- Oficial Name: Naucná Stezka Kolem Starého Plzence ou Historical Trail Around Starý Plzenec
- Extension: 13 km
- Duration: 3:30 min
- Elevation Gain: 485 meters
- Elevation Loss: 498 meters
- Difficulty: 02 (easy)
First Spring Sunday. Sunny and hot day near the end of the month of March. Day of hiking! 🙂
We decided to get to know Starý Plzenec, a small, historical town 15km from the famous brewery Pilsen Urquel (considered by us some of the best beers in the world!), Plsen.
We left Prague by 11am by train to Plsen. From there we took another train to Starý Plsenec, where we arrived at 13:20.
Hiking around Starý Plzenec
We planed to walk along the circular trail (green) that cross several historical points. The trail has a length of 13 km, with a 485 meters rise and 498 meters descent, and takes about 3:30min.
Approximately 500 meters up Radyňská street, we found one of the entrances to the natural park and all the signals of how to get to the castle Radyně (Hrad Radyně), one of the points of interest of the route. We entered the park and climbed about 1.5 km through a lovely forest of pine, cypress and fir trees.
At the top of the hill was the Hrad Radyně, which was built between 1356-1361 during the empire of the Czech King Charles IV. The first name of the castle was Karlskrone, in honor to the king. However the name didn’t become popular. Everyone called it Radyně, because the name of the mountain with 567 meters.
A little bit of History…
The castle was used as a watch point to ensure the safety of the trade routes from Nuremberg (Germany) to Prague. Its owners were descendants of the nobles appointed by the King until 1920. After that date, passed to the public administration of Stary Plzenec. Today, it is under the care of the Preservation Association of Radyně and Hůrky (about the Hůrky we will talk next).
The castle is in ruins, but its internal area are in revitalization phase. There is an audiovisual exhibition about the history of the region. Unfortunately, the castle was closed and we could not enter to see the panorama. We didn’t even understand much what the sign communicated.
After a stop for photo shooting, we returned to the trail going back to the forest.
We walked another 1km and soon we saw the second point of interest: Andrejšky. It is a natural monument since 1975. It is high 15 meters and has several routes of climbing. Andrejšky also create a microenvironment, where some vegetal species grow and small animals live.
We walked back through the forest for another 1.5 km until we reached the other side of the town.
Starý Plzenec, translating “Old Pilsen”, was the center of western Bohemia to protect the commercial routes and also for administration until 1295 when King Wenceslas II founded Plzeň, which became the main city. Nowadays, Starý Plzenec has around 5 thousand inhabitants and it is a major producer of sparkling wine, mainly by the company Bohemia Sekt.
We followed the trail towards to the town Church of St. John the Baptist and the Town Hall, and we continued to the Rotunda, our next stop. The path from the center to the Rotunda is about 1.5 km with a beautiful landscape.
To understand what the Rotunda is, you need to read a little bit History …
At the top of the hill by the Úslava river, on the opposite side of the castle, was a fortification with a village named Hůrky. Its existence was first reported in documents of the year 976, well old, is not it? Over the years, wars and urban upheavals were transforming and destroying the fort, until in the 19th century it virtually disappeared. He said “virtually” because there was a standing building. The only historical evidence of the fort’s glorious past is the Rotunda, which was part of the church of St. Peter and Paul, situated to the southeast of the lower wing of Hůrky. Luckily it was restored and is now considered one of the oldest buildings in the Czech Republic.
Inside the Rotunda there is a small altar in honor to the Saints, but it was closed for visitation. On the other hands, the top of the hill is a lovely place to rest from the hike, eat some snacks and just contemplate the beautiful landscape with the town, the river and the castle.
After the break, we continued by the educative trail with informative signs about the history, ancient customs and some curiosities – we love it because we can learn a lot about the region!
Then, we back to the forest, down the hill and follow the trail in a quiet and pleasant rural area, a scene to enjoy slowly.
Another 1km and we arrived at the Sedlecký Lake, a great place to get a rest and enjoy the sunset view.
And finally, we returned to the train station where our hike ends. But, before we get back to Prague, we decided to stop by Plsen to visit the historical center.
In Starý Plsenec there are several other routes well marked that conect many places throughout the country and also to Germany, Austria, Poland … Trails that are planned for the future! 😉
How to get in Starý Plsenec
There are several train schedules from Plsen to Starý Plsenec, which is the best way to get to the city. You can check the schedules and buy the tickets on this site.
There is a regular line from Plsen to Starý Plsenec. The bus stop near Lake Sedlecký, but on Saturdays and Sundays there are less times. It is worth checking the timetable before waiting and opting for this alternative.
With excellent road, the route between Plsen and Starý Plsenec takes about 20 minutes. It is only 10 km between the towns via Route 18021.
- The castle is open for visit from April to October, from 10 am to 6 pm (September and October closes at 5 pm) and costs CZK 30 per person (adult) and CZK 20 a reduced for the elderly (over 65), children To 15 years) and students (under 26 years).
- The Rotunda is open for visitation from May to September, always on the first Saturday of the month from 13 to 16h. Weddings and ceremonies can be held and, on those days, there is no visitation. The price to visit is 20 CZK (adults) and 10 CZK a reduced for the elderly (over 65 years), children (from 6 to 15 years) and students (under 26).
- The castle is easily accessed by car and has a good parking area. Next to it there is a snack trailer and a restaurant, which are open from March to November.