Hrubá Skála Chateau
Six kilometres south of Turnov and five kilometres north of Trosky, the chateau at Hrubá Skála will be passed by most visitors to the Český ráj at some stage.
Golden trail of the Bohemian Paradise
The main arterial trail through the Český ráj (confusingly called the Gold trail, but marked red on the hiking maps and signs) leads through the Hrubá Skála rock formations and hiking or biking south from Turnov or Valdštejn will bring you right past the front of the Hrubá Skála chateau.
Climb through the rocks from Sedmihorky
If you’re coming from Sedmihorky the green trail leads up through thick forest and tall boulders to a narrow crevice called Myši Dira (Mouse hole).
Through the crevice climbs a steep staircase, little wider than a big man’s shoulders in some places. It makes a dramatic approach to the chateau, and is also a good place to descend if you reached the ridge from some other direction.
The chateau stands on the site of a castle that was built around 1300. In the mid 1500’s it was rebuilt as a comfortable residential palace for the aristocratic Smiřicky family, but the current appearance dates from a neo-gothic reconstruction in the mid 19th century.
Today it’s a stylish hotel and in the gate tower, where most castles and chateaus would sell admission tickets, is the reception office. Fear not though, for the grounds and the restaurant are still open to casual visitors.
Like Valdštejn castle, the approach to the chateau here is across a stone bridge that spans a steep-sided gorge to the core of the chateau. Another arched gateway brings you to a beautiful courtyard with an ivy-covered wing of round towers at one end and the neo-gothic palace at the other.
The neo-gothic palace now houses a restaurant that is open to the public. The furnishings are as you might expect in a chateau; chandeliers, immaculately prepared tables with wine glasses and long curtains framing the deep window reveals. On the day that I visited the staff were happy for me just to have a cup of coffee and to sit at whichever of their painstakingly prepared tables I wished.
Outdoor terrace with a view
If the weather had been better, I would definitely have chosen a seat outdoors on the terrace with the sweeping views across rock formations, treetops and the plains below. If you lean out a bit, you can even see Trosky off to the right. Just don’t lean out too far. There are better ways to get down into the valley below.
Hrubá Skála chateau
511 01 Turnov
Tel. (+420) 481 659111