Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj) Czech Republic
This protected area as its name suggests, is one of the most fascinating places in the Czech Republic. It is divided into three separate parts. Altitude of the area starts from 234 m (pond Žabakor) over 488 m (Trosky).
The first two parts are located near Prague, between cities of Mnichovo hradiště, Turnov and Jicin. It is one of the smaller PLAs (area of 92 km2), but one of the most beautiful. The local rock city Prachovské rocks (northeast from Jicin) Příhrazské rocks (east of Munich Hradiste, if you follow the red tourist marks) and Hruboskalsko is definitly worth to visit. Another interesting areas are the castle ruins Trosky and Kozlov. You can visit Valdštejn Castle, which stands on the edge of a sandstone rock city on three blocks, the three parts are conected together by wooden bridges. Some rooms builders dug directly into the rock! The castle dates back to around the year 1260. In the 16th century the castle burnt down and in its current form has undergone several modifications. If you wish to look around we can recommend a visit of a magnificent viewpoint at Hlavatice Rock. From there you can see Jizera, Turnov, Mladá Boleslav and Kozákovský hřeben. To the the viewpoint of Hlavatice and castle Valdštejn you can walk along the red tourist mark from Turnov city. I'll will also surely fall in love with the local springs and ponds. In the southernmost part of the Bohemian Paradise is located in the Czech Republic very famous Gothic castle Kost, standing on a rock (3 km. Northwest of the village Sobotka). This castle regularly hosts cultural events such as Witches Congress in late July and August.
From Mnichovo Hradiště you can walk along the red turist marks to the ruins of the rock city Valečov. Many visitors do not know that just a few meters nearby are also Valečové skalní světničky. If you continue further you will find the the ruins of the castle rock Drábské světničky. The castle was built on 7 rocky sandstone blocks. Preserved are the corridors and rooms where used to be wooden structures. In 1921 was in one of those discovered a stone altar.
Between Turnov and Železný Brod you find the third part of the Bohemian Paradise. This area is interesting mainly for its caves. At Klokočí you find the Postojna cave, which is also the largest cave in the Czech Paradise. Entry is at your own risk and it is advisable to take along a flashlight. Nearby Klokočí in the south direction you can find Rotštejn castle ruins, part of which was build directly into the sandstone rocks. To Cave Matej Krocínovského and adjacent cave Vaclav Sydovského you can walk along the red hiking trail from nearby Vranová village. At the crossroads "Pánovo pole" turn right and continue along the yellow trail.
From the village Vranová you can also walk along the red hiking trail in the opposite direction. Cross the Jizera river on the opposite bank of the Elbe to a village (there is a parking lot). Turn left towards a nearby Castle Rock Vranov. Further down will the trail take you to the ruins of Frýdštejn Castle. Here was filmed known Czech fairy tale "O princezně Jasněnce a létajícím ševci".
A little alone 6 km northwest of Turnova a castle Sychrov. The castle was originally a fortress and later rebuilt in Baroque style in its current form of the French romantic neo-Gothic rebuilt it in the 19th century by duke Rohan. Worth mentioning is also the beautiful surrounding park. In March and April are Easter markets held here and in December Advent markets. In July you can usually find here traditional Festivals of fire and hunt full of swordsmen, jugglers, falconers and fakirs. In August you can admire the Highland Games competitions with Scottish bagpipers.
Not far from here to the north you can find Jizerské and Krkonoše Mountains.