Suitable for hiking
Suitable for cross-country skiing
Suitable for bicycle
Suitable for wheelchair
At a distance of 15 to 18 km from our guesthouse in Volare (depending on the chosen route) is a great destination for excursions. Here you will find the oldest protected area in Sumava - Boubínský prales. Its core has been a nature reserve since 1858 and it is also the largest native forest in Central Europe. You will find it on the south-western slope of Mount Boubín, which rises to a height of 1362 metres above sea level. To the south of the Boubín Forest is the village of Zátoň, to the west is Kubova Hut', which are other places you can hike from Volary.
The Boubínský Forest is based on spruce and beech trees, the oldest of which are between 300 and 400 years old. It is a unique nature reserve, preserving remnants of natural forest stands that are left to natural influences without human intervention. You can see for yourself how nature can cope here. When a tree falls due to wind or breaks, a new young tree can grow right out of the stump. You will see so-called stilt roots, which are root systems growing above the ground. The roots of fallen trees often form strange, almost fantastic-looking formations with a specific beauty. The oldest part of the forest covers 150 hectares and was created thanks to a request from the then forester John to the owner of the estate, Jan Adolf Schwarzenberg, who had the area removed from normal management and established a forest reserve.
The base for excursions in the Boubínský Forest is the Boubínské jezírko. It was built in 1836 as an artificial reservoir on the Kaplice stream, which made it possible to float wood from the forests to the glassworks in the nearby village of Lenora. There is a sitting area with wooden tables and benches by the pond where you can have a snack, relax or just enjoy the surrounding nature. A circular nature trail of the same name runs around the centre of the Boubín Forest, which is fenced off and covers 47 hectares. It lies at an average altitude of 1000 m above sea level. On it you will see different zones of the forest with different proportions of human intervention. The nature trail is 4 km long and there are also wooden information boards with interesting information about the local fauna and flora, the history of the forest and Boubín.
You can go to the Boubínský prales from Volary on foot, by car, by bicycle, or shorten your journey by train to the Zátoň-Boubín stop and continue on foot from there. For cars, there is a car park under Boubín near the Horní Vltavice camping site. Just above it is the Ida's Sawmill information centre, but it is only open during the summer holidays. You can also go to Boubín from the other side of Kubova Hut.
The nature reserve itself is a very strictly protected area, where it is possible to move only along marked paths and hiking trails. Movement outside of them is punishable by a fine. Due to the non-protected nature of the site, it is also necessary to respect any bans on movement along certain routes, which may occur, for example, after storms when trees threaten to fall directly onto the trail.
Since 2004, the highest wooden lookout tower in the country has been built on the top of Boubín Mountain, which is outside the reserve, i.e. freely accessible. It rises to a height of 21 metres and from its open viewing platform, in good weather, you can see not only the surrounding peaks of Šumava, but even the Alps. The lookout tower can be reached from Kubova Huta along the blue tourist trail (4.5 km), from Zátoň also along the blue trail (8.5 km) and from the railway station Zátoň-Boubín or from Idina Pila along the green and blue trail (depending on the starting point, the route to the lookout tower is 6.5 to 9 km long).