Desná is situated in the valley around the rivers Bílá and Černá Desná and on the surrounding hillsides. The village flourished significantly in the second half of the last century, when a well-known spa was in operation here. On their site stands today a park dominated by the architecturally interesting Riedl's Villa. It was built in 1895 by local glass entrepreneur Josef Riedl. In 1945, new settlers came to Desná and the glass and ceramics industry developed further.
Today, Desná is an important summer and winter recreational centre with a number of guesthouses and other accommodation facilities. Desná is located near the Špičák ski resort. The village of Desná also includes one of the most beautiful recreational settlements in the Jizera Mountains - Mariánská Hora. It is situated in the gorges of several streams, which in the past used to power the grinding wheels. The settlement was named after the second wife of the owner of the estate, Count Desfours. It is located about 2 km northwest of Desná.