The Bohemian Forest, known as Šumava is a low mountain range that creates a natural border with Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. This region has a complicated history as part of the Iron Curtain large areas were stripped of human settlement. The unique circumstances led to preservation of this region making it a beautiful place to visit.
In fact we have gone there three times over the summer. The first time was in early June as we had a special permit to canoe on the river Vltava.
The other two visits were to ride in different areas of the park as the bike trails are some of the best in this country with over 500 km of hiking and biking trails. Of course some of the entrances into the park were busy and we had to share the mostly paved routes with hikers. However, it doesn’t take long to leave them behind and feel the vastness of the area.
Our first bike trip was at the end of July just as it was heating up in Prague we headed to the mountains. We stayed in the town of Prachatice at the Prachatice Pivovar (brewery). The room was really nice and the dinners at the brewery were delicious. We would recommend this place. And, by the way, do you know that the first American saint was born in Prachatice?
We drove to the parking area in the town of Kvilda. This cute village is an obvious tourist destination for bikers, hikers, skiers and has plenty of accommodation and restaurants. There are also a few places to rent bikes. It was a perfect place to go during the heat wave as this area is known to be one of the coldest places in all of central Europe.
Midway through our bike trip we stopped in the town of Modrava for lunch. This town is quite popular for its brewery and, surprisingly, for the kangaroos roaming in the little enclosure. In the summer we strongly suggest you try the hot raspberries with ice-cream (maliny se zmrzlinou). We enjoyed it so much we made sure to return once again in September.
The first part of our ride was steep as we were going to see the source of the Vltava River which runs through Prague. This ‘pramen’ or spring is quite small and it is the obvious destination for the hikers. It is only a 6 km hike to the spring from Kvilda. After that point the crowds of tourists thinned down almost to none. After you reach point 3, you can decide to go to point 4 to have a panoramatic view from Černá hora. Even though that the map shows the path 3 to 4 as forbidden for bicycles, we did not see any sign and went in with our bikes. A little after point 3 the road will lead you on a long downhill slope, which is marked with a warning sign for bikers – we would not recommend to go very fast! From the point 5 to Modrava you will follow Modravský potok (potok means stream) in a nice valley on the paved road. And again, you will see many more hikers coming from Modrava.
After that we followed Roklanský potok through the most beautiful, prototypical “Šumava valley”, on a nice paved road to point 7. After a little uphill ride to point 8 you should make a break and visit Tříjezerní slať (a three lake moor) to get the feeling how a lot of Šumava wet lands look like. After ride downhill you will then follow Vchynicko-Tetovský kanál (channel) which was used for transporting wood logged in the forests. The end of the trip repeats, as we are trying to avoid roads, on the road through Modrava back to Kvilda.
https://mapy.cz/s/pejeladava 43 km with 598 m elevation gain