Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail – the best hike in Czech Republic
I already knew that you can make beautiful hikes in the Czech Republic. Two years ago I ended up in Bohemian Switzerland and WOW! They have some amazing trails there. When my hiking buddy Bregje asked if I wanted to join her to try out the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail, I didn’t hesitate for a second. This trail was recently chosen as the most beautiful walk in the Czech Republic and I didn’t want to miss such an opportunity. At the beginning of October we packed our backpacks and went on an adventure. Here’s an extensive report including everything you need to know about the special Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail in the Czech Republic.
About the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail
The Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail was declared a “Leading Quality Trail – Best of Europe” hiking trail in 2020. This means that this trek meets a strict quality mark and is on a special list of special hiking trails in Europe. Some I have already partly done, including the Lee Trail and Müllertal Trail in Luxembourg and the Kullaleden in Sweden. Other trails remain for me to discover. The ‘consequence’ of this status is that expectations are high. Whether it met our expectations? That I will reveal at the end of this article!
The Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail is 55 kilometers long and has been around since the 19th century as part of a longer trail in the region. You can walk the full route in 4 days, but of course you can also hike faster or take longer. The stages we walked are as follows:
Day 1. Planá – Tåbor (13 km)
Day 2. Tábor – Bečice (12 km)
Day 3. Bečice – Bechyně (15 km)
Day 4. Bechyně – Týn nad Vltavou (15 km)
The above distances are approximate, we often ended up just a little longer because you also have to walk to your accommodation. But since the trail is relatively easy, this should not cause any problems for the experienced hiker.
I will continue below with a day-to-day report of the Lužnice Valley walk. Then I’ll give you all my tips for transport to/from the trail, overnight stays, food and a packing list.
Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail day 1
As we have four days at our disposal for this trip, we fly from Amsterdam to Prague with KLM in the early morning, where we land about an hour later. We only travel with hand luggage and can therefore walk straight to the arrivals hall after our QR code has been checked. A taxi is waiting for us here, which will take us to hours to Planá, the starting point of the trail, in about 1.5 hours The driver doesn’t speak English so we are dropped at the train station of Planá without any further information.
Fortunately, the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail is fantastically well marked and we already find an information panel at the train station with the route and markings. More about the markings can be found in the additional information further down below. Because it is now halfway through the day, we first have a bite to eat at Restaurant Maxim in Planá, where I explain with hands and feet (okay and Google Translate) that I would like to eat vegetarian. They don’t have a vegetarian dish but can make fries and baked camembert, which is totally fine by me.
Hike from Planá to Tábor
After a big lunch it’s time to start our hike. The Lužnice River flows right through the village and we quickly pick up the trail. It is a somewhat gloomy day and Planá is not the most photogenic village, but I assume that the trail has received a quality mark for a reason.
The trail follows the river and is wide and flat. In Sezimovo Ústí the sun begins to shine and we cross the river over a bridge. After crossing the river, we leave it for now and climb up through a moderately steep trail, out of the Lužnice valley. Here in the woods the fall colors are already in full swing and with the sun burning on our skin, it really feels great to be out and about. Because we are now high up in the hills, we have beautiful views over the wider area of the Toulava region and Tábor below us.
The main attraction on stage 1 is Rozhledna Hýlačka, a viewing tower just outside Tábor. We decide to climb it and enjoy a beautiful view. Note: to climb the tower you need some coins!
After descending, we decide to walk to Tábor via a shortened trail. The original trail winds through the forest a bit, but because we are already late and we still want to reach Tábor with daylight, we take a short cut. Not much later we arrive in the town. We spend the night in Penzion Hradebni in the middle of the town and in the evening we go out for dinner at restaurant Škochův Dům , where typical Czech dishes are served. After this we go back to our apartment and plop down on the couch. It’s been a long but beautiful day!
Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail day 2
Today we start our day with a meeting with Jan from the Tourist Office of Toulava, the region in which we are hiking. The sun is shining and we start the day with a cup of coffee at Kafe Knihy Jednota, a book café. Booknerd that I am, this makes me very happy, to drink coffee between the books. Out on the terrace, Jan tells us about the creation of the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail and what it involves. He also tells us that day 1 is actually a ‘start-up day’. However, to receive the quality label, the trail must have a minimum number of kilometers and therefore the trail starts in Planá and not in Tábor. So … the best is yet to come!
