Excursion train going to Český ráj

Special trips on select Saturdays are for bikers and hikers

Czech Railways (ČD) is introducing a new excursion train (výletní vlak) to Český ráj. The trains will run on Saturdays on June 3, July 1, Aug. 5, and Sept. 2 and 9, as well as the July 5 holiday.

The train is intended for cyclists and hikers, and has stops in more than a dozen towns, many which feature castles or natural landmarks. The area is called Bohemian Paradise for its beauty.

For example, ČD points out Prachovské skály, a rock formation a few kilometers from Jičín. That town is rich in legends about the robber Rumcajs. The town has a famous tower, Valdická brána, and lovely town square and a chateau.

Another stop, Jinolice, has popular swimming places. Rovensko pod Troskami allows for a nice hike to the Trosky Castle ruins, with pop out of a rock outcrop like something from a fairytale or fantasy novel.

The train goes on to Hrubá Skála, which also has a castle on top of a cliff, though this one isn't in ruins and serves as a hotel. Tours are available of the historical parts, but it is sometimes closed for private events.

The train ride begins with three stops in Prague, at the stations at Vršovice, Praha hlavní nádraží and Libeň. The trip is for early birds, as the Prague stops are all between 8:37 and 8:44 in the morning. The train will go as far as Turnov, which it reaches at 11:23 am. The train heads back at 4:41 pm, to arrive at Praha hlavní nádraží at 7:23 pm.

Czech Railways has more special events during the summer including steam train rides. Information can be found on the ČD website.

For more information on he excursion trains, visit www.ceskedrahy.cz (CZ)

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