5 Summer Mini-Breaks in the Czech Republic

Expats.cz

Escaping to a resort for your summer hols sounds like a dream holiday: a king-size bed with a terrace overlooking the sea; fine, fresh food served in lovely surroundings by a smiling staff, a masseuse, frolicking by day in the sea followed by sunset walks on the beach. If it also sounds a bit unattainable after considering your bank account, never fear—you can go resorting Czech-style.

Best For Families: Lake Lipno

Lake Lipno in South Bohemia is probably the most well-known Czech resort. Popular with both Dutch and Austrian tourists, Lipno offers water-side fun for all ages. The large lake has beaches, swimming, sailing, and windsurfing, while bike, in-line, and walking trails dot the area. Two of the more popular resort towns are Frymburk and Cerná v Pošumaví. The Lipno area offers lots of activities for families, including a chair lift ride for the views and Aquaworld, with a play pool and waterslide. Two-wheel loving families will enjoy the special family route in the Bike Park, while older children can experience a rope park, Frisbee park and bobsleigh track. Many of these attractions also include a chair lift ticket so you will be experiencing much the area has to offer. The coolest attraction in Lipno though might be the Treetop Walk, a massive wooden structure which acts as a walkway through the surrounding Šumava forest. The 372 meter barrier-free walkway is pram-friendly and at the end there’s a 40-meter-tall observatory tower. There are many accommodation options in the small towns around the lake ranging from hotels to apartments to cottages and of course, camping. Public transport options aren’t the best. To Lipno nad Vltavou, there’s usually at least one direct bus a day (four hours, 45 minutes) or train journeys requiring at least one change (four hours, 10 minutes).

Best For Singles: Máchovo jezero

Máchovo jezero in the town of Doksy is another of the country’s larger lakes, with a long expanse of beach and popular with partying campers. Located about 80 kilometers north of Prague, Charles IV apparently decreed the lake be made, after he indulged in the view from Bezdez Castle, an interesting hike and day trip from Doksy. Houska Castle is also in the area if the lure of sunning bodies on the beach begins to bore you. Staré Splavy is the lake’s other village, perhaps with a few more pubs and restaurants. A true Mácha experience needs to include camping, so head for Camp Borný on the large Pod Borným beach. They have spots for tents and caravans on grassy plots located midway between the beach and forest or you can rent a bungalow, which has its own bathroom. You can rent bikes and paddle boats or go windsurfing. There’s a small shop, toilets, and showers plus restaurant and space for campfires. If you prefer a roof and sheets, there’s a wealth of pensions and hotels in the area. For a hedonistic Mácha weekend go at the end of August to catch Máchác, an open air beachside music festival. Train transport to Doksy takes anywhere from two to three hours and will require at least one change.

Best For Pampering: Luhacovice

So maybe you have the opportunity for a quick romantic getaway. Spas are synonymous with the Karlovy Vary region, but skip the overcrowded spa triangle and go somewhere a little more secluded. Luhacovice Spa is located in the South Moravia town of Luhacovice south of Zlín. A spa visit here is quite different from the more grandiose nature of Karlovy Vary. The distinctive Moravian architecture is courtesy of architect Dušan Jurkovic who took it upon himself to create a unique collection of Folk Art Nouveau buildings. Especially noteworthy is the Jurkovic House, which today is a hotel, Villa Jestrabí, and the music pavilion. The cold mineral spring water the town is famous for is full of sodium, calcium, magnesium, and carbon dioxide. The spa has an extensive wellness program which includes pearl baths and spas, wraps, compresses, inhalation treatments, and of course traditional massage. The Alexandria and the Jurkovicuv dum Wellness Hotel are two full-service, romantic options while the Alpská ruže Villa is slightly outside the center, in a secluded woodsy spot. Dining and spa facilities are provided at the Jurkovicuv dum. Sporty activities include tennis courts, swimming pool, and mini-golf. Fishing is also possible in the nearby reservoir. If you’d like to see a bit of the surrounding region, heat to the town of Kromeríž for their UNESCO listed gardens or Buchlov Castle. Getting to Luhacovice isn’t so straight forward, typically a mix of bus and train journeys will need to be made and the travel time ranges from four to five hours.

Best for a budget: Lake Slapy

Money’s tight this summer, but ya gotta get out of Prague! Don’t go far but enjoy some water sports and woods at Lake Slapy. This is rustic to say the least – you can camp or stay in a cheap pension. The fifth largest reservoir in the Czech Republic (everyone needs a claim to fame) sailing, water skiing, swimming, and wind surfing are all options for the amphibious among you. There’s accommodation available in villages dotted up and down either side of the river. Merín has a marina and restaurant in addition to pensions plus a spa, Vojenská lázenská a rekreacní zarízení. They have an aqua and wellness center, plus bowling, tennis, and volleyball courts. Resort Beach Nová Živohošt is a good camping option, while Nová Živohošt in general offers a bit more civilization. Slapy is a less than one hour bus ride from Prague.

Best for Lovers of Hiking: Cerné Jezero

The silence of Šumava. Everyone who has been to these secluded mountains in southern Bohemia seems to comment on how quiet and peaceful it is. Šumava’s best feature is probably her lakes, Black and Devil’s Lakes in particular. These can’t be reached by car, but require some fairly strenuous hiking. Black Lake (Cerné Jezero) is the country’s biggest naturally formed lake. If you make it there, you can follow the marked red trail to Devil’s Lake (Certovo Jezero); Black Lake can be reached via the yellow hiking trail from Špicácké sedlo. Be sure to purchase a hiking map and have plenty of water and food on hand if you are planning some hiking. For easier exploration, there are a number of nature trails, typically well-marked and graded. The Jezerní slat trail takes you through peat bogs while the Vintír’s trail is a cross-border trail following an old Bavaria-Bohemia trade route. Enter another world with a wander through Boubínský prales, one of the most important primeval forests in Europe. Centuries-old trees, mushrooms, twisted roots, ferns, and fallen tree trunks covered in moss will certainly make you feel you took a wrong turn somewhere. Most of the villages in the region are small and focused on tourists (skiing is popular here in winter). Železná Ruda is a good option; there’s hiking trails to the lakes from here as well as cycle paths and an information center to help plan trips. Transport here is fairly easy, there are both direct buses and trains, which take roughly four hours.