Czech Getaways: Northwestern Bohemia/ Krkonose/ Bohemian Paradise
Third part of a six-part series of weekend getaway spots in the Czech Republic
Northern Bohemia is a paradise for skiers, hikers, and lovers of nature. The protected landscape areas Jizerské hory and Lužické hory and National Park Krkonoše are all situated in this mountainous region. Wooden folk buildings and stone lookout towers have been preserved on many places of the region. Máchovo jezero (Mácha Lake) and the area of Holanské rybníky (Holanské artificial lakes) can be recommended to the fans of water sports. The whole region is crisscrossed with a network of biking trails. One of the most popular resorts for cross-country skiing – Jizerská magistrála – is located in Jizerské hory. Several towns also have a long glass-making tradition.
High-speed roads: Praha – Liberec. European roads: Praha – Tanvald – Harrachov – Jelenia Gora (PL), Hradec Králové – Liberec – Zittau – Zgorzelec (Germany), Mladá Boleslav – (Vrchlabí) – Trutnov (Krkonoše), Hradec Králové – Trutnov. Dense network of regional railways: Praha – Turnov – Liberec, Liberec – Podkrkonoší (Krkonoše foothills) – Hradec Králové. Worth visiting is the railway from Tanvald to Kořenov and Harrachov, which is the last rack railway with regular track gauge in Europe.
This mountain region is an ideal place for winter and summer holidays. Krkonoše (the Giant Mountains) with its highest mountain, Sněžka (1,602 m above sea level) is the highest mountain range of the republic. The southern borders of the region and the most popular resorts belong to the zone of the National park. Krkonoše is attractive all-year-round. The towns Špindlerův Mlýn and Harrachov offer ideal conditions for winter sports. In Harrachov there is a large ski-jump. Also Rokytnice nad Jizerou , Jablonec nad Jizerou, Vysoké nad Jizerou, Vítkovice, Horní Mísečky and Paseky are spots offering excellent conditions for downhill skiing. Planiny attracts cross-country skiers. In the summer, lovers of walking tours will appreciate the system of marked hiking trails, which lead along the mountain ridges as well as glacial valleys with waterfalls. The main Krkonoše resorts (Špindlerův Mlýn, Pec pod Sněžkou, Rokytnice nad Jizerou, Harrchov and Janské Lázně) offer comfortable accommodations and plenty of facilities for various sports.
Česky Raj - Bohemian Paradise
A region of dramatic landscape dotted with fanciful rock formations and castles; perfect for hikers. This remarkable region is located between the towns of Jičín, Sobotka, Mladá Boleslav, Mnichovo Hradiště, Kopanina, Železný Brod, Semily and Lomnice nad Popelkou. In the east the region passes into the Podkrkonoší area, in the north it is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Jizerské hory and Krkonoše. As early as 1870, a Czech spa guest described Český ráj as one of the most remarkable corners of Bohemia. The monumental sandstone “rock town” Prachovské skály is located nearly in the outskirts of the town Jičín. The sandstone rock plateau with the basalt hill called Mužský, Drábské světničky and romantic small rock castles rise near Mnichovo Hradiště. In the area of Hrubá Skála (pictured here, with Trosky castle ruin in the background; click for larger view) there are, besides another “rock town”, several castles and chateaux, often admired by poets and writers. The Maloskalsko region (the region around Malá Skála) with its bizarre rock formations and castle ruins above the Jizera River has long been a favorite of artists.
High-speed roads: Praha – Mladá Boleslav – Turnov. Main road: Mladá Boleslav – Jičín, Mnichovo Hradiště – Jičín, Turnov – Semily – Jičín. Regional railways: Turnov – Jičín, Mladá Boleslav – Turnov, Mladá Boleslav – Sobotka – Libuň.
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