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Trails of Bohemian Paradise 2

Trails of Bohemian Paradise

Overview

This walking tour is an excellent opportunity to spend your holiday discovering unspoiled nature and rich history, hidden in the very heart of Europe. The Bohemian Paradise is a picturesque region situated 90 km north of Prague (Czech Republic’s capital). Combining unique nature, sandstone rock cities, spectacular landscapes, remarkable historical sights, and rural architecture, the area is included in UNESCO’s list of Geo-parks.

Your walk will take you through the narrow corridors of “rock cities”, exciting rock labyrinths, and splendid view-points. You will have the opportunity to explore castles, ancient ruins, waterfalls, and stunning rock phenomena. The route will take you for a visit of Trosky castle – the symbol of the Bohemian Paradise and one of the most incredible places to visit in the Czech Republic. Your holiday will start and end in Prague.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Prague – Jičín

Upon arrival at the international Václav Havel airport in Prague you will have two choices: use the city public transport to get to the central bus station and take a coach from there to Jicin. Alternatively, you can pre-book a private transfer. You can also book an extra night in Prague before the start of the holiday.

When you arrive in Jicin, you will check in at your hotel which is situated near the town centre.

If you arrive during the day you will have time to explore the picturesque renaissance town of Jičín, one of the prettiest towns in the Czech Republic and the gateway to Bohemian Paradise. Sightseeing opportunities include a chance to visit the Baroque chateau and museum, and one of the most beautiful buildings in Jicin, the Hall of Three Emperors. There’s also a chance to explore the historical centre and Wallenstein square, as well as take a walk to the Valdická Gate (a three-storey tower from the late Gothic period) which provides the backdrop for the classic silhouette of the town and excellent views of Jicin. Additional places of interest include the Church of St. James the Elder standing next to the Baroque chateau and Valdicka gate.

Day 2: Jičín – Prachovské Skály rocks | 11 km

You can choose between a longer (11 km) and a shorter (7.5 km) route on your second day. Both trails take you via an undulating terrain, through the rock city of Prachovské Skály, and end in Prachov.

The longer route starts with a walk from the hotel to Valdštejnská Lodžie, a summer house, which is one of the most interesting landmarks of the Jičín region. It continues with a warm-up on the steep Zebín hill (a conical basalt peak), with a chapel of St. Mary Magdalene on its top. The peak offers a spectacular panoramic view over the entire Jičín region.

The trail continues towards the Prachov village and connects with the shorter route before entering the Prachovské Skály rocks. The beginning of the sandstone formations dates back to the Mesozoic era when the whole area was flooded. Millions of years later, the region was pushed up by tectonic powers, the flood shrank back, and the seabed split into separate blocks. The walk takes approximately 3.5 h.

  • Accommodation: Park hotel Skalni Mesto or similar
  • Walking for the day: Standard route: 11 km + circular walk around the Prachovské skály rocks 3.5 km (shorter route: 7,5 km + circular walk around the Prachovské skály rocks 3.5 km)

Day 3: Prachovské Skály rocks – Libošovice | 16 km

The third day starts with a walk through a mild terrain with beautiful views to the ruins of the Gothic rock castle Pařez.  The castle dates back to the late 14th – early 15th century.  Your route then takes you to the small town of Sobotka. The town offers many sights to enjoy.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Pošta or similar
  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 4-5 hours

Day 4: Libošovice – Hrubá skála | 26 km

After breakfast, you will head off to the small village Vesec – a favourite location to many film producers. The walk continues through the valley of Klenice, by the Plakánek stream, passes by the Obora lake and reaches Kost Castle. Kost Castle is the best-preserved Gothic castle in Bohemia. It was built in the end of the 14th century on a sandstone rock formation. You can take a guided tour of the castle.

The next part of the journey continues through the Podtrosecké údolí valley, where in the 16th century locals built a system of ponds, preserved until present day. By one of  the 8 marshes you will find a suitable for lunch restaurant.

The last stop for the day is the Trosky castle – the symbol of the Bohemian Paradise. It was built in the 14th century between two volcanic rock massifs, with towers located on each hill. The higher tower is called The Maiden, and the lower and more robust is named The Old Woman. Thanks to its defensive stone wall and advantageous strategic position the castle stood well against all military attacks. Since the Thirty Years War the castle has become desolate.

