Bohemian Paradise – 5 nights (with Kost Castle circuit)
Countryside of the northern borderlandsBack to Routes
The Bohemian Paradise
A Bohemian lake
Suché Skály Rocks
View from Hrubá Skála
As Canadians, we certainly have more than our fair share of countryside and hiking trails. However, this trip provided us with the opportunity to explore a unique combination of magical forests, majestic sandstone rock formations, fairytale castles and mystical monuments. Many North Americans are familiar with Prague but not too many visit much else of the Czech Republic. On Foot's trip allowed us to step outside of our comfort zone, particularly where language is concerned, and experience a really natural and genuine side to the country, one that the Czech people themselves enjoy.
Victoria Seton, St Lazare, Canada - September 2023
This was a perfect little jewel-box of a walking holiday. Reasonable daily distances, lots of shade and an astonishing variety of things to see and do along the way. We've been walking with you for a while and your experience and value for money has always been so much better than competitors. We are great On Foot fans!
Karen Holt, Utrecht, The Netherlands - September 2023
Customer service was amazingly efficient and attentive. Your company were so good at communicating that there was never a doubt I would use you again.
Sheila Eade, Scunthorpe, UK - August 2023
Well, this came off as one of our favourite holidays! We really liked the mix of hotels, responsiveness of Petr (the local contact) and On Foot Holidays to questions and requests, and the hiking route itself.
Daniel Swedberg, Oakton, USA - July 2023
We took the Alpes Maritimes hike last year and had such a great time we wanted to try another trip. This one was just as wonderful. You guys do a great job selecting accommodations, providing detailed directions and support. I highly recommend you to all our friends!!
Jeanne Pfaff, North Garden, USA - June 2023
Loved the holiday, a total change of scene, super refreshing, beautiful walking, fantastic walking notes. we felt so prepared with all the info from On Foot Holidays.
Sheryl Needham, London, UK - May 2023
It was our third trip with On Foot and you have been spot-on every time. Great locations and well-planned walks.
Nick and Janice Sangster, Forest Lodge, Australia - April 2023
Enjoyable walking in excellent weather through the Rock Towns.
Outstanding was Hotel Hastal in Prague - what a gem. What fantastic service and friendliness. Spotlessly clean.
David Breen, Dumfries, Scotland - April 2022
Everything worked out so perfectly. I suppose we would say the hike was our favorite part, but Prague was so special too.
We enjoyed the rock formations and those days we spent navigating through them. The views were outstanding. We liked the farms we walked through and the small villages.
Barbara Haas, Edmonds, USA - September 2021
We absolutely loved the holiday! The countryside was exquisite and the routes did a bit of everything, each day was different and the mix of the terrain meant we exercised different bits on different days!
We loved the birds, beetles, bugs and the fresh air and fresh drinking water on route. The panoramic views were absolutely amazing and we felt like we saw a new side of the country that not everyone would be fortunate enough to experience. We hardly saw any people on some days so felt like we got away from everything with a fun night in Prague to end it.
Marsha Smith, Nottingham, UK - May 2019
The scenery looked wonderful, and I liked the idea of walking somewhere less frequented by tourists. I like self-guided walking but it was reassuring to know that there was someone for back-up in the unlikely event of any major disasters.
The highlight was spotting a herd of moufflon near the start of our walk at Hruba Skala. Also the rock labyrinths on Mala Skala circuit. Exploring Prachov rock town was excellent.
Elena Bonetti, Hatfield, UK - April 2019
At a glance
5-night version (4 days walking) with 1 night in Turnov and 2 at Hruba Skala, enabling Kost castle circuit walk. Suggested add-on - nights in Prague. See 'Prices' tab for what's included.
How much walking?
