Orlické hory are great for hiking, biking, and discovering the military fortification made before WW2. Let’s explore the main mountains ridge of the Orlické hory, the impressive church in Neratov, and many more.
You can find the Eagle Mountains on the North-East of the Bohemia, just between Broumovsko and Kralický Sněžník. These mountains are still a calm oasis without massive tourism (like in Krušné hory), but you can find here a better choice of services and accommodation. I would definitely recommend you Spaní na medu, which means “Sleeping on honey”. Personally, I prefer hiking over cycling, but I made an exception in the Eagle Mountains and bike over the main mountain ridge during one day.
The mountains are a protected landscape area since 1969. There are many castles and chateaux in the lower part, also called Chateaux on the Orlice river. This article is about the upper part of the mountain area where I will show you the main highlights that I recommend for your visit.
- Main Mountain Ridge
- Zemská brána
- Church in Neratov
- Lookout-tower Amálka
- Sýpka – Museum Orlických hor
- Homol Pilgrimage Site
Main Mountain Ridge of the Eagle Mountains
The mountain ridge of Orlické hory is about 85 km long, just between cities Klášterec nad Ohří on the South and Olešnice v Orlických horách on the North. The most exciting part is between Šerlich and Kunštátská kaple on the red trail that is manageable by foot (12 km). I took an opportunity of great bicycle paths and made a circuit around. Let’s explore the main highlights
I would recommend you to start your trail from Šerlich, the main touristic point of the Eagle Mountains. Here you can park your car and grab food in tourist lodge Masaryk dating back to 1925.
Then, you continue to the mountain’s highest peak called Velká Deštná (Rain Mountain), rising 1,115 meters above sea level. Here you can find a newly open lookout tower considered the most beautiful one in the Czech Republic. From the top, you have a view over the Giant Mountains and Kralický Sněžník. Nearby the lookout tower, there is a newly build shelter that you can use in times of rain, storm, or even for an overnight stay in your sleeping bag.
Then continue by the red tourist sign until the Kunštátská kaple (the Kunštát Chapel) that initially served for worship of local loggers since 1760. If you arrive by bike, I would recommend you continue further until lookout-tower Anna (another 6 km). The lookout tower is surrounded by two bunkers with a strategic view of the mountains and the border area. In general, the Eagle Mountains are full of military fortification built between 1936 – 1938 as a defense against Nazi Germany.
Zemská brána is a short hiking trail on the South of Eagle Mountain. Zemská brána means an entry gate that is literally on the borders with Poland. You can find here a stone bridge that was built by the Czech and Italian stonemasons in 1903. Here is the start of the blue touristic path that will take you to the valley of Divoká Orlice (the Wild Orlice) with numerous rocks and bunkers. You will cross the river on so-called Pašerácká lávka, the Smuggler’s footbridge, that was used by the smugglers from both the Czech and Polish side.
Lookout Tower Amálka
Not far from Zemská brána, there is a small hill called Adam with a small lookout tower Amálka. It is only 5 meters high, but you have a nice view over the Eagle Mountains, Kralický Sněžník, Poland, and Jeseníky from the top.
Church in Neratov
The most impressive church in the Czech Republic is undoubtedly the one in Neratov. It has a glass roof, thanks to which the rays of sunshine fall right to the sanctuary. Even the simple interior is breathtaking. The church is open 24 hours, and you can even climb to the upper parts via two towers. The original church was destroyed by fire by the end of WW2. It falls into disrepair until 2000 when it gained its beautiful glass roof. I believe that this kind of architecture will make a long-lasting impression on you.
Sýpka – Muzeum Orlických hor
If you would like to learn more about the nature and life of local people in this area about 100 years ago, I would recommend you visit this small Museum Orlických hor. You can see the local crafts such as weaving, Christmas decoration, glassmaking, and many others. I like the architecture and the idea of restoring the old granary and turning it into a modern museum.
Homol Pilgrimage Site
I already mentioned the cultural heritage of the lower part of the Orlické hory with its beautiful chateaus. This area is worth the separate article that I am planning to prepare for you. However, I would like to mention at least this pilgrimage site from the Baroque period that is really impressive. The site was founded by Countess Tereza Eleonor of Ugarte in 1692, who aimed to turn people to the right religion, Catholicism. The most impressive are the stairs “Scala Sancta” with 153 steps and 16 resting places, just according to the Catholic tradition.