Brdy mountain range used to serve as a military area for more than 100 years. Today, it is open to the public, and you can explore former bunkers, secret airport, and numerous roads that were built for tanks and military techniques.
Brdy Mountain Range
Brdy is a former restricted military area that opened its borders to the public in 2016. Today, it has a status of protected landscape area with a number of roads originally designated for military technique. Brdy is mostly covered with forest with two main peaks Tok (864m) and Praha (862m). It is a great destination for cycling, hiking, discovering old military shelters, and even a former military airport.
Restricted Military Area
With the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918, young democracy needed an army that gained its territory for training in 1925. Brdy has a convenient location, only 60 km south of Prague. Unfortunately, this location was also convenient for foreign armies that occupied Czechoslovakia. Between 1939-1945, Nazi occupation took control over Brdy. After the 1968 invasion of armies to Czechoslovakia, Red Army established its base in the southern part of Brdy and left the country only in 1993.
With the born of the Czech Republic in 1993, the state kept the area for military purposes. However, with the professionalization of the army since 2005, the military use lost its original purpose. Today, you can freely walk around Brdy. However, the central part still retains its restricted military status. Some parts are still not accessible to the public because of the unexploded devices. So, better keep yourself in the designated area.
Places to Visit in Brdy
• Ruins of castle Valdek
• Tok – the highest peak of Brdy
• Fortification on Houpák peak
• Former military airport
• Praha – the second highest peak of Brdy
• Padrtske ponds
I would suggest you at least two hiking trips around Brdy. First, in the Northern part around peak Tok, and second in the Southern part around peak Praha.
Northern Part of Brdy
A trip on the highest peak of Brdy, is not difficult at all. You will barely realize that you climb some mountains. At the very beginning, you encounter ruins of the Valdek castle. Then, approaching the highest peak, Tok (865 m), you will be surrounded by deep forest and later on by moorland. The landscape around the Tok used to be a military shooting range.
Not far from the Tok is a military fortification at Houpák peak with several bunkers. From this point, you have the best views of Brdy and surrounding Czech mountain ranges, such as Krkonoše or Šumava. Some of them were built as testing bunkers on several kinds of ammunition and explosive devices before the WW2. Not far from bunkers, you will find a former military airport hidden in the middle of the forest. It was built during WW2 under secret operation. Today, it serves as a training space for the military and police. You might see it also in a movie Anthropoid, about the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich (that led to the Lidice massacre).
Southern Part of Brdy
As a second trip, I would recommend you hike in the Southern part of Brdy, on the second highest peak called Praha (863 m). At the very top, you find a tower with the Meteorological radar monitoring precipitation over Bohemia. During WW2, the Nazis used to have their radar station for navigation of the airports. Nearby this peak, you can find the Padrtske ponds that are great for walks and watching the sunsets. It is also an excellent location for watching the falling of stars called Perseids, occurring in August every year because there is a minimum of the urban smog, and the sky is clear.
How to Get to Brdy
Brdy is located about 70 km south of Prague, near city Příbram. I would recommend to stay overnight and explore this former military area both on bike and foot. If you would like to treat yourself well during your Brdy exploration, book your accommodation in Glamping Brdy and enjoy the sauna and outdoor wellness during your stay.