Bike there and hop on a train back: 5 scenic cycling trails from Prague (with beer)

If you haven't yet donned a helmet and hit the A2 you can hardly say you've experienced life in the Czech Republic

Marcus Bradshaw

Written by Marcus Bradshaw Published on 31.07.2020 16:06:00 (updated on 22.04.2021) Reading time: 8 minutes

The Czech Republic benefits from an extensive network of marked cycle paths, and a well-developed railway network. This creates a wonderful situation for casual cyclists — you can cycle a good distance and once you feel that your legs have had enough, you can put your bike on the train and return effortlessly to Prague. With this in mind, I donned a pair of padded shorts, rented a bike, and set off on two wheels in search of adventure.

Bike hire

I don’t own a bicycle, so I used various bicycle hire services to provide me with wheels. Shorter flat routes can be completed comfortably with shared bike services, such as Rekola and NextBike. For longer trips, a good bike with gears is essential. For this, I recommend Biko Adventures, who tooled me out. I would like to express my gratitude to Filippo Mari of Biko Adventures, who advised me on routes, and who was my guide on the Kařez-Plžen route.

No bike? No problem. A rented Rekola at Vrané nad Vltavou

Česko Okolo

Česko is a new online resource of marked cycle trips throughout the Czech Republic. There are three large circular routes around the country, which can be broken down into smaller sections. The Česko Okolo website contains a wealth of information about each route, including maps and route variations. It also includes points of interest and recommendations for great food en route. It’s free to use, and it is a great tool for planning a trip.

An easy ride to a brewery: Rudolfinum to Únětický Pivovar — 23km

This gentle cycle is broken down into two sections with a ferry ride in between. The cycle path (route A2) begins on the quayside, just behind the Rudolfinum, and it continues uninterrupted along the river all the way as far as Klecany, 17.5km further downstream.

The route will take you through Karlín, Líben, and Troja, and it should take between 1 hour and 1.5 hours to reach the Klecany ferry. Once you cross the river, follow the signs for Route 8100, which brings you to the village of Roztoky.

You’ll exit the village through the Tiché údolí (Silent Valley) which eventually transforms into a broad cycle path through a verdant forest. This path will bring you directly to the village of Únětice, where the brewery is well signposted. Park up the bike, relax, and enjoy a well-earned beer.

A sign announces the presence of frogs in the Silent Valley near Unetice

To return to Prague, simply head back down the forest path and along the Tiché údolí back to Roztoky where you can pick up a train back to Prague. The ride is 23km in total. It’s mostly flat, but there is a gentle climb at the end.

You should budget 1.5-2 hours, depending on the time of your ferry at Klecany. The ferry costs 20kč (cash only, as it is not included in the Prague public transport ticket). Roztoky train station is in the center of the village and there are frequent services to Praha Masarykovo Nádraží and Praha Holešovice.

A day trip to Poděbrady-Černy Most/Horní Počernice to Poděbrady — 61km

This longer ride on high-quality cycle paths includes some beautiful scenery and ends in the enchanting spa town of Poděbrady.

It’s the first section of the Česko Okolo central route, and it makes a very enjoyable day trip. If you begin in Černy Most, follow the signs for route A26, which will safely lead you under the motorway to the village of Horní Počernice.

Continue on route A26 until it brings you to the Horní Počernice railway station. From the station, continue on A26 through the village of Horní Počernice, until it becomes route 17 Jizera Greenway.

This is the beginning of a beautiful cycle path that will take you across fields (including a lovely long downhill stretch) until you reach the confluence of the Labe and Jizera rivers at Lázně Toušeň. From here your route will follow the course of the Labe all the way to Poděbrady, taking in the towns of Lysá nad Labem and Nymburk on the way.

Marcus and Marek outside the medieval walls of Numburk on the way to Podebrady

Route 17 becomes Route 37 and continues to Lysá nad Labem, where you might want to stop for a snack in one of the garden restaurants that line the main street. Don’t eat too much though, as there are some great restaurants in Poděbrady that you will want to keep your appetite for.

Leaving Lysá behind, route 37 becomes route 2, which runs along the grassy towpath on the river. This will bring you to Nymburk, where the town’s imposing medieval walls will herald your arrival. Be sure to spare a few minutes for this charming town, before pushing onwards towards Poděbrady.

You’ll know that you’re almost at your destination once the grassy path becomes paved, and becomes busy with inline skaters, cyclists, and runners.

