Mountains with a volcanic past, bizarre geology, volcano-like cones and lava and basalt mantles – this is the Central Bohemian Mountains (České středohoří), a mountain range that evokes a feeling in many that they have stepped back in time to when the planet was just being formed. Then there are the Lusatian Mountains, crisscrossed with hiking and cycling trails, and a place people head for to admire the local folk architecture.
Are you a fan of historical sites, beer, wine and assorted cultural events? If so, then head to Žatec, a town of beer and hops, to Katova Lane in Kadaň or Louny, the southern gateway to the Central Bohemian Mountains. On a tour of the area you should call in at the fortress town of Terezín and don’t miss the chateaux at Krásný Dvůr and Ploskovice.
Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings reveal much about the former glory of Litoměřice. The town is still the seat of a bishopric and the centre of a wine-producing area. You can visit the old cellars, several churches, a museum, galleries and a whole host of other attractions. Litoměřice was a favourite spot of the poet and local boy Karel Hynek Mácha, who was inspired by the area to write verses all around the region. You can also take a walk along the former town walls, from which there are wonderful views of Cathedral Hill and the very special Mount Říp.
The view of Máchovo Lake from Bezděz Castle
The king of the castles, as Bezděz has been dubbed, has survived in its unchanged original form. From Bezděz you can enjoy panoramic views of Máchovo Lake, an idyllic spot with four beaches and lots of sports facilities. Nor should you miss Hazmburk, whose twin-towered silhouette can be seen for miles in every direction.
Where next? To Kokořínsko by bike
From the Central Bohemian Mountains it’s a short trip to Kokořínsko, a scenic area of sandstone cliffs, at the heart of which lies Kokořín Castle. Escape for a moment to the historical centre of Liberec to admire the neo-Renaissance town hall and to visit the zoo, a place well known for its rare white tigers. You can also swing by the Bohemian Switzerland area, an impressive place boasting some idyllic sets of rock formations. Prime your taste buds for a sip of the wine produced in Mělník.