeeper’s lodge on the bare Füstenhut plain.             
 
Today’s leg begins with a 2 km return in a southerly direction along the blue-signed trail to Modrava bridge, but from there we now continue along the red-marked trail toward Černé Hory (Black Mountains) and a bird tank all the way to the Vltava rivulet at the foot of Černé Hory.  At an elevation of 1,172 m above sea-level, we find the symbolic rivulet of the Vltava, the longest Czech river (here Teplá Vltava). This is the watershed of the North and Black Sea.
From the rivulets we have the possibility of continuing along a comfortable cycle lane to Bučiny 3 km away or choosing the somewhat more demanding and almost kilometre-long route through the German side of the park over the Siebensteinkopf summit at a height of 1,263 m.  
Bučina is today a defunct settlement, but it used to be the highest-situated settlement in the whole of Šumava (1,162 m). It’s kept a top place in one thing, however – it’s the rainiest place in Šumava, where 1,600 mm of rain falls annually. We can here find the rebuilt Alpská vyhlidka (Alpine panorama) hotel. Given good weather conditions, you can see the Alps from there. 
In the former settlement, there’s also an iron curtain replica (a so-called signal wall) as a reminder of what the real iron curtain on the western Czechoslovak border (built here from 1951) was like. The curtain is formed by rebuilt border cordons with barbed wire, a watchtower and an information table describing the history of the defunct municipality. The iron curtain is freely accessible throughout the year.
Knížecí pláně (Füstenhut), our place for our overnight stay, is still almost 4 km from here. The isolated pension Hájenka is situated on a bare plain at a height of 1,021 metres above sea level, close to the German border. Quiet and lovely views of Luzný and the inner part of Šumava will be the reward after today’s 17.5 km with a super-elevation of 450 m. 
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Day 4
The former little church of the Knížecí Pláně settlement and the graveyard, the small town of Strážný, transfer by bus to the Stožec municipality.          
Today’s truly undemanding leg along the trail marked by a red tourist sign leads along the German border beneath Stodůlecká hora (Stodůlecká Mountain) and further along the layered trail of a forested hillside, all the way to the small town of Strážný, originally Kužvart, 14.5 km away. The municipality emerged during the 17th century, on a merchant thoroughfare which connected Bavarian Passau with the Czech interior and over which caravans of freight packhorses brought to the Czech Lands various kinds of goods, but most importantly, much needed and irreplaceable salt. It got its name after the nearby castle, which for centuries guarded safety both on the Golden Trail and on the very border of the Czech Kingdom. Only later did the new name of the municipality, Strážný, become common. If there’s time, we can get to the 14th century castle ruins on a blue-marked tourist trail after a little less than 2 km and 200 altitudinal metres. After a pause for refreshments, we’re awaited by a minibus transfer to Stožec several kilometres away. We settle in at the attractive pension U Mauritzů.
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Day 5
The highest mountain in the Czech part of Šumava 1,378m; “Plešné”, a glacial lake, a stony granite sea.                      
As a starting point after continuing on the route, we deliberately chose Nové údolí so as to avoid a needless transfer over the road. A small local train brings us to the beginning of the leg; the ride here is just a few minutes. And we set off in a southerly direction, once again upwards along the red sign. We head towards the highest peak of the Czech part of Šumava, towards Plechý mountain, to a height of 1,378 m. But it is the view of Lipno when descending towards Plešné Lake that offers us views into the distance.  
From the peak we continue along the yellow sign via the northeastern slope towards the glacial rock basin formed by the 200 m-high lake wall of Plešné Lake. Not far from the dam, we come across a broad stony granite sea. After the northern Plechý slope and after a steep descent we connect part of the route along the Schwarzenberg nautical canal. We reach the cosy pension Panda in the municipality of Nová Pec after little less than half an hour. We’ve now completed what’s probably the most demanding day of the route as a whole; we’ve gone 20 km and ascended over 800 m.
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Day 6
The Schwarzenberg canal, Jelení Lake and cliff views on the bear trail                          
                       
For over half of today’s route we’ll be going along the unique canal with many stops.  
The Schwarzenberg canal was built on the Vltava and Danube divide, as a significant transport route for wood from the Šumava forests. The building was begun in 1789 and the first crossing took place as early as two years later.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the canal was extended to a length of 52 km, of which 37 km was on Czech territory, including a 429 m-long tunnel near Jelení Vrchy. The canal was supplied by water from 27 streams, Plešné Lake and 3 artificial tanks. The so-called Danube crossing (from the canal over the River Gr. Mühl to the Danube and then further to Vienna) lasted roughly 100 years, during which time almost 8 million m3 of wood was floated. It was ended in 1892. The educational trail connects many attractive parts of technical work over its 9 km length: from the tunnel (397.22 m long at present) with architectonically well-made entrance portals, over an aqueduct, several sluice gates and side sluices over the entire length of the gutter.  
In the Jelení Vrchy settlement, we connect to the yellow tourist sign with many interesting cliff forms. We reach the northern part of Nová Pec after roughly 1.5 hours, after almost 18 km and 530 m of ascent. 
If we haven’t strayed too far from the planned route of the Šumava wilderness, we’ll have managed to walk through more than half of the Šumava National Park – an impressive 106 km.  
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Day 7
Český Krumlov                                                
After breakfast, we're awaited by a one-hour transfer by scenic train to Český Krumlov, where we settle in the pension Krumlov. The rest of the day is free for getting to know the town.
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Day 8 
Morning transfer to Prague, possible extension of the stay in Český Krumlov. 
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INCLUDED
A map with the marked route and alternative means of transport in the event of change
Detailed route itinerary
Transfer by minibus/car Prague-Šumava and back (day 1+8)
National Park information brochure
24-hour emergency telephone in the event of an emergency
7 nights in middle category pensions and hotels in twin-bedded rooms with individual social amenities including breakfast
Transfer of luggage from hotel to hotel except on day 6
 
NOT INCLUDED
Meals other than breakfast
Travel insurance
English-speaking guide days 2-6 (can be ordered)
Ticket and luggage transfer day 7
Trekking sticks (can be ordered additionally for a fee)
 

 

Activities: 
Tour price per person: 
640 €
515 €
435 €
Book a tour Booking conditions
Insurance information

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