I used to believe traveling on a budget through Europe meant hostels and bus rides. In Beskydy it means train rides, craft beer on tap and spas. Got your attention? Can’t blame you! The places I mention here are all within 20km or less of each other. There really are lots of places to see and things to do in the Beskydy Mountains in Czechia. Here are my favourites.
This guest post comes from Alexandra from Discover Beskydy
The Beskydy Mountains are the Polish Bieszczady Mountains, which are a single mountain range within the Eastern Beskids mountains. The Beskids Mountains start from Czechia in the West of Europe and stand proudly along the border between Poland and Slovakia, finishing in Ukraine in the East.
These mountains were once rich in Iron Ore (hence the past industry here) but still remain richly covered in forest with coal underneath. There’s plenty to explore and do for all travellers who love adventure, culture and food! Well worth getting out of the capital city of Prague for, the Beskydy Mountains are waiting for you. They’ve been declared a protected nature area since 1973 and they’re still going strong.
Beskydy is smack bang in the middle of Central Europe; situated on the border between Poland, Slovakia and Austria. It’s gorgeous!
The landscape is mostly made up of cute villages, forests and fields. The walking trails are beautifully kept and marked out. However, because of the relatively low population, most routes have very few people on them.
The Czech people’s love of the outdoors and Slav sense of practicality translates into pubs being placed at the peak and foot of most hills and mountains. If you’re not a vegetarian that works out, since a bowl of hearty soup is always under €3 and a pint of beer is never more than €1.5.
It can be a little more expensive elsewhere but not much. If you go to a brewery you may find a beer for €2. And yes, you can just as easily find a brewery at the foot of a mountain – which means no hiking at all if you so desire. The good news is that breweries in Beskydy are popping up like mushrooms.
If you want good wine you can go to the Vinoteka ViniSSime in Štramberk. The coffee and chocolate there are worth a try too!
My favorite spa is in a 4* chalet style hotel, hidden in the forest near the Slovakian border. It has a steam room, two saunas, a tepidarium and you can go outside from the spa and roll around naked in the snow if the season’s right and you can brave the cold. It costs about €20 for two hours and it’s amazing! The times I have been, it has been either empty or almost empty.
There’s a day spa called Bodiz in Kunčice pod Ondrejkem, where you can rent the whole spa privately for two hours. I do believe many spas offer this if you go during an off-peak season. It’s just a case of asking. Cleanliness is a matter of national pride here. The spas are pristine and so are the hotel rooms.
Last but certainly not least, there’s the beer and wine spas in Ostrava and Rožnov pod Ondrejkem. Bathe in a warm barrel of beer and come out with incredible skin and the happiness of just having had a unique experience!
In the same area of Ostrava there’s a Technical Museum, Science Museum and the Bolt Tower. Dolní Vitkovice hosts sporting events and concerts too, including the Festival Colors of Ostrava. Florence and the Machine have played here in the last year!
There’s also a slag heap called Ema which is worth a visit. Yep a slag heap! It’s waste material from the iron forging process. You may be asking, ‘Why on earth would I visit that?’
Well, it has its own subtropical climate and something I find interesting: slag could be used to absorb CO2 in the near future! Now that’s food for thought.
In the town centre of Ostrava there’s also a street named Stodolní which is packed with bars and one particularly good restaurant called Bernie’s. They cook outstanding food. Make the most of it.
Czechia is biking and hiking heaven. In Beskydy you’ll find wooded mountain paths, resorts with chair lifts, rivers and swimming spots to dip into when you get hot in summer.
From early June to the end of September, the climate is quite perfect for outdoor activities and sunbathing. The daytime temperature can go up to 30°C (86°F) and the countryside is alive with the sound of music pretty much!
There are mountain bike and e-bike rental shops popping up everywhere and charging points are easy to find. In Winter it’s worth checking the weather forecast. If it has snowed and is below zero, hop on a plane or train and come do some skiing, sledding or fat biking and embrace the snow blanketed wonderland.