Full days: 12-22km per day, 4-6½ hrs walking
Using shortening options: 10-18km per day, 3-5½ hrs
Castles, rock labyrinths and fairytales
The ‘Bohemian Paradise’ is a landscape of meadows, pine forests and extraordinary sandstone rock formations – labyrinths of rock towers through which the walker will wind and clamber. Although an ‘easy-medium’ graded route, it is the odd short, sharp climb which tips it over into this category – most of the walking itself is easy. Situated at the northern edge of the Czech Republic, this historically rich area allows the walker a glimpse of rural middle Europe in microcosm. Fairytale castles, each with its own story, punctuate your journey, from Kost – one of the finest examples of its kind – to the volcanic double-coned Trosky. Moravian wines, local herbal liqueur and of course beer, for which the republic is famed, will, we guarantee, undo all the good work of the walking day. After a stay in the old town of Jicín, you should add a night or two in Prague (not included).
Walked by On Foot staff: Simon (with his chums), Harriet, Debbie (and Thomas) and Patrick
REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com.
ARTICLES: Read an article in The Guardian about On Foot’s Bohemian Paradise holiday here.
TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to the Czech Republic, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.
- Mysterious rock labyrinths to explore
- Kost and Trosky castles, many smaller ones to visit
- Wooden cottages and baroque châteaux
- Pine forests, peaceful woodland glades and meadows
- Great value food, wine and beer
This route features the following characteristics and interests: Villages and farms, Woods, Drive to route, History
Things you should know
- Expect hearty fare – this isn’t a good route for particular dietary needs. Vegetarians/vegans may find the food repetitive.
- The accommodation is typical to middle/eastern-Europe and is short on luxury but full of character. There are no upgrades available!
- Transfers to and from the route are cheap and efficient, but can be time consuming. Taxis can be pre-booked – please ask us for a quote.
A few nights in fabulous Prague at the end (supplement)
How much Walking?
Using shortening options: 10-18km per day, 3-5½ hrs
Generally walking on well-signed paths, with good maps and simple route directions. Short, steep sections in rock labyrinths. The CUSs (below) is higher than easy-medium, but easy navigation brings it down a grade. Highest point on route: 550m.
Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 482m per day (300m-600m), or 380m (100m-600m) using shortening options.
Acrophobia/vertigo warnings: None – any vertiginous sections are optional.
GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.
Important note: Times given for each day are walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.
When to go?
The best months to walk: April, May, June, July, September, October
Other possible months: August
A continental climate means that the early spring can be cold, but from late April the flowers will start to blossom and later spring and early summer is idyllic. The tree cover on approximately half the route means you are able to do the walking during most of the hot Czech summer (although August can be hot) and the autumn can be lovely with the leaves starting to turn, and some warm days.
IMPORTANT: many attractions are closed on a Monday, so choose your start day carefully if you want to see inside Kost and/or Trosky, in particular.
Temperature and rainfall chart for Turnov
Day 1 - Arrive
Arrive at Turnov, settle in, perhaps have a stroll around the town to determine a suitable Czech hostelry for your hearty supper.
Day 2 - Turnov to Hrubá Skála
After climbing out of Turnov, you start with another castle (Valdstejn), then take in rock sculptures and a classic piece of Czech vernacular architecture at Kopicuv’s farm. To finish the afternoon, wind through the “rock town” past viewpoints and a spring, descending to a ravine before climbing back up to the promontory with your accommodation perched on top. (Medium: 3¾ hrs walking (allow 5 hrs), 12 km (7½ miles), CUSs 550m)
Day 3 - Hrubá Skála circular walk to Kost
Despite some quiet asphalt walking, this is a pleasant day, partly wooded, to majestic Kost, one of very few medieval castles in the Czech Republic. Towards the end of the day there is a not undemanding (but worthwhile) climb up to Vysker’s tiny octagonal chapel before winding down to a well deserved beer at your hotel. (Medium-hard: 6½ hrs walking (allow 8¾ hrs), 22 km (14 miles), CUSs 510m). Alternatives: take a taxi to Kost then walk back after an exploration of the castle (Easy-medium: 3 hrs walking (allow 4 hrs), 10 km (6½ miles), CUSs 100m).
