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Cycling in Czech Republic
The Czech Republic In A Nutshell
The Czech Republic is the farthest point west where you can enjoy the delights of the former Eastern Bloc, with its interesting architecture, unpronouncable languages, hearty fare and delicious beer that's cheaper than water. If the undulating countryside isn't doing it for you, add in one of Europe's greatest capital cities.
When I Went To The Czech Republic
28th May - 9th June 2011. This time of year can be hit 'n' miss. I got a fortnight of lovely weather. The following year it rained so much that Prague was seriously flooded.
Where I Went
Czech Republic's Scenery
The Czech Republic doesn't really do breathtaking scenery - that's the job of Prague and its architecture - but it has a lot of rolling hills and the roads prefer to tackle contour lines perpendicularly. If there's a river you're more likely to cross its valley than ride along it, which means frequent steep downs followed by steep ups.
The Czech Republic's villages are prettier than its countryside.
Czech Republic's Road Quality
Outside of Prague, many of the Czech roads are quiet, but some A-roads are scarily busy and with no verge. Twenty minutes on one of those is enough to frazzle your nerves. Stick to B-roads if you can. Surface quality can vary from fine to ropey.
Although you see a lot of people on bikes, Prague is not a cycle friendly city. The centre is full of cobbles and tram tracks. The main roads, some of which have three lanes of traffic, occasionally have a cycle lane but have adopted the UK's system of adding one when there's room and removing it when there isn't, in other words providing a wheelchair when your legs are fine but kicking your crutch from you when you most need it. It can be fun and exhilarating or simply terrifying. It's also quite hilly in parts.
Czech Republic's Accommodation & Costs
Hotels averaged €25 per night although they ranged from €12 to €38. My first campsite cost €5 and the one in Prague at a decent little site on Trojska (where several others are too), close to the tram stop to Prague centre, was only €8.
Where the Czech Republic scores highly is in its ability to feed and water you at very reasonable prices. Typically a large main course - pork and dumplings, or meat and potato cakes - and three pints of Europe's best lager came to €8. As a result there's no reason to stop at three pints.
German is generally more useful than English. But learn a few Czech words. You'll surprise 'em.
Reasons To Go To The Czech Republic
Great beer, great food, great dumplings, great value and the magnificent Prague.
What Others Say About The Czech Republic
Comments may be edited for concision. If the comment was taken from elsewhere, click the author's name for the full comment.
I absolutely loved cycling through the Czech Republic. Saw the bones church in Kutna Hora. All the secondary roads were almost traffic free, idyllic and great cycling. I'd be riding along and see an ancient castle off on a hillside and seek it out. The one thing I found in the Czech Republic, however, was that in almost every village I rode through, finding water in small shops to buy was virtually impossible, even in bottles that weren't in any refrigerator or cooler. All they had was beer, cold, hot, however you wanted it. But why would anyone want water sir, when you can have beer much cheaper? Prague left me breathless. I loved Prague and definitely want to return.
Len DeMoss (August 2014)
There are cycle routes everywhere, some of which are dirt tracks, so there's little need to cycle on big roads. From Brno, head for Olomouc (the Czech Oxford) rather than Prerov (the Czech Crewe). The main Brno-Ostrava long distance cycle route goes through a rather attractive hilly region north of Brno. Alternatively, there's a cycle route along the Morava river to Olomouc.
Route 5 is the Czech national cycle network route from Brno to Ostrava. You can also buy specific cycling paper maps locally, at fairly reasonable prices by international standards. There are also free handouts available from tourist offices in areas that promote cycling.
The Jeseniky mountains are a cyclist's paradise, if you like hills and traffic-free routes. There is also a good cycle route from Olomouc to the Jeseniky with a witchcraft theme.
This website shows all Czech and Slovak cycle routes in detail: http://www.cykloserver.cz/ You have to go in very close to be able to see the cycle routes, so it's not much help for longer distance route planning.
The Czech word for cycle routes is 'cyklotrasy' while the Czech word for bicycle is 'kolo' (with short 'o' sounds as in doll).
Your Opinions & Questions
Have you cycled in Czech Republic? Tell me what you think and I'll include your comments here. Also, if you have a blog, web site or Facebook page that includes an account of your trip, send me the URL and I'll include a link below. Include your name if you want your comment to be attributed to you. Or do you have a question about Czech Republic? Ask me and if I can answer it I'll add the information to the page.
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