Prague is beautiful, no doubt. But there are plenty of amazing places and less touristy in Czech Republic to explore. One of them is Karlstejn castle and Little America, which is only 40 minutes by train from the capital. If you are looking for a great day trip from Prague, you definitely cannot miss these places.
As an internship of AvenTouro, I have a chance to join one of AvenTouro's trip to Karlstejn castle and Litlle Amerika in March. Even though the weather was not the best, the 15-km hike was totally pleasant and enjoyable to me.
We took a 40-minute train from Prague Central Station to Karlstejn village to visit our first destination - one of Czech most famous castles - Karlstejn castle. It took around 30 minutes to hike to the castle with a lovely view of the village along the way.
Once we get there, our tour guide - Vladimir explained about the interesting history of the Karlstejn castle. It was found in 1348 by Charles IV, King of Bohemian as well as Holy Roman Emperor. The castle was established as his private residence and a place to hold royal treasures, especially his collection of holy relics and the coronation jewels of the Roman Empire.
While walking around the main courtyard, I was amazed by the impressive and magnificent sight of the castle. The lower section is a smaller courtyard to the Well's Tower where you can see the mesmerizing view of the village. You can visit the exteriors areas of the castle for free, however, it costs around 10€ for entrance ticket to see its interior.
Hike to Quarry Amerika
Our friendly guide - Vladimir led us to into the forest passing the three beautiful limestone quarries on the way.
Since the hike is quite long, it's a perfect opportunity to talk with people participating the trip. I met some guys from Finland, where I'm studying; a Russian girl who enjoined various AvenTouro's trips before; a very knowledge German girl who later took me on a short tour around Prague; and other interesting people from all over the world. I believe there's no better way to make new friends than doing it on a delightful hike among the beautiful nature.
The first quarry we visit called Little Amerika (Mala Amerika). This deep pit quarry was used for solely mining limestone in the early 20th centery. The water was flooded back once the mining activities stopped. It has stunning and picturesque lookout view even in late winter with slightly frozen clear water.
One of the famous quarries in this areas, Mexico is the second quarry we passed by. It is an interesting place to visit thanks to its incredible deepness, probably around 80 meters. A little more
climbing, we saw a poignant memorial to political prisoners suffered in inhumane working conditions during 1950s.
Finally, we visit the one of the largest quarries and most photogenic spots in the Czech Republic. Big Amerika (Velka Amerika), also known as the Czech Grand Canyon. Its beauty not only attracts tourist but also Czech filmmakers. For instance, the quarry appeared in some well-known films like Limonádový Joe (Lemonade Joe), Malá mořská víla (Small Sea Nymph) and others.
Sv. Jan pod Skalou (Saint John under the cliff)
Our last destination is the spectacular and picturesque lookout view to the small town of Sv. Jan pod Skalou, tucked in a valley of breathtaking hills around. After a break on the view point, we went down the village to visit the church called the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. We got the chance to learn more about the interesting history from the verger before visiting the small cave inside.
We took a bus back to Prague and that was how our exciting day trip ended. I definitely recommend hiking to Karlstejn castle and Little Amerika as a perfect one day trip from Prague. It's undoubtedly a geat way to meet new people while enjoying and learning more about the beauty of Czech nature, culture and history.
Author & Photo: Chau Hoang