Benátky nad Jizerou

The picturesque historic centre of Benátky nad Jizerou spreads out over a high hill above the river. It is dominated by a Renaissance-Baroque chateau, which stands on the site of a former Cyriacus monastery. The final remnant of the monastery is the neighbouring Church of the Birth of Our Lady, built in the 14th century with a Baroque tower. The chateau is now home to the municipal authority and two museums. One is sure to entice the children - the largest collection of historic toys in the land and an exhibition devoted to Merkur construction kits. The Town Museum (Městské muzeum), meanwhile, caters for those interested in history, commemorating ´among other the time spent here by Tycho Brahe. This famous Danish astronomer had an observatory in the chateau, built for him by Emperor Rudolf II, and carried out various measurements and observations here. There were plans to build a proper observatory at the end of the 16th century, but this never came to pass. In fact, Benátky had to wait for it until 1980, when it was built over the slope in Mělnická Street.

From Nerativice, cross the railway bridge and following the blue markings to the crossing in Mlékojedy, where you should join cycling route 8259. Cycle around the sand quarry, the ideal spot for a refreshing swim, and continue on to Tišice and Všetaty. There you can take a look round the Florián fire-fighting museum and experience the Jan Palach Monument. This unconventional monument was created by reconstructing the home from which Palach came, and the exhibitions, using authentic artefacts and a documentary film, tell you all about the student’s heroic act.

Follow the cycling route between the avenue of poplar trees and through the fields to Čečelice, where you will find an interesting building that dates back to 1912 with busts of national revivalists. Continue on along cycling routes 8241, 8162 and 8145 through the forest to Horní Slivno, with its neo-Romanesque Church of St. Martin, to Dolní Slivno and to Hřivno. Next up is a section along cycling route 8202, which will take you along the road to Benátky nad Jizerou.

In addition to the chateau that stands over the vineyards on the slope, you might also want to have a look round Husovo náměstí (Hus Square), which is lined with a number of late-Baroque buildings with arcades. And in the middle of the square, the Baroque Chapel of the Holy Family. You are also sure to be attracted by the expressive facade of the former District House and post office, built between 1926 and 1928 in line with the designs of Jiří Kroha. This renowned architect and versatile artist now has his own Hall of Remembrance there. You won’t find a sea in this Venice (Benátky is the Czech translation of Venice), but if you do want to cool yourself down, try the open-air pool in U Stadionu Street. Cycling route 8149 will then lead you out of the town, up Benatecký Hill, and on to your destination of Milovice. There were once military grounds here, with an airfield and a number of barracks that were used by the Soviet army. Milovice, however, is now a fast-developing town with plenty of attractions for visitors. You might like to go around the grassland reserve of wild horses or find the time (and plenty of it is needed) to enjoy the Mirakulum amusement park, with its giant wooden castle and endless exciting attractions. From there you can also journey to the Tankodrome, along a section of narrow-gauge railway of two kilometres in length, a thematic park with shooting ranges, off-road tracks, and exhibitions of military technology.