The Beskydy Mountains are called many names but it’s a hidden secret that is worth exploring
It’s a shame that most of those that plan trips to the Czech Republic only get to see the capital city of Prague when there is so much more in the rest of the country that is begging to be discovered. From the unspoilt outdoors to history, culture, culinary, and pamper experiences, there’s something for everyone in the Beskydy Mountains and larger Moravian-Silesian region. Having seen a slice of it on a recent trip to Czechia, I can see why the locals love this area so much.
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Where are the Beskydy Mountains?
The Beskydy Mountains are also known as the Beskid Mountain or Beskids for short. This is a massive mountain range that covers 600 km in length and crosses from Poland to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the Ukraine. Featuring forests, wildlife, and river valleys, these collection of peaks offer a pristine ecosystem away from the big city. There are a number of peaks to the mountain but there’s none more famous than it’s peak, Lysá Hora.
In 1973, the Beskydy Mountains were declared a protected nature area, which signified its importance to the country.
A big portion of it resides in the Moravian-Silesian region and it’s rise in popularity is due to it’s natural beauty, development of trail systems, supporting resorts for winter and summer, and a plethora of activities for any type of vacation.
Birthplace of Freud
While Freud is considered to be Austrian, he was actually born in the Czech town of Příbor. It’s here, in this modest home that the future father of psychoanalysis spent his childhood.
This museum of open all year round and makes a perfect pitstop as you explore through the region around the mountains. They’ve done an impressive job of transforming this ordinary-looking home into an interactive museum where an audio guide with Freud’s fictitious voice takes you through the house and it’s impact on important segments of his career. Caricatures from well-known Czech illustrator, Vladimír Jiránek, do an excellent job of portraying Freud’s personality and love of humour.
What You Need To Know
Address: Zámečnická 117, 742 58 Příbor
Hours: varies (see website bel0w)
- Standard fee: 40 CZK
- Children fee: 15 CZK
- Family fee: 80 CZK
- Senior fee: 20 CZK
- Student fee: 20 CZK
Novy Jicin and the Town of Hats
As if time has stood still, this 14th century fairy-tale town is small, approachable, and easy to explore. With colourful pastel houses and church towers lining the cobblestone streets, they all lead into the beautifully constructed old town square named Masaryk Square. It’s in this square that you’ll find perfect examples of Renaissance and Baroque architecture that hang above the arched arcades.
The main attraction for the city can be found in the chateau which is home to the visitor center, an exhibition of hats, and a museum centered around General Ernst Gideon Laudon.
If you’ve ever wondered where hats are made, this is the place to come as Novy Jicin is legendary when it comes to its place in the hatting industry. The Tonak Company stands tall with 200 years of tradition and while the factories are located outside of the old town, you’ll find a fascinating exhibition that features all the varieties of hats they make from the modern to the fantastically weird. Come here to learn about the hat-making process and if you’re lucky, also take on a mini hat decorating workshop. Spend a little time here and you’ll understand why Novy Jicin is known as the “Town of Hats”.
Continue onwards from within the same building and find an interactive and educational museum about one of the most important military leaders of the 18th century, General Laudon. Learn about his contribution to the wars between Austria and Prussia and campaigns against the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.
What You Need To Know
Address: Tourist Information Centre, Masarykovo nám. 45/29, Nový Jičín
- Mon – Fri 8AM to 5PM
- Sat – Sun 9AM to 4PM
- Exhibition of hats – Basic 40 CZK, Concession 20 CZK, Family 80 CZK
- General Laudon exhibition – Basic 40 CZK, Concession 20 CZK, Family 80 CZK
- Joint ticket – Basic 60 CZK, Concession 30 CZK, Family 120 CZK
Ancient village of Štramberk
There’s no town that has a more striking silhouette than Štramberk. Set on the rocky hill, the castle that once stood here is no more but a slender, stone tower rises above the town and can be seen for kilometers.
Lone standing tower
In the 13th century, the castle was built to protect merchants on trade routes to Hungary. Today, it is a popular lookout point where a wooden spiral staircase takes you up to the just below the gabled roof and with open shutters, gives you access to 360 degree views of the town, Beskydy Mountains, Jeseniky mountain range and the plains that lead towards Ostrava. The Trúba tower is a must-do and is a fabulous walk up from the base of the town.
As you make your way up, take note of the wooden houses of the 18th and 19th century and soak in the views of the farms and villages below.
Not only does this town date back to the 13th century, but it goes as far back as 40,000 B.C.. On the neighbouring hillside is a cave where prehistoric remains have been found. In 1880, the lower jaw of a Neanderthal child was discovered in an alcove which was quite significant at the time. It’s most likely that prehistoric hunters and large predatory animals used this cave.
Today, it’s an easy trail to get to the Šipka cave and a perfect side detour during your time here. Along the way, you’re also treated with the most stunning panoramic views of Štramberk.
Try a local specialty
Štramberk is also known for something that will sound quite strange. The name, Štramberk ears, will make you cringe but it is in fact a sweet pastry made of honey-spiced dough and twisted to look like twister ears. They were created and baked to commemorate the victory of the Štramberk Christians over the Tartar army, or so legends go.
The closest thing they taste like would be oversized gingerbread cookies but softer. You’ll find them sold at shops all over the town and it’s the only place where you can find them in the Czech Republic. You can eat them with gelato or the best would be to go to the factory, Cukrárna U Hezounů, where they’re made fresh every day. Piping hot is the way I like them!
