The Rock Town, Czech Republic is situated in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park. An extension of the Saxon Switzerland sandstone mountains of Saxony, Germany. The Tisá walls, known as Tiské stěny in Czech are tall sandstone formations overlooking the town of Tisá, the rocky formations create the gates, peaks, towers and alleys of the Rock Town hiking route.
This post is part of the Dresden Day Trips series, check out Moritzburg Castle and Things to do in Dresden with Kids for more great days out.
HOW TO HIKE THE ROCK TOWN
The loop we are going to follow has 2 entry points, the lower entrance in the town of Tisá, behind the church. The upper entrance on the way out of Tisá, where the road takes a hairpin turn. There are small parking lots at both places.
You can purchase tickets for the park at both sites. (Adults €1.50 Children 90c, at the time of writing). Cash only. Czech Koruna or Euros are accepted.
I recommend paying an extra an extra 50c for an A4 map in English, this shows the trail, as well as the names of the rock formations.
With children, it is recommended to start at the upper entrance.
From upper entrance start the hike by following the red markers of the Grand Cliff track. Pass by small rock formations, the nut, turtle and mushroom to reach the Grand Cliffs and a panoramic view across the town of Tisá. The view extends out to Czech Bohemia in one direction and the German Saxon Switzerland National Park in the other.
The park is also popular with rock climbers, so don’t be alarmed if you spot some visitors dangling precariously from the cliffs.
The Grand Cliffs track is flat and easily managed with kids. The path is clearly marked, but there are many cliff-side drops that do not have barriers. Don’t allow children to wander from the trail.
Follow the track down through the rock formations and arrive at the lower ticket booth. Here the red track meets with the green track. Keep left now to follow the green markers in a clockwise direction around the Small Cliffs. This is the area known as the Rock Town Czech Republic. A labyrinth of formations each with unique shapes, like naming clouds in the sky, we each have our own interpretation of the forms. The map tells the official name, we don’t always agree.
Narrow tunnels and small caves entertain kids and we stop and watch a group of climbers abseiling down the rock face. Some narrow steep staircases carved into the rock face require some concentration and Ella at only 3 needs some help to navigate these.
The Small Cliffs route ends at the lower ticket booth. The green path now continues on the back side of the Grand Cliffs. The wide sandy path passes through birch forest and more formations including the Elephant, Frogs Crown and Dancing Bear.
Two large square blocks, 3 people high have toppled over like a set of dominos. Pass through crevices where falling rocks have become trapped and created tunnels. Steep, narrow stairs climb back to rejoin the top panoramic path where the turtle and mushroom await.
IS THE ROCK TOWN HIKE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The loop is 5km and took us 2.5 hours to complete, at 3-year-old pace, including a short picnic lunch stop. There are some short steep sections and uneven ground which might challenge those with poor fitness or mobility issues but the hike is easily managed with children. All descents have hand rails. Take care in wet or icy conditions.
HOW TO GET TO THE ROCK TOWN CZECH REPUBLIC
Under an hour from Dresden and 90mins from Prague, the hike can easily be done as a day trip with a car. The area is not easily accessed by public transport. Public buses do run from the train station in Decin, Czech Republic to Tisa. An easier option, for those travelling from Prague, is to arrange a tour of the area with Northern Hikes. From Germany take one of the seasonal hiking or bike buses from Pirna. You can find more information (only in German) about the hiking bus here and the bus which also carries bikes here.
WHERE TO STAY IN BOHEMIAN SWITZERLAND NATIONAL PARK
We chose to stay overnight at Hotel Ostrov which had been recommended by a friend for being family orientated and having great food. The hotel sits down a quiet road off another quiet road. In a valley looking down onto a small still lake and towards a panorama of sandstone columns.
The hotel has a children’s playground with a large inflated bouncy cushion. The playground is fully fenced which is reassuring with the lake nearby.
An indoor pool with jacuzzi and sauna is available to guests and entry can also be purchased for non-guests.
The restaurant serves delicious refined but hearty traditional Czech and European dishes. There is an excellent selection of local and international wine and spirits and Czech Beer on tap.
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