Mountains all around and a stunning town hall right in the middle of the city. Liberec is an interesting travel destination! Located in the north of the Czech Republic, Liberec is the fifth biggest city in the country, and yet quite unknown by international travelers. That’s the first reason why you should visit Liberec now: it’s still a hidden gem in Central Europe.
During our 14-day trip in the Czech Republic we were on a mission to visit some of the most visited places in the country, like Prague, Cesky Krumlov and Brno, but we also wanted to explore not so famous destinations, and that is why we decided to check a place like Liberec. And the result was: we fell over heels in love with the Czech Republic! And although everybody kept asking us “why visit Liberec?”, the city didn’t disappoint us even under the heavy rain.
Liberec is famous for winter sports. Located at the foot of Ještěd Mountain range, it’s home of great ski slopes and cross-country ski trails. But there is much more to see, things to do and places to visit in Liberec that will suit any type of traveler. This means that if you suck at winter sports – just like me – you can still visit Liberec and have the most fun.
But why should you travel to Liberec now? Here are the answers:
Outdoor adrenaline and sports in Liberec
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a super athlete to visit Liberec. Actually, you can be a total beginner and still have fun. The mountains around Liberec city are a paradise for winter sports like ski, snowboard and cross-country ski. When the snow melts it becomes home of mountain bike tracks, running and trekking trails. So, it really doesn’t matter which season you are traveling to Liberec, you can always move your body surrounded by nature.
Rob is the sports enthusiast in our relationship, so he was the one in charge to explore the Ještěd Ski Slopes. He went for some snowboarding fun and also tried cross country ski for the first time in his life. No one better than him to tell you all about things to do in Liberec in winter:
I always admired the cross country skiing, but I have never really had the chance to try it until I visited Liberec. To add a bit more excitement, my first time doing cross country skiing was during night time. I rented the ski equipment at the city center and my instructor drove us to the mountain, which was something like a 15-minute drive. After some quick instructions, torches lighted up we were off to the tracks. Cross country skiing is easier than I thought and, I mean, c’mon I’m Brazilian, winter sports are not that natural to me. For sure I fell a couple of times, but I managed to complete 8 km around the Bedrichov area. The tracks are very well maintained, there is a lot of beautiful green around and you can choose the level of difficulty.
Cross-country skiing is very popular in the Czech Republic, especially in Liberec. The city hosts a famous international competition, the Jizerska 50. Every year, 5 thousand athletes face the challenge to complete 50 or 25 km.
The following day was reserved for snowboarding at Ještěd mountain. You can easily reach Ještěd Ski Slopes using public transport: just take the tram n.3 and drop at Horni-Hanychov station. Daily and season passes are available just beside the parking lot. There is a ski shop where you can rent ski, snowboard, boots and other snow gear. In about 20 minutes I sorted out my pass, clothes and snowboard equipment.
You can choose from 12 tracks, a total of 9,2km, and most of them are intermediary. I was actually quite impressed with the little kids rocking in red and even black slopes. For the ones still learning, skiing and snowboarding lessons can be booked on-site. I ran all pistes, all of them were very enjoyable but my favorites were the number 8 and 3. In piste number 2 you can see amazing views of the city and Ještěd Tower.
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Visit Liberec Botanic Garden
While Rob was having fun on the slopes, I was discovering the city. Another top attraction in Libere is the Botanical Garden, a tropical oasis that will fill up your day with colors. The Liberec Botanical Garden is located a few kilometers from the old town. It’s a pleasant walk by one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city.
Visiting Liberec Botanical Garden is a captivating activity. I didn’t expect to see so many Brazilian plants and fish there. Yes, I almost forgot to tell you, inside the garden you can visit a small aquarium with unique species as the Brazilian Piranhas, a carnivorous fish. If you travel to Liberec in Winter [as we did] a visit to the Botanical Garden is also a good way to warm up your body and soul, as the temperatures inside are much warmer than outside. And don’t worry about the coats and bags, there are lockers at the entrance.
