If you are good at geography, or if you read this blog regularly, you might’ve guessed that we have mountains in the Czech Republic ? Well, they are not high as the neighboring Alps in Austria or the Tatras in Slovakia, but all of them are beautiful! You will find Sněžka, the highest mountain in the Czech Republic, in the Krkonoše Mountains. Fun fact – the Krkonoše Mountains are located in the north of the Czech Republic near the border with Poland (actually just a few meters to the north and you are officially in Poland). Yes, 1603 m does not seem much, but the surrounding mountains are much lower, so if the weather is nice, Sněžka offers an incredible view! Guys, you would hardly find a better one.
Sněžka Hike – contents:
My crazy story from Sněžka hike
I really needed to clear my head – I wanted one quiet day without hearing all the news about Coronavirus. This peaceful day, happened to be just the day before the national quarantine was announced in the Czech Republic. Because I wanted to see the last inches of snow, and I have not been in the Krkonoše Mountains for several years, I chose to climb Sněžka. This whole hike in Krkonoše supposed to be a poor replacement for a ruined trip to Lapland. However, it was nice sunny weather, and I was attracted by the romantic idea of sitting in the snow on the top and watching the sunset. But as usual, it turned out a little differently ?
The fresh cold breeze, stunning panoramas, and soul-satisfying silence. Everything went according to all my wishes until I found myself before the final ascent to the top of Sněžka (it is about 200 meters-long hike). Yes, it was March and there was a lot of snow, but at the same time, the temperature remained above zero during for several weeks, and as we all know, this winter was extremely warm. What does that mean? Ice. A lot of ice. It was everywhere! But that was not the only problem. At the same time, the wind was blowing around 100 km/h=53 kt. (Now is the time to mention that the speed of wind 118 km/h and above is a hurricane). Ha-Ha. Each step forward meant 2 steps back if it slipped. Or two steps to the side when the wind just blew me. Tears flowed down my cheeks, and I stubbornly continued up.
I felt like I was after a lobotomy. The wind blew all my brain out, but I did it to the top of Snežka! There I found a shelter where the wind wasn’t blowing so hard, waiting for the sunset. I have to mention a gentleman I met at the top. He was taking a selfie with his two little dogs sitting frozen on his shoulders like two icicles. Finally. The sun began to set and the sky turned to all possible shades of orange. The clouds had moved a bit, but the view was still beautiful, I could see far into the distance. I grabbed the camera and went for it. I thought it was the highlight of the day, but … It wasn’t ?
I was wondering how to get back under the top of Sněžka without breaking the camera. Suddenly, a brilliant idea came to my mind – what if just I sit and just slide it all down? To be honest, I was not the original author of this idea. It occurred to me because, at the beginning of the ascent from Pec pod Sněžkou, I met a bunch of kids sledding.
I hesitated a little at first, but then I tried. Oh, my God! That was so amazing! I won’t deny it, but if I didn’t grab a chain in one place, I would have slipped a little lower (eh, maybe a bit too much lower :D), but otherwise it went perfectly! Believe it or not, I was down in 5 minutes! Hell yeah!
How to get to the top of Sněžka and where to find the best view
Perhaps most of you will be pleased to say that hike to Sněžka can hardly be called … Hike. The mountains in the Czech Republic are from this point of view “user friendly”. So no ladders, chains or balancing on the cliffs. Despite the fact that a cable car leads directly to the summit of Sněžka, haha 🙂 But the truth is that very often the cable car runs only half way – to the Růžová Mountain (due to strong wind – wind must not be stronger than 60 km / h). But from the Růžová Mountain (1360 m) it is literally a short walk to the top!
Personally, I recommend skipping the cable car. If you want to see sunrise or sunset from Sněžka, which you definitely should, the cable car is no-go for most of the year (it runs from 8 am to 6 pm). Do not worry, hike to the Sněžka will only take about 3h. There are more trails, but the best way to do this is to go from the Pec pod Sněžkou ski resort. The most beautiful and best trail to Sněžka is the blue-marked hiking trail from Pec pod Sněžkou, which leads through the Giant Mine (Obří Důl; approx. 7 km) to the Giant Saddle (Obří Sedlo) and then the final climb along the red-marked trail (1.5 km) to the summit of Sněžka.
The second (and easier) trail also leads from Pec pod Sněžkou. It kinda follows the cable car route. Just follow the green hiking trail to Růžová Mountain (about 3 km) and Růžohorky cottage. From here you will continue along the yellow-marked hiking trail to the top of Sněžka (3.5 km). The second (and easier) trail also leads from Pec pod Snezkou. It kind of follows the cable car route. Just follow the green hiking trail to Růžová Mountain (about 3 km) and Růžohorky cottage where you can eat well. From here you will continue along the yellow-marked hiking trail to the top of Sněžka (3.5 km).
Another interesting option how to get to the top of Sněžka is to set out from red-marked trail in Špindlerův Mlýn. There you will come across Luční Hut (Luční Bouda; the highest situated cottage in Central Europe!), where you can stay, have a beer bath or ride a snowmobile.
How to get to the Krkonoše Mountains
One of the main reasons why people (mainly Germans) go to the Krkonoše Mountains is skiing. Špindlerův Mlýn and Pec pod Sněžkou are the two main ski resorts in the Czech Republic. You can expect a very high standard of services, but also Prague prices. It is one of the most popular destinations in the Czech Republic – nearly 4 million tourists visit this area every year!. By car from Prague, you are here in less than 2 hours, by bus in less than 3 hours (no transfer). And guess what. Of the twenty highest peaks in the Czech Republic, 15 are located in the Krkonoše Mountains. Whether you go to the Krkonoše Mountains in winter or summer, you will enjoy the beauties of the local landscape. Just remember that the Krkonoše National Park is divided into three zones, and movement in the zone I (where Sněžka is located) is prohibited outside the marked hiking trails. And of course … Visit and hike Sněžka! It is a dominant not only of the Krkonoše Mountains but of the whole Bohemia. Our Eiffel Tower ?
In addition to nature and skiing, the Krkonoše Mountains offers also other opportunities to have fun. In Špindlerův Mlýn and Pec pod Sněžkou, for example, a bobsleigh track is available for the public. Plus a snow tubing track was recently created, where you can ride special snow tubes in the summer as well! And for the beautiful views, you can just climb the Tree Treetop Walk in Janské Lázně, which is located just on the border of the Krkonoše Mountains National Park. Have fun!
Learn more about the best destinations in the Czech Republic in my previous article! And what about you guys? Have you ever slid down from the top of a mountain like this? ?