Day Trip To Narnia Labyrinth and Bastei Bridge

For our fifth wedding anniversary, we decided to head to Europe. We prefer to go to Europe during the off season to avoid the crowds. We covered three countries during this trip - Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. We started our trip at the beautiful capital city, Prague. True to our travel style, we ventured out of the city on our second day in Czech Republic. We did a day trip to one of the most magical fairy tale small town in South Bohemia - Cesky Krumlov. On our last day in the country, we did another day trip to the Narnia Labyrinth and the Bastei Bridge (close to the German border). We did this trip with the Northern Hikes company.

This place was, clearly, going to be all about the mystical. After exploring quaint little towns, our next stop was going to be hitting the wild mountains of Bohemian Switzerland, located in the north west region of Czech Republic; about a 2 hour drive from Prague. You can also make this trip from Germany (don't you just love that you can literally cross a tiny road and you enter another country?)

Best time to visit

I would imagine the weather is pretty amazing in the summer but the winters are extreme with snow and temperatures in the low 20s (Fahrenheit not Celsius). That being said, visiting Europe during the winter is absolutely magical and something everyone must experience at least once. So if you haven't done this already, I would highly recommend visiting Narnia during the winter season. When we visited these parks there was a lot of snow (although we just had one night of snow in Prague) - perfect weather for a winter adventure.

Flights and Visa

We flew with Smart Wings - short, direct flights all through the week.

Schengen Visa required for entry into Czech Republic. Immigration was simple and quick.

Language

The official language spoken in the country is Czech. You will also find that the second most common language is German, followed by Russian.

Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency

Travel and Medical Insurance is mandatory to travel to all Schengen countries.

Currency is Czech Crown. Restaurants and other places don't accept Euro but most big restaurants accept cards.

Where we stayed

We stayed at the Ametyst Hotel in Prague. This hotel is in the New Town of Prague. The rooms were spacious for European standards with a beautiful view of the city. The staff are really helpful and knowledgeable. The hotel is just a 15 minute walk to all the major attractions. The breakfast was repetitive but was a pretty good spread (even for us vegetarians).

Tip: There is a small grocery right next to the hotel, which is incredibly convenient after a tiring day.


Cost and getting around

Prague is expensive but not ridiculously so. Hotels are reasonably priced (during the off season). Cabs are expensive, as you would expect them to be anywhere in Europe. A proper meal on average will be around EUR 10-15 per person.


Safety

Had no issues with safety. We felt everyone we met was warm and helpful.

Food

During the trip, we stopped at U Forta in the Hrensko region, a local restaurant with Czech cuisine. Luckily our guide was able to get us vegetarian food - potato Parmesan gnocchi, crispy potatoes with baked goats cheese and a hot chocolate. It was included in the price of the tour.

What to pack

Toiletries. Medicines.

Winters are cold. You will need thick waterproof pants. Water and wind resistant jackets, thick scarves and beanies if you are going around the same time as us.

Itinerary: We did the trip with Northern Hikes, a well known agency in the country. I could not recommend them highly enough. They were responsive, on time and very professional. I had mentioned to them that this was our anniversary trip, so they gifted us a homemade organic soap and couple other gifts - how thoughtful is that? :)

Our day started at 8 a.m. with a pick up outside our hotel in Prague. Our guide was right on time. She was quick to hand out our goody bags with water, a chocolate bar and a fruit for the cold day ahead. The day was split in two halves - first the Narnia Labyrinth and post lunch the Bastei Bridge. So by 8 30 a.m. we were on our way to the first stop at Tisá.

After a 2 hour drive and a short 15 minute walk, we were ready to start our trek. While the weather was gloomy with a bit of rain, the entire place was covered in snow - just what we needed to make this a wonderful trek. The only problem? Crazy winds made staying at a place for pictures real difficult.

As we made our way through the stunning landscape, we were left in awe of the huge rock formation in front of us. Half through the trek we were at the exact location where a portion of the film Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was shot.

Yes, it was every bit as breathtaking as in the movie. It’s said to be the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe. The further you climb, the more you are left wondering if you are still on earth.