The White Carpathians are sort of a forgotten mountain range. They stretch far into the easternmost part of Czechia, near the border with Slovakia. The region has never been particularly wealthy or fertile, and legends say it was the home of goddesses, witches, bandits, and warlocks. It is a land where humans are few and far between, ideal for a bit of aimless wandering.
If you venture out of the small town of Valašské Klobouky, you’ll come across the hill of Královec, with a lookout tower on top. Once you’ve had enough of observing the lay of the land, head to the other side, passing by the protected fir trees known as U Baribala, and you’ll arrive at the Durch Observation Post. Built by the window and door manufacturing company Jánošík, this atypical wooden observation deck, designed by architect Zdeněk Fránek, is a beautiful window to the soul of the White Carpathians.
In this quaint little Wallachian town, you can still find typical examples of folk architecture in the form of dřevěnice, log cabins made of large wooden beams. On Saint Nicholas Day, the town lights up with a parade of čerti from far and wide, not unlike the popular Krampus run in Austria. Our horned demons are accompanied by a posse of Saint Nicholas and his angel helpers, giving small presents to children who have been good all year long.
If you’re a fan of traditional cooking and good beer from a nomadic brewery, stop by the restaurant Beseda on the main square of Valašské Klobouky. Afterwards, visit the local museum and the Red House (Červený dům), rumored to have been the home of a headsman. Though the little trough that leads onto the street might have well been used for draining blood, all this is but a legend as far as we know. The town also provides several nice examples of early Art Nouveau architecture, courtesy of architect Hubert Gessner.
Sidonie and Svatý Štěpán are two little hamlets that sit on the border of Czechia and Slovakia. The place where the road actually crosses the border is known as the Vlára Pass, which served as a point of entry into Moravia for the warmongering hordes of Ottomans and kurucs in the Middle Ages. Like many things in Sidonie, the Vlárka river that flows through here is half Czech and half Slovak. The hamlet was formerly known for its glass production and later used the abundance of furnaces to make bread for everyone around. This beautiful example of how industry can thrive in the mountains is also a good starting point for your trip to Vršatec.
High above Sidonie, mostly on Slovak territory, you’ll find the ruins of a medieval castle named Vršatec. And if you climb even higher, you’ll reach the rocky top of Chmeľová, where you’ll have a stunning view of the White Carpathians and be able to watch some of the most beautiful sunsets around.
The town of Brumov-Bylnice is guarded by a majestic medieval castle that was once the only safe place where the local population sought shelter from the attacks of kuruc, Ottoman and other invaders, advancing from the east through the Vlára Pass. The castle is open to the public in the summer and hosts cultural events from time to time.
The village of Vlachovice is especially famous for its unique fruit drying huts. These little log sheds made of wooden beams, once a common sight across all of Wallachia, had a wooden furnace inside and were used to dry fruits and herbs. Locals have managed to repair several of these and set up an educational trail where you can learn more about their history. The village also has a regional museum, our favorite restaurant Na Mýtě, and a family of coopers, who have been making wooden casks for many generations.
At first sight, Hostětín may seem like an ordinary village in the foothills of the White Capathians. However, what is special about it is the variety of ecological and sustainable projects that can be found here. These include a local eco-center, which produces its own apple juice and other delicious treats, a root zone wastewater treatment plant, and a village-wide biomass heating system. This green village caught the attention of Prince Charles, who came to visit in 2010.
Standing at a crossroads of many hiking and ski trails, Mikulčin vrch is a popular tourist destination both in the summer and the winter, whether you want to get a good view of both Czech and Slovak lands, enjoy cycling and cross-country skiing, or just need a place to rest on your hike through the mountains.
If you manage to climb to the top of Velký Lopeník, with an elevation of 911 m, you’ll be rewarded with a great view of the White Carpathians, Maple Mountains (Javorníky) and Vizovice Highlands. As is the case with many Czech mountains, there is a wooden lookout tower on the top. The beautiful landscape of lush green meadows, groves, and virgin forests all around is simply ideal to get lost in for a little while.
Just like many other mountains around, Velká Javořina, dubbed the “Queen of the White Capathians” for being the tallest in the entire mountain range, is shared between Czechia and Slovakia. While several kilometers of well-kept cross-country ski trails line its sides in the winter, many tourists flock to the stone lodge at the top all year long, hoping to get some blueberry-filled dumplings, goulash, and beer. There are also many hiking trails to choose from, and the breathtaking White Carpathian scenery is ideal for a full-day trip.
Interested in finding the best places to swim (not only) in the summer? We’ve prepared some tips on the best indoor and outdoor swimming pools, lakes, and ponds.
Beautiful cycling routes of varying levels of difficulty are scattered all across our region. We recommend that you download the Mapy.cz app (available in English), which has a special cycling layer.
The Vizovice Highlands hold special significance in the eyes of many Czechs. They are known as the unofficial Kingdom of Wallachia, which means nothing less than copious amounts of slivovitz and good