7 Czechia Beauties outside Prague

7 Czechia Beauties outside Prague

The Czech Republic, severed from its old Slovak half, sits in apparent landlocked contentment, inside the European Union but outside the troubled Euro Zone, set into the new Continental mosaic like one of the small sturdy paving stones, just a few inches square, that form the sidewalks under the visitor’s ambling feet.    Thomas Mallon


During our 43 months full-time travel adventures, we’ve been blessed to visit some incredible European countries. Each destination having a space in our hearts; some taking more room than others. Our excitement at the beginning of  2019 however, exceeded anything we’d experienced up to this point. A Summer in Scandinavia – we had been waiting for this since we left UK shores. Our anticipation of visit Denmark, Sweden and Norway was as high as the heavens. And what a dream four months it was. Sights and experiences that surpassed our experiences. The memory book and my camera’s SD card were seriously full.

So how on earth would we beat those experiences? Well we have come to learn with our life on the road that there is no ‘beating’, just unique and individual cultural experiences. Each country is special in its own right. That said, we wanted to continue our travels with the same curiosity as we always have. So en route south for some much needed sun, we decided to check out the Czech Republic or Czechia as it is more commonly known.  This would be new country five for 2019. 

After the imposing scenery that Scandinavia offers in bucket-loads, we entered Czechia with a little trepidation. Although we didn’t need to worry. Within a couple of hours of crossing the Poland/Czech border at Boboszów we felt the country’s charm instantly touch us. It felt easy on the eye after the overwhelming magnificence of Scandinavia’s trio. Gently rolling hills, winding roads through farmland, forest and castles! Hundreds of them; up to 1000 depending on your definition of ‘castle’. Our two weeks here were going to be a very lovely excursion and our fears faded away into a sink of dishwater. Let us share with you our journey through this green and pleasant land, not even scratching the surface of its offerings, although with enough evidence to make us return – except to Česky Krumlov – although more on that in a moment.  Check out our fully interactive map below that lists all our overnight stops and country highlights. 


Our 7 Czechia Beauties

1. Czechia’s Castles

Ok, so castles are not everyone’s cup of tea, although there’s no denying their prowess when it comes to design and historical significance. I love to examine the intricacies of their architrave, the phallic extensions of their towers that preside over the lands below and the ghosts that glide through the walls with a story to tell. I enjoy imagining the footprints that have been left behind by the Dukes and soldiers and the war tales that are undoubtedly etched amongst the plaster. 

Of the 1000 odd castles you can see around the Czechia countryside, 12 caught our eye. If we’re honest we did get a bit castled out, although if you’re going to overindulge in these historic beauties, I can’t think of a better place. With history dating back to 12th century, Czechia’s castles offer us legend, intrigue and romance in equal measure. They invite you to shut your eyes and step back into the past seeing maidens with flowing veils and knights clad in armour on horseback, fighting for their maiden’s protection. I’m sure there is plenty of distasteful activity to add to the mix, although every one of these incredible buildings evoke waves of history as you gaze around their amazing construction. 

From the Rock Castle ruins of the Bohemian Paradise such as Vranov, Frydštejn, Kost and Valdstejn to the pristine presence of Boucov and Litomysl. Castles in town centres, like Jičín and peninsula fortresses of Orlik and Zvikov keeping guard over the magnificence of the Vitava river, south of Prague. And two pièce de resistance giants of Česky Krumlov and Hluboká and Vltavou. Czechia has a veritable feast of chateau brilliance and you’ll not go wanting. Here is a selection of images from the 12 castles we visited. And to think there’s hundreds more to satiate our historical appetite. 



2. Česky ráj – Bohemian Paradise

Czechia is a modern predecessor of the Imperial State of the Kingdom of Bohemia which was established in medieval times. And although the Czech Republic has reinvented itself more than Madonna, Bohemia still has a presence in the country. Whilst the Kingdom status dissolved in 1918, Bohemia is interwoven throughout their culture and is recognised as more than just a modern regional name. So when you come visit the Bohemian Paradise of the north east you are stepping into a historical storybook that has Bohemian culture embedded into its fibres.  

