Bohemian Paradise – 4 amazing Places and itinerary for 4 days
In the north of Czechia, between Jicin, Sobotka, Svijany, and Turnov lays an area called Bohemian Paradise. On 182 square kilometers, there’re sandstone rock formations, castles, and hundreds of kilometers of hiking or cycle paths. Bohemian Paradise is so unique it became a part of the UNESCO geo-parks in 2005. It’s especially beautiful in autumn when the trees turn orange, red, and yellow shades.
There’re two main rock towns you need to consider when planning your itinerary. Both are unique and different, although one can think it’s only rocks. It’s definitely not. It’s the whole truth of their existence, it’s the history, but it’s also an adventure and breathtaking views. Bohemian Paradise is my second favorite place in the Czech Republic so far. Number one is invariably Bohemian Switzerland.
Prachov Rocks: One of the most enticing and alluring places of Bohemian Paradise with its 5 kilometers of tourist trails, 10 viewpoints, 2848 stairs to be specific, and the narrowest path, which is 40 centimeters wide. Two paths: short and long will take you through hair-raising viewpoints, trails covered with sand, or steep approaches. You’ll enjoy a walk in the forest, but also a fresh coffee in the most wanted Tourist Cottage.
Hruba Skala Rock Town: Lonely rocks, deep gorges, chimneys, overhanging rocks, and countless unusual formations with apt names. 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, and all that for free.
Those three castles are definitely places that should be listed on your bucket list for Bohemian Paradise.
Hruba Skala 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.
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.
Trosky: a very characteristic and recognizable ruins of a Gothic castle from the 14th century. The castle, which was once built on two unusual basalt volcanoes. The two towers: Baba a Panna are visible even from a long distance. The ruins are so popular, it became the most often visited castle in Bohemian Paradise. In addition, during the summer season, there’re special shows organized to attract even more onlookers.
4 DAY ITINERARY
Day 1: Prachov Rocks and Jicin – depending on your tempo and the route you choose; you may spend from 2 to 4/5 hours in Prachov Rocks. The complete route description is here. If you still feel like walking, you may visit Jicin in the late afternoon.
Day 2: Hruba Skala Rock Town – it took us almost the whole day to visit the Valdstejn Castle, Hruba Skala castle, and walk around 10 kilometers in total. You can read about the path we choose here.
Day 3: Riegrova path – it’s not that popular as the rock towns, but if you need a quiet place apart from the crowd, it’s just okay then. We went by car and parked at the Spalov train station, followed the blue path up till Morava – it’s pretty demanding, as the terrain is rocky and uphill most of the time. Then we changed to the yellow path, again with few viewing points on the way, finally reaching the Riegrova path in Bitouchov. The Riegrova path took us back to the car. All the fancy photos from the Riegrova path are mostly from one spot, which is around 300 meters long, so unless you want to walk around 10 kilometers from Spalov you can just park in Bitouchov.
Day 4: Trosky /Humprecht Palace- in order to see both, you’ll need a car. They’re both unique and peculiar. Trosky is a castle ruin, while Humprecht Palace in Sobotka was a hunting lodge.
Options are endless, if you prefer to sleep in the city you can choose: Turnov or Jicin, but then you’ll have to find a way to the “attractions”. You can pick one of many hotels, rooms, B&B, or private accommodation
But 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. Just book your stay at the Hruba Skala Castle. It’s not cheap, one night for 2 costs around 100 Eur for a room with a view.
Or just like we did, stay in the heart of Bohemian Paradise and sleep in Prachov.