After coffee we take a city walk. Jan takes us to the central square where there is a market every Wednesday morning and shows old buildings and particularly beautiful viewpoints. It’s a pity that we still have a whole day of hiking ahead of us, because Tábor is a very photogenic city, which invites you to explore further. You can visit the castle, for example, but also climb he old church tower or visit the chocolate museum. Tábor is still very unknown to tourists and therefore an absolute must to visit when you go on holiday in South Bohemia!
Hike from Tábor to Bečice
It’s already around noon when we leave the city center via the bridge and descend to the river. Arriving here we spot the Eleonora spring, where we fill our water bottles. The sun is shining and it promises to be a special day. The start of the trail is easy, it’s quite wide and flat. While chatting and taking pictures, we hike for hours along the river, taking photo stops every now and then. On the other side of the river are beautiful holiday homes and we regularly come across water mills.
Jan already ‘warned’ us that we would encounter few other hikers on this part of the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail, but also that there is no mobile coverage in many places today. And that turns out to be true, because we go deep into the valley where an oasis of peace and quiet unfolds.
The highlight of the day is the wooden platform just before Příběnice. This ‘board walk’ hangs above the water and is attached to a rocky outcrop. So you basically walk above the water. A beautiful cave follows and a little further on you reach the castle ruins of Příběnice, of which very little is left. Here is a restaurant and hotel but as we are walking outside of the tourist season it’s closed.
Meanwhile, the trail has also become a bit more technical. It’s nothing to worry about, but every now and then we climb and drop quite a bit. Hand and foot work is sometimes necessary on rocky parts, a nice change from flatter parts. The river sometimes causes slides in the landscape and every now and then we have to make some jumps to get over those.
We arrive at our cabin at Camp Stavorek. The guest house is currently being renovated so we sleep in a rustic cabin with two beds, a small veranda and a fridge. Although it is basic and somewhat old, it is absolutely clean. The owner of the campsite speaks maybe two words of English, but we mainly communicate with the boss’s son, a friendly guy who does his utmost best to help us out. We grab a few beers and I’m making friends with one of their cats. In the evening we have dinner on one of the picnic benches in front of the main building and fall asleep again tired but satisfied.
Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail day 3
We wake up and it’s raining. The forecasts already looked like it was going to rain, but we still hoped it wouldn’t. After breakfast we decide to go for it. Put on rain gear, pack your luggage waterproof and go. Fortunately, the heaviness of the rain is not too bad and since we walk through the forest for most of today, we don’t notice much of the rain.
What we do notice is that the path is slippery because of the heavy rainfall last night. Ascent and descent is done with some caution and climbing over fallen trees takes just a little longer. We walk about 15 kilometers today, but because we can leave on time, we have all the time in the world and it does not matter that we take a little longer as we have no further plans for that day.
Hike from Bečice to Bechyně
Today we follow the river for most of the day. The gorge is now narrowing in some parts and rock formations are unfolding everywhere. Today is also called the day between the two bridges. The Stádlecký most is the first bridge we come across and is the last remaining suspension bridge built in Empire style in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately the bridge is under construction, but luckily we can still cross it. From here we hike on a narrow path along the water. Sometimes we cross a swampy area and hike on farmland instead.
In Dobronice u Bechyně we climb up a lot and we arrive at the Hute viewpoint. The river is deep below us and it gives an idea of what the area looks like. The descent is less steep but still swampy. In the village we find a covered picnic table where we can sit dry and have something to eat.
It’ll be rainy for the rest of the afternoon, but that doesn’t make the trail any less beautiful. It gives a mystical atmosphere because we don’t meet anyone. The campsites and holiday houses along the river are also empty and it sometimes really feels like we are alone in the world. Just before Bechyně we see the beautiful rainbow bridge that connects the city with the other side of the river. Here we climb again and we walk through the city to our overnight address: Hotel Panska. Because we only have really good mobile coverage for the first time today, we spend the rest of the day making our Instagram stories. Now it finally feels like we are at work. Curious? My stories are here!
Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail day 4
Today is the last day of our hike on the Lužnice Valley walk. We get up early, because we hope to arrive at our final destination around noon, from where we will be transferred back to Prague airport in the mid-afternoon. We have breakfast at the hotel, grab a sandwich and some fruit for early lunch and hit the trail. It’s raining again but what can you do.
