One of the main attractions of Liberec is a visit to the television tower on the top of the mountain Jested with his 1012m, the highest hills in the immediate surroundings of Liberec.
No panic you don't have to climb all the way to the top. There is skyline/cableway who takes you to the top in less than 5 minutes. From the top you have fantastic views over Liberec and the whole of the northwest of the Czech Republic. In the television tower you can drink and eat something while you take in the view.
After that you can take the skyline back down (easy way) or you can walk all the way back to the start (like we did). The normal walking distance is around 6km (1 hour at normal speed but with some steep sections) but you can make it as long as you want. In that case you can best buy a map at the tourist information, altough all the walking routes in this region are very well signed.
In winter there is the possibillity of skiiing at the three small ski areas around the mountain.
For 330Kc you can spend the day at Liberec's themepark. The place is huge.
We only visited the Aquapark section.
The Aquapark has 4 large slides designed for 10 years+; whirlpool; hidden areas which generate waves or shoot out water; water caverns; sunbeds; spas; saunas - with icy pools near them. If you loose your child, it's not easy to find them.
Open daily from 10.00 to 22.00.
Every Monday from 20.00 to 22.00 and every last Friday in the month from 22.00 to 23.00 you can swim in the AQUPARK without your costume!
Awesome!!! The Centrum Babylon is actually a hotel, “aquapark”, bowling alley, discothèque, restaurant, and shopping mall all under one roof. I only went to the aquapark, but it alone is worth the trip. Numerous waterslides, dozens of swimming pools connected to each other with tunnels, caves, slides, and bridges, and a massage parlor above. Really a lot of fun, and at least as far as the aquapark went there were very few tourists, mostly people from Liberec just out for a swim. Also, apparently in 2004 the Centrum Babylon won the "European Golden Pony Award" which is granted to the best amusement parks in Europe. If you stay at the hotel apparently you can buy a pass to all those activities, but because I stayed at the Pension Jasmín I just wanted to go to the aquapark. There's a pricelist on their website, but for 100-200 Kc you can spend many hours of fun at the aquapark.
Liberec has a remarkable zoo and Botanic garden which are next to each other in one of the finest parts of the city. They collect plants and animals from all the world, some of which are very rare. The visit to the zoo or the botanic isn't expensive at all. The only little problem is that you should pay a small price when taking in a videocamera.
The area of Jested hill is the southern sport&tourism zone of Liberec. It's quite near the city, easy to reach and to walk around. There are several lifts uphill. In the winter - skiing, ski-jumping and so on. Right now there are new tracks and lifts being made.
Tram 2/3 to Museum stop.
From the foyer of the museum you walk into a temp. exhibition room - while we where there it was an amazing collection of film posters, dated from the 1945 to 2005 - including the Czech posters for Yellow Submarine, Alien, Pink Panther. Upstair is another temp. exhibition area - at present modern glass sculpture.
The building was built in 1897 and 1898 in line with the designs of Bedøich Ohmann in the neo-Renaissance style. The tower is an exact copy of the original Liberec town hall.
The museum houses a small natural science exhibit including rocks of the area, and an interesting history of North Bohemia, including photographs from the late 1800's, large loom, hussite weapons, glassware/crystal, locks/keys, jewellery, woodblocks(wallpaper design). There is also a collection of mechanical musical instruments that are mostly fully functional, the most impressive only requires a 10Kc coin and is loud enough to fill the whole museum.
A 20 minutes tram ride from Liberec town centre will take you to Horni Hanychov (tram 2/3 - 10Kc ticket). From the tram stop you can either walk up the road to the cable car or trek through the woods. Either way it is about 1km. I think the woods was nicer...no traffic.
The Lanovka cable car has set times of departure this time of the year..on the half hour until 4pm, then on the hour until 6pm(to go up) and 7pm(last car down). But these times can change if the demand is there....so don't wonder off if you think you have 40 minutes to wait! Adult cost 100Kc return/ 50Kc child.
On the right as you go up is the ski jump area. The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will be held in Liberec in 2009.
Jested is at 1012m, with 360deg panorama across Liberec....into Germany (on a clear day). Accommodation is available. There is a bar and restaurant. If you are going to eat there I would suggest you only get desserts or coffees.....the meals were not up to the same standard as most restaurants in Liberec and they were more expensive.
What you can see around namesti Dr E Benese.
