Czech Republic Bike Tour: Brno-Prague on the Eurovelo 4
This Czech Republic Bike Tour is fun and easy: road signs everywhere, cycling paths... During our European bike tour we cycled through Moravia, Vysočina and Bohemia, pedalling along rivers and sweet hills of the two main cities: this is our itinerary from Brno to Prague on the European Cycling Route Eurovelo 4.
Czech Republic Bike Tour: Brno-Praga
The itinerary we present you today is a classic Czech Republic Bike Tour, from Brno and Prague by bicycle, connecting the two main cities and crossing the nation South-East to North-West. For a while, you'll be cycling on one of the European bicycle itineraries called the Eurovelo Net, the number 4 through Central Europe. This itinerary can be cycled in a few days, but if you like to take things slowly, you could use a week. If you want to go on with your trip, you can continue on the Eurovelo 4 or the 9 from Brno or the 7 from Prague... so many options! Just follow the yellow signs in the Czech Republic, dedicated to bicycles.
This itinerary isn't too demanding, even if you'll have some elevation gain when crossing the central Czech Republican hills. The terrain is always paved (except some short dirt part) and for its majority, it's on secondary roads, with some pleasant parts on bicycle lanes or paths.
Brno, Moravia's capital
Back to our itinerary! The starting point is Brno, a 400.000 habitants city with the city centre unravelling from the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, towering on the Petrov Hill. Originally in Romanic style, then rebuilt in XIII century in gothic style, today you can notice its pinnacles from every corner of the city. Not too far from the church, you'll find the Špilberk Castle on the namesake hill. Here was held prisoner the Italian Silvio Pellico.
Another symbol of the city is Villa Tugendhat, an example of modern architecture and part of the UNESCO world heritage. Many areas of the city centre in Brno deserve a visit, starting from the beautiful portal of the Old Town Hall, passing by the Liberty Square, where you'll find a special astronomical clock.Stunning views in Zelný Trh (Vegetable market) where you can observe a particular bronze statue of Mozart, with a childish body and an adult head.
Along the river Svratka until Pernštejn's Castle
Our advice is to visit the city for a couple of days, even if we stopped by only a few hours... Our Czech Republic Bike Tour from Brno and Prague starts by leaving the city centre behind and going towards the river Svratka, the main trajectory for these firsts kilometres.Passing on the southern bank of the river, you'll be cycling on the mixed road next to it and then on a cycle path. A short uphill segment and you're in nature, the traffic almost a memory of the past.
The copious signs offer many variations, but we keep following the flow of the Svratka upstream until we exit the city of Brno and reach the suburb of Brno-Bystrc. This Czech Republic Bike Tour is indicated with the number 1 in the Czech Republic and slavishly follows the Eurovelo 4, starting from Kyiv in Ukraine and reaching Roscoff in Brittany after 5000 km. We personally followed this European Cycling Path along the Vistula river in Poland, between Krakow and Auschwitz.
Back to our Czech Republic Bike Tour: leaving the cycling path for the streets of Brno-Bystrc, you reach the Brno Reservoir, formed by a dam on the river. This area is pretty touristy and during the weekends you'll see many picnickers on the banks.A gravel cycling path along the southern bank brings us to the Veveří Castle. Keep going after the first parking, uphill for two hairpin turns and reach the castle entrance in order to leave the bikes in a safe place.
The first documents testifying the existence of this castle date back to 1213 and 1222, when Ottocar I of Bohemia used this place to imprison his rebels. This majestic castle is now available for visits and tours, depending on your time and curiosity.
After this pause, you enter the small centre of Veverská Bítýška where you'll face two short but demanding up and downs, then coming back to the river in Tišnov: from now on our Czech Republic Bike Tour won't stop going up and down, initially on the Moravian hills, then in Vysočina.
A last bit along the Svratka leads to Nedvedice, where the Eurovelo and the National Cycling Path 1 separate. The first follows the river to climb softer (but on a longer itinerary), while the second starts attacking a steep climb. We choose the second option, shorter but more demanding.
The steep climb is interrupted by the presence of one of the best-kept castles in the Czech Republic: Pernštejn Castle. Its position gives it a monumental appearance. This building takes its name from Bärenstein, the 'Bears Fortress', maybe because of its privileged location. Known as the marble castle, due to the material surrounding doors and windows, it was funded between 1270 and 1285 by the Lords of Medlov: they took the name of Pernštejn, giving birth to one of the most powerful families in Moravia and Bohemia.
Leaving the castle, our Czech Republic Bike Tour between Brno and Prague enters the Vysočina region, in the Czech highlands, between Moravia and Bohemia. You suddenly realize that it's necessary to climb to cross this region... and the ascent never stops! Until the centre of Bystřice nad Pernštejnem.The air gets colder even if we're cycling between 600 and 700 m of altitude. Here the alternatives to cross this region are a few: you meet again the Eurovelo 4, our cycling path number 1 reaches Hlinsko while we choose the European one, staying in the southern part.
We pass by the cities of Nové Město na Moravě, where you find a bike park, and Žďár nad Sázavou, on secondary roads and cycling paths, passing through fields and conifer woods. Out of Žďár, we cycle along a small artificial lake before reaching the lake Velké Dářko, where we get immersed in the forest, cycling on a wooden boardwalk before reaching the village of Radostin. From here, we cycle north towards the beautiful Hlinsko, a winter ski place in the Czech Republic.