Although the Bohemian Paradise is so much more than medieval history. It’s a 100 metre square area of geological genius. With its sandstone rock pillars that hide themselves amidst the pine and beech forests, you walk amongst 60 million year old giants. Tiny dots compared to these brilliantly crafted pillars, hikers, rock climbers and adventure seekers love the Česky ráj. After four days exploring its rich variety, we fell in love with this place, just a mere 90 minutes from Prague. For a more detailed look at the area, click here.


3. Kutná Hora – Old Town

Czechia is blessed with 12 UNESCO sites, one of which is Kutná Hora. A 12th century settlement founded with the country’s first Cistercian church at Sedlec Abbey. In the 13th century, the town’s fortunes took a massive shift when German settlers started to mine for silver. This gave Kutná Hora greater financial and cultural status than even Prague, such was its importance. Since 1995, the old town has been given the UNESCO badge; protecting its Gothic church, Royal Mint palace and Museum. It’s a great place to wander and feel the historical significance of the area. Less than 90 minutes from the centre of Czechia’s capital and just 45 miles (77km) you will be in this fabulous place.  Check out our gallery below. 


4. Kutná Hora – UNESCO Cathedral of our Lady and Sedlec Ossuary

Our entry in at number four is worthy of its own listing and not hidden behind Kutná Hora’s mask. Just outside the Old Town hub and close, bizarrely to the commercial centre, you will unearth a UNESCO church and the macabre Chapel of Bones.

The Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption and St John the Baptist (to quote its full title) has seen its fair share of history in its eight hundred year history. Originally part of the Cistercian monastery, it was the first cathedral-style building in Bohemia and the largest sacred building at the time. However the Hussite army plundered and burnt down the Cathedral in 1421 and it remained in ruins until the 18th century. It was at this point that architect Jan Blažej Santini began investing much needed love into the building combining both Gothic and Baroque styles, giving it a unique design not found anywhere else in Europe. The monastery which was seriously in debt at the time, was transformed into a Tobacco factory, which remains today, albeit more as a museum. Eighty years after the beautifully crafted Cathedral stood as a symbol of prosperity and grandeur, the area fell victim to greed and as a result the monastery was sold and the Cathedral became a flour-store. In 1995 it was ceremonially consecrated and honoured as a UNESCO property. 

Just across the road you start your path towards one of the those unique travel experiences that feel somehow inappropriate and yet   you are drawn towards it nonetheless – as if free-will no longer exists. The Sedlec Ossuary is a chapel decorated with the bones of 60,000 people. Like its cousin in Evora Portugal, this ossuary has the most incredible decor, which is fascinating and macabre in equal measure. Its history originates, according to legend from 1278.  T,he sprinkling of Holy soil brought back from Jerusalem made the Sedlec cemetery the oldest Holy Field in Central Europe and a popular place to be buried. After a period of famine, war and plague, the cemetery became over-run and in an attempt to reduce the size of the graveyard, 60,000 bones were exhumed and dumped in the Chapel’s cellar.  It is thought that the bones were decoratively placed into six pyramids by a partially blind monk during 16th century.  Then in 18th century the Cathedral’s designer Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel was tasked with reconstructing the chapel, inside and out. Further designs were created following the dissolution of the Cathedral, monastery and chapel in 18th century when the Ossuary was purchased by the Schwarzenberg family. They commissioned carver František Rint to renovate the designs and add further decorative elements, such as their Coat of Arms. 

A visit to the Ossuary is more than an admiration of the placement of bones into a design. It is a symbolic reminder that death will visit us all and that ‘What we are, you will become, and what you are, we once were.’ It’s a strangely moving experience when you grasp the history and presence of each one of these bones and how death visited each of them.  It costs 90czk per person and tickets are available from the ticket office located just across the road from the Cathedral – and not at the Chapel itself. 


5. UNESCO beauties

Czechia has twelve UNESCO sites across the county and you could shape your entire visit just around these beauties. We managed to see five, if you exclude the Geopark status of the Bohemian Paradise and Kutná Hora, which I have already mentioned.