The square is dominated by the Town Hall(1893) which has a richly decorated facade and stained glass windows, with a 65m tower. Behind the Town Hall is the Theatre - Divadlo F.X. Saldy (M-F 10.00 - 18.00). To the west of the square along Kostelni you will see St Antonin kostel. If you keep walking you will stumble upon Sokolovske square and the C17th Wallenstein house facades. Added to my photo's is a painting of this square from 1902 and a photo of the same square now.
Most shops shut at noon on Saturday. Most restaurants and pubs are open til late.
There is even a McDonalds on the square!? But why would you bother?
A short tram ride from the centre of Liberec is the oldest zoo in the CR, originally a winter shelter for circus animals. Built in 1919. 70Kc entrance
The zoo is 3.5km long and follows a path which meanders down a gentle slope past all the animals. So it is impossible to miss anything. I was quite amazed that most enclosures had new arrivals obviously born that spring.
Their birds of prey exhibits were quite extensive.
Being an old zoo you will notice that some areas are in need of improvement. There was also a general lack of zoo staffing, leading to situations which could be harmful to the animals because the general public took advantage. People were throwing food to the elephants. There was pandemonium when a lady gave a banana to one of the Hamadryas Baboons.
Few cities enjoy such a nice recreation area like Liberec: the nearby Mt. Jested. With an elevation of 1012 m it dominates the scenery around Liberec.
The mountain is excellent for skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, hiking ... and watching ski-jump events.
The views are really superb. You can see Liberec at the foot of the mountain, the Jizerske Hory (mountains) and Krkonose mountains in the North, the Bohemian basin in the south. And in the northwest Germany (Zittauer Gebirge) ...
You can easily reach the foot of Mt. Jested with public transportation. Tram No. 2 takes you from downtown and/or the railway station to Dolny Hanychov where you change to Bus No. 33 to Horni Hanychov. It is planned to extend the tram line all the way to Horni Hanychov. Fare is 10 Kc one way (0.30 Euro).
Only few buses run to the cable car station, mostly you have to walk about 500 m (slightly uphill).
Please see my transportation tips for info on the cable car.
Unfortunately the castle is closed at the moment. It was home of the Local Glass Manufacturing Company, but it seems they are bankrupt or whatever. They used it for presentation/sale of their products, so you could see a lot of the beautiful interior.
Nowadays a visit is limited to the outside. The castle was built 1582 - 87 and extended 1779 and then again 1850. A chapel was added 1606.
The Regional Gallery shows an excellent collection of Dutch paintings (17th century) and 19th century French paintings (landscapes mostly). The largest part of the gallery is home of Czech art of the 20th century.
The bulding itself is worth to see - a Neo-Renaissance Villa. The collections were founded by the entrepreneur Heinrich Liebig in the 19th century.
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10 - 18 h
Admission fee: 30 Kc (1 Euro)
Still some steps west of the Valdshtein houses there is this beautiful church to see. Obviously Liberec's most magnificent Baroque building it was unfortunately not open when I was there - to be honest, I am not sure if it will ever be open for tourists. It looked quite shabby, in urgent need of a restoration (at least from outside).
As I heard and read it is supposed to have a beautiful Baroque interior - and a Dürer painting (first altar left side).
Anyway, what made it worth walking to the church was the neighbouring Baroque column (reminding of the Black Death, in German called Pestsäule). It is a work of famous sculptor M.B. Braun (1719), surrounded by a way of the cross with beautiful frescos.
If you continue from the St. Antonius church across the Sokolov square you'll see a very narrow lane in a corner of the square. Here you can see the three oldest townhouses of Liberec, built 1678 - 81. Or, more exactly, the facades.
They are a good example of the former local architecture - timber-framed houses, no stone used for constructing.
Duke Albrecht von Valdshtein (or Wallenstein, as in the famous novel by Friedrich Schiller) founded the New Town of Liberec in this area - the remaining three houses, though, were built after Valdshtein's death.
St. Antonius, the Archdeacon church, was built 1579 - 1687, at that time the first building of stone in Liberec. The interior was redesigned in 1879 in Neo-Gothic style.
Well worth to see are the beautiful altars (the main altar has a height of 10 m!) and the sculptured reliefs depicting the way of the cross.
The tower is with a height of 70 m still 5 m higher than the town hall's tower - very impressive but not open to the public.
Btw, after I had taken a couple of photos a guy showed up and said "No photos, please". Too late this time ... :-)