Our decision to travel to the eastern part of the Czech Republic was made on something of a whim. We had both mentioned previously that we were keen to explore more of this beautiful country, but it wasn’t something that had jumped to the top of our plans. When we were scouring for flights, however, to figure out where to go on our next adventure, we found that flights to the Czech Republic’s third-largest city of Ostrava to be affordable.
Our interests piqued, we began to research where we should go after exploring the underrated mining city and found that the Jeseniky Mountains, which are considered to have some of the best hiking in Czech Republic, were only a short distance away from Ostrava.
In the winter, the Jeseniky Mountains are the premier skiing destination in the country and there are countless resorts scattered throughout the region. However, tourism for Czech natives in the summer is still booming. When the snow melts and the greenery returns, it makes way for fantastic hiking and other outdoor action sports.
Though it is one of the most popular destinations in the country for locals, it is still largely undiscovered by foreign tourists. So if you want to get off the beaten path while hiking in Czech Republic, then the Jeseniky Mountains are the place for you!
Getting to and Around the Jeseniky Mountains
The Jeseniky Mountain region is quite large and many of the best attractions and hiking trails are fairly spread out and far from each other. While the Jeseniky Mountains are quite well connected by an extensive train and bus network, connections will take some time and it is possible that you waste a lot of time that could be better-spent hiking, sightseeing, or just enjoying the pristine nature. This is why we would suggest renting a car.
We hired a car at Ostrava Airport using Budget after finding that they had the best rate on Rentalscars.com. To save money on car rental insurance, we opted to buy excess insurance through iCarHireInsurance which offers policies for a few dollars per day – a fraction of what you’d pay from a car hire company!
If you have a car while visiting, you will have the flexibility to stay wherever you would like and not be at the mercy of bus or train timetables. Driving here is also very easy as the road quality is top notch and the lanes are wide, even through the winding mountains. Another benefit to having a car is that you have the option to stay in a more rural guesthouse or hotel rather than in a bigger town.
Jeseniky Mountains: Hiking in Czech Republic
The biggest thing that attracts tourists to the Jeseniky Mountain region in the summer is its seemingly endless hiking opportunities. Because it is such a popular tourist destination for Czechs looking to enjoy the great outdoors and get some cool mountain air in their lungs, there are quite literally hundreds of hiking trails to choose from throughout the region. All of the trails are very well-marked and range in difficulty.
If you’re looking for the perfect hike, it can be very worth stopping by a tourist information office (there is usually one in every town) and picking up a regional map. They normally have these in a range of languages and you will be able to see all of the hiking possibilities available in the Jeseniky Mountain region.
One of the most popular hikes in the Jeseniky Mountains is to the famed Lesni Bar just outside of the village of Horni Lipova. Lesni Bar is a small “bar” in the middle of the forest. There are picnic tables, fire pits, and barbecues but the thing that makes this place unique is that there are also beers, soft drinks, and packaged snacks for sale as well. There isn’t, however, a staff running this establishment and you’re expected to pay for your drinks by putting the proper amount into a collection box. The drinks are kept cold by running water redirected from a stream.
There is a dirt parking area at the beginning of the trail specifically marked for the bar hike and when we were there, there was only one other car parked there so I don’t believe parking will generally be an issue.
To get to the Lesni Bar, follow the blue and yellow marks on the trees along the trail from the car park. These occur ever 200 meters or so, so it is highly unlikely that you will get lost. Before the trail goes into the woods, you will see a place, run by Lesni Bar, where you can rent trekking poles for 10 CZK. These rentals operate on the honour system and there is a little jar where you can put your coins in if you choose to take advantage of this.
The hike is roughly two kilometres and it is fairly easy on a well-trodden trail, but there is a significant amount that is at a bit of a steep incline. However, it is generally accessible to those with an average to moderate level of fitness.
There is another forest bar about one kilometre from the Lesni Bar, called the Horni Bar. This is where the hike will get a bit more strenuous as the entirety of it is at a steep incline, so it is not recommended if you’re not at a high level of fitness. We hiked up to the Horni Bar but found that there weren’t any beers or drinks in the reservoir, however, we did take a well-deserved rest at the picnic table there.
About 200 meters from the Horni Bar is a beautiful panorama viewpoint complete with some chairs so you can enjoy the view. The trail also continues from there if you’re keen to go on a longer hike and eventually loops around after about 20 kilometres. We, however, didn’t hike any further on and chose to head back down the steep incline.
Other Activities in the Jeseniky Mountains
If you happen to be visiting the Jeseniky Mountain region in the winter time, then it will be prime skiing season. However, in the summer, there is also no shortage of things to do in here that isn’t completely to do with hiking.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush of any sort, then make sure to head to Dolni Morava. This village is home to some of the biggest attractions in the Jeseniky Mountains, including the Sky Walk.
