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Big America Limestone Quarry


Trips from Prague: to the Central Bohemia and even further vol. 1

16. 8. 2023

Get to know the heart of Bohemia, its natural and cultural beauty, traditions and unique atmosphere! These places are all within a stone’s throw from Prague, so feel free to be inspired. Central Bohemia is a treasure trove of travel tips, this time we are going to Beroun, Křivoklát and the Bohemian Paradise.

sv. Jan Nepomucký, památková zóna, Muzeum Českého krasu,
Hus Square in Beroun
Source: Berounsko Region

Beroun region, nature and Czech traditions

West of Prague, along the Berounka River, lies a region comprising the natural beauty of the Křivoklát forests and the limestone landscape of the Bohemian Karst. Who wouldn’t want to visit the famous Karlštejn Castle, see the Big America quarry or the pilgrimage sites of Tetín and Svatý Jan pod Skalou? You should not miss a visit to Beroun itself with its pleasantly lively historical centre, which is also home to the Museum of the Bohemian Karst: here you will theoretically prepare yourself for a visit to this very area, the Bohemian Karst, where you will also discover the beautiful Koněprusy Caves with their exceptional stalactite decorations.

sklářství, tradice, řemeslo, děti
Glass cutting workshop in the Rückl Glassworks
Source: Rückl

Are you more interested in less visited authentic places and want to get to know a piece of Czech tradition at the same time? Then visit Nižbor. At the local castle you will for a moment find yourself in a time long gone – an information centre with an unusual Celtic exhibition that will captivate all the senses can be found here. In Nižbor you will also have a unique opportunity to explore the fragile beauty of traditional Czech glass. The local Rückl Glassworks has been a symbol of first-class cut crystal since 1846, and the art has been passed down from generation to generation. During a guided tour you will learn about the individual stages of production and, if you wish, you can also try out the work of a cutter yourself. Glass cut by your own hands will be the best souvenir.

Explore the Berounsko region individually

If you have your own car and are your own master, Beroun is just a stone’s throw from Prague, 30 km or 18.6 miles to be precise. The whole area is compact and densely packed with roads. The transit between places is, at most, 20-30 minutes long. You can also get here by public transport.

There are direct trains to Beroun from the Prague Central Station or Prague-Smíchov stops. What awaits you is a former royal town, a bear reserve and a pottery paradise. Climb the Městská hora lookout tower and enjoy the view of the Bohemian Karst landscape.

You can also get to Karlštejn from Prague Central Station without any problems. From the train station it is a twenty minute walk uphill. Combine your trip to Karlštejn with a walk to the Big and Little America quarries – the circular hike from Karlštejn is 12 km long and will take you through the beautiful landscape of the Bohemian Karst. Do not miss a visit to the local wine cellars, which are managed by the Karlštejn Wine Research Station. However, please note that a tour of the wine cellars, including tasting and refreshments, is only possible if booked in advance. Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the 27-hole Karlštejn Golf Resort with a direct view of the castle. Have you not brought your golf equipment with you? No problem, they will lend you everything on site. Check out the year-round Museum of Nativity Scenes with a collection of Czech historical nativity scenes carved from wood or from period rarities such as wax, sugar or bread.

For transport planning we recommend using the website of the Czech national train carrier České dráhy or the Integrated Transport System IDOS. Both websites are also available in English.

With a stopover in Beroun you can manage a visit to the glassworks in Nižbor, the Koněprusy Caves, which are open from April to November, or the pilgrimage site of Svatý Jan pod Skalou.

Has all of this made you hungry? No problem!

Zastávka Nižbor | Enjoy the genius loci of the unique station cruise restaurant, which was converted from a wooden railway warehouse by the famous Czech actor Tomáš Hanák (known, for example, from the 2005 film The Brothers Grimm).

Karlštejn 34 | A pleasant family bistro under Karlštejn Castle. In 2022 it received the ‘Crystal Pin Award’, making it one of the top 10 gastronomical establishments in the Czech Republic with the best reviews not only on Google.

Dvůr Všerad | In addition to the inn, museum and miniature golf, be sure to visit the court brewery. The water used to brew the beer comes from an underground karst lake that feeds a local well.

Berounský medvěd | With a short break, the brewery has been in operation since 1872. While you wait for your meal take a look at the brewhouse with direct wood heating.

Black Dog Beroun Bar & Grill | If you are looking for a Czech classic, this is not the place. However, they have great burgers, wings, steaks and quesadillas. And what’s more, even celiacs and vegetarians can choose from the local menu.