With the delightful town of Litomysl with its unique motif exterior and cobbled street town, you can easily while away an afternoon checking out this delightful community. (A note for travellers with campers; parking is not easy here as there’s nowhere dedicated for motorhomes. We were lucky to park in the town although it may require staying in a campsite and travelling in, to fully appreciate the town.) 

Just down the road you will find the hilltop homage to St John Nepomuk. Another building crafted by the architect of his time Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel. My he was a busy boy. The site is currently being renovated by UNESCO so it’s a bit unkempt  and there is little parking up at the church. Although it is still worth a quick visit if you are passing through. With its five sided star-shape and its resident pair of peregrine falcons, the source of this church is a bit of a mystery. After a bit of research I found that Jan was commissioned to build it in 1719, following the discovery of preserved tissue of Saint John that had been found in his tomb. I’m sure when work is complete touring the renovated interior will be more information and interesting. 

Holašovice is a delightful village that is certainly off-the-beaten-track. It has history going back to the 13th century and in the five years between 1520-25 all bar two of the population were killed by the plague. A repopulation of the village began with settlers from Austria and Bavaria. After World War 2 the Germans were displaced, leaving the village to fall into disrepair. It was only in 1990 that it was restored back to its full glory and is protected by UNESCO given that it is the best example of the South Bohemian Baroque Folk architecture in the area. Many of the buildings are dated between 1840 and early 1900s, whilst the Chapel was built in 1755. The village is only small, housing just 120 buildings and 140 people, although its typical South Boheniam features make it a very lovely visit for an hour.

The most southerly UNESCO we visited is the much talked about Česky Krumlov. Aside of Prague, it is said to be the most visited place in Czechia and for good reason. Everyone insists a visit here will make your travels to the Czech Republic complete. These are indeed very compelling words and without doubt the setting of this fairytale town is to die for. The Allsorts mixture of houses, colours and textures make this visually appealing. The vistas from the magnificent castle across the town’s roof-tops and ox-bow river give it real camera click-ability and Instagram desirability.

Although there is a black side to Česky Krumlov that I believe needs sharing and which put a huge dampener on our visit. So strongly we felt about this shadow that we are actually not recommending a visit here, despite it being on our Czechia highlight review. We have added so that we can reveal the dark truth about this UNESCO supported destination. Captive Bears! That is the darkness that I talk about. 

We were shocked and disgusted to see two female bears being held like zoo animals in the ‘Bear Moat’. Tour Guides proudly say that these bears are cared for by a bear-keeper who feeds them three times a day and that are part of a family heritage practice that has been in place for hundreds of years. Signs on the railings invite you not to feed the animals, instead to contribute money for ‘a varied diet and delicacies’. Suggesting that this is not funded by the Castle management currently.  I was so unsettled by this sight that the rest of the town passed by in a bit of an angry fog. On further investigation I found that the bears are part of a couple of Festivals to celebrate their Birthdays and Christmas Eve, in the name of education! 

This abhorrent practice has led me to campaign for their release to a Sanctuary that can give them the respect and care they deserve. With letters written to UNESCO’s Ethics Committee, Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Romania, Four-paws and the Born-Free Foundation, I wait to see what will happen. I have written to the Castle Manager although I understand that this practice is deemed legal and so little can be done other than to change the law. If, like me you value animal welfare, then please feel free to add your signature to the petition to change this law and put an end to animals being used as tourist attractions. So our verdict of Česky Krumlov, pretty although with too many Insta-posers, clouds of tourists and animal welfare issues that make it far too unpalatable, for us! 


6. National Park Šumava – Bohemian Forest

In the south west corner, hugging the border with Germany’s Bavaria, you stumble across the peaceful haven of the Bohemian Forest. A UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1990, also known as the Šumava National Park, is a heavenly place for hikers and cyclists. The mountain range here has the most extensive covering of forest in central Europe with huge pines that look like ballerinas. With deserted roads that weave amongst the cheerleading trees, alongside lush green pastures and through remote villages, you feel like you have the place to yourself.  The odd ski resort offers a plethora of winter sport activities and forest tracks take you into the heart of the Park with miles and miles of walking opportunities to please outdoor lovers. The Park also supports a healthy population of lynx.  If you want peace and tranquility away from Czechia’s hotspots, then this has your name written all over it.  


