Litomerice, Czech Republic, is a royal city a little over an hour north of Prague in an area surrounded by historical sights, castle ruins, and good hiking.
The old town of Litomerice is very pretty, situated on the banks of the Labe (Elbe) River. Its skyline includes the unusual House of the Chalice with a tower that matches its name, sections of old town wall, and the distinctive St. Stephen's Cathedral with a sky bridge to its tower. Be sure to walk across the Labe to see the view at its best. In town, stroll along the old walls, climb the historic staircases, and enjoy the large central square.
In Litomerice you can visit art galleries and other museums including the Marionette Museum, the handmade paper museum, the house of famous nineteenth-century romantic poet Karel Hynek Macha, and the wine exposition in the modest Gothic castle. Under Litomerice lies a network of cellars and passageways, a section of which you can visit. Also underground is a new exhibit on the mine that Nazis used in World War II to protect a weapons factory, staffed in part by slave labor from nearby Terezin. Some of these sights are only open during the summer. Your Litomerice, Czech Republic hostel or the tourist information office can give more information.
Strelecky Island is a good place to jog or walk along the river and past various modern art scupltures. There's also free exercise equipment, a campground, a summer theater, and the dock for relaxing boat trips you can take in summer, all the way to Usti nad Labem if you wish.
A short bus ride or three-kilometer walk from Litomerice is the somber Terezin. Once a massive fortification, military prison, and garrison town with a small civilian support population, Terezin turned much darker during World War II. The Nazis took over, disbanded the Czech army, evicted the civilians, and then turned the military prison into a political prison and the fortified town into a concentration camp they disguised as a self-governing Jewish "community." During the war, more than one hundred forty thousand Jews lived here; passed through on the way to even worse fates; or died here at the hands of malnutrition, disease, brutality, and hopelessness. It's a difficult place to visit, but important. Plan to spend the whole day.
Other, more uplifting daytrips from Litomerice abound. Try one of the many castles, castle ruins, and chateaus. Especially recommended are the still-robust and imagination-stirring ruins of Helfenburk Castle near Ustek. Rip Mountain, the solitary hill rising from the relatively flat countryside around Roudnice nad Labem, is the legendary site where forefather Czech looked upon the beautiful land and decided this was the place to settle. For something a little different, try wandering among the forested rock outcroppings carved into disturbing giant faces, dwarves, snakes, figures half man and half bird, and other figures by nineteenth-century artist Vaclav Levy. These sites -- Klacelka, Certovy Hlavy, Harfenice, and Had -- can be accessed from the blue and then yellow trails starting in Libechov.
Litomerice is a pleasant town, and hostels in Litomerice, Czech Republic, make it a good base for exploring the surrounding countryside.
Hi, I'm Melinda Brasher,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Litomerice hostels. Welcome.