The Sky Walk is a massive feat of engineering that sits 1,116 metres above sea level and 55 metres above ground. It is a winding wooden path that spirals upwards and provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. There is also a massive 100-meter slide at the top and what they call a “chill out net” that you can walk and see the expanse of mountain and forest beneath you. I am pretty afraid of heights, so there is pretty much nothing in me that would be chilled out on that net, however.
The Sky Walk is possibly the most popular tourist attraction in the Jeseniky Mountains and is accessible to people of all fitness levels. There are two ways you can reach it: hiking trail or ski lift. There are two trails that you could hypothetically take, however, the 2.5-kilometre Blue Hiking trail was closed when we were visiting so we took the 3.9-kilometre Fairytale trail.
The hike is relatively easy, except at the beginning where there is a very steep incline. The ski lift is the easiest mode to reach the Sky Walk, but you do have to pay an extra fee. Entry to the Sky Walk without the lift is 200 CZK and it is 350 CZK with the lift.
Dolni Morava is also a fantastic place to go mountain biking (you can hire bikes there), to a high ropes course, or ride on the bobsleigh track which operates almost like a rollercoaster.
If you’re curious to explore a bit more of a cultural side of the Jeseniky Mountains, then it can be worth checking out the paper mill museum in Velke Losiny. The mill has been in operation since the 18th century and is still functioning today. If you would like to visit, you must go on a guided tour that are only available in Czech, however, there are English, German, and Polish audio guides available at an additional cost.
Where to Stay in the Jeseniky Mountains
Because it is such a popular destination among Czechs, there are ample accommodation options in the Jeseniky Mountain region. Choices range from high-end ski resorts, cabin rentals, and quaint, family-run guesthouses. Almost every town and village in the region will have at least one guesthouse, or penzion, and most bigger places have multiple.
We stay in the biggest town in the region called Jesenik, and we think it was the perfect base to explore the region. The town itself is very picturesque and easy to reach and there are a number of good restaurants and cafes along with two large supermarkets.
These are some of the top picks for where to stay in Jesenik:
Penzion Brabenec – This small guesthouse is a great place to stay in Jesenik. Situated in a quiet location about two kilometres from the centre of town, it has a handful of cosy rooms with a small kitchenette complete with mini fridge and microwave, it’s very clean and the owners are kind. It is also a great option if you’re travelling on a budget. Click here to see their latest prices
Vila ELIS – If you’re looking for a more high-end and boutique hotel within walking distance of Jesenik’s centre, then Vila ELIS is for you. There are a range of rooms in this hotel and it also has a great restaurant on site, making it a great choice for a place to stay in the Jeseniky Mountains. Click here to see their latest prices
Hotel Křížový vrch – This hotel is another great option, particularly if you’re looking for a romantic mountain getaway. It is located a little bit outside of Jesenik proper, but it is still only a short drive into the town. It also has its own restaurant, room service, and breakfast is included. Click here to see their latest prices
Not what you’re looking for? Click here to find the best deal for other places to stay in Jesenik!
Where to Eat in Jesenik
Despite its diminutive size, there are a number of great places to eat in Jesenik. We were really impressed with the quality of food available and found that everything we ate could effectively quell our hunger after spending all day hiking. These are some of our top restaurants and cafes:
Ennea Caffe– Ennea Caffee is a cosy little coffee shop in the centre of Jesenik and it is a great place to grab a coffee, a pastry, or even a cocktail and chill out for a little bit. The atmosphere is really nice, the coffee is good, and the seating is comfortable which makes it a good option to spend a little bit of time decompressing.
Restaurace Gemer – this local gastropub is a great place to have dinner in Jesenik. There is a nice, cosy atmosphere and the food is fantastic. The portion sizes are huge and the menu is extensive: they have all of the typical Czech fare along with burgers and an extensive pizza menu. Their pilsner is also top notch.
Vila Elis – this hotel restaurant is one of the best restaurants in town. They have an extensive menu with some vegetarian options along with hearty Czech favourites and also there is a nice outdoor seating area, perfect for warm summer evenings.
Tosca Pizzerie – If you’re sick of all of the hearty Czech food, then Tosca Pizzerie is a great dinner option in Jesenik. There are actually quite a few pizza restaurants in the town, but this one is the highest rated and we can vouch that the pizzas are very good.
The Jeseniky Mountains are almost completely undiscovered by foreign tourism, and it really is a shame. Not only does it offer some of the best hiking in Czech Republic, but the tourism infrastructure is incredibly well-developed and there are a number of things to see and do in this beautiful area of the country.
Before going hiking in Czech Republic make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy. We personally used World Nomads for our trip however it’s important to read the policy details to ensure it’s right for you. Click here to get a quote from World Nomads!
Have you been to the Jeseniky Mountains? Are you interested in visiting? Let us know in the comments!