7. České Budějovice – home of Budeweiser

Who would have known that Czechia is the greatest beer consumers in the world, per capita? And why not, they are prolific beer producers, brewing up a feast with some very famous names. They even have a claim to fame for having the oldest beer in the world – Černá Hora, first brewed in the 13th century. So you could be forgiven for wanting to head to Czechia to sample one of these fine brews. And what better destination than České Budějovice in South Bohemia?

Whilst its commercial exterior is much like any other town in Europe, when you navigate into its centre it reveals its nectar. Not only will every bar in town sell you the original Budweiser (until the Americans stole the label) the town square is one of the largest in Europe. So you kill two impressive travel experiences in one shot. The Old Town is lovely, with its colourful houses, towering church  spires and cobbled streets – and for a couple of hours why not soak up the atmosphere of this beer making king. 



Czechia is an up and coming European country that has been on the fringes of the European stage. Although with travel options opening up to so many more people around the world, it is starting to see an increase in tourism. In 2018 alone, 21 million people arrived into the Czech Republic, with almost 2 million from Germany alone. So come soon if you don’t want to be consumed by crowds. Here are some practicalities that you need to consider if travelling to Czechia. 

  1. Understandably with their germanic neighbours, you’ll find more people speaking German than English. Whilst in large cities and towns, many people will speak English, out in the country less so. So come armed with a few phrases that will help and Google Translate as it’s a tough language to get your tongue around. Dobry den (formal hello), Dêkuju (pronounced jequi, thank you) and Prosím (please).
  2. If you have a pre-paid credit card, check that Czech Krone is available. On our Caxton card, we were unable to load Krone so had to withdraw enough money to last us for our two week tour and suck up the commission from our credit card.
  3. Cost of living is cheap in Czechia and remember it is a cash-society, so make sure you have plenty of coins and notes as you enter the country. Car parks for example are all cash, so be prepared.
  4. For those travelling in campers, access from Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia makes exploring this budding country easy. Although in our experience, facilities for motorhomes is still in its infancy. There are very few Aire style stopovers and we found no Service Areas for filling up and emptying. So during our two weeks, we speckled our wild camping stopovers with a couple of campsites to empty and fill up.
  5. Wild camping in Czechia is allowed as long as the rules of respect are applied.
  6. Diesel and LPG is cheap around the country. You find prices closer to Prague are slightly more expensive although expect between 30.50 – 32.00czk (£1.05 –  £1.07). For LPG you will pay, on average 13.50czk (0.46p per litre).
  7. Road quality is pretty good although some off-piste country roads can be more narrow. Although generally we found the roads fairly quiet unless it is an arterial road to Prague.
  8. To travel on some roads and motorways in Czechia, you will need a vignette. These are available at most garages and you can buy as a 10 day, 1 month or 1 year. For our 10 day vignette, we paid 328czk (£11.34). Whilst we don’t often  travel on motorways, we generally always buy vignettes as there are some roads that suddenly become tolls and having the right vignette takes away any stress, given the small cost. 


Final thoughts

Czechia is becoming an increasingly popular destination, although as we found out in just a short two-week tour, there is so much more to explore than the capital Prague. Outdoor and nature lovers, thrill seekers and history buffs will all adore what the Czech Republic has to offer. Just off the beaten track, you will find a country that will charm, enchant and delight you and leave you wanting more. Aside of the animal welfare issue we found in Česky Krumlov, we were impressed with what Czechia had to offer and would, without doubt, return to explore some more. 


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8 Top Spots in Czechia’s Bohemian Paradise

8 Top Spots in Czechia’s Bohemian Paradise

Who could resist the desire to visit a place called Bohemian Paradise? It conjures up images of a 1960’s retreat with white sand beaches and crystal blue waters. Well this Paradise may be far from that fantasy, although it has a richness all of its very own. If you love outdoors, being active and exploring romantic castles full of legend and folk history, then this is a place for you. ‘Where is it?’ I hear you cry!

