The Czech section of the Iron Curtain by bike

The Czech Republic is an ideal destination to discover by bicycle, with routes suitable for all levels. Mountain or long-distance itineraries are those that offer the greatest difficulty, while excursions through the vineyards, between historical monuments or from spas are perfect for less ambitious cyclists or for the whole family. One of the last routes, still in the signaling process, is the one that runs through the Iron Curtain.

The Iron Curtain route

The Iron Curtain Route crosses the Old Continent through the places where Europe once divided, and although the signage for this route is not finished, you can prepare your trip at The Czech section, which starts near Hradice on the West Bohemian border with Germany, passes through Trojmezí, the oldest settlement in the region.

The path also leads past the old checkpoints along the road used by military convoys, and past a well-preserved stone watchtower near Zelené Hory.

Before reaching Cheb, the cyclist will come across the Svaty Kriz checkpoint, where a memorial to the victims is erected. The trail continues along the Vltava River to Vyssi Brod, crosses traditional mining lands in South Bohemia, and lakes and a deer park in the Trebonsko Protected Area near Trebon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Close to the border with Austria, the following phases of the trip invite a stop in one of the most popular Czech wine towns, Mikulov, already in South Moravia, as well as in the palace complex Lednice-Valtice (Unesco). Nearby, in the Soutok Deer Reserve, you can see parts of the “iron curtain”, used as fences to delimit the animals. This journey into Czech memory ends at the confluence of the Morava and Dyje rivers, 14 km to the south.

Other long-haul proposals

Other suggestions are the Elbe river route, a magnificent excursion of almost 400 km in which to discover plains, valleys and historic cities. Another option is the Greenway Prague-Vienna trail, which winds its way through the rolling lands of Central and South Bohemia to South Moravia; and the Prague-Pilsen Pan-European Route, where seasoned cyclists can start from the Czech capital and head towards the city that gives its name to the lager.

Relax between historical monuments and spas

Another very attractive option is to combine the effort of cycling with relaxing thermal treatments. In the city of Trebon there are two spas from which to take a beautiful route along a unique set of ponds. The most demanding can tour the Jeseníky mountains, in the Northeast of the country, and then relax body and mind in the Priessnitz Spa or in the Karlova Studánka Spa. An interesting package is offered by the Slovacko Sulfurous Spa, called “Week for cyclists”. It includes bicycle rental and, after an intense day of pedaling, access to the pool, a sulfur bath or a massage.

One suggestion: On the Internet there are ‘cycling packages’ created by amateurs and experienced riders alike. Is aboutprecise descriptions of tours lasting several days, with practical information on routes, accommodation, gastronomy, recommended maps, monuments and curiosities.

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