Lonely rocks, deep gorges, chimneys, overhanging rocks, and countless unusual formations with apt names – this is the Hruba Skala Rock Town in Czechia. Yet another spellbinding place in Bohemian Paradise. Plenty of hiking and cycling routes to follow, routes with a bonus as we refer to the lookout points, the possibility to spend the whole day out in nature, all that in Hruboskalsko.
DIFFERENT ROCK TOWNS
Hruboskalsko is a bit different than the Prachov Rocks, that’s why I recommend not to skip it. First of all, you can ride your bicycle along the main path: the Golden Path of Bohemian Paradise. Second of all, there’s no predefined route you need to follow. You can set your own path according to your possibilities and desires. Third of all, there’s no admission fee. You can enter freely.
The main route everybody chooses is the red path, called also the Golden Trail of Bohemian Paradise. It’s been connecting the most beautiful and most important places in the Bohemian Paradise for many decades. It winds in a total length of 119 km through the landscape from Mladá Boleslav to Jičín, goes through valleys, rock towns, hills, streams, but also medieval castles and pine forests.
Yellow path with Marianska Vyhlidka – the most famous and most visited in the Bohemian Paradise. It offers the famous postcard panorama of Hrubá Skála, Trosek and Kozákov. It lies at an altitude of 360 m.n.m. on a rock block in the area of Dračské skal, about 1.5 km from the Hrubá Skála chateau.
Blue Path, which was the most excluded and omitted path by tourists, but with no reason. It’s true there’re no lookout points throughout it, but the path goes through the forest. There’s a moment to hear just the bird songs, at least for some time.
We decided to spend the whole day in Hruba Skala region, so we weren’t in a rush. We parked by the Hruba Skala Castle and started our expedition there. Most of the tourist’s paths cross by the Hruba Skala, so it may be a good starting point. Of course, we wanted to check the Bohemian Paradise’s best of the best, so we followed the red path at first as well. We were heading to the Valdstejn Castle, but before we reached that point, we’d stopped by some viewing points, had several snack breaks, and had whined and railed about how tired we were. Of course, we reached the castle after all, happy and proud of ourselves. We caught a glimpse at the castle from inside and had to return. This time, to add some variety we chose the blue pah, called in Czech Angrova stezka. We walked it till we reached the Antoninuv Pramen, where we changed it to the yellow path. On the way back to the Hruba Skala Castle we passed by the symbolic cemetery of climbers or climbed at the most beautiful lookout points. U Adamova Loze we changed the path again to a green one just to squeeze through the Mysi Dira (lit. Mouse hole). We made in total around 10 kilometers, but it was worth it. I felt like we’ve seen it all.
POINTS OF INTEREST ON THE WAY
Bukovina Arboretum – originally a castle park established in the years 1860-1862 by the owner of the estate Hruba Skala L. Achrental. The arboretum with an area of 2.73 ha is based on 54 tree species, mostly from North America
Valdstejn castle – an early Gothic castle from the 13th century, originally the seat of the family. An exceptionally valuable stone bridge with baroque sculptures leads to the main gate to the castle. While the chapel of St. John of Nepomuk invites with its mystery.
Symbolic cemetery of climbers – founded at the wall of Nekonecne Skalka. The cemetery was inspired by sculptor and climber V. Karouszek. His idea was completed after the tragedy of climbers in Peru in 1970, where Karouszek himself died
Hrubá Skála Castle – the main landmark of the Bohemian Paradise. The castle rises on a group of rock towers, located six kilometers southeast of the town of Turnov. The castle colloquially called Skaliska, is reaching a height of sixty meters and can be found above the valley of the river Libuňka. At the beginning of the XIV century, Hynek of Valdštejn founded Skály Castle, which later became known as Hrubá Skála in order to differentiate it from nearby Malá Skála nad Jizerou. The rock castle was built so that it could use natural conditions for defense and the place was chosen very well to defend itself sufficiently at that time. It also provided a great view of the northern part of Ještěd to Kozákov and further into the countryside.
Imagine sleeping in the landmark of Bohemian Paradise, waking up at sunrise to the mesmerizing views, being able to be the first on the path. It’s all possible, you can sleep at the Hruba Skala Castle. It’s not cheap, one night for 2 costs around 100 Eur for a room with a view.
You can also pick one of many hotels, rooms, B&B, or private accommodation in Turnov, the closest bigger city in Bohemian Paradise.
Or just like we did, stay in the heart of Bohemian Paradise and sleep in Prachov.
If you travel by car, the closest parking spot you can choose is by the Hruba Skala Castle, but for this one, you’ll pay 90 kc per day. If you’re lucky or early enough, you may find a spot a few hundreds meter further at the parkoviste Adamovo Loze.
If you travel by train, you need to choose the station: Hruba Skala and go through Doubrivice following the blue path, it’s around 3 kilometers.