The area around the city Česká Lípa is not a typical tourist destination yet. It hides several gems that are waiting for their discovery. Let’s explore old ruins, caves, magical pilgrimage destinations, and many more that you can find about a one-hour drive from Prague.
On the North from Prague, you can find a unique castle situated on the freestanding rock’s top. In the Czech language. “sloup” means “column,” that is why this rock gave a name to the castle and the whole village. Its origins date back to the 14th century, but Swedes burned it down in 1639. Today, it does not contain any artwork, but you can explore the ruins with its rooms, chapel, and terrace with a view of the Lusatian Mountains. I would recommend you to have a short walk to the nearby lookout tower Na Stráži and discover a charming forest theatre on the way.
Pusté Kostely Cave
About 5 km from the castle, you can find an artificial cave that looks like an underground church (pusté kostely means abandoned churches). The chambers are about 2 – 4 meters high and supported by a system of pillars. It is openly accessible to the public. You just need a torch to see everything inside. Pusté kostely is also a popular place for shooting fairy tales. Once you visit it, you understand why.
In a nearby small town called Svojkov, you find a chapel made in the sandstone rock that was a popular pilgrimage destination 200 years ago. After the plague and cholera epidemic in 1772, people came to the wooden chapel in the forest for prayer to be saved from these epidemics. Only in 1836, the local sculptor carved a chapel with gothic arches into the sandstone rock. Today, it’s a popular destination for a walk and contemplation.
Cvikov Cross Hill
Cvikov is an inconspicuous small city with surprisingly beautiful Cross Hill, often referred to as Calvary. From a parking lot next to the children’s hospital, there is a start of a charming station of the crosses under the linden trees. The wooden chapel on top of the hill was built in 1730. It took another 15 years to build 15 stops depicting Jesus’s crucifixion.
Walking distance from the Cross Hill is a Schiller view-point on small hill Zelený vrch that provides panoramic views of the Lusatian Mountains.
From the other side of the Zelený vrch, you can find a small rocky town called Kunratické Švýcarsko with numerous carvings in sandstone rocks. You might admire the chapel, caves, and viewpoints on the Lusatian Mountains.
Nový Bor – Lasvit
Nový Bor has a long tradition in the glass industry. Today, you can admire the best architecture of the year 2020. The prestigious award of the best Czech architecture has hundreds of nominees every year. For the year 2020, the winner is a glasshouse of the company Lasvit. This company reconstructed two original timbered houses from 1790 that served as a seat of glass school in the past. Between them, you can admire a new glass cottage where you can find a café and meeting space. Just a great place for your relaxation.
A few kilometers from Nový Bor, at the edge of Kamenicky Šenov, you can find the fascinating natural monuments in the Czech Republic. This rock formation called Panská skála emerged about 30 million years ago by volcanic activity. It looks like church organs that are mirrored in a nearby small lake.
How to Get to Českolipsko
If you want to discover the whole area, the best option is always the car. The whole area lies between Kokořínsko and the Lusatian Mountains about 1,5 drive North of Prague. It’s a great destination for a one-day trip, but you can explore it whole if you stay overnight.