The Czech Republic is full of good climbing, and you don’t need to have a car to reach all of it. I started climbing in the country without a car, and it didn’t hold me back. With the trains, buses and maybe a bike you can get to some great routes. There are more areas than what is listed below, but here are some of my favorites.
Srbsko train station is a portal to a tremendous amount of climbing. This is my go-to location when I want to climb near Prague, as it is about a 40-minute train ride from the main station (Praha Hlavní Nádraží). Here you can find single pitch limestone sport climbing, most of which is either slab or vertical walls. You don’t find too much overhanging climbing in the Czech Republic. The south side of the river (where the station is located) is ideal for climbing in the summer, as the walls receive more shade. These walls can be a bit more challenging to find but contain good routes. The north side of the river is ideal for climbing in the spring and fall. These walls are typically a bit more polished but have easy approaches via the bike trail and offer plenty of nice climbs. Guides for several of the walls can be found with a bit of searching on http://www.czechclimbing.com/index.php. Many of the climbs have the name and difficulty marked at the base of the climb. Currently, the guidebook for this area is quite old, and it is not so easy to get your hands on one. There are routes here for all ability levels. I have guided both experienced and beginner climbers here and had a great time.
Three nice routes (UIAA Grading System)
Cesta Zeppelínů 7+ Pupek Wall (Pupek means belly button)
Mikulášská 7 Vlastina Wall
Velikonoční 8- Blážina wall (heady finish)
Some may argue that Tetín is part of Srbsko, but the climbing and bolting have a different style, so I think of it as a different location. Tetín is a town on the hillside between Srbsko and Beroun, and you can get to the climbing from either train station with give or take a 40-minute walk. When visiting for the first time, I would suggest starting in Beroun, walking to the town of Tetín and approaching the walls from there. This can be done fairly easily with a combination of Google Maps and Mapy (Czech map application). Mapy is usually better at marking trails. Tetín has shorter limestone sport routes with an abundance of bolts. This is a good area for those who want a break from those heady runouts in other areas. Here you can find difficult and beginner routes on slab, vertical and overhanging walls. There is an online guide of this area, so it is easy to find what you are climbing: https://www.jankaresclimbingteam.com/cs/p/tetinske-skaly. Keep in mind that if you intend to drive, it is best to park by the football field and take the back trail in. Locals prefer if you don’t park in town.
Three nice routes
Policejní Čórka 6+/7-
Dlouhé Vlasy 6+/7-
Tisá is an area in the north of the country with densely packed sandstone towers called rock cities. Sandstone provides the best and most unique climbing in the country. Tisá has mixed and traditional routes on mostly vertical, slab or bulgy walls and towers. This is a soft sandstone area, which means you must follow sandstone rules like no chalk or metal protection. The climbing here typically has more rings for protection compared to other soft sandstone areas, especially if you choose your routes wisely. That being said, don’t expect an abundance of fixed protection. You will need a rack of knots to climb here, and I would suggest a guidebook. It takes a bit more time to travel here if you don’t have a vehicle. You have to take a train to Ústi nad Labem and then a bus from Ústí n.L.,,Divadlo (Theater) to Tisá,,rozc.Sněžník 5.0. It is only a 5-minute walk to the rocks from there. Total travel time should be about 2.5 hours. A good app to use for public transportation is IDOS. This will give you the best train and bus information. Pro tip: plan your bus back carefully, because they can be infrequent. There is also a campground right outside the rocks, which is a good option for a weekend trip.
Three nice routes (Saxon Grading System)
Dětský Den VIIB on Pevnost Tower (about as sporty as it gets on soft sandstone)
Údolní Cesta VIIa on Strážce Tiských Stěn
Západní Cesta V on Květnová Tower
Labák Left Bank
The Labák climbing area is on the left and right banks of the Labe river in the north of the Czech Republic. This area has tall sandstone towers and massifs with sport, mixed and traditional climbing. The left bank is easy to get to via train and has fewer restrictions as far as climbing goes, because technically it is not part of the national park. From Prague you can take a train to Děčín and from there a short connection to Dolní Žleb. I typically like to take the train instead of drive because the small back roads which are only big enough for one vehicle are a pain to navigate. You can see the rock faces from Dolní Žleb and have to hike about 30 minutes to reach them. Again, the use of the Mapy app can be handy when finding your way around. The left bank has hundreds of routes and has its own guidebook as well. You can use chalk when climbing in this area, but the use of nuts and cams is forbidden, as it will destroy the rock and not actually protect you in the process. If you prefer sportier climbing, I would suggest going to the Atlantida area.
Three nice routes
Chupitos VI Atlantida area
Na vlastní Pěst VIIIa Atlantida area
Cesta bojovníka VIIIb Samuraj wall
What are your favorite routes and areas to climb around Prague without a car?
I am a climbing instructor who moved from the United States to the Czech Republic. Here is where I share some of my adventures and talk about what it is like to climb in the Czech Republic and Europe.