Frýdštejn Castle – A real knight’s castle in paradise

Not too far across the border near East german Zittau, in the Polish-Czech-Saxon border triangle, lies the Ćesky Ráj, the Bohemian Paradise. The Jizera River, which plunges down from the Jizera Mountains, divides the Bohemian Paradise into a northern and a southern part. In the middle lies the small town of Turnov. If you hike from there through the northern part of the Ćesky Ráj, you have a worthwhile destination in sight – Frýdštejn Castle.

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Mountainous region above the Jizera valley – Frýdštejn in the Bohemian Paradise

For many Saxons, the Ćesky Ráj, the Bohemian Paradise, was already an easily accessible destination for short trips during the GDR era. (GDR.. former socialist East germany) Located a few kilometers behind Liberec (old german name: Reichenberg), Turnov could even be reached by a through express train from Dresden (which then also reached Zilina on the Mala Fatra and Poprad Tatry overnight). From Turnov, there is access to the southern „wing“ of the Ćesky Ráj with the Trosky castle ruins, as well as to the northern part of the „Bohemian Paradise“ to the left and right of the Jizera river. Through picturesque gorges and across mountain meadows, you reach the small village of Frýdštejn on steadily ascending paths, from where the castle tower greets you from afar.

View from the Castle's tower over the sandstone cliff down in the Iser valley and Mala Skala
View from the castle’s tower into the Iser valley and to Mala Skala

Frýdštejn Castle stands on a rocky ridge to the east of the village, where a valley cut opens down towards Mála Skála – the valley of the Jizera. It was certainly a strategically favorable place to control the Jizera valley in earlier times. The path from the village to the castle leads through a wide arc through mixed forest and crosses the small Frýdštejn stream. A tiny chapel dating from 1823 stands under a lime tree right at the start of the path. The castle towers above the mountain meadows, visible from afar, like a knight’s castle from a picture book and crowns both the pleasant landscape and the hike from Turnov.

History of Frýdštejn Castle

Frýdštejn Castle has been known since the 14th century. Presumably Jan II of Bibrštejn, from the Bibrštejn family of Frýdlant, was responsible for the foundation of the castle around 1376.

Siege by the Hussites

In the 15th century, Bohuš of Kováně became the new owner of the castle. Under the leadership of Ota of Lozy and Jan Čapek of San, Frýdštejn Castle was besieged by the Hussites in 1432. The remains of the siege fortress can still be seen on a hill, popularly known as Prakovna, to the south-east of the castle. The Catholic Bohuš of Kováně initially made a pact with the Hussites, later converted and helped Jiří of Poděbrady conquer Prague in 1448. However, the castle was not taken.

Model of Frýdštejn Castle in the middle age
Model of the castle from Petr Vodička

In 1460, after the death of Bohuš, the castle passed into the administration of Jan Zajíc of Hazmburk. In the following centuries, there were constant changes of ownership. By the end of the 16th century, Frýdštejn was uninhabitable and fell into disrepair. In the following 250 years, building materials were partially extracted from the ruins.

Tourist development

Chapel by the wayside on the way to the castle

Chapel by the wayside – footpath to the castle

In 1838, the Catholic Church, to which Frýdštejn Castle and manor had been bequeathed around 100 years earlier, sold the estate to the family of Kamil Rohan from Sychrov.

The Rohan family sold the castle to the Turnov district, which opened it to the public for the first time in 1892 and carried out the first restoration work. The beginning of tourism for the sake of enjoyment also gave Frýdštejn Castle a „second career“ as a tourist destination. At the same time, historical research into the early settlement of Frýdštejn and the development of the castle began. Finds and research are now exhibited in the Turnov Museum. Frýdštejn Castle itself is one of the most attractive sights in the entire Bohemian Paradise.

Opening hours and entrance fees to Frýdštejn Castle

Frýdštejn Castle is open from May to October, Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

Admission costs 50 Czech Korun for adults, children under 6 years are free. Discounts are available for older children up to the age of 15, pensioners and students.

A private paid parking lot is available below the castle on the road to Mala Skala, but is not operated by the municipality. Parking is available in the center of the village near the community center.

The sandstone cliffs from Frydstejn Castle over Pantheon to the Jizera River

Vranovske Skály from Frydstejn Castle via Pantheon to Mala Skála (picture by Josefa V. Scheybala)

What to see at Frýdštejn Castle

The large castle tower, which rises on a steep cliff 15 meters above the side valley of the Jizera river near Frýdštejn, is striking. This is the best preserved part of the castle. The diameter of the round tower is 9m, the side walls are up to 2m thick. A metal staircase on the outside leads to the narrow entrance, which is about 6m above the level of the castle courtyard.

Several chambers carved into the rock are accessible from the castle courtyard. Only rudimentary brick rooms and fortress walls have been preserved and some have been rebuilt in the interests of visitor safety. The design of the entire castle complex, which included other rocky outcrops and slopes in the surrounding area, can only be reconstructed from the remains of walls or model drawings.

Castle's yard of Frýdštejn Castle in the Bohemian Paradise near Turnov
In the castle’s yard
Rock chamber in the sandstone

One of the rock chambers in the castle

From the tower you have a wide view of the surrounding area. To the east, you can see Mála Skála in the Iser Valley. South, the ruins of Trosky Castle with its two spires can be seen in the distance, marking the southern extension of the Bohemian Paradise. To the west lies the village of Frýdštejn and a series of hills and mountains in the area from Liberec to the Zittau Mountains.

