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Adršpach-Teplice Rocks - Czech Republic

Adrspach-Teplice Rocks Adrspach-Teplice RocksAdrspach-Teplice RocksAdrspach-Teplice Rocks

The Adršpach-Teplice Rocks is one of Europe's most bizarre landscapes. Very near the Czech-Polish border these strangely eroded sandstone outcrops are completely alien and fantastic to walk through.

There are two major areas known as 'rock towns' or 'rock labyrinths', at Adršpach and at Teplice. The Teplice rocks form the largest area, spread out over a 6km walking loop and deep within a forest. There are many huge pinnacles and spires resembling animals and faces. Parts of the rocks have collapsed forming huge angular caves and there are some massive canyons still with small amounts of snow at the bottom. The most amazing section is the Strmen castle ruins. Built on top of a rocky outcrop and only accessible by a steep combination of stairs and ladders, the castle ruins offers a fantastic view over the rocky landscape. Most of the surrounding area is tree-covered but occasional pillars of rock do poke through.

The trail at Adršpach is much shorter and accessible, with the first impressive rocks only a few minutes walk from the entrance. The first half of the trail is on wooden walkways winding through vast rock sculptures and formations, The most impressive of these stands 40m high and threatens to fall on every visitor. It has a circumference at the top of over 13m while the base is just 3m around. It's going to topple one day but visitors are encouraged to lay sticks against the base to prevent this happening. It's a nice superstition but unlikely to stop the 40 000 tonne rock from falling. At the end of the trail is an artificial lake where you can take a short boat trip. It's very calm and peaceful being poled along the shallow reservoir, but the strange wooden figures everywhere really aren't necessary.

The second half of the trail is much more dramatic and leads through more hilly terrain with several steep sets of steps with good views of the alien landscapes. Some of the rocks here are huge and very popular with local climbers. The final passageway is through the 'mousehole' a narrow cleft in the rock only 50cm wide and almost invisible from the other side.

The Adršpach-Teplice area is really amazing. The landscape is like nothing seen before and truly bizarre and alien. Both walks are equally impressive although the more popular Adršpach allows the easiest introduction to the area.

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