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Hřensko, Czechia

Pravčická brána (Pravčice Gate)

Europe's largest natural bridge has a 19th century royal chateau built into its side. 

Pravčická brána, or “Pravčice Gate,” is Europe’s largest natural bridge, a massive sandstone arch that’s been attracting visitors for as long as people have been appreciating natural wonders. 

Part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, the arch towers in the České Švýcarsko National Park on the border of Germany, stretching nearly 90 feet wide and 50 feet high. The natural bridge is the symbol for the region, whose mountainous peaks and beautiful forests have earned it the nickname Bohemian, or Czech, Switzerland.

The rock outcropping is made all the more wondrous by the picturesque chateau built right into the rock face, dubbed the Sokolí hnízdo, or “Falcon’s Nest.” It was built in 1881 from a previous inn by the powerful Austro-Hungarian Clary-Aldringen family to house important guests. While princes or dignitaries no longer stay at the chateau, it has been preserved as a period restaurant and a museum dedicated to the history of the park.

Know Before You Go

Unfortunately, as a result of years of tourism, the arch has experienced severe erosion. Visitors are no longer allowed to climb and hike upon the bridge, and must limit their admiration to viewing it from the ground.

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