Lipno: South Bohemia’s “sea” surrounded by forests

View of the Lipno Dam from Vítkův Hrádek

If you ask a Czech for a good summer getaway, it is quite likely they will mention the Lipno reservoir. Built during the 1950s it is not only the largest reservoir in Czechia, but it also borders the beautiful Šumava Natural Park.

Photo: Miloš Turek,  Radio Prague International

Despite being a popular destination during the holiday season, there are several spots around Lipno that remain quite serene and full of hidden secrets. Take the town of Horní Planá for example, whose central square is quite reminiscent of a park and lies just around a kilometre away from the recently built Dobrá voda lookout tower that offers lovely views over the surrounding area.

Photo: Miloš Turek,  Radio Prague International

Those who take the blue walking route to the 36-metre-high tower will pass the local Church of Saint Margaret as well as a memorial to Adalbert Stifter, the Austrian writer and poet who was born in Horní Planá back when it was known as Oberplan. Stifter was especially highly regarded in Austria as well as Switzerland and, on a good day, visitors who reach the top of the tower are able to make out the edges of the Alpine mountain range to the south.

Frymburk | Photo: Miloš Turek,  Radio Prague International

20km south-east of Horní Planá lies the town of Městys Frymburk and the local way of sorrows which features a series of images depicting Jesus’ way to his crucifixion spread across the local countryside. These are carved into granite crosses dating back to the 19th century which were recently reconstructed. The scenic route ends at the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows close to which visitors can find benches looking over the Lipno Dam and the nearby town.

Another nearby route leads to Lipno nad Vltavou, the village from which Lipno got its name. It offers further scenic routes of the reservoir that is sometimes nicknamed South Bohemia’s “sea”.

The Lipno Dam and the associated reservoir have been in operation for more than 60 years. Its turbines are located 200 metres under the ground. They were recently replaced but one of the originals can be found standing as a monument at the nearby parking lot.

Photo: Miloš Turek,  Radio Prague International

Those who like to mix in a bit of history into their walks can walk up to Vítkův Hrádek. Located at a height of 1,035m, the 13th century castle ruin served as the setting of Adalbert Stifter’s short story High Forrest and was also a favourite of the poet Adolf Hejduk. It can offer panoramic views of the Austrian Alps. Bellow them lie forests that were strictly guarded an uninhabited during the Cold War. Those looking to awe their companions with their knowledge of trivia can mention that the ruin served as a guard post during the Communist period.

Authors: Miloš Turek , Thomas McEnchroe