On a warm day, there’s nothing better than heading for the hills for a walk in the countryside – just make sure to bring a waterproof layer for those inevitable May showers and wear some resistant shoes for potential muddy spots. Here are several walks of varying length that are within easy reach of Prague by car or public transport; check Idos.cz for transit timetables.
Just 30 minutes by bus from Hradčanská or train from Masarykovo nádraží, Unhošť is an unassuming, pretty little satellite town that borders on the Kačák/Loděnice nature reserve and is just a few kilometers from the beginning of the Křivoklát national park. There are several options for walks of varying lengths that take you down into the Loděnice valley, which traces the winding Loděnice stream.
For a 15.5-kilometer loop that brings you back to Unhošť, take the blue trail from the Unhošť town center (you can spy the first marker from the bus stop), which follows a charming, shady way along a creek for 6 kilometers before meeting up with the red trail. Turning right on the red, the path passes a hamlet of idyllic summer cottages, lush forested views, and Markův Mlýn, a former mill.
It’s another 2.5 km through the woods to the village of Malé Kyšice, where Pension Lika has several nice tables outside and cold Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus on tap for refreshment (as well as a standard pub menu of light Czech bites). If you find this only increases your thirst, it’s only 1 km farther along the red to U Netopyra, a slightly run-down pub pouring Staropramen and Svijany (on occasion) that has a tree-covered garden out front that fills up with ramblers and cyclists passing through.
Taking the yellow trail, it’s another 1.5 km to Nouzov, where the U Spalu pub has cheap Kozel on tap and a recording studio to boot, so there’s a chance you might spot a local band making history (sort of). Continuing along the yellow for 3 km completes the loop back into Unhošť. Note, however, that the buses back to Prague don’t run particularly late on weekends, and the train station, while offering more connections, is located about 2.5 km outside of Unhošť itself.
Another option that clocks in at around 17.5 km in total follows the same path from Unhošť to where it intersects with the red trail, but instead of turning right, it turns left to continue through the Loděnice valley. Following the stream along the red, the path winds through several villages with several options for refreshment along the way, before culminating in the town of Loděnice. Loděnice has easy bus connections to Zličín and trains to Smíchovské nádraží, and about 2 km from the end is the Caravan Camp Valek, where you can either pitch a tent or rent a three-bed cabin for 240 CZK per person per night – or simply jump into the outdoor swimming pool to cool off before heading back into Prague. Map: Czech Tourist Club No. 36, Okolí Prahy západ
Rakovnik to Křivoklát
This is a beautiful route through rolling Central Bohemian countryside that can easily be done in one day, or it can be combined with an overnight stay in Křivoklát. The whole trail is about 18 kilometers long, but there’s also a little putt-putt train that runs between the two royal towns, so if your feet get tired (or if you don’t want to face the steep uphill climb after the village of Pustověty) it’s easy enough to hop on for the short ride to Křivoklát. The are a few ups and downs in the hills coming up to Pustověty, as well.
To get to Rakovnik, there are direct trains from Masarykovo nádraží and buses from Zličín; by train it takes about 1.5 hours and by bus just under an hour. If you get there early enough, Rakovnik is worth a look around: Its well-preserved historical Old Town has lots of charm and few tourists. Leave plenty enough time for the hike, however, and note that there’s only one refreshment option along the way, in Pustověty, after about 6 km, so bring plenty of water. There’s a nice variety of views along the trail, too, with several sweeping panoramas of the hilly landscape.
Save your appetite for a meal, though, at U Jelena, a rustic pension and restaurant just below the Křivoklát Castle that specializes in game dishes – the venision goulash, in particular, is especially divine, although can sell out quickly on busy days. The restaurant has a lovely shady outdoor terrace, too, and a room in the pension costs 1,000 CZK a night for two; otherwise, trains head back to Prague, with a change in Beroun, pretty regularly. Make sure to stop in at the castle, too, before heading home, either for an official tour or a free-of-charge wander round the courtyard and battlements. Map: Czech Tourist Club No.33 Křivoklátsko a Rakovnicko
Where do your hiking boots take you come spring?