Cross-country skiing through the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic


The Bohemian Forest is an unspoilt nature reserve in the South of Czech Republic and, together with the Bavarian Forest, is the wooded nature reserve of Central Europe. There are hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails here. In winter, these routes are prepared to several cross-country trails. One of the most beautiful cross-country trails is the Šumava Trail, a route of more than 100 km that crosses the nature reserve.

Melancholy landscapes

The Šumava National Park is one of the largest contiguous forest areas in Central Europe. The nature reserve is also known as the “Green Roof of Europe”. It is a 200 km long low mountain range with a height of about 1000 meters. The landscapes of this national park are beautiful in winter and sometimes create a mystical atmosphere. There are vast high plains, former glacial lakes that are frozen in winter and valleys with various rivers and narrow streams. In the winter you can best discover the nature reserve on the long walks through a hike. The Šumava Trail is a cross-country trail that crosses the entire park. The route begins in Železná Ruda and ends at the Czech-Austrian border. The route is a total of 106 km, but has a number of extra trails for those who want to extend the route. As a result, the Šumavská magistrála, as it is called in Czech, counts 140 km.

Šumavská magistrála

In recent years much attention has been paid to the Šumava Trail, but other cross-country trails in the Bohemian Forest have also been improved. In total, the area has 400 km of cross-country trails. The paths of the Šumava Trail are regularly maintained including signposting. The Šumavská magistrála starts in Železná Ruda, the largest ski area in the western part of the Bohemian Forest. There is ample parking here and you can reach the place both by bus and by train. You can also choose to ski first for a day before you start the trek.


From ski resort to winding forest trails

Near the train station Železná Ruda center, the cross-country ski trail starts at an altitude of 790 meters on the southern slope of Samoty. The Šumava Trail can be done in three or more days, depending on condition and speed. Along the way you will come across some small places where you will find cozy inns and somewhere to eat a bite. In the village of Modrava, located 40 km from Železná Ruda and for many the first overnight stop, there are farms in Bohemian and Bavarian style. Also in the villages České Žleby and Stožec you will find rural but luxurious accommodations.


Nature experience with historical touch

The Bohemian Forest is a great place for nature lovers and peace seekers. It is a sparsely populated area and the air is very clean here. The Šumavská magistrála follows several streams and rivers and you pass through beautiful pine forests. The highest point of the Šumava Trail is the mountain Černá Hora with 1727 meters. With good weather you can see the Alps from here. At the descent you pass the source of the Vltava and you go right along the German border. In the deserted resort Knížecí Pláně there is a mountain hut where you can eat and drink something. The town is one hundred meters from the German border and has a turbulent history. It was not until 1989 that people could enter the area again.

End in the Czech Republic or Austria

The Šumava Trail passes the small lake Žďárské jezírko and follows a stream that goes all the way to Strážný. This water was important for forestry, because the cut timber was transported through these streams. Between Strážný and České Žleby lie the Splavské peat bogs and during the tour you have some great views over the German and Austrian mountains. The cross-country route ends at the Czech-Austrian border in the village of Pestřice, named after the river where it is located. It is also possible to stop at Zvonková where the ski bus stops. This will take you to Horní Plana, located on Lake Lipno. Nearby is the ski area Lipno where you can stay a few nights to enjoy skiing, beautiful views and wellness.

More information about winter holidays in the Czech Republic can be found at

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