8 family-friendly reasons to visit Hradec Králové


Czechia’s Hradec Králové region makes for a reasonably priced family-friendly holiday destination in Europe, as TTN discovered on a recent fam trip. For travel agents looking to recommend alternatives to well-worn hotspots on the continent, the landlocked region nestled between bustling Prague and the Polish border could be worth considering for its mix of natural beauty, leisure activities, and cultural treasures.

“Hradec Králové Region is a diverse region that has something to offer for everyone,” says Martin Soukup, director of the Hradec Králové Regional Tourism Centre.

Nature is the region’s most obvious highlight, whether it’s a quiet walk in the woods or learning about local flora and fauna. “We pay attention to the nature, ecology, protect places of natural beauty in a way that helps local people and does not damage the environment,” he says.

The province was the first in Czechia to emphasise sustainable tourism, he says. “MENA travellers now demand sustainable eco-luxury and cultural experiences and we can offer this to them. They can choose from three top spa resorts, many hotels in mountains or luxury glamping spots, all with a focus on sustainability.”

Soukup ticks off the sheer amount of things to do in a region that’s just emerging on international tourist maps: “Here you will find the Giant Mountains, but also smaller mountains with family ski areas, beautiful cycle paths along the Elbe or areas with single trails and fun activities for the whole family. History lovers should not miss the bunkers of the Czechoslovak fortifications or one of the many hundred-year-old castles.”

Here are 8 reasons why travel agents should consider this hidden gem just an hour outside Prague for their clients.



Czechia’s first nature reserve, the UNESCO Geopark abounds with bizarre rock formations, dense pine forests, and superbly preserved medieval castles. The labyrinthine natural playground offers enough for families to do: hiking trails, canoeing and rafting, fairytale chateaux, biking and motorcycle experiences, an aviation museum complete with flight simulators (Metoděj Vlach Aviation Museum) and stunning lookout towers and viewpoints everywhere.



Despite just 16,000 inhabitants today, Jičín boasts a stunning historic town centre largely created by the seventeenth-century military leader Duke Albrecht von Wallenstein, supreme commander of the Imperial Army of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II (you can book a guided tour with the Duke himself). The town’s castle and grounds are superb on a summer evening, there’s an aquapark, and the crafts-minded can find plenty to do, such as hat-making workshops. But Jičín is also known as the gateway to the Bohemian Paradise, and with small hotels that can be booked out entirely for large groups, it serves as a great base for family explorations.



Hard to pronounce but easy to hike around, Prachovské skály or the Prachov Rocks offer a great way to make memories with the family. The Instagram-friendly rock town’s labyrinthine sandstone formations are criss-crossed with trails with differing difficulty levels. Seen in the Orlando Bloom film Carnival Row, a visit to the park serves as a day of education in nature. More adventurous visitors can even scale the rock face. In the summer, a Chinese Larchwood gazebo hosts cultural events, Tai-Chi and meditation sessions, and musical and art projects.



Just 55km north of Prague, Dětenice is a portal into the past. The town’s Baroque chateau houses a unique collection of weapons belonging to the Knights of Malta and regularly comes alive with performances of stories of knights and fairytales such as Sleeping Beauty. Nearby, a medieval tavern serves roasts and other delicacies created according to ancient recipes, served by staff in olde-worlde costumes. Entertainment comes in the form of dancers, exorcists, swordsmen and fire eaters, making for an unforgettable dinner theatre experience that should be on any traveller’s list.



At the confluence of the Orlice and Elbe rivers, the old town of Hradec Králové is worth a few days’ stop in itself with its mix of historical and modern attractions. Once the fiefdom of Bohemian queens, it’s a reminder of the laidback small-town life that has all but disappeared from the Gulf. Nicknamed The Salon of the Republic, there’s enough activity on offer for families to fill a week or more: Enjoy panoramic views from the White Tower, explore interactive exhibits at the historic Hydro Power Station and the art nouveau Museum of Eastern Bohemia, stop for some retail therapy at the city’s malls, take in mime and puppet shows at the Drak Theatre, take a picnic to Jirásek Park, where the two rivers meet, or go horse riding in the nearby city forest.



African fauna in Europe? Entirely possible in Czechia. Hradec Králové’s safari park has been on a mission to protect endangered and threatened wildlife species since the 1940s and has the largest group of African animals in Europe. From the northern white rhinoceceros to lions, chimpanzees, gorillas, lemurs and pygmy hippopotamuses, they’re all here. Families can take a car through naturalistic settings to observe animals up close or follow walking trails, making it an educational and entertaining experience for all ages.



The spa town of Lázně Bělohrad is where we bumped into Middle Eastern travellers. Proof that places in Czechia other than Karlovy Vary are also popular with wellness tourists. The four-star Tree of Life spa facility offers the latest therapeutic treatments in rejuvenating natural environs, with tailored programmes focused on stress relief and overall revitalisation. Besides massages, mineral baths, hydrotherapy, personalised meals that accommodate special dietary needs, fitness activities and beauty services, a highlight are the therapeutic mud baths using warm local peat to promote deep relaxation and relief from various ailments.



This town of 8,600 people has a lot going for it. Home to Europe’s oldest stone-sculpting school and nearby sculpture park, as well as the annual Gustav Havel 300-turn motorcycle race, Hořice is also popular with gourmands. Its handmade Hořické trubičky were a favourite of Napoleon; his injured chef shared the recipe with a townswoman as payment for nursing him back to health. These thin rolled wafers are filled with different flavours, including chocolate, yoghurt and cream – and tourists can try making them themselves.