Are you planning a trip to Ostrava and looking for things to do? Perhaps you could consider visiting the Jeseniky Mountains. If you like nature, hiking, adventurous activities or sunbathing on the shores of a lake, the Jeseniky Mountains will be perfect for you.
The Jeseniky Mountains are a little over 60 miles northwest of Ostrava near the Polish border and take about two hours to reach by car or bus…although there aren’t a lot of direct trains or buses. Better to rent a car. Rental companies from the Ostrava airport are as little as $15 a day (plus insurance).
I had the chance to visit the Jeseniky Mountains on a day tour with a group of other bloggers through TBEX. Within ten hours, we learned all about the mountains, what kickscooters were and how much fun (and dangerous) they could be, and how the Slezská Harta Dam helped to save the region.
Praděd National Nature Reserve
Our first stop was at the Praděd National Nature Reserve. At 4,893 feet high, Praded is the highest mountain the Jeseniky Mountains, and the fifth-highest in the Czech Republic. Our bus had to wait quite a while for the final stretch of the road as it narrows down to a single-lane up in the mountains. We parked at the Chata Sabinka chateau and from there hiked to the radio tower atop the summit of Praded.
The radio tower was completed in 1983 and rises another 531 feet above the summit. You can buy a ticket for the viewing platform halfway up for about $5. Unfortunately, the platform is fully encased in rather dirty windows and the photos from there aren’t the best. The tower also has accommodations you can rent. A group of my friends did so a week after I was there, although I don’t think they had the best experience. It’s not exactly a 5-star hotel.
The best views were from the base of the tower, which afforded a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Our guide pointed out a particularly interesting rock formation to the south called Petrovy Kameny (Peter’s Stones). Locals used to believe that witches lived there and practiced rites among the stones, kinda like the standing stones in the UK. Nowadays the area around the stones is off-limits due to the rare flora (plant species) growing there.
A Crash Course on a Kickscooter
How do I describe the kickscooter we used. I used to think of a kickscooter as one of those little Razors that kids would race around on. The Czech version is quite different. It looks more like a bicycle, with a regular-sized wheel on the front, a smaller one in the back, and a skateboard-like platform between.
We rented our kickscooters from the radio tower at the top and without further ado, took off down the mountain trail. Kickscooters are popular on the trail, and the hikers are used to making room for them. There was a small section at the beginning of the trail when we actually had to “kick” our way up a short incline, and then it got fast. Really fast. There were a couple of bloggers who took it easy. A couple others, myself included, went all out, barely using the breaks at all! We continued down the road far beyond where the bus was parked, learning that the single-track road also afforded us more safety on our way down without having to dodge oncoming vehicles.
At one point, I attempted to get a selfie video while riding. I captured just a few seconds before I started really picking up speed and had to put the phone away. Later I found out that another blogger on a different tour had tried the same stunt, but with less success. When I saw him a couple days later in Prague, he was missing significant patches of skin on his arms. Yet another girl had been run off the road when a car got too close to her. Not that kickscooters are inherently dangerous, but you need to know what you’re doing on them…just like a bicycle.
To book your own tour on the kickscooters in the Jeseniky mountains, click here.
Lunch at Centrum Slezska Harta
Having worked up an appetite, we went for lunch at Centrum Slezska Harta. After a week in the Czech Republic, I was thoroughly in love with the local cuisine. I started with a beef broth soup with noodles, and then went for the pork schnitzel with french fries and vegetables. For dessert, I had the apple strudel. Somehow with all the fried food and french fries that I had while in the Czech Republic, I still managed to lose ten pounds within three weeks!
Boating on Slezska Harta Dam
Our next stop was the picturesque village of Leskovec nad Moravici on the shores of Slezska Harta Dam – the newest reservoir in the region. When it was finished in 1998, it was said it would take ten years to fill. Instead, later that year there were heavy rains which filled the reservoir completely. At the same time, it’s believed that the dam saved Ostrava and other cities from severe flooding. Also, there were six villages at the site of the dam. Five were partially flooded, while the sixth was completely destroyed.
Unfortunately, our lunch ran way too long and we arrived an hour after we were scheduled to take the boats out. We were initially told that we had missed our window and there were no boats left for us, but I pleaded with them and found that there was one boat available. They were small, electric boats and I had 20 minutes to take three other bloggers out onto the lake for relaxation and some wonderful shots. We couldn’t get too far as there were strong winds that day and the manager of the boat hire was concerned we wouldn’t be able to get back in time.
The lake is massive, and a very popular vacation spot for the locals. Even though it was a Wednesday, the shores of the lake were packed with families and sunbathers, and the boat rental was fully booked.
Our tour got us back in Ostrava by 7 p.m., an hour later than scheduled. Although the tour lasted nearly ten hours and we had a wonderful adventure, it wasn’t nearly long enough to really enjoy the Jeseniky Mountains. If you’re planning to go, consider going for more than just a day. Besides the radio tower and Centrum Slezska Harta, there are plenty of other accommodations available in the region.
Click here to book your accommodations in the Jeseniky Mountains.
Are you visiting Ostrava and looking for other activities? Here are some other articles to help you out.
- A Traveler’s Guide of Things to Do and See in Ostrava, Czech Republic
- Excursions from Ostrava: Hiking in the Beskydy Mountains
- The Colours of Ostrava is So Much More than a Music Festival
Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.