  • Accommodation: Hrubá Skála or similar
  • Walking for the day: Standard route: 26 km (6 – 7 hours). Shortened route: 18 km (4-5 hours).

Day 5: Hrubá skála – Malá skála | 20 km

The day begins with a walk exploring Hrubá Skála rock city. The rock city consists of about 400 sandstone towers. Some of them are 60 meters high (380 meters above sea level). The trail leads you through the Bukovina arboretum, the Mouse Hole rock passage, and passes by the cave named Adam’s Bed. You will then reach a spectacular viewpoint called Mariánská vyhlídka, opening Bohemian Paradise’s most beautiful views. The path continues to the upper part of the Hruboskalská Plateau.

Situated on the plateau is your next stop  – the Valdštejn castle, built in the middle of the 13th century. You will then continue to the end of the rock ridge Hlavatice (a lonely rock located at the edge of the Hruboskalská Plateau). You will ascend to the top via stairs with railings to reach an observation point, opening a panoramic view on Turnov, Ještěd hill, and Bezděz.

The trail continues with a descend to Turnov, where you will have the opportunity to visit the museum of the Bohemian Paradise.

The next stop is in Dolánky – the modern museum of Bohemian Paradise nature. Then you will continue to Drábovna (a small rock town). A marked path will take you to the ruins of a castle from the Middle ages – Frýdštejn, after which you will descent to the rock castle Vranov, also known as Pantheon. With its length of almost 400 m it is considered the most complicated rock castle in Bohemia. The form of the castle was determined by the sandstone cliffs, in which it was built before 1425. It was abandoned during the 16th century. Later modifications transformed the ruins of the castle into a romantic monument available to the public called the Pantheon. Reconstruction was completed in summer 1826 when a chapel was built high above the Jizera valley. The trail ends with a descent to Mala Skala.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Skala or similar
  • Walking for the day: Basic route: 20 km (5- 6 hours). Shortened route: 15.5 km (4 – 5 hours).

Day 6: Circular Walk around Malá Skála | 16 km

After breakfast your route begins with an ascend around Suché Skály (Dry  Rocks) – a narrow rock massive from hard sandstone, lifted up by the Alpine-Carpathian folding.

You will then continue to the Besedické Skály – a rock labyrinth. The Besedické skály Rocks are located on the left bank of the Jizera River above Malá Skála. The walls of the rock maze hide the Kalich praying room, among other things. A ladder is cut into sandstone, with an inscription bearing the year 1634. At that time, secret services of the Czech Brethren were held during the anti-reformation period.

The route ends back in Mala Skala, where you can visit the Bouček’s farm. This is a two-storey wooden building with a gallery – a wonderful example of the rural architecture in Mala Skala region. The gallery, named after Josef Jíra (famous local artist) exhibits a collection of paintings and sculptures made by more than 120 Czech artists of 20th century. A separate part contains a permanent showcase of the painter Josef Jíra’s artworks.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Skala or similar
  • Walking for the day: 16 km (5 hours)

Day 7: Departure

Departure to Prague during the day according to the bus schedule (not included). Private transfer is also available upon request and at additional charge.

You will have the opportunity to get to know Prague in person: the City of a Hundred Spires, a UNESCO monument, and one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Take advantage of one of the many free walking tours offered in Prague, or explore the city on your own – the choice is yours. Optional extra night in a 3 or 4-star hotel in Prague.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Nice 3-star hotels, as indicated in the itinerary. The hotel in Hrubá Skála offers spa facilities. All places have been carefully handpicked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodation that offers friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. All hotels offer wireless Internet connection.

Click to view default hotels

Hotel JicinPark hotel Skalni Mesto, Hotel Pošta, Hotel Hruba Skala, Hotel Skala

Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available en route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your hotel or from restaurants and taverns in the village nearby.

Difficulty & terrain

Appropriate for regular walkers. Requires a good level of fitness. The trip covers an average of 18 km (5-7 hours) of hiking per day, with a possibility of shorter walks (read more about our difficulty grades). You will walk mostly on forest or meadow roads and through rocks labyrinths. All trails are well-marked. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from April until October. Weather is best in June – September, and most stable in September. As July and August are the busiest months, we advise you to book a departure in this period as early as possible. Prague can become overcrowded in the summer months. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Prague.