Liberec Town Hall and its historical buildings
The history of Liberec dates back to the 14th century. The city has a quite strategic location between Germany and Poland and it was an important route for merchants and travelers, which made the city grew fast. And as a consequence of the trade and the textile industry, Liberec built a beautiful and opulent town. In the heart of the city, the Town Hall stands majestically, like a fairytale building.
Built in 1893 and designed by the Viennese architect F. Neumann, the beauty of Liberec Town Hall can be noticed not only from the outside. A tour inside the building took us to the sumptuous Ceremonial Hall, the corridors and also up the tower, where we could see the city and the majestic Ještěd Mountain. Booking a tour is easy, you just need to visit the Tourist Information Center beside the Town Hall and check the dates and time. The price for the big tour [Tower + Ceremonial Hall].
There are other beautiful historical buildings in Liberec and the good thing is that many of them are within a walking distance from the Town Hall. During your visit to Liberec you must see the Hotel Praha [in Art Nouveau style beside the Town Hall], the Neptune’s Fountain in the main square, the City Theater in Neo-Renaissance style located behind the Town Hall and the Liberec Chateau, built in Renaissance style, but as this one is closed, you’ll be able to can only see the outside.
And don’t forget to visit the main square at night time, when the Town Hall looks even more beautiful once it’s all lighted up.
Galleries and museums in Liberec
While you explore the city on foot, take your time to visit some of the museums in Liberec. From fine art to technical and automobile expositions, the city has many options for all kinds of travelers. Among Liberec top attractions, here are some options:
– Regional Art Gallery Liberec: French, German, Dutch and Austrian painting displayed in a Neo-Renaissance palace from 1873.
– Museum of North Bohemia: the collection is focused on arts, crafts and the industry of decorative arts. Also the natural history, archeology and history of North Bohemia.
– Technical Museum of Liberec: cars, motorbikes, engines, and everything that can move the world. It’s a unique museum and a must-visit place for vintage car lovers.
– Ferdinand Porsche Birth House: this museum is a bit outside of town, but if you love cars you need to stop by for a visit. The exhibition shows the history of the Porsche family and the engineering art of the Bohemia region.
Lovely cafes in Liberec
Here is another awesome reason to visit Liberec: FOOD! The Czech cuisine is delicious and in Liberec we found some nice cafes that serve the traditional food with a modern twist. While Rob was snowboarding, I lost myself in the old town contemplating the historical buildings and eating my way in some lovely cafes.
Among my favorite ones is the Kafe Kytka, a mix of coffee house and flower shop. The scents of coffee and flowers give the place a unique atmosphere in the heart of the old town. For healthy food and delicious daily lunch menu, go to Mikyna, a super cute cafe.
A bit far from the old town – but it’s totally worth it! – the Kavárna Bez Konceptu is named one of the best cafes in Liberec. For delicious homemade desserts and lemonades, this is the perfect address to spend the afternoon. If you are looking for a proper restaurant that serves Czech food and international cuisine, head to Zoo 1320. The restaurant is near the North Bohemia Museum and it is a good option for lunch or dinner among all the things to do in Liberec.
Ještěd, the iconic hotel and restaurant
For me, this is one of the coolest places in the city and a top reason to visit Liberec. We already talked about Ještěd Mountain as a sports wonderland, but this place has one more asset. At the top of the mountain [1012 meters above sea level] you will find the unique Ještěd TV Tower, which is also a hotel and a restaurant. The Ještěd Hotel is one of the most iconic buildings in the Czech Republic.
The 94-meter-tall building was constructed from 1966 to 1973 and has a unique shape of a rotational hyperboloid [this is the technical name]. The cone shape building looks like a Jame Bond movie location, it’s modern but with a vintage twist, it’s almost surreal. The hotel has 12 double rooms, 1 suite, and 1 family room. You can choose your accommodation by the design style: a modern room or a retro room with the original design. It’s a trip to the past. If you want to spend a night at the top of Ještěd Mountain you can book your room here, but do it fast as the hotel is fully booked for almost the whole year.