The golf resorts, like the spas, are pristine, affordable and hidden away. Czech out (I had to say it at least once), Čeladna and Ostravice Golf resorts. They straddle a mountain, have 4* accommodation, spas and are within walking distance of each other.
In the blue skies you’ll spot gliding planes and perhaps a few parachutes too. The tiny airport which caters to the adrenaline junkies of the region is nestled away at the foot of a large mountain.
There’s a pub we love to go to where you can watch the sun slowly set and the planes taking off trailing gliders behind them.
Hang-gliding is popular here and on a warm day with little wind it’s common to see them floating around the mountain tops. There’s a paragliding school and parachute making factory in Frydlant nad Ostravici. Why not give it a go?
In Ostrava there are water parks and interactive museums to explore. Venture out of town though, and there’s loads for kids and adults to do outside.
At the foot of the hill Radhost in Trojanovice there’s a great Treetop Adventure Park called Tarzania.
It costs between €7 and €12 per person to go on one of their treetop courses which certainly gets your heart pumping! It’s best for kids aged 8 upwards and adults who fancy zip lining from tree to tree.
On Radhost there’s a picturesque village called Pustevny with a few restaurants to choose from and even a few little hotels. You can use the chairlift to go up the mountain, drive round the back of the hill or walk up the main path. The chair lift is a tad pricey, about €10 per person but it’s over 15 minutes long and very beautiful all the way up. Walking up takes about an hour and is very easy.
Why not bring a bike and put it on the chairlift to enjoy the fabulous downhill routes from the peak?
There’s also an aerial walk which was opened just this year.
In winter you can sledge or ski down. It’s an hour’s trip you won’t forget!
Hukvaldy castle is 13th Century and stunning castle. The surrounding dry stone walled estate has herds of Fallow and Roe deer. The town has good restaurants and a rural golf course on the outskirts.
Bílá is a massive playground for children and adults alike!
There’s a chairlift to the top of the singletrails MTB routes. Buy a halfday ticket and go up and down as many times as you can for about €20. Children, between aged 2-10 will love the large outdoor play area over the road. It’s called Dětský park and entry is about €15 per child.
In winter, Bílá resort is ideal for amateur skiers and learners too
Štramberk is a beautiful old town to visit with stunning landscapes all around. The ancient story that goes with this town inspired the biscuit called Stramberke Uší. Literally translated, this means Štramberk Ears.
The story goes that in 1240 the Tartars invaded this region. The villagers were trapped on a hill when a freak flash flood killed the besieging army. When the villagers ventured back down into the valley they discovered bags of human ears, which the Tartars carried with them to prove how many Christians they had killed.
The baked biscuits are flavoured with spices and honey and are there to remind the people of how lucky they were. Thankfully you’ll be eating biscuits, not ears.
Depending on how you like to travel, you can get to the Beskydy Mountains by train, taxi
From Prague you can get a direct train to Ostrava for €12. It takes about 3 hours and it’s very comfortable. It’s about 350km from A to B.
Traveling by train from Ostrava to the Beskydy region however is a little more ‘intricate’. If you’re travelling to Čeladna first it costs €2.5. The trains which travel this region are slow and “stop at every tree”, according to my friend Radim who explained whilst laughing why he doesn’t commute by train to Ostrava.
Well it’s true, but why be in a rush?
The views are fascinating with rivers, ex-communist ‘architecture’ to marvel at, and the people watching is fun too. You’ll see lots of hikers with their backpacks, mountain bikers with their bikes, commuters and teens going to and from school.
The trains are quiet, usually a bit old looking but clean, and the train literally trundles on like its in a Thomas the Tank Engine cartoon. What’s not to love?
Getting taxis from A to B is another option and it is quite affordable!
Which of these fun, Winter activities attracts you to the magical Beskydy Mountains? Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to check out my Inspire section for more travel inspiration too.