Head to the Czech Republic’s capital Prague and keep going north east for a mere 90 minutes and you will arrive at the gates of Paradise. Whilst I know Prague is a massive draw for so many travellers with its UNESCO badge, I implore you extend your stay and reach out beyond the city limits. Let me draw you into an area of Czechia that oozes its own historical marvels and offers you a geological master-class that stands firmly amongst other European giants. As a visitor, be amongst a small handful of people who venture to the Bohemian Paradise and be rewarded by a region of geological and mineralogical brilliance.  Come with us as we  explore the legends, castles and hikes that will have you grabbing for your GPS for directions. 


Just 90 minutes from Prague, heading north east you arrive at a green patch on the map. Green is always a magnet for us and soon becomes a centrepiece for our explorations. When I started to research the region called Čzesky ráj it brought back amazing memories of Slovakia’s Raj region. 

This whole area together with Poland’s Stolowe south west region have clearly been under the same geographical influences from earth’s tectonic plates. Whilst I won’t attempt to indulge either of us in a geology lesson, the resulting effects of earth’s movement has crafted an incredible piece of art.  Let us take you on a journey through this wonderful UNESCO Geopark that covers 110sq miles (184km) and was the very first protected nature reserve in Czechia in 1955. 

Thanks to its rich geological canvas that dates back 60 million years, you can imagine the stories that can be told by this highly volcanic region. And it’s not just the treasure chest of gemstones found deep beneath this volcanic land that are precious. The gently rolling hills covered in pine and oak forests, luscious green fields harvested by farmers and natural Rock Towns that house ancient tales from underneath the sea. 

As you explore the inner sanctum of these ‘Towns’, your neck craned in an awkward upward position, your mind will reel as you try to comprehend the magnificence of this natural design. Pine needles carpet the floor as you tramp through these sandstone giants accompanied by the faint odour of fungi that lingers in the air during the early doors of autumn.  If this imagery doesn’t inspire you to reach for your map, then perhaps this short tour guide of our route and Top 8 Highlights will satiate your appetite. 

Our Tour Around Česky ráj

1. Jičín

In the south east of the region we found the 13th century town of Jičín. With its Municipal Reserve preservation award, Jičín has an incredible old town that is worth exploring. Like so many places the outskirts do nothing for its appeal, although once into the medieval heart, Jičín will surely impress. Its rectangle Old Town Square, which is oddly oversized for the town’s proportions, you can twirl 360º each side offering a fairytale perspective. Colourful facias create a sense of individual character as Gothic and Renaissance features build the central hub of this town. 

The most unique thing for me was the castle of Veliš, with its striking mustard yellow garb that is integrated into the town’s structure. Subtle yet poignant poised amidst the locals. No lofty status for these Lords. Archways shelter arcades beneath the castle walls, whilst the mosaic cobbled streets have ancient merchant tales etched into their crevices. The clock tower – Valdice Gate is a dominant landmark that demands your attention, offering passage through to the newer part of town and Jičín’s fairytale dragon.  Jičín not only collects historical moments, it is home to the folk stories of Remcajs and his family who was a kind bandit. People flock here to soak up the fairytale romance that oozes from this most beautiful town and it is a fabulous start to your Bohemian Paradise experience. 

Check out our Jičín Gallery below

2. Prachovské Skály – Rock Town

Using Jičín as our Bohemian gateway, the next port of call was Prachov’s Rock Town. Only four miles from the town, Prachov is one of the most popular destinations for rock climbers and hikers. The road winds up into a forested haven, with pine trees taller than buildings looking as if they are trying to compete with the stone giants hidden in their midst. And that’s one thing to say about the Čzesky ráj – you really do have to get in it to experience it. Driving along its roads just doesn’t reveal its plethora of beauty.