View over the Czesky Raj to the castle's ruin Trosky
Far view over the Bohemian Paradise to the castle ruin Trosky

The village of Frýdštejn – starting point for further hikes and the Kovárna restaurant and wellness

There is not much else to see in the village of Frýdštejn. However, if you like, you can use the village as a starting point for further hikes. I have already mentioned the possibility of getting to Frýdštejn on foot from Turnov. There are various routes for this. The red trail from the castle to Mala Skála (through the Vranovske Skály past the Pantheon) offers another hike with plenty of adventure between the sandstone rocks of the Ćesky Ráj.

View to west over the village Frydstejn
The village Frýdštejn

For those who prefer the mountains in winter, there are even ski and toboggan slopes with lifts within a 4-8 km radius.

If you would like to go out and enjoy a good meal, we recommend the stylish Kovárna restaurant. This can be found at the western end of Frýdštejn at the junction of the road from Turnov towards Rychnov. The Kovárna resort also offers very nice accommodation, some of it in attic rooms (see Accommodation section below). The hotel’s exceptional wellness facilities can be used independently of the restaurant or accommodation during daily opening hours (also at night on Saturdays and Sundays). Mala Skála and Turnov offer more opportunities for eating and shopping.

Restaurant Kovárna - Entrance
Restaurant Kovárna
Historic Guestroom in Restaurant Kovárna, Czesky Raj
View into the guest room

Travel tips for Frýdštejn in the Bohemian Paradise (Ćesky Ráj)

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How to get there

Unfortunately, there is no longer a through train to Turnov as there was in GDR times. However, you can reach Liberec, Turnov and Mala Skála from Zittau by changing trains. Liberec is reachable from Czech capital Prague by bus and train. From Mala Skála it is about a 3km walk to Frýdštejn. Look around – there is not only the narrow winding road up the mountain, but also hiking trails along the sides of the valley.

There is a bus from Turnov with a stop in Frýdštejn.

Map of Countries triangle  - Burg Frydstejn

The easiest way to get to Ćesky Ráj is by car or rental car*. From Zittau, approx. 45 km, there is a highway to Liberec. From there, another expressway branches off to Turnov. Shortly before the exit to the center, the road turns off in Turnov in the direction of Źelesnỳ Brod and the Giant Mountains, which initially follows the course of the Jizera river uphill. This also reaches Mala Skála after a few kilometers.

Accommodation in Frýdštejn

The small village of Frýdštejn offers several very nice rural accommodations with excellent ratings. These provide a good start to hikes in the northern part of the Bohemian Paradise (Ćesky Ráj).

The Charming Country House* is a wonderful vacation home with two bedrooms. It can comfortably accommodate four guests. Even two more guests if you use the sofa bed. In colder weather, you can warm up by the fireplace in the evening. When the weather is nice, the terrace offers seating in the greenery. A fully equipped kitchen makes self-catering possible in the accommodation. Regional food from the Frýdštejn area can be delivered on request and for a fee. The house is suitable for families, children are also welcome. A parking lot is available free of charge for guests at the accommodation.

The Guest House Vila Frýdštejn* is situated close to the footpath to the castle. It offers several rooms ranging from an apartment for 4 guests to simple double rooms. Breakfast is served in the house, as well as a beer garden and simple snacks. There is a small playground in the garden for children. Free parking is possible directly at the house.

One of the best addresses for luxury accommodation in Frýdštejn is Resort Kovárna*, which also includes the above-mentioned restaurant. The offer includes well-equipped rooms for 2 to 5 guests. Some apartments with several bedrooms can also be used as family rooms. A large wellness area (partly extra costs) with steam bath, Finnish sauna and whirlpool let you enjoy quiet hours. Breakfast in the house is possible, other meals can be taken in the restaurant Kovárna.

Restaurant and wellness resort Kovárna in the Bohemian paradise
Wellness resort Kovarna

The Panda Apartment*, which is also highly rated, is a vacation apartment with modern furnishings for up to 6 guests. The bedroom has a double bed and two single beds, while the sofa in the living area can sleep two more guests. A fully equipped kitchen including washing machine allows self-catering guests to stay for longer periods. In the garden there is a barbecue area and a fireplace for romantic evenings. The entire apartment is on the ground floor and can therefore also be used by guests with restricted mobility. Free parking is available on the property.

Weather in the Bohemian Paradise

The weather forecast in Ćesky Ráj for today and the next few days is shown in the overview opposite.

Are you planning to storm Frýdštejn Castle? Invite your friends!

If you liked the post and feel like visiting the Bohemian Paradise, please share the link to the post with your friends on your social media channels. Thank you!

Note on *advertising links

This post contains some links marked with *. These are advertising links that lead you to online stores or agencies for your travel preparations. If you buy or book something there, the sonnige pfade blog receives a small commission to cover the technical costs. Nothing will be more expensive for you, as the providers already include the commission in their pricing.

Image sources: Product images – manufacturer, retailer; panoramic image: Josefa V. Scheybala (Museum Turnov); model of the castle – Frýdštejn in the 15th century by Petr Vodička

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