Czech travel is an endless process of discovery. The Karst landscape, which has some of the most dramatic topography on the planet, is formed when acidic water streams within rock. As the acidic water eats away at the stone, small fractures and splits are formed. Deepening over time, these fissures become channels, channels become tunnels, tunnels become caves; the underlying bedrock then turns into gruyere. Nowhere in Central Europe, and possibly the world, is this geological marvel better or more beautifully visible than at the Macocha Gorge.

It’s an interesting addition to your Czech travel adventure, sometimes referred to—with a satisfying sense of menace—as the Macocha Abyss. Here, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in a Czech travel escape into nature.

Punkva River- Macocha, Czechia

Photo: Jaroslav A. Polak via Flickr

Take a Peek Downwards

Macocha Abyss was named in the 17th century by a monk. The abyss was fashioned by the crumbling of the ceiling of a colossal cave, leaving the base littered with wreckage and debris. The River Punkva rises and fills up two small lochs called Horní, the upper lake, and Dolní, the lower lake. Horní Lake is roughly 13 miles deep and guests are able to travel and see it from the Upper Platform. The Underground River Punkva is made by several local brooks which becomes a bigger river underground.

This is just one piece of a vast underground system formed by the Punkva River carving its way through the Moravian karst in Eastern Czech. Travel here leaves you speechless, but it transforms you into a storyteller, dreamer, world explorer.

Czech, Europe

Photo: Pixelfix via Wikimedia Commons

A Grimly Tale

Hedged in by greenery, the sinkhole is a ménage to rare flora and a walkway that is roughly three kilometers for viewing. While the gorge’s splendor is obvious, its nickname, the Propast Macocha—literally “Stepmother Abyss”—comes with a grim tale. Your Czech travel fantasies will be peppered with stories of myth and legend, taking you back in time.

According to local lore (isn’t it always?), a widowed stepmother living with her stepson had a son of her own. Not wanting rivalry or opposition between the sons, she asked her stepson to join her in collecting berries in the forest. The stepmother lured her stepson to the edge of the void convincing him the best berries were there. Then, she pushed him into the abyss. Somehow, the boy managed to survive. His cries are still heard by locals to this day. In an alternative story-version, she threw herself in the abyss as well.

Punkva Caves-Macocha, Czechia

Photo: Milan Tvrdy via Flickr

Know Before You Go

Twenty-five kilometers away of Brno, the StepMother Abyss is just 30 minutes by automobile or train, or a little longer, an hour, by bike. There is paid parking for you nearby. The best season to travel here is during the summer when every feature is open and visible. You can tour the void by looking at it from above using viewing stations or by taking a tour of the nearby Punkva Caves, which emerge at the base of the abyss. The tour is an hour and a half long. Travel to Europe for a fantastic nature stay!

The Stepmother Abyss-Macocha, Czechia

Photo: Jarolsav A Polak via Flickr

The Macocha Gorge is a Czech travel gem you should consider including on your trip if you’re looking for unique landscapes.

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For more incredible travel destinations, visit our Travel Ideas section for beautiful places!