For a mere 200czk, which is £6.20 you can park up here for 24hrs, allowing you to sleep over if you have a camper/motorhome. (50.46882, 15.28501). There’s a small entrance fee (80czk, £2.50 per person) to get into the Rock Town itself allowing you to follow one of the many hiking tours in this area of the Park. The hikes have different levels of challenge, although they each require a scaling of steep steps into the upper echelons of the forest. So it does require a certain level of fitness and ability. Unfortunately a majority of the Park is not disabled friendly, sad to say. 

We chose the Red path which had some challenges initially, although soon levelled out. And then we took the Green route back – and boy this was a real stretch and had us resembling some sort of ancient mountain goat puffing out of his rear end. Although wow what a trek, proffering some incredible views across the area and within the Rock Town itself. The best way I can describe the view is to liken it to when you visit a church. You marvel at the artistry, the construction and how it symbolises something that is way beyond your comprehension. This is how I felt looking at the vista in front of us. The view of Myles against the sandstone giants gave me a sense of scale, perspective and I have to say, reverence. This was one of our highlights from our four day tour. 

Check out our Gallery below

3. Trosky Castle and Kozakov View Point

One of the most iconic views in this UNESCO Geopark is the Trosky Castle. The two towers, sat atop two volcanic vents are visible from a large majority of the region and are classed as one of the most visited sites in Czechia. In the late 14th century, the basalt rock chimneys were seen as a defence opportunity and the construction of the twins begun. The castle courtyard situated in the crevice connects the towers lovingly named Baba (The Crone) and Panna (The Maiden). You can learn more about these towers and their role in the Bohemian history by clicking here

Not more than 30 minutes drive away, we took a short diversion to the east of the region to scale the loft heights of Kozákov – Čseky ráj’s highest point at 744m. On a clear day the views must be amazing, although sadly our view was shaded with grey skies and low cloud. This hill is also the remanent of a volcano and is said to be the source of many precious gems, including jasper and garnet. 

Turnov is the place to get your precious gem gifts, although beware if buying outside of Bohemian Paradise. Any stones that are larger than 02-0.8cm in diameter are not genuine Bohemian stones. Instead they are more likely to be a cheaper replica called rhodolite. Also make sure you ask for a Certificate of Authentication. 

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4. Reigrove Stezce – Reiger Trail, Semily

Diversity when travelling is all-important to us and the Bohemian Paradise satisfies even this need. From Rock Towns to castles and gorges with river walks – now that sounds like our cuppa tea. So we were drawn north east of the region past Semily where I wanted to find the Jizera river gorge that snakes its way around from Semily to Malá Skála and then south until it meets the Elbe just north east of Prague.  

This 100 year old Trail is definitely off the beaten track and is just lovely. A path that hugs the gorge, climbs up into the forest and then back down to the water’s edge is gorgeous. And as autumn’s grip becomes obvious the smells, the sights and sounds makes this such a lovely hike. You can take the route all the way from Semily to Spálov. 

Check out our Gallery below

5. Frydštejn and Vranov Castle Hike

As you wind your way to the north boundaries of the region, Malá Skála is your next port of call. This is a charming town that, with its river frontage offers super kayaking opportunities. Plus high above the river is the Frydstejn to Malá Skála ridge, a hike that transports you back in time. We started at Frydštejn Castle, where we stopped overnight and then hiked the 5km sandstone ridge towards Vranov Castle. The 14th Century ruins form one of the area’s traditional rock castles and whilst a shadow of its former self many historical mysteries are held in its stoney walls. You can enter the castle between 10.00-1700 and it costs 50czk per person.

Continuing your hike, it takes you along the ridge sheltered by pine trees. With a path strewn with tree roots and sandstone boulders it makes for a challenging path. Although with monuments and viewpoints along the way, it’s worth persevering. The goal is the precipice at the end of the ridge that overlooks the Jizera valley and the valley below. And entry to the Vranov Castle (Pantheon) is well worth the 50czk which is open from 10.00 to 1800.