What You Need To Know
- Tourist Information Centre, Náměstí 9, 742 66 Štramberk
- Trúba Tower, Kopec 77, 742 66 Štramberk
- May – September: 9AM – 7PM (daily)
- April – October: 9AM – 5PM (daily)
- November – February 10AM – 4PM (Saturday to Sunday)
Prices for Trúba Tower:
- Adults – 35 CZK
- Children (6-15) – 25 CZK
- Children under 6 – Free
PGA-level golf course in Čeladná
With a good dose of culture, history, traditions, there’s no better place to stretch things out than on the golf course. In the town of Čeladná, you’ll find the Prosper Golf Resort Čeladná which was designed by professional golfer Miguel Ángel Jiménez and open in 2001. Hosting numerous PGA European Tour events, this resort will surely put you to the test with not just one but two full 18-hole courses.
What makes this resort memorable is how scenic the panoramic setting is. With the Beskydy Mountains towering to one side and the natural rolling hills of the course, it’s truly a pocket of golf paradise. Beyond the two full courses, you’ll also find a driving range, putting green, indoor golf simulators, short game area, a restaurant with a water view terrace, and golf shop.
What You Need To Know
No club membership is required at the Prosper Golf Resort. All you have to do is book a tee time on the website and you’re good to go. There are also many packages available that include stay.
Address: Prosper Golf Resort Čeladná, Čeladná 741, 739 12 Čeladná
Website: Prosper Golf Resort
Hiking up to the highest peak of the Beskydy Mountains
One random fact I learned on my trip to the Czech Republic is how the country has the largest number of sports gear stores per capita in all of Europe. It’s something you wouldn’t normally attribute to Czechia but once you come out to the Moravian-Silesian region, you begin to understand how much the locals love their outdoors.
The trailhead up to the highest peak of the Beskydy Mountains begins in Ostravice. The path is well-marked, and quite wide and open. Your target is the summit, Lysá Hora which stands tall at 1325 meters and is easily identifiable by the large tower that sits at the top which acts as a mountain rescue centre, meteorological station and radio transmitter.
As far as hikes go, the incline isn’t too challenging but expect to hike to the peak to take 2 hours. Along the way you’ll see a dynamic change in scenery from forest, to open hillside views, to the switchbacks that eventually take you to the top. The trail is mostly gravel and in some places a smattering of large loose rock which means you’ll need to be careful with your steps to ensure you don’t get any twisted ankles.
Once at the top, you’ll be greeted by a newly built wooden log chalet which not only caters to day hikers with their cafeteria but also is called Cottage Maraton that is available for reservations. Stay the night to take in the sunset, the night sky, and sunrise all in one trip.
The breathtaking views from Lysá Hora can’t be beat with the undulating hills beneath, glowing lights of nearby towns, the seemingly infinite humps of lesser peaks, shimmering blue hues of a reservoir, and swaying forest that blanket the range.
What You Need To Know
At the Lysá hora peak, the brand new Cottage Maraton where we stayed is not easy to book for foreigners since the website is only in Czech but it’s entirely possible. Just make sure you use Google Chrome’s translate feature. 100% pre-payment is required.
Address: GPS: 49°32’45.1″N, 18°26’53.933″E
- Cafeteria is open from 9AM – 7:30PM
Prices: Price start from 1,575 CZK (approx. $72 USD)
A spa to remember
If you’re looking for the perfect way to end off your time in the Beskydy Mountains, you’ll surely appreciate a well-earned time in a spa. Right next to Prosper Golf Resort Čeladná is the Miura Hotel which is in itself a modern work of art when it comes to architecture. Built to stand rugged like the surrounding mountains, it uses a balance of concrete with rusted metal sheets and purple glass to make it feel cozy. The entire hotel inside and out is littered with art including the work of David Černý which should be familiar if you’ve checked out my favourite Prague photography spots.
Then of course there’s the spa which in itself is incredibly impressive with has an ultra modern and futuristic look to it but is grounded with touches of nature that will completely relax every muscle in your body. Broken into two parts, you start off with the water section which features a hot tub that is in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s face with powerful jets, heated bed, Kneipp rock paths, and a green terrace. The second part sauna section and this expands into a zen space that gives you your pick of herb bath, salt bath, steam room, sanarium, Finnish sauna, and finally your choice of a pouring pail, ice rain, or snow room for cooling.
It’s the perfect space to find your inner peace.
This is where I went “wow, I can’t believe I’m in the Czech Republic right now.”
What You Need To Know
The Miura Hotel spa is open to the public even if you are not guests of the hotel. Price includes entry to the water and sauna areas, slippers, towel service and relaxing tea. Children older than 3 are also allowed at a discounted rate.
Address: Čeladná 887, 739 12 Čeladná
- Mon – Fri 2PM – 10PM
- Sat – Sun 11AM – 10PM
- Entry for 2 hours: 450 CZK
- Entry for 3 hours: 600 CZK
Where to stay
Here are 3 recommendations for where to stay in the Beskydy Mountain area based on a 2-3 day itinerary.
Located right in the main square of Štramberk, this is a convenient hotel to stay the night. It includes a fabulous breakfast and the rooms are quite large, spacious, and clean.
A 5-star hotel experience that sits adjacent to the Prosper Golf Resort Čeladná with modern designs that truly belongs in a list of the most unique properties in the world. Make sure to take advantage of the incredibly spa and the restaurant which features the best dishes I had in the region.
Shoutouts go to all of my fellow bloggers that I travelled with that made it such an amazing experience!
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