Cheaper than in France, closer than Austria, and more snow and slopes than Poland are reasons why it is worth going skiing or snowboarding to the Czech Republic. Of the nearly 30 winter sports resorts on the Czech side of the Giant Mountains, we chose the five that are most appreciated by skiers.
Spindleruv Mlyn - a World Cup slope
It is not surprising that the price of accommodations are given in the euro. Spindleruv Mlyn is the number one Czech ski resort, and during the winter it is filled with crowds of tourists from all over Europe. This is despite the fact that a ski pass, the renting of a room and a parking pass is much more expensive than in other nearby centers.
Spindleruv Mlyn attracts people with its world-class skiing areas. Svaty Petr and Medvedin, which guarantee a total of 25 km of slopes with artificial snow-making systems. Although the lower stations of both areas are situated on two opposite sides of the town, skiers can move from place to place by using free ski bus shuttles.
Some other advantages of the resort are the 91 km of ski runs for the lovers of cross-country skiing, ramps designed for snowboarders, a waterpark, good hotels, elegant guesthouses, restaurants, discos, a toboggan run, snow tubing (downhill on large rubber inner tubes), a bowling alley, an indoor tennis hall, squash courts, and charming, stylish buildings which you can view by taking a lovely stroll.
Polish skiers’ opinions of Spindleruv Mlyn vary widely. Delightful words about perfectly groomed slopes, tasty food, and hospitable hotels are in contrast with complaints about signs of hostility toward Poles. What is the truth? The strengths of Spindleruv Mlyn cannot be questioned, but it does not change the fact that we can occasionally experience the cold shoulder.
- Ski lift day tickets in Svaty Petr and Medvedin areas will set you back 890 Czech korunas.
- Bed and breakfast accommodation will cost you approximately 20-40 euros.
Janske Lazne - health resort invests in skiers
This quiet health resort town has been strongly going up in skiers’ and snowboarders’ opinions over recent years. This is because Janske Lazne has been building new lifts, setting new trails, parking lots and co-creating a network of connections between four neighboring towns, where a common ski pass will guarantee access to 41 km of ski slopes.
Let’s remain at Janske Lazne, from where a modern eight-seat gondola lift will take skiers directly to the top of Cerna Hora (1299 meters above the sea level). Skiers can also get there indirectly by using a detachable chairlift, as well as a T-bar ski tow.
For beginners, who are afraid of the largest hills, there are so called “nursery slopes” in town, which have shorter slopes. Ski schools, ski rentals and service centres are available in town as well. In our free time, we can enrich our vacation by visiting the swimming pool or renting a tennis hall. Children and adults can check out the 3.5 km-long toboggan run and cross-country skiers may try local trails.
What about accommodation and food? In this regard, too much has changed over recent years and it is constantly changing for the better. In addition to places which are already established, new hotels, guesthouses, apartments, apartment buildings and restaurants have been developing in this charming and quiet resort town.
During the peak winter season, Janske Lazne will run out of available accommodations, however only three km away there is a countryside and a bigger town Svoboda nad Upou.
- Day tickets for the ski lifts in the Cerna Hora-Pec area will be 750 Czech korunas.
- Bed and breakfast accommodations are costing approximately 450-750 Czech korunas.
Harrachov overlooking the great ski jump
Four ski runs trail down the top of Čertova Hora (1020 m above sea level), of which, the longest is 2.2 km and the shortest comes in at 1.2 km. Three of them - blue, red and black - converge at the bottom of the ski town, Ryzoviste, which has a four-seater detachable chairlift and a parking lot. One, alternative red ski run (in the lower section it is red and blue) leads to the village center, where another four-seater detachable chairlift and a 400-meter long T-bar with a lighted slope for night skiing. This is a concise way of describing the most important advantages of Harrachov. The area’s offer is completed by a few more T-bars in different parts of the town, a nursery slope for beginners, ski rentals, service centers and sporting shops.
Harrachov, which is near the Polish border, in the neighborhood of the Jakuszycka Glade, was once famous for its production of glass ornaments. It also gained its international renown thanks to its mammoth ski jump. Although today the ski jump complex is unused due its poor technical condition, it had previously hosted both the World Championship and the World Cup events multiple times over a decade ago. There, the jumpers competed in the 200-meter flight and attracted thousands of fans.