By train or bus

Inclusions

Included

  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
  • Accommodation for 6 nights in hand-picked hotels or family-run guesthouses as listed in the itinerary
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • Daily luggage transport to next hotel of 1 bag of up to 25 kg per person
  • All internal ground transfers on walking days and baggage transfers as listed in the itinerary
  • All baggage transfers as listed in itinerary24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Castles & museum entrance fees: approximately  £15 per person (total for all locations)

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Private transfers from/to Prague airport or city
  • Extra nights in Prague before or after the holiday

Gallery

Reviews

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Rating

     

Average rating:  5 stars  from 7 reviews

Becky L5 stars

We both LOVED the rock features - we had no idea how huge or dramatic they would be - they blew us away!
Also so much wildlife - woodpeckers. marmots, amazing insects (NB my son and I are both biologists!)

The walking was fine, not too strenuous or hilly - we might have been pushed for time some days if we had looked at all of the castles on the itinerary. The food in all of the hotels (except last one) was EXCELLENT so no need to go any further for meals in the evening!

There was no info about how to get back from Mala Skala to Prague at the end. Sometimes the words "left" or "right" in the route descriptions would have been more useful then "follow the red path...." Some of the English was prone to mis-interpretation, and sometimes we were were walking to "PLACES" and we had no idea if they were towns/views/rocks/castles. etc BUT we found it all quite FUN!!

All of the hotels were small and owned by local people. Possibly more info about local eateries "on route" would have allowed us to eat lunches whilst out - we were worried about no food so we bought bread/cheese most days.

The booking process and customer service  were absolutely brilliant  - we booked 8 days before we left and Atanas was an absolute star  - I've never met him or spoken to him BUT he was FANTASTIC!!!! Petr was a star and very easy to contact and quick to reply! We LOVED it and I hope very much to book again with you next year.  Please also thank ATANAS and PETR for being AMAZING - they are both real assets to your company!!!

Nadine C5 stars

We thoroughly enjoyed our walking tour, especially the variety of trails and scenery, which included stunning rock formations, forests, wheat fields, castles, picturesque villages ans waterfalls.

Ning T5 stars

The trip went really well, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Petr has been very helpful and caring. I liked the first half of the walking better than the second one, although the weather was not in my favor at the time. Nothing really went wrong. I certainly will look at your programs when considering a solo hiking trip again, hope it will happen soon.

Robert P5 stars

We had a brilliant time, everything worked perfectly and even the weather was great. We saw the most spectacular beautiful natural environment, clearly popular locally but how is this not better known outside Czechia? The booking process was easy, and any queries we made by email were quickly answered. One hotel took a long time to find our booking but this was resolved.  The trails were excellent and easy to follow although the colour coding in maps, signs and notes did not always match up. Good distances each day with some more strenuous uphills but nothing to frighten even a vertigo sufferer. All the luggage transfers were fine, as was the meeting at Prague Airport to get to the start, we did not have or need any direct contact with local reps. The accommodation was all very comfortable and friendly, with excellent food at both breakfast and evening meals, generally focussed on local cuisine which might have to be adapted if vegan diet was wanted (not an issue for us) but we loved it! This was our second trip with Natural Adventure Company, and both have been superb, so we will definitely use you again next time we are going to a country with your routes.

Jo W5 stars

We had a wonderful holiday and loved every moment. Every day and every stay was different and I really cannot pick one walk over another. I was very pleased to have booked the transfer as it took a level of stress out of arrival, and we ended up getting a transfer back to Prague as we travelled on a Sunday and I hadn’t realised there were no buses, however Petr sorted this out very efficiently. Everything went very well, no double in one of the hotels but no problem. It would have been really nice to have some recommendations on where to eat or drink in each location and also to know that at the castle hotel Hrubra Skala there are no other options other than to eat in the restaurant and there is no bar. We actually ended up using the navigation app more than the maps, very useful especially at the beginning of each day when the instructions on which trail to use were sometimes confusing. We really enjoyed the variation in the hotels and the walks, and would definitely look at using the company again in the future.

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