After spending a few days exploring Prague's well preserved medieval history-rich city, it was time for us to check out what the Czech countryside had in store. And what better place is there than a day trip from Prague, hiking through the Bohemian Paradise.
Bohemian Paradise, also known as Cesky Raj in Czech, is the oldest protected nature reserve in the Czech Republic. An area famous for its towering sandstone rock formations shaped by the elements into unique and curious shapes.
Scattered throughout its dense pine forests you will find caves, valleys, trails, viewpoints, lakes and magnificent medieval stone castles. Making this fairy tale landscape a great destination for hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking.
Hiking Bohemian Paradise
Arriving in Turnov, one of the towns bordering the 182 km² region of Cesky Raj, we caught another train heading south towards a town called Ktova. From here we began hiking the green trail, which brought us to our first stop, Trosky Castle.
Trosky Castle is one of the most picturesque landmarks across the Bohemian Paradise. In the 14th century, the towers of this magnificent medieval castle were built on two volcanic necks and have since inspired poets, artist and photographers alike.
For 80 CZK each (3.40 $) we explored inside the castle and climbed its two towers to enjoy the stunning views of Cesky Raj in all directions.
Making our way back down the hill to the trails, only this time we were going to take the red trail. The green sign seemed to be pointing us back towards the way we came. A little confused, we asked one of the guys working there who also told us to take the red trail.
In total it was another 14 km to Turnov and 7 km to our next stop. Along the 7 km trail, we passed by a small calm country village surrounded by green meadows as far as you could see.
This is where you will want to stop and look back. Behind you is an incredible image of the Trosky Castle towering high above.
Further on we continued through the forest passing by a green lake and eventually to our next stop, Hruba Skala Chateau. A Renaissance chateau in the Bohemian Paradise built on a steep sandstone cliff, where once stood an old medieval castle.
Here we were expecting to find the large cluster of sandstone rock formations we saw in photos. Turns out it wasn't, but it was still a nice viewpoint with a handful of rock formations.
A short distance away we took the yellow trail to Marianska vyhlidka viewpoint. One of the most popular in Cesky Raj. It's known to offer the best panorama photo of Hruba Skala's Bohemian Paradise, including the chateau and Trosky Castle in view.
You can actually find two viewpoints at the Marianska vyhlidka location. If you follow the yellow trail slightly to the left, you will come to another viewpoint. Without any barriers, you can step out and stand on top of these sandstone formations.
Even though these were beautiful viewpoints, they still weren't the ones we were hoping to see. Not knowing where the yellow trail leads to and running out of time, we made our way back and rejoined the red trail.
Halfway between Marianska vyhlidka and Turnov we stumbled across another view. And there it was, vyhlidka na kapelu viewpoint, the one we were hoping to see. A towering cluster of sandstones rock formation.
We spent a bit of time here watching the rock climbers scaling up and down the rocks, before making our way back to Turnov to catch the train.
How To Get To Bohemian Paradise
Bohemian Paradise (Cesky Raj) is located 100 km from Prague and takes just under two hours to reach by train. You can take the train from Prague's main railway station (Hlavni nadrazi) to the city Turnov. From Turnov, change trains to Ktova where the hike begins towards Trosky Castle.
If you want to skip Trosky Castle and would only like to see Hruba Skala rock formations, you should then get off at the Hruba Skala train station, two stops before Ktova. From Hruba Skala train station, walk 2.2 km to Marianska vyhlidka viewpoint (which can be found on google maps).
You can book your ticket and check train times to Ktova and back to Prague on cd.cz. So no need to go to the train station to book your tickets. Tickets cost us 266 CZK (11.20$) return per person.
When you follow the trails keep an eye out for the colour of the trail you are taking marked in paint on trees, walls, lamppost etc.
The paint markings of the trail you are following will have white paint above and below the marking. For example, we were following the red trail and came across other red markings without white paint above and below the red paint. We followed this trail for a short time and it turned out to be the old red trail.
Download a map of the area if you can and find out what you would like to see beforehand. The Bohemian Paradise is a large area and it can take a couple of days to explore it all.
In total, we hiked 16 km, so take plenty of water and a packed lunch. There are places you can stop along the way in Cesky Raj for food if you like.
Would you be interested in a day trip from Prague to visit Bohemian Paradise (Cesky Raj)? If you have already been, were you impressed with this region of the Czech countryside as much as we were? We would love to hear what you think in the comments below.