North Bohemia

North Bohemia is a region in the Czech Republic and it consists of Ústí nad Labem Region and Liberec Region. This part of the country is not a popular travel destination due to lack of iconic and well-known sights. But North Bohemia offers breathtaking sceneries (Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Ceske Stredohori, Bohemian Paradise), where Elbe river flatland meets mountains and creates amazing rock structures, picturesque historic towns as well as some of the best castlesa ad cahteaus in the country.

North Bohemia, historically (for more information, see "Understand") heartland of Sudetenland, German area in Czech lands. Cruel and poignant 20th century is noticeable everywhere. From wealthy German villas (often abandoned now) and spas from prosperous pre-war era to Terezin concentration camp and devastated countryside because of communist-era coal mining and heavy industry.

Cities

Jested Mountain photographed from Liberec

Other destinations

Beatiful landscape in České Středohoří

Understand

Historically, this area was inhabited by Germans, who had been invited by Czech kings in the early Middle Ages. This area had a German majority and was called Sudety (Sudetenland). It was one of the wealthiest and most industrialized regions in Austria-Hungary and then Czechoslovakia. Before the beginning of World War II, in 1938, Sudetenland was annexed by Nazi Germany. After the war, the whole German population of 3 million people was deported to Germany, and the region was resettled by Czechs from outside the region.

Today, as a result of the expulsion of Germans and four decades of communism (during which part of the landscape was destroyed by coal mining), this region is one of the poorest parts of the Czech Republic, and it has a relatively high unemployment rate. Large German villas, these days often abandoned, are reminders of its wealthier past.

The North Bohemian landscape is stunning. On the borders with Germany and Poland are the Ore Mountains (Krusne hory), Lusatian Mountains (Luzicke hory) and Jizera Mountains (Jizerske hory). The Elbe valley, also located here, is the lowest point in the Czech Republic. The Central Bohemian Mountains (Ceske Stredohori) are of volcanic origin, and can be found with rock structures in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.

Talk

Despite the German past, now more than 90 percent of people are Czechs. This is not Prague or Cesky Krumlov, so be prepared that people may not speak English. German and Russian are often spoken by older residents. For more information, see: information in the Czech republic guide

Get in

By bus

Bus is a good option to get to regional metropolises Liberec and Usti nad Labem and it takes one hour and couple of minutes.

By train

Since Usti nad Labem is important railway junction between Prague and Berlin, train is best way how to get there and it takes just one hour from Prague hlavni nadrazi (main railway station). To Liberec, there is no direct train connection from Prague and bus is definitely better option.

By car

Both Usti nad Labem and Liberec are well connected with Prague via highway (Usti - D8 motorway, Liberec - R10 expressway). It takes just about 1 hour driving.

Get around

Railway network is dense in North Bohemia. Using train, you can get to almost every town here. Buses are common too.

By foot

Great option how to explore many sights in this region is by walk. Lots of beatuful towns, castles ad chateau are located close to each other and are often set in beautiful landscape. Tourist trails are well marked and can be found in every corner of Nort Bohemia.

By boat

It is possible to see some North Bohemian and Saxon sights (Dresden, Meissen, Königstein) with Labská Plavební, which offers cruises on river Elbe from Děčín and Ústí nad Labem.

See

Cathedral of St. Steven in historic town Litomerice.
Bezděz Castle in Kokořínsko Protected Landscape Area
Sandstone rocks in Bohemian Paradise

If you like landscape, go to Bohemian Paradise, České Středohoří or mountains on the borders (see other destinations). These areas are also great for people interested in architecture and history. One of the best and most famous Czech castles (Bezděz, Kost, Kokořín, Frýdlant, Trosky, Houska) and chateaux (Mnichovo Hradiště, Frýdlant, Jilemnice, Zákupy, Hrubá Skála and many, many more) can be found there. Although big North Bohemian cities can one called ugly, smaller towns are surprisingly beautiful. Jičín, Kadan, Louny, Žatec, Litoměřice, Roudnice nad Labem, Úštěk or Chomutov has well preserved gothic and baroque historic centres.

If you prefer modern architecture, you should not miss Jested Mountain with Jested Tower on the top of the mountain. This is one of the best Czech buildings built during Communism and is well known among foreign architects due its hyperboloid shape, which naturally extends the silhouette of the hill. Moreover, there are great views of Liberec city and whole Bohemia as well.

Natural sights

Do

Hiking

Network of walking trails is dense and trails are well marked. Moreover, landscape is just beautiful, with sandstone rocks and many castles and chateaux (look at the See section above). Bohemian Paradise is most popular destination and there is plenty of places, where you can rest, eat, sleep or buy a souvenir. However, in summer could be a bit crowded.

Biking

Biking is also popular due to flatland located here. However, cykling some mountains in České Středohoří or Jizera Mouinains can be more challening.

Swimming

You can swim and sunbathe on shores of Machovo jezero (Macha's Lake) in Kokořínsko landscape protected area.

Water tourism

Why go by foot, if you can borrow canoe, kayak or inflatable boat and follow many Czech tourists on Ohře and Jizera rivers.

Spas

Winter sports

Due to several mountains on borders with Germany and Poland, there are few small ski resorts.

Drink

Beer

In North Bohemia are several local breweries. Area around Žatec is well known for prodution of hops. In Žatec is museum about hops and breewing.

Local breweries

Wine

Among the most northerly in Europe, two only Bohemian wine subregions (the bigger wine area is in South Moravia) are located in North Bohemia, thanks to Elbe's rivers flatland. Wineyards are arond towns Mělník (officialy part of Central Bohemia Region) and Litoměřice

Stay safe

North Bohemia has an above average criminality than rest of the Czech Republic. In some bigger cities in Usti nad Labem Region, there are ghettos (for example Chanov quarter in Most) with population of gypsies. Avoid these places.

Go next

Your next destination can be Prague and Central Bohemia, Pilsen and spas in West Bohemia, Krkonose Mountains and some beautiful towns in East Bohemia or Germany (Sachsen).

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 23, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.