Boubín, a majestic mountain in the Šumava, rises above an ocean of forests, with a picturesque rolling landscape of fields and meadows stretching as far as the eye can see, dotted with settlements. A landscape dear to the heart, but as though sunk in thought, and hard to comprehend. Whoever has tasted it, however, keeps coming back, with a love for a lifetime.
The heart and the natural centre of the region is the town of Vimperk, a town underneath Boubín mountain, a gateway to the Šumava, and a meeting point of two worlds. To the north extend the gentle slopes of the Šumava foothills, with scents of the warm plains further in the interior of Bohemia, to the south the countryside begins to rise in the rugged and darker tops of the Šumava proper, with its deep forests, silvery streams, and vast dreamy plateaus. Once there was a dark, impenetrable forest marking the frontier of the Czech Kingdom, which few people used to cross, and if they did, it was with utmost difficulty. Now the dangers of travelling here are long-forgotten, and the tradition comes to life again of the famous Gold Trail, a medieval trade route connecting the Czech lands via the border region around Boubín with the Danube basin, and leading further south to the sunny Mediterranean. Vimperk used to be one of the terminuses of this route, along which salt was transported from the Alpine deposits into Bohemia, and which also made possible cultural contacts and communication between peoples living to the north and to the south of the Šumava. The pompous name "Gold Trail", used from the early 16th century, alludes to the profits from the trade which thrived here for many centuries. Other branches of the Gold Trail led to Prachatice and to Kašperské Hory, respectively.
The area around Vimperk is a region of many faces, appealing to people of different interests. History lovers should not miss the castle ruins, picturesque little chateaux and halls, or prehistoric settlements, while sports fans are sure to enjoy cycling, skiing, horse-riding, jogging, or hiking along the dense network of footpaths. Those who admire natural beauty will be pleased to find wooded mountains, dreamy plateaus, rivers and streams of crystal-clear water, as well as quiet forgotten corners with solitary houses. What you cannot find here is the hustle and bustle of large cities, but this is precisely what makes more and more people escape into this world of peace, into natural oases such as the Vimperk region.
Nature is undoubtedly the greatest wealth of the region, and it is therefore no coincidence that a substantial part of it enjoys the status of the Šumava National Park or the Šumava Protected Landscape Area. Disciplined tourists, hikers or sportsmen, who observe the rules, are, however, welcome and are certain to experience beautiful moments of peace and quiet which radiate from virtually all the forests, streams and pristine meadows. Give your tired lives a dose of the unique refreshing drink, so carefully blended by nature and a millennium of human effort, and you will never regret it.