The Šumava National Park (Czech: Národní park Šumava, usually shortened as NP Šumava), or Bohemian Forest National Park, is a national park in the South Bohemian regions of the Czech Republic along the border with Germany (where the smaller adjacent Bavarian Forest National Park lies) and Austria. They protect a little-inhabited area of the mountain range of the same name, the Šumava or Bohemian Forest.
The Šumava National Park forms about two-thirds of a former protection known as Protected Landscape Area of Šumava, or simply Šumava PLA, established in 1963. In 1990, the area was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and in 1991 it was changed to national park status.
The Bohemian Forest
The Bohemian Forest (Czech: Šumava) mountain range is covered by the most extensive forest in Central Europe, whose natural composition was, however, changed and today spruce plantations prevail in most of the area. In many places non-native spruce varieties were planted. These are not well adapted to the harsh local climate and are therefore susceptible to a range of elements, such as strong winds (e.g. in the 1980s or recently at the beginning of 2007) and bark beetle (Ips typographus). Numerous large plateaux with raised peat bogs, glacial lakes and remnants of primeval forests (e.g. Boubín) complete a mosaic of habitats which are little disturbed by human settlements as most of the predominantly German-speaking inhabitants were expelled after World War II, and the area became a part of the deserted zone along the Eastern Bloc border. Since the 1970s there has existed a stable population of lynxes.
Originally, a large landscape protected area was declared on 27 December 1963 covering most of the Bohemian Forest. On 20 March 1991 the most valuable part of the area was declared a national park, with the rest of the landscape protected area serving as its buffer zone.
The closest major cities are Prague and Munich. However, both cities are located more than 2 hours drive away. The drive from Munich is closer to 3 1/2 hours. It's not an easy destination with public transport. It is possible to take both bus and train but it will take around 4- 5 hours from Prague.
When to visit
The most popular seasons are summer and early autumn. The weather is great and you can do most of the activities available in the park. During spring you might get lucky and find good weather with few visitors. Winter makes most of the activities difficult because of heavy snow fall in the region.
Map of Šumava National Park
Image gallery of Šumava National Park
Sights in Šumava National Park
Some national parks contain more than just natural wonders. This list shows you some of the sights that are located in the national park. This includes museums, cathedrals, bridges, dams and much more.
Visitor/Information centres in Šumava National Park
Most national parks have an associated visitor centre to help visitors. They are usually open most of the year but some close in the off-season. You will often be able to find information on all the activities in the national park. A visit to the visitor centre is often recommended before venturing into the park.
Hiking trails in Šumava National Park
Almost all national parks have some opportunities for hiking. You can see some of the more popular trails here. You should get local information for detailed information on all trails of the national park.
Mountains in Šumava National Park
This section will list some of the famous peaks in the national park. Be sure to do proper research before venturing on to the high peaks.
Activities in Šumava National Park
This section will list some of the popular activities in the national park. They range from demanding to family type activities.
Mushroom hunting in Šumava National Park
The national park is very popular among the locals for mushroom hunting. There are large forest areas and most of them have plenty of mushrooms in the right season. You are not allowed to forage mushrooms in the main "National Park Zone 1". These are the same areas where you are not allowed to leave the trails.
Mushroom hunting season
The season depends on the weather. The mushroom season usually starts during summer and continues into the fall. Once winter comes, the mushrooms usually disappear.
Camping rules in Šumava National Park
The national park contains emergency shelters within the national park. These are only for emergencies and should therefore not just be used to pitch a tent for an overnight stay. You should stick to mountain cabins and designated camping areas when pitching your tent.