Just about 100 kilometres from Prague is located the unspoilt landscapes of beautiful rock formations, picturesquely quaint villages and clear waters in Český ráj. Also, known as the Bohemian Paradise, this region is home to numerous trekking, cycling and rafting trails. The perfect getaway for the outdoors lover. For those with an affinity for history, there are monuments, forts and museums that takes you back in time.
We found ourselves in Turnov, considered to be the capital of Český ráj, and from there another short train journey took us to Semily. A bus ride toVysoké nad Jizerou and a short walk later we reached Pension ‘U Lípy’, right at the border of Český ráj, quite close to the Krkonoše mountains. The owners of the place are a friendly couple by the name Michaela and Petr. The couple, their two friendly cats and two young kids make you feel at home, they can help you with suggestions for exploring the village and nearby areas if you have no idea where to go. Michaela makes excellent Czech meals which are a class apart from the usual restaurant meals and the stay is also affordable at around 650 CZK for two people per night. There are quite a few nice treks in the region that takes you into the woods and for a dip in the river Jizera.
Malá Skála is quite a small town that has a lot to offer for outdoors lovers. The walk up the hill through the wilderness, and up to the ruins of the rock castle Vranov is not a challenging one. The mesmerising view of the town from the top is quite something.
There are a number of shops offering pushbikes and bicycles for rent to explore the various trails. However the highlight is the kayak and raft rentals that lets you rent by the hour or by the day. A Czech summer is never complete without a rafting trip down the river sipping a can of Pilsner.
At Malá Skála, we were lucky to catch the vintage České dráhy(Czech Railways) steam engine run. For 50 CZK, you can ride the train from Turnov to Semily and back. The shiny copper parts of the engine, the vintage carriages together with the sooty smoke and the sweet sound of the horn transports you back to a different era. České dráhy also organised a puppet show for kids who came with their parents to see the vintage train.
How to reach Český ráj: There are frequent trains from Praha hlavní nádraž to Turnov. There are trains and buses connecting Turnov to Malá Skála and Semily. You do not need to reserve if you travel during the day.
By ashik kalam