Vranov is an iconic rock castle that is actually best viewed from below. Although when you enter the stone gate, it’s like walking through Narnia’s Wardrobe. A portal that takes you into a world of fantasy, legend and 15th century history where famous names from times past are celebrated. The castle is in two distinct parts; the chapel which is a well preserved building and forms the iconic  image and the sandstone remains that presents 12 points of interest. You can scale the steps to each of the sights, although be warned that these are incredibly steep and can not be accessed by young children or anyone with any disabilities or injuries. The  final section to the wooden cross, from which you can see Frydstejn Castle requires you to rock climb up vertical steps in order  to reach the top. It’s a fine example that really requires a good hour to explore. For the best view, walk from the castle back towards the town and turn right. Walk about 200m and look behind you, where the full perspective of this magnificent rock castle is apparent. 

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6. Valdstejn Castle – Romance is in the air

Weaving up through the pine forests from the Jizera river valley, you head towards another outstanding looking castle. Valdstejn lies in the throbbing heart of the Malá Skála rock town, and the uphill climb through the forest brings you beneath its dominant shadow.  Walking through the arches to the upper level, you are immediately transported back to the 13th century. The cobbled walkway offers a regal passage into the soul of the castle, which is thought to be the oldest in the Bohemian Paradise. The sounds of horses and men from battle walk with you in spirit as you cross the castle’s threshold. A tour around the grounds will introduce you to the tempestuous history that has seen this palace go from grandeur to ashes, to a phoenix rising.  

There is something incredibly romantic about this castle. From the walk to it from the car park through rust coloured forests paths, past stones that must tell a million tales to the roots of trees that seem to vainly  hold the earth together. You can visit the castle as a self-guided tour for 70czk each or a guided tour for 90czk per person. You are free to visit between April and October – for their  opening hours, please check here.

Here’s our Gallery

7. Hrubá Skála

Within walking distance from Valdstejn, depending on your energy, you can extend your trip deeper into the history books. With the forest inviting you in on a geological journey through time, you can easily stroll around this amazing nature reserve. Unlike its Prachov cousin further south, this is a more tame affair in terms of the walking.

Gentle and less demanding, Hrubá Skála gives you a more moderate and tender experience. With regular outlooks, you can look across the tree tops and gaze in awe at the rock columns that stand before you. In all their elegance, withstanding millions of years, they demand you to enquire about the bigger picture of life beyond our every-day tribulations.  It is here that you will find the most famous of rock collections, aptly named The Band. 

Check out our Gallery below

8. Kost Castle

For this final Bohemian Paradise highlight, it might be worth you casting your mind back to Hannibal Lecter and his cannibalistic tendencies. As it is at this southerly most castle of the ráj that Hannibal Rising was filmed. And there’s something about its grey facade and haunting and impenetrable walls that creates a sense of approval for their choice of venue. 

Unlike its castle siblings in the area, 14th century Kost is not built on a hill, rather it has been constructed on a spit between two brooks. It is one of the best preserved castles in the area and it offers you four different tours which you can find out more about here

Check out our Gallery below


So Paradise by name and paradise in nature. With diversity as its middle name, this Bohemian beauty will thrill you around every corner. At only 60 miles (around 100km) from Prague, it is a journey that can be done in 90 minutes and means that this natural wonderland is easy to reach with an extended city break visit.  With its easy to drive roads, water sports, heavenly hikes and the best biking opportunities, the Bohemian Paradise will satisfy everyone. 

The towns dotted around the region offer hotels and Air BnBs and there are campsites offering a chance to still the motion of your wheels and enjoy the Geopark on foot or by bike. For more camping opportunities, check here.

Don’t forget that if you decide to drive in Czechia, then you will need to buy a vignette for the country’s toll roads. Whilst it is possible to avoid the tolls, we always purchase one just in case we end up on one inadvertently – in spite of a good SatNav! The price for 10 days is just €12.50 (£11.34) and if you are driving in or around Prague then it is almost impossible to avoid the toll roads. For more information on the tolls and toll route map, check here.

Final Thoughts

Czechia is a beautiful place to visit with its plethora of castles, the walls of which tell tales of knights and medieval maidens defending the honour of their lands. With its magnificent UNESCO sites and rolling hills, you won’t be disappointed by your visit here. For more information on Czechia and its exploration possibilities why not keep an eye open for our up and coming posts or check the Visit Czechia website.


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