Šumava National Park

Our two recommended trips

Šumava can offer us countless natural and cultural experiences. From demanding hiking routes along the remote border ridges, to comfortable cycle trails through the Vltava riverine wetlands. Lovers of canoeing and rafting will be attracted to a very attractive trip down the Vltava river, while cross-country skiers will find ideal terrain around Kvilda, but also in the more remote areas of the National Park around Stožec or Prášily.

We would like to invite you on two trips, one to see the nature and the second to see the culture and history of the territory. In this way we can show you the natural and cultural unity of the NP territory.

Our nature trip will take us to Březník near Modrava, to the very heart of the National Park.

To get to Březník, the most suitable starting point is the village of Modrava, from which we can set out on foot or by bicycle on the forest road in the valley of the Modravský potok stream and after nearly 7 kilometres the wide Luzenské údolí will open up in front of us. This valley lies between the magnificent peak of Mt. Lusen (Luzný) (1373 m) and the Březník hunting lodge, in which Karel Klostermann, the Šumava writer, set his most famous novel “Ze světa lesních samot”. From this hunting lodge we can choose a 4 km circular themed trail informing us about the changes in the mountain spruce forests, or a shorter 2 km themed trail from the crossing of paths at the entrance to the Luzenské údolí.

We would like to invite you to think for a moment about the never ending and constant regeneration of life. We can only receive this message from nature in such a wild landscape - having left our home environment which has been fully adapted to suit our needs - and when we forget for a while, our general perceptions of beauty and ugliness, what is useful and what is harmful and what is good and what is evil.

Where else, apart from in the core zone of the National Park, can we see and appreciate the unity of birth and death on a scale unimaginable elsewhere? Our first meeting with a forest, where green trees were dying off a few years ago as a result of a spruce bark beetle infestation, may not be a pleasant one. A whole range of questions may occur to us! Let’s have a look together and think about what makes us human and what nature is really like. A newly-born forest is full of surprises and experiences. Everything is constantly changing but also repeating. To awaken our interest in these forest renewal processes, a number of pictograms have been placed along the trail to symbolise the most important elements that we should see at each locality. Perceptive visitors will surely forgive us that there are not more of these pictograms such as the nature deserves.

In the Březník hunting lodge, tired pilgrims will find a small information centre with a museum dedicated to Karel Klostermann and an exhibition gallery in the barn, as well as a small, cosy inn offering refreshment. An extra bonus for visitors are the breath-taking views of Mt. Lusen (Luzný) just over the state border in Germany.

For our return to Modrava the most suitable route is the Starobřeznická cesta through the forest and crossing the Cikánská slať on the boardwalk. This variation is only possible for walkers, as cyclists must return to Modrava the same way they came. The route is about 17 km in length and makes an ideal half-day trip.

For lovers of the history and culture of the territory

From our starting point in the village of Srní, we set off through the Staré Srní section up around the forest school until we come to the Vchynicko–tetovský log-floating canal, which is more than 200 years old, and we follow the forest footpath up to the former chapel in the forest.

Come with us to the former Hauswaldská kaple chapel, a place which was once frequently visited but later violently sent into the darkness and forgotten - but has recently been brought back to life. Let us drink the water, which according to tradition, is miraculous and health-giving. Together with Karel Klostermann, the Šumava writer, we can set off on a walk through the magical forest of Kostelní vrch – Hauswald and watch, listen and engage all of our senses to appreciate the Šumava nature and appreciate the author’s unforgettable style.

“... it is crossed by a small stone bridge of one arch, with a tall, mixed forest rising up behind it and known as Hauswald. If you continue on this way you will come to two small chapels standing on the left and right sides of the path, their entrances staring at each other like man and wife. One of these chapels is already very dilapidated, the entrance to it is always open, and if you look inside you will see an odd mixture of various objects which were sacrificed to the miraculous Virgin Mary hanging randomly on the walls and the altar covered with gifts as signs of thanks for miraculous recoveries, for help in times of need, for fulfilled wishes: pictures and icons, crosses, rosaries, statues, wooden and wax objects representing all possible limbs and parts of the body.”

(Karel Klostermann: Červené srdce – Red Heart)

The chapel is located in the forest about 2 km south of Srní close to a well and near the Vchynicko–tetovský log-floating canal. Many legends relate to this area, for example, that on the orders of the Virgin Mary, two women were saved from an attacking bear. People were also miraculously cured of their illnesses here. On the basis of these signs, the village of Srní built a small chapel here in 1820. To serve the waves of pilgrims who came here, a larger chapel was built near the original one in 1860, and this newer chapel was reconstructed in 1902. A statue of the Virgin Mary of Lourdes was placed on the altar by pilgrims and this statue can be seen today on a side altar in the church in Srní. The pilgrimage is celebrated annually on the 15th of August, on the holy day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Karel Klostermann wrote about the Hauswald chapel in his short story Červené srdce – Red Heart. The chapel and its furnishings and fixtures were demolished on 14th September, 1957. Was this the end? For many years it seemed that it was!

The chapel ceased to exist, many of the pilgrims now lay in various Šumava cemeteries, times had changed. Nevertheless, the magic and genius loci of this place resulted in a group of enthusiasts from the Karel Klostermann Society initiating a project to resurrect the locality of the former Hauswald chapel. Together with the Šumava NP and PLA Administration, the financial administrator of the project, the spiritual dimension of this place was again recognised. Newly-built foundations remind us of the former chapel. The doorframe, which lies fallen into the chapel symbolises the attempt to destroy this spiritual structure, and the rosary symbolises the indestructible human spirit. Stone, wood and water, the natural materials from which it was built, bring us a spiritual message, but also give us the message that we should take a more sensitive approach to nature.

From the former chapel we can take a 5 km themed trail through the forest on Kostelní vrch (Hauswald), and read more quotes from Klostermann’s works on the way. We can enrich our return to Srní by taking a short walk along the log-floating canal and before the hamlet of Mechov we can follow a romantic, moss-covered path back to the turning to Srní. Depending on the variant we choose, this is an undemanding walk of 6 – 11 km, ideal as an early evening stroll. The locality is often visited by physically-handicapped people - who believe in the health-giving powers of this magical place.