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Liberec

Liberec is living proof that a small mountain village situated at the foothills of the Jizera Mountains may rise to become the fifth largest city in the Czech Republic, where you can admire architecture, art or seek active rest. Few large cities are able to offer the comfort and charm of a large city together with natural beauty.  And you will never again have the chance to take one tram route and go to a theatre and a mountain cable car station.  So if you get tired of the busy streets of Liberec, get on tram route No. 3 and leave behind the ZOO, botanical garden, Museums and galleries museums and galleries and the beautiful Renaissance town hall and take a trip to the hills.  Snow-covered trees resembling marshmallow kisses will lead you towards the blue and white remote corners of the countryside, but you are not seeking sweet pleasures but a real adventure.

When the early morning fog clears and the sunlight caresses the vague contours of hill peaks and observation towers begin to shine you are ready to go.  Get in a red cable car cabin and ride to the highest peak above the town of Liberec, where the most enchanted lookout tower is shining Transmitter tower with hotel and restaurant including a hotel and restaurant designed by the famous Czech architect Karel Hubáček who in 1969 received the Perret Prize for his design of the most unobtrusive building blended into the countryside Perret Prize  And rightly so.  In the era of the Communist regime it was almost impossible to construct a building with such inspiring design as the Ještěd tower, but it happened.   It was a spark of freedom during the times of oppression.  It is an artistic symbiosis of new materials, steel, marble and natural materials that we admire for the sophistication and elegance of its outer shell fitted with a number of interior details. Harmoniously balanced and original shapes starting with carousel hangers and ending with tea furniture.  You are welcome to stay for tea, dinner or for few nights in the clouds.

On wheels or on skis

Winter comes early to the Jizera Mountains and the summer has a chance to rule only for a moment.  The best way to enjoy this rare moment is to ride a mountain bike on any Single trek paths winding under Smrk.  When the local hills get dressed in white robes, and forests and peat bogs dive into a tranquil sleep hidden under big snow pillows, it is time to put on cross-country skis.  The centre of the protected area is interwoven with 180 km of machine groomed trails of the Jizerská trails (Jizerská magistrála) the largest cross-country skiing network in Central Europe. You may start enjoying a perfect white track in 23 locations and let nature embrace you. These trails will take you around Kristiánova, Bedřichova, Nová Louka or Jizerka through forest-covered countryside with many lookout towers and long forgotten glass-making settlements and abandoned gravestones. Some of these trails copy the route of the most famous Czech cross-country skiing tournament called "Jizerská 50". And even if you are not here on the second Sunday in January, when the tournament begins, you can try it and practice your skills and then refuel your strength in a cult-like Šámalova cottage (Šámalova chata) made from a former glass settlement Jizerka.

In a coat of powder snow or corduroy

If you go for a skiing trip and you are coming from Prague, the quickest way to do it is to head for the Ještěd ski resort  in Liberec (approximately 1-hour drive and free parking). Artificial snow is produced here and covers nearly the entire newly modernized ski facility and therefore, there are will not be any "surprises". You can take the tram line No. 3 in Liberec and go directly to a cable chair lift station where your excellent mountain adventure may begin!  . The corduroy is getting softer under the edges of your skis and you may be happy even after sundown where you can ski under the sky. Anyone will find something to suit his taste. That includes those who have already moved from regular skis to snowboards. Ještěd Snow Park is situated on the planes next to the downhill ski courses where nature has not been tamed yet. Snow barriers make their wavy patterns here and build clever obstacles and soft pillows made of light powder snow. In other words a paradise for your snowboard.
The potential of the Jizerské plains, slopes and high-quality snow has been utilized by organizers of top international competitions for many years. Thanks to the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championship, a unique resort for cross-country skiing called Vesec was built here, which is especially attractive for cross country skiing beginners.  During the summer these white tracks turn into asphalt pathways sought after by cyclists and in-line skaters. There is no entry fee. For ski jumping disciplines a newly renovated ski jumping resort situated on the Ještěd mountain was reconstructed and attracts the ski jumping and the Nordic combination elite. Local people were able to turn snow and ice into fun. When the first winter days arrive, a 30-metre tall and majestic Hanibal climbing wall (Hanibal horolezecká arena) is constructed directly in the centre of Liberec (the largest climbing wall in Europe). Before you go climbing, check the availability and reserve it

City under snow

Even though your tour of Liberec will probably take you to the hills, you should know that even in the valleys you will find a lot of fun. You may finish your hard day in the snow in the sauna, hot tub or in a pool in an aquapark called Babylon.  Those who enjoy science, should not forget to see an interactive exposition in iQpark or iQlandie. You can try to unlock the secrets of wild nature in the local Zoo where you can see unique white tigers or you may visit the oldest botanical garden botanical garden (Botanická zahrada) consisting of 10 halls full of exotic and rare plants. Long extinct animals will greet you in the Dino Park.
When you are touring Liberec using the public transportation network you might encounter an unusual bus stop which looks like a giant bronze table with china and silverware  On Sokolská street in front of the Theatre of F. X.  Šalda, the controversial Czech artist David Černý boldly took over a public space and turned a common thing such as a bus stop into a sculpture called the "Feast of Giants" (Hostina obrů). So, will you find it?

Transportation  

The easiest way to visit Liberec is by car or by a comfortable bus operated by Student Agency which leaves the suburbs of Prague (1 hour from Černý most metro station). 
In the city you may use public transportation.  For tourists the most important tram route is No. 3, which connects most of the interesting sites. 
 

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