English-friendly portal reveals Czechia's hidden-gem hiking trails

Supported by the Environment Ministry, the website and app show less-traveled routes and spots in Czechia, with the aim of combating 'overtourism.'

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.04.2024 15:58:00 (updated on 17.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Travelers looking to explore new parts of Czechia that are relatively untouched by mass tourism now have the Epu app and website to help guide them. Co-developed by the Environment Ministry, the portal offers tourists alternative, less-crowded routes to help prevent overtourism in Czechia.

Going beyond the mainstream

The free app, created by software firms Gatyer and Algodos, offers tourists alternative, less-crowded routes to explore new places and educates them on the correct ways to explore nature in Czechia. Epu also has an English-friendly, web version. 

According to Gayter director Ladislav Cirhan, the app hopes to "dilute people, attract them to places that are not so populated and at the same time just as interesting." The app collaborates with the management of national parks and protected landscape areas.

Epu's main goal is to alleviate the strain on popular natural landmarks such as Sněžka, Adršpašské skály, and Pravčická brána, which often suffer from overcrowding and damage from tourists. The app offers over 200 trips currently, with plans to add another 300 soon.

Useful info about new areas

But Epu is not just about avoiding overcrowded areas, developers say. It also provides valuable information on protected areas, such as warnings about entering these places and updates on trail closures due to emergencies. "The user will learn what events are taking place in the area that week," explained Cirhan.

Visitors to the web version can also see the length of suggested routes, their altitude, whether they are dog-, stroller-, or cycle-friendly, and how crowded the area is. 

The portal also aims to educate users on proper behavior in nature, such as warning tourists not to go on unmarked trails that could damage paths. It also offers games and quizzes to engage visitors. "Along the way, it provides visitors with information about places they might otherwise miss, and also offers games, whether in the form of quizzes or the virtual 'collecting' of protected species," said Cirhan.

In addition to recommending lesser-known trips, Epu also plans routes to the edges of protected areas, reducing the strain on the most popular spots. "The locations will not be in the most exposed places," stated Cirhan. "This means that in the Krkonoše, they [the suggested paths] will not lead to Sněžka, and in Bohemian Switzerland, they will not go past the Pravčická brána. You will not find any locations where there is already extreme interest from tourists today."

National parks and protected landscape areas have supported and cooperated with the app, ensuring the accuracy and relevancy of the recommended routes. 

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