Not so far we meet a river near Hlinsko, the Chrudimka, which we follow in the distance, crossing it from time to time. The hills look endless, but after Seč and its lake, we cycle towards the remains of Lichnice, dominating the bohemian plane. These ups and downs in Nature remind us Greece or Romania, explored during our No Plans Journey this year.
A macabre piece of art
The fast downhill towards Ronov nad Doubravou allows to let Vysočina behind and enter central Bohemia, getting closer to Prague. By bicycle, we know it well, the distances are important, and to reach the near Čáslav we follow contorted paths, making this bit longer but pleasant. Once we pass the small city centre, we cycle north-east, towards the Elbe River (Labe in Czech), on the wonderful cycle path (usually described only in Germany but which continues in the Czech Republic).
Before reaching it, however, you don't want to miss the visit to Kutná Hora, with its historical centre, St. Barbara's Church and Sedlec Ossuary (UNESCO heritage from 1995): you'll have to sweat a bit, but it'll be worth it!St. Barbara's Church, dedicated to the miners, is one of the most famous gothic churches in Central Europe and it's really suggestive, visible from far away.The other religious building UNESCO heritage is an example of Cistercian architecture just outside of the city centre: in Sedlec what attracts the most is the Ossuary, with more than 40.000 human skeletons.At the end of the XIX century, a local engraver used human bones to realize true pieces of art, decorating the crypt with many objects, like a gigantic chandelier and the Schwarzenberg coat of arms.
The river Elbe and Prague
Leaving Kutná Hora behind, there's just one last hill to reach the plane leading to the banks of the river Elbe. The entrance of the city of Kolìn is probably the busiest part of the whole itinerary, but with some attention, you'll reach the banks of the large river, where once again you can choose your path. You can follow the bank or take a cycle path towards the North to Velký Osek before touching the Elbe again.
An enjoyable segment in the woods before Poděbrady and then Nymburk. Our Czech Republic Bike Tour follows the Elbe on cycle path, then mixed terrain, then a fun and easy single trail. The European funds for the development of the Eurovelo itinerary could bring, in the next years, to modification and modernization of this segment. Leaving the river, we can visit the small but stunning city of Lysá nad Labem before abandoning the river near Lázně Toušeň. The Elbe cycling path continues, following the river until Germany, the North Sea and its mouth.
A few kilometres to the centre of Prague by bike, but the last effort is requested: you'll have to pass on to the hill overlooking the Czech city. Alternatively, you can keep cycling to Melník, where Prague's river (Moldava, the Vltava in Czech) connects with the Elbe. Following it upstream you'll enter the city anyway, but tripling the kilometres.
In this segment, we follow the Jizera Greenway, mostly on cycling path, down from Harrachov, at the border with Poland, not far from Liberec. The feared entrance to Prague is less complicated than expected, even if the absence of some signs leave us lost near Černý Most station.
A bit further we reach a beautiful peripheric segment, where we have to follow the signs of the National Itinerary number 1 Brno-Praga. An old railway transformed into a cycling path allows reaching a new neighbourhood near the river Moldava. Once passed the bridge, we'll be following the bank on a cycling path to the city centre. We reach the Hebrew Quarter in front of which, on the opposite bank, the Castle overlooks the city. Charles Bridge is not far away, and with some hundreds of metres, you can reach it.
The Czech Republic Bike Tour Brno-Praga has come to an end in one of the most stunning European Capitols, after cycling in some rural and remote places of this young, vivid and beautiful European country.
- Brno: the second city of the Czech Republic and capital of the Southern Moravia has many things to offer, like the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul and the Špilberk Castle;
- The Castle of Pernštejn: one of the best-kept fortifications in the Czech Republic, born on a rock formation and house for one of the most powerful families of this country;
- Stunning views in Visočyna: the central region of the Czech Republic has its own orography. Its views are stunning during every season;
- Kutna Hora: in this UNESCO city many gothic and Cistercian architectures concentrate, and a macabre piece of art is the main attraction;
- Prague: the capital of the Czech Republic doesn't need any introduction. The castle, the Malá Strana quarter, crossing Charles Bridge to reach St. Vitus Cathedral. Every corner of this city is magical.
- How much does it cost sleeping in the Czech Republic? The cost of living in the Czech Republic is low compared to other European countries, both in food and sleeping. You'll find plenty of apartments, b&b and hotels, and during the summer season some campings too.
- Where can I sleep on this itinerary? In the main cities the choice is vast, while in the central part where you cross little villages and small cities, there are just a few apartments and b&b. The quality is however always high and the ratio quality/price is satisfying. If you prefer more freedom, you can book an apartment on Airbnb.
- What can I eat in the Czech Republic? Meat and soups are in every meal of the Czechs. Veproknedlozelo, pork, sauerkrauts or potatoes soup and dumplings are in every manu. Everything has to be accompanied by a fresh beer, one of the most typical beverages.
- Where can I eat on this itinerary between Brno and Prague? On this itinerary you'll find plenty of restaurants and small inns worth trying. We cannot give you any specific advice because we cycled on this route off season, so many places were closed.
ITA - Ho 32 anni e sono piemontese, anche se da qualche anno vivo e lavoro in Lombardia. Dopo un inizio da totale inesperto in questo campo, mi sono avvicinato al mondo dei cicloviaggi e della bicicletta sempre più. Oggi posso definirmi "cicloviaggiatore", e assieme all'altra mia passione - il videomaking - non mi fermerei mai! Cyclo ergo sum, pedalo quindi sono, per cercare di capire perché andare in bici sia così bello, terapeutico, ricco... E ogni volta che provo a capirlo, non ce la faccio, e sono costretto a ripartire sui pedali!