One of the best things about living in Prague is how easy it is to go for a stunning and exhilarating bike ride out of the city. There are several well maintained bike paths running through Prague and beyond, taking you in and out of neighbouring villages, towns and the surrounding countryside. There are lots of places in Prague which rent bikes for very reasonable rates and the spring weather is just perfect for cycling, so why not give it a go?
Today, I finally completed a route which I’d been meaning to try for a long time: Prague to Karlstejn. The town of Karlstejn is home to one of the Czech Republic’s most famous and beautiful castles and it is nestled in amongst some spectacular countryside. For more information about Karlstejn Castle check out our Castles, castles, castles! article.
The best things about this route are:
- It is mostly off road and the few roads which you will need to cycle on are very quiet.
- As you will mostly be following the valleys of the Vltava and Berounka rivers, the ride is pretty flat.
- For the most part, it is very clearly signposted, so you are unlikely to get lost.
There are many tour companies which will take you on this trip, but for a fee. If you’d rather save the money and make your own adventure, here’s everything you need to know:
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Distance covered: 40km
- Difficulty: Easy/moderate
Leg 1: Escape Prague
This leg actually takes longer than you would imagine, but it’s a very pleasant ride along the Vltava River. For the first part of this leg you will be following the A2 cycle path (direction Vrane Nad Vltavou).
Our journey begins at down by the riverside at Naplavka. It can be a pain to cycle down here when it is busy, as people have a habit of meandering very slowly all over the cycle path but I was up bright and early this morning so my way was relatively clear.
The path eventually brings you back up to road level and to this beautiful little tunnel which leads to the charming riverside district of Podoli.
The path through Podoli is pleasant, well marked and full of bikes, rollerblades and scooters. When you reach the Pristaviste tram stop, the cycle path turns off the main road and dips back down to the riverside.
Although the route is generally very well marked with sign posts, there are couple of points here where things could go wrong. As you approach a small green bridge which leads over a stream and into a park, you need to bear left up a small hill and away from the river and the park. If you’re on the right path, you will pass a skate park.
If you continue along this path, you will eventually come across a rather striking industrial ruin of the “Ledarna” which once served as a huge storeroom for natural ice.
Just past this building you will come to a crossroads, here you should turn right onto “U Kempinku” street. The path from here is very pleasant and the feeling of spring was inescapable as I cycled down this gorgeous tree lined boulevard.
From here the path continues past an activity centre for kids, through a golf course and country club before returning to the banks of the Vltava River. I really enjoyed this stretch of the journey, as the landscape was really opening up around me and I was starting to feel the thrill of the open road.
Things really start to busy up here. There were runners, rollerbladers and bikers all over the place. I also passed a pirate themed mini golf course and Port 62, a boat, cafe, bar and restaurant all rolled into one with no shortage of outdoor seating.
From here, things took on more of an urban, industrialised feel as I passed the Prague Modrany train station.
After a short cycle along the railway tracks, it was necessary to cross to the other side of the river. For some reason, this special “bridge under a bridge”, built especially for cyclists and pedestrians, really appealed to me. It’s a pretty cool idea and it was where I needed to head for the next part of the journey.
When you cross the over the river and come back down on the other side, you will need to take an immediate left turn through this tunnel.
From here you will have to briefly follow the A102 cycle path until you reach the second “bridge under a bridge” (I could barely contain my excitement at the prospect!). This time I was crossing the Berounka River, which I followed all the way to my final destination.
There was some pretty nice art work on the side of the bridge.
After crossing the Berounka River, you will be following the A1 cycle path (direction Cernosice).
Shortly after passing the district of Radotin, I was intrigued to spot this sign, which announced the presence of “The Czech Republic’s Largest Hedge Maze”. I love mazes, so this is something I will have to try during the summer.
From the hedge maze, a short ride through some luscious grassy meadows will lead you into the charming town of Cernosice and with that, you will have officially escaped Prague.
Leg 2: From Cernosice to Dobrichovice
From here on, you will be following cycle path 3.
Cernosice was by far my favourite of the towns that I cycled through today. I knew that I would like it as soon as I saw this adorable row of dainty riverside cottages.
I liked it even more as I passed the small pub at the end of this row of cottages. It was blasting out “The Final Countdown” for passersby and for the handful of locals, who were already enjoying a morning beer in the spring sunshine. I considered taking a picture, but was unsure how the locals would take it, so I continued with my ride.
There is a moderate climb to get out of Cernosice, which will take you past this beautiful chapel.
This rusty old creation was maybe my favourite bridge of the day, but I almost fell into the water with shock half way across it, as a double-decker train screamed past.
The next section takes you along what is probably the busiest road of the day, which skirts the village of Vsenory and eventually brings you into the town of Dobrichovice (although I think I only encountered about 4 cars).
Leg 3: Dobrichovice to Karlstejn
Once you are in Dobrichovice, you should continue along the main road until you see a level crossing on your right, shortly after passing the train station. Turn right here and continue down to this stylish blue bridge, which you will need to cross and then follow the path which hugs the river bank.
Although we are still on cycle path 3, the signs seemed to disappear for much of this stretch. However, if you follow the river and keep an eye out for signs to Revnice, then you can’t go far wrong.
When you come to the Dobrichovice Chateau, the river side path will seem to end. Take a detour through the Chateau’s charming courtyard and keep following signs to Revnice.
You will be back by the riverside in no time at all.
As you enter the town of Revnice, you will need to take another bridge over the river.
The cycle path continues immediately to your right as you come to the other side of the bridge.
Revnice seemed like a pretty little town, with some gorgeous houses.
The next town that you will come to is Zadni Treban. Things were starting to feel a bit more touristy as I entered this place, with signs translated into English and advertisements for hotels popping up all over the place. I could sense that Karlstejn was getting close.
When you reach the train station at Zadni Treban, you will no longer be following cycle path 3. Actually, from here on in you’re not going to be following a cycle path at all. At the train station you need to take the underpass to the other side of the tracks. Here you will find a rickety old bridge, which you need to cross.
You’ve now only got about a 15 minute cycle ahead of you before you reach your destination and just to make things easier, it’s signposted.
The rest of my trip was open, winding roads. As I was swerving around a bend, I spotted this sign and my heart lept! 4 hours after departing from Naplavka, I had finally made it to Karlstejn and I was pretty pleased with myself.
Some recommendations for bike rental places in Prague:
- City bike Prague: Kralodvorska 5, Prague 1 (no deposit required, only valid ID)
- Prahabike: Dlouha 24, Prague 1 (1,500CZK refundable deposit required along with valid ID)
- Okolo: Revolucni 8, Prague 1 (1,500CZK refundable deposit required along with valid ID)
Honest Tips For Your Prague Stay
AIRPORT TRANSFER Get a private transfer from/to Prague Airport for a price of regular taxi (€27).
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