We didn’t stay at Hotel Ještěd, but we went there for a romantic dinner above the clouds. From the restaurant, you can see the whole city and on a clear day, it’s possible to see as far as the borders of Poland and Germany. We weren’t that lucky, the night we booked our dinner the weather was awful, rainy and windy. We couldn’t see the view and we almost couldn’t see the Ještěd Tower itself.
The cable car that runs from the foot of the mountain to the restaurant was closed due to the bad weather, so we went all the way up by car. Despite the bad weather, the food was delicious. Our romantic dinner had flowers, candles, all you can have for a dinner for two, and also the vibe in the restaurant was super cool. I felt like we were in a 007 movie! The rain and wind blowing made that huge metallic construction looks fragile under such storm. It was the perfect place for James Bond action scene.
My recommendation is to visit Ještěd Mountain during daytime and also for dinner. I didn’t get to go to the peak during the day, so, unfortunately, I missed the beautiful view. But then I can have one more reason to visit Liberec again.
Wellness spa and hotels in Liberec
This is one of my favorite reasons to travel to Liberec: relaxation! The city has many hotels and Bed & Breakfast accommodations that offer more than a comfy room. In Liberec, many of the hotels have wellness centers with baths, saunas, massage and relaxing treatments. It’s a perfect combination for sports enthusiasts, after a fun day on the slopes nothing better than a massage. For people like me, it’s the perfect excuse to stay in the hotel the whole afternoon, relaxing and pampering myself.
We stayed at the lovely Penzion U Muzea, in a cute studio with a balcony to the garden and a little kitchen. It was the perfect room for us. It was really comfy and spacious, and as it is a small hotel you have the feeling you’re staying at a family home. The breakfast was great as well and the wellness center was a big plus. The sauna and hydromassage were tested and approved by me. Plan your visit to Liberec and book your room at Penzion U Muzea here.
If you prefer a more luxurious hotel, the best bet is the Clarion Grandhotel Zlaty Lev just beside the Liberec Town Hall. It’s a 4-star hotel in a beautiful Art Nouveau building. If you are looking for a nice hotel close to the old town but don’t want to spend too much, the Pytloun City Boutique Hotel is a good option. In doubt about where to stay in Liberec? Hotel or Wellness Bed & Breakfast? Do your research via Booking.com or Agoda, these are the websites we use to book our accommodation.
And did you know you can rent a house, a boat, a castle or a room on Airbnb? Curious? Sign up here and get a discount on your first booking!
Now that you already have all the reasons to visit Liberec, it’s time to set the dates and book your tickets. Liberec is only 2:30 hours from Prague [you can do it as a day trip from Prague, not ideal but doable], you can travel by bus or train between the cities. Liberec was our second stop during our trip in the Czech Republic, we came all the way from Brno to Liberec by train [with a stop in Prague to change trains].
Are you planning to travel to Liberec by bus or train? Find all the routes, prices and book your tickets here on 12Go.
We were doing a 3-month train trip in Europe with Eurail Pass, a total of 10 countries with only one train pass. If you want to know more about Eurail Pass check out our blog post: how to travel with Eurail Pass. If your trip is in northern Europe, then read the post about traveling in Scandinavia by train. And buy your Eurail Pass here!
If you are flying from another country, search for the best ticket at Skyscanner or Kiwi.com. These two websites will show you the best prices and connections. Apart from Prague, you can also fly to Dresden in Germany, the city is 2 hours away from Liberec and you can take a direct train from there.
To get around in Liberec is quite easy. The city is well connected with trams and buses, and most attractions are close to each other. The trams line 2 and 3 passes by most of the museums, the Botanical Garden and will take you to the cable car station at Ještěd Mountain. If you need any help with information or if you’re looking for more things to do in Liberec, stop by the Tourist Information Center, they will be ready to help you.
Visit Liberec on your next holiday, enjoy this interesting city while it is still a hidden gem in Europe. If you’re touring around the Czech Republic read our guide to other amazing Czech destinations:
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PS: our trip to Liberec was organized in partnership with the Liberec Tourism Department. But as usual, you always get our honest opinion and travel tips.