You may have heard of hikers setting out to “bag munros” ! Well, I decided to set out with my dogs to “bag volcanoes”.
Access : As always, it is possible to use our reliable public transport from Prague and take a train from Hlavní Nádraží to Lovosice. Access to the first volcano ascent is easy from the station (right along Dlouhá then left up to the top of Lovošska) and you can also access fabulous, overnight accomodation on a lakeside, by ferry, without using any other form of transport after this walk. I tried out the ferry crossing and it’s great. I have also been here by car, but only because I wanted to stop near Mělnik on the way back to Prague, to try out a new walk.
By train : board at Hlavni Nadrazi and alight at Lovosice město, walk up the street Lovošska (green trail markers) and the climb starts just at the end of this street.
By car : Head North towards Ustí nad Labem/Teplice, take exit 48 and follow signs for Lovosice. Park as far up the street Lovošska as you can and you will be right at the start of the trail. The journey takes one hour.
Overnight accomodation : I was treating myself, because believe it or not, two days dog walking in unexplored territory is quite simply my idea of paradise on earth, 😁 so for this special weekend, we stayed at Marina Labe club hotel Pišťaný. The rooms boast a long balcony where my dogs could lie, chilling in the breeze, after the walks, while I chilled below, at the terrasse bar. The view of the lake (Žernosecké jezero) is refreshing. The hotel is dog friendly, the rooms are basic, there is also a restaurant with good food and seating outside, and when you book directly on their website, breakfast is included (850 Kc/night). If you have come by train, it is also easy to get to the Marina Labe and I tried out the river crossing, dogs and all. (Žernosecké lake is interestingly located inside an elbow of the River Elbe (Labe in Czech), so to access the lake, you must first cross the River Elbe). However when I was searching for accomodation, I found that there are many cheaper alternatives in the area too, if you prefer.
Part 1 – Ascent of Lovoš (altitude 570 m)
Difficulty : moderate Distance: 9 Km from Lovošska street Time : 1h45 Tips: Carry water
Walk to the end of Lovošska street and keep following the path into nature. After about ten minutes walking, you will be confronted with a choice of paths. If you prefer an ascent on a lesser frequented, steeper, zigzag path, you must bear left and if you prefer an ascent on a much wider, initially more gentle slope, you will go straight on through the trees and at the junction, go left, following blue trail markers.
I recommend the first option ; the ascent is more of a challenge (frankly it is not a long climb) and you can come back down on the wider path.
So after going left, the incline starts to get steeper. You will pass an information board and from there onwards, green trail markers will indicate your path to you. My dogs happily trotted up the hill visibly exerting the same effort they do when we stroll along a flat cycle path, while I brought up the rear some distance behind them, like a dutiful sherpa, carrying the water. You just keep going and whenever you find yourself confronted with a choice between green, horizontal trail markers or diagonal markers (educational trail), follow the basic, horizontal ones. The path zigzags upwards and you will pass (or perhaps sit on) benches which are placed conveniently at intervals. You will arrive at at Lovoš – pod vrcholem and a signpost will inform you that you have walked 4 Km (from the station).Turn right and walk the final half kilometer to the top, following both the blue and green trail markers. Finally you will arrive at the peak, Lovoš (altitude 570 m) and you can admire the scenery. From here, you get a bird’s eye view of the Lake nestling in the elbow of the River Elbe as well as a beautiful view of the surrounding extinct volcanoes that make up the hills of the Czech Midlands (České Středohoří), which is what this whole region is called).
So as to avoid repeating paths on the way down, I recommend that you pass the little chata and walk down the small, overgrown path at the back of the viewing platform. After a while, you will find yourself back on the wide, blue trail. Keep following this blue trail (instead of turning to the left onto the green trail you ascended earlier) and you will arrive at Bod záchrany, a picnic shelter (official rescue point) and a signpost bearing a snake. Here, you must turn right and a path, rather overgrown in vegetation, will lead you back to where you started your ascent earlier. Go straight on and you will find yourself back in Lovošska street.
We hope that you and your dog enjoyed “bagging” your first volcano. There is more to come !
To get to Lake Žernosecké from here : by car, at the end of Dlouhá, drive through the centre of Lovosice past the industrial zone and cross the Elbe on the Generála Chábery Most (bridge), then take a left to pass through Žalhostice to get to Píšťany and the lake. By foot it’s much simpler! At the end of Lovošska, turn right onto Dlouhá, keep going straight on down Osvoboditelů, turn left down Přivozní and make your way down to the river, where a delightful, red ferry will take you to the other bank. You will find yourself at a huge outdoor swimming complex, beach and campsite. The Marina Labe hotel is just along to your right, behind the tiny petrol station.