U Krobiána | U Krobiána is exactly the kind of pub you want to come across on your travels. It is based on traditional Austro-Hungarian cuisine and hospitality, and the family has owned this building for over a hundred years. Yet they make today’s gastronomy and use ingredients from nearby farms.

Microbreweries in the Czech Republic
Brewery Všerad
©Lukáš Sochor

Where to rest your head?

It would be a shame to just fly through the Beroun region in a hurry, so if you decide to stretch your visit to Beroun over several days we have a few tried and tested places that will take care of your sweet dreams.

Romantický Hotel Mlýn Karlštejn | You will find it just a short walk from the medieval castle. It offers stylishly furnished rooms, and you can sit on the summer terrace or in the gazebo. And what’s more? It also has conference facilities, a relaxation centre with Finnish sauna and Whirlpool, a fitness centre and a car park with an electric car charging station.

Zastávka Nižbor | In addition to the trip restaurant, you can also spend the night in style in the former railway carriages.

Hotel Anna | Enjoy modern accommodation in an Art Nouveau hotel in the heart of Beroun. Here you will feel at home.

Royal Beroun Golf Hotel | It combines a refined game with relaxation in the form of a 27-hole course, an elegant hotel with a restaurant and a spa.

Autokemp Karlštejn and Camp Srbsko | Whether you are in a tent, a cabin or a caravan, the Beroun region is a camping paradise. It’s a short walk from here to everywhere!

Křivoklát Castle
Křivoklát Castle
©Virtual Visit

The Křivoklát region and deep forests: you’ve never seen anything like it before

Křivoklátsko is a region of impenetrable forests and mysterious castle ruins. You should not miss a visit to Křivoklát Castle, where all Czech kings have resided and which has become a favourite with film-makers from all corners of the world! Be tempted by the countless hike and bike tours that can be taken through this beautiful landscape. For example, to the Skryje Ponds, where you can enjoy the magnificent scenery. Nature, peace and quiet – what more could you ask for?

You can also visit the ruins of the mysterious Krakovec Castle on a wide rock foundation. Access to the main entrance is provided by a new hand-hewn bridge – a joy to behold and a joy to walk across! Or would you rather climb up to the ruins of Týřov? This castle was unique in its time both in the Czech Republic and in the whole of Europe as the builders found inspiration for its appearance in French castles.

Křivoklát Castle is not only famous from classic Czech or Slovak fairy tales, but also from Hollywood blockbusters. It rightfully deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has starred in the action film Wanted with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, The Brothers Grimm with Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger. The controversial Borgias also plotted their schemes here – at least in the series of the same name. And the BBC’s The Three Musketeers were roaming around here as well. Singer-songwriter Halsey also used the backdrop of the castle, resulting in the impressive audiovisual project If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, which accompanied the album of the same name in 2021.

Explore the Křivoklátsko region individually

Křivoklátsko can be found about 50 km or 31 miles west of Prague. Whether you choose to take the E50 towards Beroun or the D6 motorway past Rakovník, the journey will take around forty minutes.

Take public transport to Křivoklát Castle with a direct morning connection from Prague Central Station. But please note! It only runs once a day. As does as the connection from Křivoklát back to Prague. But do not despair if you miss the connection. With a change in Beroun, you can get back to Prague easily.

The best way to get to Skryje is by train, with one change in Beroun or Rakovník. If you are travelling by car, the starting point for you will be the car park in the village or Podmokelský mlýn on the other side. There is a Skryje – Zbiroh hiking trail around the lake, so you won’t get lost in the dense forests. However, you should be aware that the path sometimes leads over stones in the stream bed. You can also reach the ruins of Týřov Castle by a leisurely walk from Skryje.

Train system in the Czech Republic
Waiting on the platform
©Dan Řežábek

You won’t be left starving

Taste traditional Czech cuisine and excellent beer. We have a few tips about places where your taste buds will rejoice.

Pivovar Matuška | Unfiltered. Unpasteurised. Made by golden Czech hands. That is exactly how the Matuška family has been making craft beer since 2009. From Broumy they expanded to Rakovník, Beroun, Černošice, Hořovice and now to Prague. There you will find Automat Matuška near the Hradčanská metro station.

Dědkův mlýn | In the village of Dědkův mlýn near Unhošť you will find a romantic water mill with a craft brewery.

Výletní hostinec U Rozvědčíka | Křivoklátsko is known as the region of the popular Czech writer Ota Pavel. How about a stop for a meal at the inn where Pavel’s family used to go for a summer stay?