Pull off the cycle path and enter the town square, where a wonderful ice cream shop awaits to reward you for your toil. Poděbrady is a spa down, defined by a magnificent colonnade, which is faced with several excellent restaurants. Park up the bike, take a stroll, and then decide which restaurant you would like to dine in. Enjoy a great meal, before taking a train back to Prague.

Budget at least 5.5-6 hours to complete this cycle, including time for a break at Lysá nad Labem. It’s a good idea to pack a fresh shirt so that you have something comfortable to wear at dinner.

A great family cycle: Vyšehrad to Černosice/Všenory — 24-27km

This completely flat cycle is great for families, and it is wholly off-road, so you don’t need to worry about car traffic.

Starting at Vyšehrad, follow the signs for route A2, as it follows the course of the river upstream. You’ll pass Dvorce, Braník, and Modřany on a dedicated cycle path. It’s easy, well-trafficked, and safe. Keep cycling upstream until you come to the massive motorway bridge of the Prazsky Okruh highway.

Cars and trucks zoom past at speed overhead, but there is a special bridge for cyclists slung under the motorway deck, allowing pedal-powered traffic to safely cross the confluence of the Vltava and Berounka rivers.

A special bridge for cyclists hangs under the Prazský Okruh motorway

Follow route A102 across the bridges, which becomes A1 on the far bank of the Berounka. Continue upstream past the village of Radotin, skirting fields of wheat on your way. A row of picturesque riverside cottages will announce your arrival at Černosice.

You’ll enter the village just below the level crossing, where a cukrarna faces you invitingly on the other side of the tracks. This is a great place to stop for a well-earned chlebicek, slice of cake, or an ice cream. At this point, you can decide to hop on the train back to Prague, or you can continue along the cycle path (route 3) along the tracks to the next village.

If you do decide to continue, take care as you enter Dolní Mokropsy, as the cycle route is on the road. Keep following the signs for route 3 and it will bring you to a picturesque iron railway bridge above a weir on the Berounka river. It’s a favorite swimming spot and the perfect end to the trip. To return to Prague, follow route A3 for another 1.5km until you reach the Všenory train station.

It takes about 2 hours to get to Všenory at a child-friendly pace.

A big adventure: Kařez to Plzeň — 63km

Marcus and Filippo arrive in Plzeň

This challenging route takes you across a former military range at Brdy, includes lunch in the town of Rokycany and ends at the nation’s most famous brewery in Plzeň. As this route ends in Plzeň, you’ll begin by taking a train to Kařez. Follow this link for a route map.

Your route will take you through Brdy, a former military area that is now a nature reserve (a decades-long policy of excluding people from Brdy allowed nature to thrive). The terrain is relatively hill, so a bike with a decent set of gears is essential. In the middle of unspoiled wilderness, you’ll find occasional reminders of the area’s military past.

You might be surprised to encounter an abandoned runway in the middle of the forest, followed by a hillside guarded by some moldering bunkers. Although most of the range has been decommissioned, the military still maintains a presence, so there are signs warning you not to leave the path, and not to pick up anything you might find lying around!

Filippo conquers a bunker in Brdy

After a series of ups and downs, you’ll exit the military range and pass through the village of Strašice, where you’ll join route 3 which will take you onwards towards lunch in Rokycany. After lunch, it’s a simple case of continuing on route 3, all the way to Plzeň where you enter the city from behind the brewery, cycling its perimeter wall until you come to the iconic front gate.

There is a non-stop train from Plžen to Prague hourly. You should budget at least 7 hours to complete this trip, including time for lunch in Rokycany.

A gentle cycle through the Vltava valley: Vyšehrad to Vrané nad Vltavou — 16km

This easy cycle is perfect for an evening trip. It takes the same route (A2) along the river as to Černosice, except that you don’t cross the rivers when you reach the Prazsky Okruh, but instead you continue heading upstream following the signs for Vrané nad Vltavou.

Deprived of the flow of the Berounka, the Vltava narrows and the valley becomes picturesque and steep-sided. You’ll encounter several drinking spots along the river bank, where you can park up your bike and relax with a beer.

Along the A2 cycle path

Route A2 terminates at Vrané nad Vltavou. If you’re feeling energetic, you can cycle back to Prague — just follow the same route, downstream this time. Alternatively, there is a train station at Vrané nad Vltavou.

Tell us about your favorite biking adventures in the Czech Republic.

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