Offers for accommodation are broad in this city. Hotels, apartment complexes, cottages, hostels, and lodgings - there are plenty to choose from, but during the peak winter season, it isn’t so easy to track down available places.You can enjoy playing tennis, squash and even golf indoors. Harrachov attracts with its fame, glitz, its multitude of good restaurants, as well as its attractions.
- Ski lift day tickets in the Certova Hora area will be around 650 Czech korunas.
- Bed and breakfast accommodations can be expected to be approximately 400-700 Czech korunas.
Rokytnice nad Jizerou - at the foot of the Lysa Hora
This town was once dominated by the textile industry, but today it is an important winter sports center which, apart from Czech people, Poles and the Dutch are also very fond of. There, the experienced skiers usually choose the Horni Domky area with two detachable chairlifts and T-bars, as well as slopes that differ vastly in length and difficulty. We can experience wide, panoramic slopes on the southern hillside of Lysa Hora.
Also noteworthy is the lower ski resort of Studenov. This resort comes in handy when the detachable chairlift to the top of Lysa Hora stops working due to strong winds. For beginners and families with young children, there are still the slopes and T-bars of the Modra Hvezda complex.
What can you do after skiing or instead of skiing? At the foot of the Lysa Hora, many off-slope activities can be enjoyed, such as bowling, snowtubing, music clubs, and a lot of restaurants. An advantage to touring in Rokytnice is that it is possible to find accommodations for every budget- alongside relatively cheap lodgings, much more expensive guesthouses and hotels can be found.
- Day tickets for the ski lifts in Horni Domky area will cost 650 Czech korunas.
- Bed and breakfast accommodation runs around 400-850 Czech korunas.
Pec beneath Snezka surrounded by mountains on all sides
Today, it is hard to believe that Pec was a mining settlement for nearly 500 years, and that most of the inhabitants worked at the copper ore mine.
A cozy village spread among the Giant Mountains peaks, where tourism looms large, lives hostels, cottages, hotels, guesthouses and restaurants which silently wait for the guests throughout most of the year, who most often come here in winter to go skiing and snowboarding.
Pec co-creates a ski area with four nearby villages, and their 41 km of ski runs are available with the same voucher. There are also free ski bus shuttles between the centers.
Pec only provides 12 km of hills with ski lifts and skiers usually choose the Javor, Zahradky and Hnedy vrch areas.
The name of the town encourages, or perhaps even obliges, its visitors to put their skis or snowboards aside for a couple of hours to take a trip to Snezka, the highest summit of the Giant Mountains. Hiking trails lead to its peak, but you can also get there with a gondola lift by using an intermediate station: Ruzova Hora.
- Day tickets for the ski lifts in Cerna Hora-Pec area will run you 750 Czech korunas.
- Bed and breakfast accommodations come in at approximately 500-850 Czech korunas.
How to optimize the cost of a ski trip?
Long gone are the days when a Polish tourist on holiday in the Czech Republic, with almost every step, marvelled delightedly at how cheap it was.
Over the past several years, the Czech koruna has increased in both price and rates. Both countries are similar now. The accommodation and lift passes in the Czech Republic are slightly more expensive than those in Poland. Restaurants and buffets on the slopes are usually cheaper. It is worth knowing that not all guesthouses and beaneries accept card payments. Therefore, before taking a ski trip we should remember to take cash, and there are at least three possibilities in this regard: the first one is the purchase of korunas in a stationary exchange office, the second is via ATM withdrawal in the Czech Republic, and the third involves the exchanging of currency online.
Choosing the second option may expose you to commissions, as well as less favorable exchange rates than in exchange offices. In turn, the stationary exchange offices sell currency at a more expensive rate than their online competitors. When the budget is, for example, eight-thousand zlotys for an approximate stay of one week for four people, and we exchange the currency into Czech korunas online, we can save up to 800 zlotys (exchange rates on Cinkciarz.pl on November, 22 2016.).