Bohemian Paradise Protected Landscape Area
Bohemian Paradise
©Václav Bacovský

A Czech paradise worthy of its name

Let yourself be carried away and go to paradise – to the Bohemian Paradise, as the area is called, located less than one-hundred kilometres north-east of Prague. What characterises it? Rock towns, romantic valleys, viewpoints and beautiful castles and châteaus.

Mnichovo Hradiště is the imaginary gateway to the area, where you can take wonderful walks. The town is dominated by a magnificent Baroque Château, which was the ancestral seat of the Wallenstein family. It has an amazing library that numbers 22,000 volumes. Did you know that the famous seducer and lover of women, Giacomo Casanova, used to maintain it?

The first floor of the castle houses the town museum, where you can also see a large plaster model of Drábské světničky – a nearby rock castle. It is closed to visitors, but you can see it from the Příhrazské rocks nature trail, which is definitely worth a walk. You can also visit and explore in detail the romantic ruins of the medieval Valečov Castle or the Zvířetice Castle and Château ruins. Just a little beyond the border of Central Bohemia, in the Liberec region, you will find Svijany Château with a brewery and a beer spa and hotel. The pyramid-like Čížovka lookout tower is also worth seeing.

Explore the Bohemian Paradise region individually

Only a small part of the Bohemian Paradise extends into Central Bohemia, as it is located in three different regions of the Czech Republic: the Central Bohemian, Liberec and Hradec Králové regions.

The best way to get to Mnichovo Hradiště, which lies north-east of Prague, is by car on the D10 motorway. The area in the direction of Mnichovo Hradiště is also well connected to integrated transport – there are regular buses from the Prague, Černý Most stop or trains from the Prague Central Station. Bus tickets can be purchased directly from the driver, while train tickets can be bought from the comfort of your own home online or directly at the inland ticket offices at Prague Central Station.

The best way to get to Příhrazské rocks is by car; the car park is located directly in the village of Boseň. Take a walk around Valečov Castle, the Klamorna rock castle or Drábské světničky. Even though Drábské světničky rock fort is closed until further notice due to the general wear and tear of the rocks, which have suffered from the influx of tourists, it is possible to walk around them. There is a red-marked Golden Trail of Bohemian Paradise running under the castles and their surroundings.

Travel Tip: Progress cannot be stopped, but you will still find places outside Prague where you cannot pay by card. That is why you should always carry smaller Czech banknotes and Czech coins. They will come in handy for parking fees or a lemonade at a pop up stand.

Where to next? Let yourself be lured into visiting Prachovské skály, Hrubá Skála near Jičín, the ruins of Trosky Castle, Kost Castle with the romantic Plakánek Valley or the châteaux of Sychrov, Humprecht, Staré Hrady, Hrubý Rohozec and Dětenice.

Where to eat, drink and sleep in the Bohemian Paradise?

Leave your worries behind and enjoy the Bohemian Paradise with all your senses. Let your taste buds be pampered, your head rested and your batteries recharged.

Holka s buchtou | Make a sweet gastronomic stop right in Mnichovo Hradiště, just a few minutes’ walk from the castle. Tartlets, cream puffs, banana bread… You surely haven’t had such good desserts in a long time. Add to that a selection of coffee, and a joyful stop full of flavours is taken care of.

Kafé Ořech | Another renowned establishment in Mnichovo Hradiště, where you can not only enjoy great coffee and dessert but also brunch or a light lunch. In addition, there are also 4 nut rooms you can stay overnight: Hazelnut, Almond, Pistachio and Walnut.

Hrnčířský dvůr Zvířetice | You will leave this place with more than just handmade traditional Czech pottery. Right in the courtyard you will enjoy great coffee and desserts that you never dreamed of. Our favourite is their cream puff!

Agarden Restaurant | Here you will find a fusion of Italian and French cuisine, as well as traditional Czech dishes with a modern twist.

Restaurant Na krásné vyhlídce | If you find yourself in the Příhrazské rocks, you will not miss this restaurant and pension. Although their website is only in Czech, they are perfectly prepared for foreigners.

Garp Brewery | Make a stop in Bakov nad Jizerou in a modern family-run craft brewery, which underwent a technological modernisation at the turn of 2022 and 2023.

Ptýrov Farm | The modern equestrian area near Mnichovo Hradiště offers more than just a programme for horse riders. Cyclists, hikers and families with children will enjoy it here as well.

If driving is not your thing, you are in Prague for a short city break or you just don't feel like travelling on the road, we recommend public transport as the main way to get around Central Bohemia. It is guaranteed to be a very practical, affordable, comfortable, reliable and above all safe option.

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