Part 2 – Radobýl
Once you and your dogs have rested and enjoyed the lakeside location of the hotel, you can discover an amazing geological site, rich with volcanic rock formations.
Access : By car: There is plenty of space and parking is free, at Žalhostice railway station. Then you can follow the tracks along to the left past the station mistress’ house (each time a train passes, she turns a huge wheel with cogs to bring the barriers down manually), and you will get to the level crossing. The walk starts just over the tracks and to your left. By foot, you can go up the street to the left, before Zalhostice station as this street leads you directly to the level crossing where the walk starts.
Tips : There is no water source here either so you will need to cater for your thirsty dog’s needs.
Distance: 5 Km Time: 1h
Summarized itinerary: When lava cools slowly, long columns of hexagonal basalt rock sometimes form, resulting in curious formations. Apparently basaltic lava being hotter, moves faster and as it cools, from bottom upwards and from the center outwards, these symmetric columns can be formed. What you are about to witness is perhaps not as spectacular as the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland however the geological principles on display are pretty much the same and Radobýl has several major advantages over the Giant’s Causeway because you will probably have the whole location to yourself, it’s free and the chances are it won’t be raining.
You must follow the yellow trail markers until you arrive here. Then instead of following the trail to the left, walk along in front of the rock face in order to see all the different columns in their various slanting positions. Although they are not in the upright position, the principle is the same as described above, but to varying degrees. You will beable to scale the hill thanks to a very minor path at the far end. Once at the top, you will see a huge cross and have a wonderful view. Now go down on the opposite side, following a zigzag path bearing yellow trail markers until you reach the signpost. There is a beautiful grassy path stretching ahead of you with a few inviting benches along the way. You can venture a little down this path for the pleasure before turning back to follow the other yellow signposted path which will lead you back to the start.
Next morning after a copious, lakeside breakfast, it’s time to bag your second volcano.
Part 3 – “Bagging” Milešovka (altitude 837m)
Access : By car : Park at Milešov. When you arrive in the village, you will see the spectacular Zámek Milešov towering above. Turn down the street bordering it on the left and drive towards the very red house. Take a left and you will find a large, free carpark. By bus : Take a bus to stop Velemin, Milešov and go left towards the Zámek (stately manor).
Difficulty: moderate to difficult Time: 2h Distance: 9Km
Summarized itinery : Follow the red trail markers from the carpark and you will find yourself on a large forest path. You can release your dog now.Just after you see a small yellowish chapel, there is a field on your left. This is the best place to photograph the Milešovka, indeed it is almost the only place from which you can get a full view of the volcano. Then you just keep following the path. The red trail leaves this wide path to go straight on, where the wide path turns right. You must keep following the red markers until you reach the sigpost and a blue trail merges with yours. You can’t mistake the direction because one blue trail is heading up and the other down. Of course the only way is up ! By this point my dogs had stopped exploring the bordering embankments and were steadily but sensibly striding upwards, side by side, like two amateurs who are running their first marathon and pacing themselves anxiously, finding it longer than they had imagined. You will pass this. I’d say that is probably the best example of a successful marketing strategy in the Czech Republic, as this little board is erected just at a point when one is literally craving for a reward. All I had been hoping for was a panoramic view and the general buzz one experiences on arriving at a peak, but the prospect of a cool refreshment to replace the luke warm water I’d been carrying, truely propelled me up the remaining steep stretch. Once at the top, the view is decidedly glorious. And true to its words, all the items advertised on the board are indeed on sale in either the cafe, the outdoor kiosk or the chata slightly below the peak. You can either descend, following the blue trail down the other side of the vocano to nad Veleminem, continue to the fork in the path (Bod zachrany) rescue point LT 010, then right, to bring you back to the crossroads where you must follow the red trail markers back to the start. Otherwise, you can come back down retracing your steps for a much shorter option.
We hope you have enjoyed bagging your second volcano, which is in fact, the highest peak in the Czech Midlands.
We hope you and your dog have enjoyed your active weekend. On your way back to Prague, if you have come by car, you may like to stop for lunch in the beautiful town of Mělník. From the viewing platform, an information plaque will point out to you, the direction of Lovoš and Milešovka, the volcanoes that you and your dogs have just climbed.