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If you’ve been following along on my travel adventures you’ve seen that no matter where I am, if there’s a chance to hike, I’m all over it. It’s funny because it was only a few years ago that I hated hiking. Tom would drag me out to the mountains and I would complain pretty much the entire time. My quads and calves burned and I didn’t understand why people would like the torture. But somewhere along the line of him taking me on these hikes, I began to like it. I loved the feeling of accomplishment when I reached a peak. I loved the views that are only rewarded to those who put in the effort. I loved the feeling of complete exhaustion when I hit the bottom and how good a celebratory beer tasted. So now, it’s safe to say I’m hooked. I love getting outside and hiking, it’s my happy place.
Hiking in Southeast Asia was interesting. I’ve never battled such intense heat and humidity on a hike in the Rockies. So even with short hikes and relatively little elevation, I was drenched in sweat. Suffice to say, I was very much looking forward to hiking in Europe where the humidity wasn’t 90%.
Planning hikes in Czech Republic online wasn’t very easy. Very limited information exists and what we did find was not in English. We did find out there is a Czech Tourist Club that voluntarily created and keeps up an extensive trail network. So armed with the information that hikes do exist, we set off for a town near the Sumava National Park. We wound up in Volary and entered a tourist booth where a very helpful employee showed us tons of hiking trails in the area. Quite a few left right from the town. We weren’t in the national park but decided to go for it anyways as he promised us castle ruins at the end of the 9km journey.
We quickly learned that Czech hiking is different than Canadian Rocky Mountain hiking. A lot of the trails were walking along the paved roads. And these roads are not like ours at home. There is no shoulder and they are extremely narrow, barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Add to that blind corners and you don’t feel the safest walking along the road. But that’s where the trail led and so we did.
After a few kilometres of walking along a road, I was becoming very frustrated. Luckily the trail did eventually dip into the woods though it certainly was more of a walking trail than a hike. To be fair, that’s what they call them, I just needed to manage my expectations. The castle ruins at the end of our hike were pretty disappointing. I didn’t even take a picture. There was, however, a nice river and bridge so it wasn’t for nothing.
Our second hike of the day ended up being a lot more challenging with a constant uphill grade to an observation tower. It wasn’t the views I was hoping for but I did exhaust myself by the end of the day with almost 30km of walking. Mission accomplished.
The next time we set off for hiking trails we went to the northern Bohemia Switzerland National Park. This area is famous for the Pravcicka brana, the largest natural sandstone bridge in Europe. And boy was the trail busy! We didn’t realize it was a Czech national holiday so it seemed everyone was out on the same trail.
The busy trail was worth the beautiful view. The area has a variety of different trail options that lead from town to town. This allows you to hike for a while, stop for lunch or a beer in town and then continue. One of the most unique parts was when we reached a river in the canyon that could only be crossed via boat.
Overall Czech Republic is a great area to get outside and be active. Their trail system is pretty spectacular and well maintained. From pretty well any town you can find signs of the local trails with distances listed. Each route is colour coded so it’s easy to follow.
Along the trail, your coloured route is marked along trees, posts, etc. These markers are everywhere so there is really no chance of getting lost.
The walking trails aren’t strenuous and are accessible to everyone. Personally, it wasn’t quite the hiking trails I hoped for but I still loved getting outside of Prague and seeing Czech Republic from a different perspective. The countryside is beautiful and well worth exploring.
Do you look for hikes when you travel? Are you a city or country person?
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