The Ore Mountains are like the Klondike of the Czech Republic. Famed for their silver mines, plus their large deposits of uranium and tin, these peaks were inhabited by tough characters who earned their daily crust extracting precious ores from the bowels of the Earth. When the Sudeten Germans were driven out of the region after WWII, the Ore Mountains became a kind of no man’s land. Drawn out hills extend across the landscape and thick woodland, widescreen views and a dense network of trails once again draw people here to get active, visit historical towns in the foothills and take a cure at the local spas.
Cure yourself at a radon spa
The most significant settlement in the Ore Mountains is Boží Dar, the highest town in central Europe and located at the foot of Mount Klínovec (1 244 m). Amid the peaks of the range you’ll discover the spa town of Jáchymov, where the first radon spa in the world was established. Jáchymov will be forever associated with Marie Curie-Sklodowska, distinguished winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. It was using a sample of Jáchymov uraninite in Paris in 1898 that the Curies discovered the highly radioactive element radium. Another popular destination is Moldava where the typical onion domes of the church picturesquely blend in with the surrounding countryside.
Active breaks in the Ore Mountains
Right on the border with Germany you’ll find the mountain village of Cínovec, a popular destination with walkers and cyclists, who use it as a launch pad for excursions along the ridges of the Ore Mountains. A cable car from Jáchymov will take you up Mount Klínovec and to a hotel with a viewing tower, which together with the twin spa town of Oberwiesenthal and the Fichtelberg tower, offer many ways of getting active whatever time of year it may be. Another dominating feature in the Ore Mountains is Komáří Vížka, a viewing tower offering some of the most impressive panoramas in the entire Ore Mountains range. You categorically shouldn’t miss a chance to visit the Egeria National Geopark, where you can see with your own eyes how inner and outer forces on planet Earth come to form deep valleys, strange geological formations and eerie peat bogs over a long period of time.
In medieval times the town of Cheb stood at a junction on the royal highway between Prague and Nuremberg. Built around 1180, Cheb Castle is one of the country’s most noteworthy Romanesque attractions. Unwind at the colonnades in the relaxing spa towns of Karlovy Vary and by the curative springs in nearby Františkovy Lázně.