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TOP 10 undiscovered places in Central Bohemia

1. 7. 2022

Take a look at our list of ten hush-hush lesser-known places off the tourist-beaten path, whose charm is well worth discovering.

You may have been to Karlštejn Castle on a school trip (a couple of times at least), tend to spend your summer weekends along the banks of Slapy reservoir, and know Kutná Hora like the back of your hand… in short, Central Bohemia may be your back yard and its famous sites checked off your travelling list. But that’s not all there is to explore in the Region! Take a look at our list of ten hush-hush lesser-known places off the tourist-beaten path, whose charm is well worth discovering. (And guess what? They make for divine-looking photos!)

Maková Hora pilgrimage site

Take a break from your everyday hustle and bustle at a site with a spiritual dimension. The pilgrimage site of Maková Hora will thrill anyone with an eye for refined architecture, as well as those looking for calm, in the bosom of nature. The Church of St John the Baptist and Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a real baroque gem. The spiritual significance of the place comes not only from many pilgrimages but also the Škapulíř Brotherhood, the spiritual community of laymen who worship the Carmelite Virgin Mary. Secluded in woodland along the middle reaches of the Vltava river, it has drawn tens of thousands of believers over time. You can get to see the surrounding countryside and Maková Hora via a nature trail, setting off from Smolotely village square.

Maková Hora

Žampach railway viaduct

The stone viaduct near the village of Žampach is one of the highest railway bridges in the Czech Republic. It was built between 1898 and 1899 and consists of seven spans, with the highest towering 41 metres above the gorge beneath. The first train passed through here in 1900, but the importance of the bridge for all fans of railway history certainly is not all. The viaduct is part of the much-lauded train line known as the “Posázavský Pacifik”, [winding along the reaches of the Sázava river into the locals’ romanticized Wild West]. If you would like to experience a breath of some First Republic atmosphere, you can take a ride on the Posázavský Pacifik by steam train. But if you’d rather stretch your legs, take a look at the Posázaví educational trail, which also tells of the backwoods ‘tramping’ lifestyle. Here you will find interesting facts about local nature, the Sázava river, canoeing and the famous Posázaví railway.

Žampach_Vladimír-Kiva-Novotný

Skryjská Jezírka nature reserve

Do you want to see a part of Central Bohemia that mother nature seems to have perfected for photography, which we could dare call a Top-model among natural reserves? Then head to the village of Skryje, where the wetland nature reserve is to be found. Photos of this natural gem set in the Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area will surely shine among your other Instagram posts! Even though the renowned French engineer and palaeontologist Joachim Barrande discovered the site and made it famous before you – having found significant fossils here – your nature trip will be a new revelation to your followers.

Skryjská jezírka

Šemanovický Důl vale

You must surely have visited Kokořín Castle by now… and if not, waste no time in doing so! This noble seat that so entranced the poet Karel Hynek Mácha just has to be on the list for your Central Bohemian travelogue. When you have ticked that box, take a stroll down to the Šemanovice vale, where soothing nature will take all your cares away as if by magic. This place has a unique charm at any time of year, summer or autumn alike. It is also an ideal place to take the kids – you can thoroughly explore the valleys as part of an engaging game complete with a highwaymen’s cave, rock dwellings and other places of lore and mystery.

Šemanovický důl

Zvířetice Château ruins

The ruins of Zvířetice were a popular destination for many romantically inclined travellers and day-trippers in the 19th century, so you may walk in the footsteps of our long-established and well-known historical poet Karel Hynek Mácha. He found the silhouette of Zvířetice so enchanting, he immortalized it in one of his drawings. The seat was built in the 14th century by Zdislav of Lemberk, whose heirs owned it until 1504. At that stage the Gothic castle was transformed into a Renaissance château. It suffered a fateful fire in 1720, after which it fell into ruin, unoccupied. Once you have explored all the nooks and crannies of these evocative ruins, you can head for a little more fun in the sports and recreation arena of Vrchbělá, situated nearby. Here you can take an active break clambering in the rope centre, while the kids will have fun on the educational trail, in the small zoo and the playground. And if you are looking to overnight, not under the open sky like Karel Hynek, then take advantage of the local camp-site or the hotel.

Zvířetice

Greater and Lesser Blaník Hills

Discover the place where our nation’s rescue team is supposedly hidden in waiting, otherwise known as the legendary Blaník Knights. The place enveloped in many legends was settled before our calendar era began, at the time of the Celts there was an oppidum settlement here, and from here came one of the cornerstones for the National Theatre in Prague. The ruins of the St Mary Magdalene Chapel in Lesser Blaník are also worth a careful look. It’s not just some little chapel, you know! Legend has it that the spirit of the last hermit guards a precious treasure somewhere within.

Kamenný rytíř na hoře Blaník

Valečov Castle ruins

You probably know Bohemian Paradise like the soles of your boots by now, but if you haven’t yet visited one of its landmarks, the ruins of the Rock Castle Valečov, your next destination is clear. The layout of the treetop-level castle was influenced by the shapes of the sandstone rocks among which it was originally built in the 14th century. After the Thirty Years’ War the place was no longer inhabited. Now the walls of Valečov guard an exhibition of archaeological finds, and also to be seen here are the barbican rock-dwellings – the last inhabitants of these rock homes stayed here until 1892! From the parking place below the ruins winds an educational trail full of interesting information on the region and its history.

Hrad Valečov – podzim

The municipality of Svatý Jan pod Skalou and the Solvayovy Lomy museum

Take a stroll along the oldest marked hiking trail in Bohemia! The picturesque landscape surrounding the village of St John below the Rock attracted visitors even back in the early 19th century. In 1889 it became one of the first Czech marked hiking trails – the Vojta Náprstek trail. St John below the Rock is indeed set among the rocks in a narrow valley in the heart of the Bohemian Karst Protected Landscape Area, “Český Kras CHKO”, and has a mysterious legend of its own. According to the legend, in a cave there lived the first Czech Christian hermit Ivan, in the 9th century. His mythical presence is commemorated by the Caves of St Ivan, adapted into a rock church, linked to the Baroque pilgrimage church of the Birth of St John the Baptist. To make your acquaintance with the site as vivid as possible, head to the Solvay quarry open-air museum. One of the three nature trails leads to this outdoor museum of mining and limestone shipment, featuring the former operations and technology buildings as well as a narrow-gauge railway.

Svatý Jan pod Skalou_mcu Libor Sváček

Brdy Protected Landscape Area 

The Brdy Mountains have literally been conserved, which has kept local nature diverse and undisturbed. And who do we have to thank for that conservation? The army! In 1926, a military training zone was established in the central Brdy area, and so for the next 65 years the natural world of Brdy stayed undisrupted by agricultural cultivation, the construction industry or growing tourism. Only in 2016 was the army’s territory reclassified as a Protected Landscape Area and since 2007 opened to the public, though only partly and solely during weekends and holidays. Today’s Brdy is a haven for all who value quiet, unfrequented landscapes.

CHKO Brdy

Tetín Viewpoint

From a place imbued with spectacular Czech history, a breath-taking view will spread before you! Tetín, the former Přemyslid fortress is linked by legend to Krok’s daughter Teta, and later, with another notable woman, St Ludmila. She stayed here with her grandson, Saint Wenceslas. For Ludmila, the stronghold was to be her last refuge – in 921 she was murdered, on the orders of her daughter-in-law, Drahomíra. The lure of ancient lore and the charm of a beautiful landscape are surely good enough reasons to visit!

Tetín_Virtual-Visit

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