Around 25km north east of Prague, you will find the beautiful Nelahozeves Castle. This is not a castle which is often visited by tourists. I was actually here earlier today on a beautifully sunny Saturday afternoon and I was quite surprised by how few visitors were at Nelahozeves, but I’m certainly not complaining. Being able to enjoy the castle in relative peace and tranquillity only added to the experience.
The bike ride from Prague to Nelahozeves Castle is actually my favourite bike trip outside of Prague for many reasons, mostly because of the truly dramatic and beautiful landscape which this ride will take you through. The route is also exceptionally well marked from start to finish and doesn’t involve any busy main roads.
What you need to know about the ride
Time: Around 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate (this is a ride which for the most part is very easy and flat, I’m giving it a “moderate” rating simply because there is one short but very challenging uphill stretch near the beginning of the ride. However, this stretch is short enough that you could walk the bike up the worst of it if necessary!)
Leg 1: Prague-Klecany
Our journey begins at the impressive Trojsky Bridge, which is just a few meters away from Nadrazi Holesovice Metro station (C Line). Once you have crossed the bridge, immediately take the footpath downhill to the right and you will find yourself by the riverside.
For the first part of the journey, you will be following the A2 bike path in the direction “Kralupy Nad Vltavou”.
This stretch of very well maintained cycle path is very popular with cyclists, runners, rollerbladers, dog walkers and really anybody who enjoys a bit of fresh air. It’s also not uncommon to see people walking down here with kayaks, as you will pass a slalom course on your left. The course is often used for important international competitions and if you’re lucky enough to catch one it’s pretty exciting to watch.
You’ll also pass this curious wooden horse, which now serves as a gallery, shop and exhibition space for local sculptures. Since this area of Prague is called Troja, it seems only fitting that it should have its own Trojan horse.
As you continue to follow the A2, the landscape will really start to open up around you. This is one of my favourite stretches of the ride and it’s pretty difficult to believe that you’re still close to the centre of Prague at this point. Here are a few pictures that I took along the way.
The A2 will take you all the way to the charming riverside town of Klecany, where you will have officially have left Prague and where we will end leg 1 of the journey. Klecany is very well equipped with small pubs and kiosks offering drinks and snacks, so it could be the perfect spot for a riverside pit stop.
Leg 2: Klecany-Vodochody
So remember that challenging climb that I mentioned? It’s coming right up. You are now going to following cycle path 7 (still in the direction “Kralupy Nad Vltavou”) and you’re going to be following it for the rest of the journey. Continue along the riverside road through Klecany until you come to a sign which will instruct you to turn right at a cross roads. This is where the climb starts and for about 1km it will go on and on and on.
Eventually you will see this friendly yellow sign, which brings good news. Since we are following cycle path 7, we can take a detour to the left rather than continuing up the hill. From here the climb is not completely over, but the worst of it is behind you.
After a quick breather on Trebizskeho Square, it was only necessary to climb a few more meters up Do Kastan Street. You can give yourself a big pat on the back because once you’ve made it to the top here, it’s basically all downhill or at least relatively flat for the rest of the journey.
The next stretch was all about vast open meadows and clear blue skies. Here are a few pictures from this leg:
As you pass through the tiny little village of Drasty, you can enjoy the rewards for that earlier climb with a relaxing downhill cruise into the town of Vodochody.
Leg 3: Vodochody-Kralupy Nad Vltavou
As you cruise down the main street into Vodochody, a helpful sign will inform you that cycle path 7 continues to your left.
The next stretch is an enjoyable downhill meander through a lush and shady green forest.
And as if by magic, as you emerge from the other end of the forest, you will find yourself back by the riverside in no time. I was happy to be following the friendly Vltava River once more.
This next stretch is a really pleasant one, with stunning riverside views.
The next town you will come to is Chvateruby and although it initially doesn’t look like much of any interest, it does boast this rather imposing ruin of what was probably a rather grand chateau.
Kralupy is only around 2.5 kilometres from Chvateruby and as you head towards what is by far the biggest town you will have cycled through today, this will start to feel a bit more urban and industrial.
Leg 4: Kralupy Nad Vltavou- Nelahozeves Castle
This leg is a pretty short one. Cycle path 3 continues to be well signposted through Kralupy Nad Vltavou and it will very shortly bring you out of the town and onto a quiet riverside trail, then into a forest. For this short stretch, the path gets a little rough and bumpy. It’s also pretty narrow, which can be problematic considering how popular this cycle route is. On the bright side, you will get to check out these super cool, almost other worldly rock formations.
As you emerge from amongst the trees, you will find yourself in the small town of Nelahozeves and the castle should be clearly visible on the hillside. As you cycle under a tunnel, signs will show cycle path 7 continuing to the right but in order to check out the castle, you should take a left turn up the hill.
I just love this castle and although it could be argued that it’s more of a large chateau than a castle, it is nonetheless grand, imposing and simply beautiful.
Once you’ve had a look around the castle grounds, which are open free of charge, it’s possible to jump on a train straight back to Prague from Nelahozeves train station. However, if you’ve not had your fill of cycling, the path continues. It actually continues all the way to the city of Dresden. The whole trip from Prague to Dresden and vice versa is a very popular 2-3 day excursion, which explains why you will more than likely hear a lot of German being spoken by fellow cyclists if you cycle along any part of this trail.
For more information about Nelahozeves Castle, have a look at the website.