Head along the green route from Brtníky. Go on up to the meadow path which, on the edge of the forest, becomes a stone pathway leading to the site of Šternberk, the former hunting lodge, and continue on along the green route through the wood to the Soví vyhlídka viewpoint. A few metres after the viewpoint, to the left of the path, there is a turn-off to Soví Cave, which you can explore before returning.
The path will take us to Velký Pruský tábor (Great Prussian Camp), which is described in more detail later. Less than half a kilometre further on along the green route you’ll come to another signpost to the nearby Brtniky Castle, which you’ll recognise by the hewn-out square of the watchtower. After returning along the green route, go down into the valley and across the log footbridge to the crossroads. There, turn right and follow Vlčí potok stream into the valley of Kyjovské údolí as far as the Tourist Bridge, where you can have a rest.
Return to the crossroads and continue along the gravel cycle route (number 3033) through the valley of Vlčí potok stream. After almost two kilometres you’ll see a little footpath on the right, which leads to the Small Prussian Camp. Then head back to the cycle route and follow it as far as the little road linking Vlčí Hora and Brtníky, then turn left and head back do Brtníky.
Winter variant - Brtnice icefalls
Brtnice icefalls are possibly the biggest winter attraction in Bohemian Switzerland. As the gorges here are very cold, the icefalls sometimes last until Easter. The route is the same as the summer one, only with more turn-offs to see icefalls.
Around five hundred metres after the turn-off to Soví vyhlídka viewpoint, the footpath veers off to the left to the Opona (Curtain) icefall, and is marked with an arrow in the winter. After some two hundred metres you can see the massive Opona on a rock overhang, in places reaching right down to the ground.
Go back to the path and on past the Great Prussian Camp and Brtniky Castle; these are open to the public. Go on as far as the cycle route and make sure you don’t miss the turn-off to the right to the Betlém (Nativity) and Varhany (Organ) icefalls. Go back, and after a while turn off to the right, across the little wooden bridge across the stream and along the footpath to Velký sloup (Big Pillar). This is undoubtedly the massive of all the icefalls here, over eight metres high, a huge and majestic column of ice. There are many icefalls in the nearby valleys – such as Křepelčí stěnka (Quail Wall), Vlčí stěnka (Wolf Wall), Konírna (Stables), Vlčí doupě (Wolves’ Den), Malá and Velká kaskáda (Little and Big Cascade), Prádlo (Laundry), as well as those that are yet to be given names.
Special care should be taken when wandering around the icefalls, as the paths can be icy and slippery.
Rocks as a refuge
Bohemian Switzerland is full of rock overhangs, which have been used by man since time immemorial. Several archaeological surveys of the overhangs have shown that these natural shelters were home to people back in Mesolithic times (around 10 000 ago). The overhangs were also used as a refuge during wartime, which was hard in these regions, being so close to the border. When the armies arrived, they were always accompanied by looting, illness and slaughter. Therefore, the villagers fled from the soldiers and hid in the rock gorges and under the overhangs, often with their cattle, so as to have a source of food. While staying under the overhangs, sometimes the villagers would carve engravings and inscriptions into the rock walls.
The inhabitants of Brtníky and Kopec used to shelter under and overhang known as Velký Pruský tábor (Great Prussian Camp), situated 3 km south of Brtníky along the green route. The overhang is accessible through a narrow passageway between the rocks. After climbing a few steps hewn out of the rock, you’ll come to what used to be a more legible plaque noting that this was where the inhabitants of Brtníky and Kopec used to hide during times of danger. People used to live here during the Thirty Years War, and then especially during the Seven Year War, when the countryside was patrolled by Prussian solders (1756), as well as during the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. Around 200 people could fit under the overhang. Carved into the rock you can see a heart with a cross in the middle – allegedly a child was born here, but later died due to the terrible conditions.
The project Tourism without Borders is implemented through the Objective 3 Programme to promote cross-border cooperation between Czech Republic and the Free State of Saxony 2007 - 2013 period.
- On foot
- For families with children
- For beginner walkers
- With attractions
- Routes with a story
- With a story from the past