Czech Regions: Northwest Bohemia

Czech Switzerland National Park, Mount Říp, and much more

Czech Tourism

Written by Czech Tourism Published on 01.06.2011 11:07:50 (updated on 01.06.2011) Reading time: 3 minutes

This region is defined by the borders of Bohemia´s north, from the Šluknov enclave to the eastern slopes of the Doupovské Mountains. The Czech Switzerland, the country´s most recently declared national park, gives away the fact that there are many areas of natural beauty to look forward to here.

Expect to be wowed by the extinct volcano peaks of the České středohoří Mountains, the lofty reaches of the Krušné Mountains, the rounded peaks of the Lužické and Jetřichovické Walls. The area around the Elbe also boasts some exquisite countryside including a narrow, canyon-like valley called the Porta Bohemica and the so-called Garden of Bohemia around Litoměřice and Žatec, where hops, grapes, fruit and vegetables have been grown for centuries. Thermal springs, whose waters possess curative properties, have given rise to the oldest of the Czech spas at Teplice and other spa towns. Other attractions include chateaux in Duchcov, Klášterec nad Ohří, Krásný Dvůr, Libochovice, Ploskovice and Velké Březno; conservation areas in Žatec, Kadaň, Litoměřice and Terezín are also well worth a visit.

Highlighted from the region:

Czech Switzerland National Park 
The youngest of the Czech Republic´s national  parks – for the time being – and one of the most remarkable locations of this kind in Europe. The weather over the centuries has created various rock formations – bridges, cornices, gates and towers – in a deep canyon on the River Elbe. The main attraction, and the symbol of the Czech Switzerland National Park, is a natural stone arch called the Pravčická Gate (see the top image).

Teplice v Čechách
The oldest of Bohemia´s spa towns where the thermal springs have been used to heal since the 8th century. Spa care focuses on treating musculo-skeletal, circulatory and nerve-related ailments. The smallest spas in the region are Lázně Mšené and the recently revived Evženie Spa in Klášterec nad Ohří.

Mount Říp
This mountain (459m) associated with many old Slavic myths affords wonderful views across the Elbe floodplain, the České středohoří and Krušné Mountains and Prague. At the top you´ll also find the Romanesque Rotunda of Sts George and Adalbert.

Over its history, Žatec (one of the oldest towns in Bohemia) became famous as a centre for hop growing. The local Hop Museum, the largest in the world, traces the development of the hop business from early medieval times to the present day. The Gothic castle, converted into the municipal brewery, and other hop- and beer-related buildings, including the museum, have been put forward as a potential UNESCO-listed site.

Litoměřice – a town of bishops and fairs
The Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture of Litoměřice, protected within a conservation area, reminds visitors of the town´s glorious royal history. Almost all these structures can be found in the historical centre, to a large extent surrounded by Gothic defences. The town is the seat of a bishop and the centre of a wine producing area.

This originally Baroque fortress was founded by Emperor Josef II and named after his mother, Empress Maria Theresa. During WWII the town served as an internment camp for Jews; The Terezín Museum traces the history of the ghetto.

Castles and chateaux
There are worthwhile castles and chateaux at Libochovice, Červený hrádek near Jirkov, Duchcov (forever associated with the bon vivant Casanova), Děčín with its Baroque Rose Garden, Jezeří, Krásný Dvůr with its large English park and follies, Budyně nad Ohří with its alchemyst´s workshop and Benešov nad Ploučnicí built in the Saxon Renaissance style. Then there are the ruins of Střekov castle in Ústí nad Labem, Krupka, Hasištejn and Tolštejn, and the replica of Hněvín castle above the town of Most where there´s a restaurant and viewing tower.

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