Hike from Bechyně to Týn nad Vltavou
The last section of the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail is 15 kilometers long. Via the city we leave Bechyně and soon we are back on the banks of the river. Today we again come across beautiful rock formations, both on ‘our’ walking side and on the other side of the river. And … again a boardwalk above the water. Just when we think you are almost in Týn nad Vltavou, the river makes another bend. Here the path rises sharply and you walk high above the river, through a dark forest. Below us the Lužnice River comes to an end, here it turns into the Vltava. Eventually you will come to a viewpoint on Týn nad Vltavou and descend again. Týn nad Vltavou doesn’t look very attractive from a distance, but we don’t have time to look around here for long anyway.
We wander through the town looking for a warm bite. We find it at the Pizzeria on the main square, a small restaurant with excellent pizzas and salads. After a last beer we walk to the agreed meeting point with the driver who takes us back to Prague airport for the flight home. A few hours later we land and that evening I’m back in my own bed at 10 pm. A very special adventure has come to an end!
Practical tips: markings and GPS
It’s good to know that the Lužnice Valley Trail is not marked ‘seperately’ as many big trails world wide are. We thought this was a bit strange at first, but in the Czech Republic it works slightly differently than we are used to, Jan explained to us. There is one way in the Czech Republic in which all hiking trails are marked. This is with a colored marking in a white area. This color can be red, yellow, blue or green. All trails across the country are marked in this same way, often on a tree or with a sign. A line means that you are on a through trail. A triangle indicates a local circular walk. The Lužnice Valley trail is only indicated on the signs with a separate yellow sign, but not in combination with the national markings.
But don’t worry! You really can’t go wrong. You’ll always follow a color and which one you have to follow is indicated with yellow information panels and stickers. Where there is a color change and you therefore switch to a different color marking, there is a sticker indicating to do so. If you download the PDF beforehand and keep it nearby, it’s very easy. This document not only contains everything you want to know about the trail, but also which color to follow (the one with the yellow sign).
There is currently no ‘separate’ GPX, because in the Czech Republic they use the free Mapy.cz app. You can use this handy app offline and all maps are in it. But again, you can’t go wrong because the marking is super clear.
Food, water, sleeping
Also useful to know is where you can eat, grab some water and sleep. The best hiking time is from May to September. From October, all campsites will close and so will most restaurants along the way. That is why we took a packed lunch with us for every day because you will not encounter anything on the way. I had already brought some snacks with me from the Netherlands for as well. You can only refill your drinking water in your accommodation and at the mentioned Eleonora spring just outside Tabór. You can buy your lunch in the supermarket in the bigger towns. Please note that most supermarkets close at 6 pm!
In terms of accommodation, I have mentioned our options above. If you want to camp, it is better not to go later than September because the campsites will close from October 1. Wild camping is not allowed in the Czech Republic. On the website of Toulava Tourism you will find additional information about overnight stays, luggage transport, transport, etc.
Transport to/from the trail
As mentioned, we flew to Prague with KLM . From here we had a taxi, but there are also trains to Planá. In addition, you can also take the night train to Prague from the Netherlands. It takes about 10 hours by car from Utrecht. More information about public transport in the Czech Republic can be found here.
Is Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail safe for solo female hikers?
Although I hiked the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail together with Bregje, I would have done it alone without a doubt. The trail is relatively easy almost everywhere, apart from some steep paths that can be slippery at times due to the rainfall. The trail is well marked and although most Czechs don’t speak English, they are extremely helpful and Google Translate can often take you a long way. So absolutely do it!
And finally: what to pack?
I only flew with hand luggage and had my Kyte 36 backpack with me. I had two sets of clothes (one for the day and one for the evening), as well as underwear and socks, toiletries, my e-reader and some snacks. You don’t need much more than that for those four days.
Conclusion and disclaimer
Hopefully I have inspired you for the Lužnice Valley Hiking Trail in the Czech Republic. I truly enjoyed this hike and can now imagine why it is the most beautiful hike in the Czech Republic. You combine hours of hiking with beautiful views and historic towns, making it a varied trail not only from a natural point of view, but also from a cultural point of view that you should definitely put on your bucket list.
I made this journey in collaboration with Visit Czech Republic, South Bohemia and Toulava. All opinions given are entirely my own.