Day 4 - Hrubá Skála to Prachov via Trosky
An easy wander through the forests and meadows, past the lake at Vidlak before a climb up to iconic Trosky (the castle of two towers). Then to the eerie solitude of another quiet lake in a forest at Dolni Mlyn. Finally into the woods again around Prachov, and your hotel in the pines. (Medium: 5 hrs walking (allow 6¾ hrs), 18 km (11½ miles), CUSs 600m)
Day 5 - Prachov to Jicín
Your final short (morning’s) walk through the forest, out into the open around Brada and perhaps a climb (for the young at heart) of Zebín; then to wander through the old town of Jicín, a look around its museum and a climb up the gate tower, before a hearty final supper in one of its many recommended restaurants and a good night’s sleep in our chosen hotel. (Medium: 5 hrs walking (allow 6¾ hrs), 15½ km (9½ miles), CUSs 300m. Shorter alternative missing out Zebin – Easy-medium: 3½ hrs walking (allow 4¾ hrs), 10½ km (6½ miles), CUSs 200m.)
Departure day (or Prague)
Leave for home – or maybe spend a night or two in Prague.
ARRIVING BY RAIL
Nearest Railway Stations:
Typical rail journey from UK via Brussels, Cologne and Prague (~19 hours, www.seat61.com/Czech.htm ) – then train to Turnov, which can be the slow part of the journey! Alternatively www.bahn.de comes up with a multiplicity of possible ways from the north, bookable through them except for the final local train. Returning, Seat 61’s suggested routing (from Prague) looks lovely.
ARRIVING BY CAR
You can leave your car in the open air car park behind the Hotel Karel IV (own risk, no charge, leave keys at reception). Taxi back at end (supplement).
ARRIVING BY AIR
The best airport is Prague.
Land by: 17:00 for bus/train connections to Turnov. Later arrivals are possible but are not recommended. No time limit if using taxi.
Return flight earliest (if leaving from Jicin) 14:00 (departing from Prague, no limit)
Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.
For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.
See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.
Getting to the start of the walk
The first hotel is in Turnov and the final hotel is in Jicin. Best airport is Prague. See below for suggested transfer methods.
Transfers from railway stations:
Outward: Hotel a walk or taxi ride from Turnov mesto station
Return: 15 min walk to train station
Outward: by bus or train 3 hrs, OR Pre-booked taxi transfer from Prague airport to first hotel ~1½ hrs.
Return: Bus and metro to Prague – onward shuttle bus transfer to airport.
For prices of pre-booked taxis see “Prices”.
Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.
Where You'll Stay
A wonderful variety of accommodation is offered on this route, from the simple but friendly, through the grander (and slightly pretentious) ‘chateau’ to a fine family run hotel in Jicin. Our choice in Prague is excellent value and well situated.
Hrubá Skála – Chateau Hruba Skala (B&B)
Baroque chateau with pretensions in spectacular position.Website
Hrubá Skála – Hotel Stekl (B&B)
Pleasant hotel with plain, but good sized, rooms and an excellent restaurant.Website
Prachov – Park Hotel Skalni Mesto (B&B)
Pleasant hotel in parkland setting. Small rooms, rather ordinary food but friendly service.Website
Jicin – Hotel ReStart (B&B)
A refreshingly up-to-date hotel with extensive facilities and modern furnishings. Hotel guests receive free entry to the hotel's 'Aquapark' (optional!).Website
Jicin – Hotel Rieger (accommodation only)
Traditional Czech hotel in the city centre with colourful rooms and warm hospitality.Website
Total 5 nights in double/twin room, 4 breakfasts (accommodation only in Jicin) and luggage transfers (Turnov to Jicin); full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.
All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.
Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £145
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £140
Large party saving (LPS): Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) – discount of at least £15 per person
Maximum party size: 10
Nights in Prague: From £45 per person per night – contact us for details
Taxi Prague airport to first hotel (c. 1.5 hrs): From £100 (1 person); £105 (2-8 people)
Taxi from Jicin hotel to Prague hotel: From £91 (1 person); £96 (2-8 people)
Taxi from Jicin hotel direct to Prague airport: From £96 (1 person); £100 (2-8 people)
Local bus/taxi/train as required: Arrange locally
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK: £20-£60 (per pack, location dependent)
Our local team
Born in the region, Lubomir has his own travel agency and tour operator business and combines that with being a professional guide. Your local contact is Petr Hoska, who knows the area well.