Explore the south-western Bohemia by car and see some of the top Czech attractions
For your enjoyment, we have prepared a holiday which will show you round the most interesting landmarks in south-western Bohemia. You will drive from one attractive place to another through a delightful countryside. Šumava and its surroundings are beautiful all year round. Whether you decide to come in spring, summer, autumn or winter, you shall not regret. You can start your day trips in the convenient Holiday Park Mlázovy – a recently renovated guest house with attractive leisure facilities. It will cater for all your needs and provide excellent relaxation after your trip.
The best time for a touring holiday is from May to September when most sights are open to visitors.
Below are some of the highlights to ease your trip planning:
Saturday: your arrival and check-in
Sunday: Mlázovy – Plzeň (Pilsen)– Mlázovy
Plzeň has gained a worldwide reputation for its unbeatable Pilsner Urquell beer. The largest beerhouse in Bohemia is situated right in the Prazdroj brewery complex and sits up to 580 people. A former Gothic malt house houses a museum of brewing. But Pilsen has a lot more to offer to its visitors. The city square is one of the largest medieval squares in the country. The centrepiece of the square is the Cathedral of St Batholomew with its 102-metre-tall steeple, the tallest steeple in Bohemia. The recently re-opened Great Synagogue of Pilsen is the second largest in Europe and the third largest in the world, following the synagogues in Jerusalem and Budapest. The West Bohemian Museum boasts the largest collection of gothic blunder-busses from all Europe.
Monday: Mlázovy – the Šumava National Park – Mlázovy (the number of kilometres depends on the route you choose)
The Šumava National Park is truly abundant in natural beauties and charming sceneries. You may well spend there weeks and still, there would be plenty to explore. In order to give you a taste of Šumava, we recommend you a biking trip to this most extensive forest area in central Europe. You may like to see clear glacier lakes including the Blake Lake, the largest glacier lake in the Czech Republic, rolling hills or wild streams and rivers with their boulders. The look out towers scattered throughout the park will offer your splendid views. A visit to these “green lungs of Europe” could well be a highlight of your entire holiday.
Tuesday: Mlázovy – Sušice – Rabí – Mlázovy
The royal town of Sušice has been rightly nicknamed for the Gateway to the Šumava Mountains. You will find there historical houses built in Gothic, Renassaince and Baroque styles. To get a delightful view of the whole town, climb up the Stráž hill topped with the Chapel of Angel the Guard whose history dates back to 1682. Sušice is world famous for its match making industries, oldest in the Czech Republic. Visit the Museum of Šumava with its exposition of match making and glass making industries and find out more or learn more about the hard life in the Šumava of the past.
The Rabí castle, the most extensive castle ruin in Bohemia, is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The castle was founded in the 13th century and expanded in the centuries to come. It was originally meant to guard the rich goldpanning region along the Otava River and in the 15th century, it ranked among the best strongholds in Bohemia. A guided tour of the castle will take you to the deep cellars and a stone donjon with fine views of the surrounding area.
Wednesday: Mlázovy – Kašperské Hory – the Kašperk Castle – Mlázovy
With the altitude of 740 meters above sea level, the royal town of Kašperské Hory is the highest situated Gothic town in Bohemia. Kašperské Hory is synonymous for gold mining – it especially thrived in the 15th century when gold was mined in more then 40 gold ore deposits. If you want to find out more, see the exposition in the town museum. Other noteworthy buildings are the Gothic church in the centre of the square and the Town Hall with the distinctive Baroque gables.
Above the town rises a steep rocky hill with a majestic Kašperk castle. Situated at the altitude of 886 metres above sea level, it is the highest situated royal castle. It once guarded the international Gold trading route. The castle presently houses an exposition of the interesting aspects of life in the past. The eastern donjon overlooks the central Šumava.
Thursday: Mlázovy – Klatovy – Švihov - Mlázovy (approximately 35 km)
The city of Klatovy has a lot to excite your senses. You can climb 226 steps up the Black Tower, built in the 16th century, to reach the look out gallery. Mysterious underground spaces under the Jesuit church from the 16th century shelter thirty naturally conserved mummies of the members of the Jesuit order and prominent people of the town who lived in Klatovy in the 17th and 18th centuries. Another noteworthy building is the Baroque Pharmacy “At the White Unicorn” which houses a display on the development of pharmacy from 1776 till 1966 when the pharmacy closed down.
The water castle of Švihov was founded at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle along with an artificially created moat formed an excellent stronghold. During the thirty-years war the Swedes made three attempts to conquer the castle – all were in vain. At Švihov, you can walk through the simply appointed, yet impressive interiors, see the historic armoury with an exposition of guns or visit the black kitchen with original medieval cooking utensils.
Friday: Mlázovy – Velhartice - Klenová – Mlázovy (approximately 47 km)
The Gothic castle of Velhartice was founded at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. It features an imposing stone bridge linking the castle to the adjoining donjon. The bridge is unique in Czech as well as European castle architecture. Adjacent to the castle there is a Renessaince manor house with an exposition of life of the gentry in the 16th and 17th centuries.
These large ruins of a castle from the 13th century along with the pseudogothic chateau form quite an extensive urbanistic complex. Well worth seeing are the historic interiors and castle fortifications with bastions. From there, you may enjoy remarkable views of the distant peaks of central Šumava. And if you are into visual art, do not forget to visit the art gallery featuring fine works of notable Czech and foreign artists.
Saturday: check-out, departure
It was not easy to highlight so few destinations around the Šumava foothills as the sights and architectural jewels are plentiful. However, if you prefer to explore the natural beauties or go on biking trips, we have prepared other, equally enjoyable activities for you. We wish you many rewarding trips around the top Czech attractions.