Kamenice nad Lipou (locally known just as Kamenice) is a small town in Highlands region of Czech Republic. It is home to about 4,000 people (1 January 2020) . The town is known for the scenic narrow gauge railway from Jindřichův Hradec, its chateau with an ancient lime tree and the main square with historical buildings. It presents a good way to get off the beaten path in Czech Republic, as Kamenice and the surrounding region are nice but completely overlooked by foreign tourists. It presents a good destination for people who prefer relaxing in small town atmosphere rather the hassle of main tourist destination and large cities.
The town was established in 13th century. The ancient lime tree which still grows in the chateau garden, and from which the city derives its name, was planted at about the same time. At that time, there was also a castle in the city. In 1583, the castle was rebuilt by one of the many town owners as a Renaissance chateau, which it still is today. In the eighteenth century, a brewery was built, and this brewery was renovated and reopened after a long halt during communist times. In 1906, the town was connected to the outside world by a narrow gauge railway from Jindřichův Hradec to Obrataň.
Today, Kamenice nad Lipou is a rather quiet town, with inhabitants working mostly in agriculture or the automobile parts industry (a few factories are based in the region). There is a mild seasonal inflow of domestic tourism in the summer, especially due to the town's connection with the nearby region of Česká Kanada, as well as the historical narrow gauge railway.
There is one daily bus leaving from and going to Roztyly station in Prague (red metro line C). There are also direct buses from other nearby cities, such as Pelhřimov, České Budějovice or Jihlava. For timetables and tickets, use IDOS. If the button to buy a ticket is not present at IDOS, you can just buy it from the driver of the bus (you can actually always buy the ticket from the driver, but the bus might already be full). All the buses go Kamenice's 1 main bus station, which is almost in the center of the city.
You can get to the city by using the local narrow gauge railway [dead link], which runs many times every day. The railway is not operated by Czech Railways, meaning you can not buy a ticket online on the Czech Railways website. If you coming from Prague, find the connection first on IDOS, then buy the ticket to the last point on Czech Railways on their website (this is always Jindřichův Hradec or Obrataň) and buy the ticket for narrow gauge railway from the conductor. Alternatively, you can buy the ticket all the way to Kamenice at any Czech Railways ticket desk. All the trains go to Kamenice's only 2 railway station, which is about 1 km (0.62 mi) from the center.
From Prague, you have to change trains twice at Tábor and Obrataň or Veselí nad Lužnicí and Jindřichův Hradec. Tábor and Jindřichův Hradec are quite interesting cities, so you can easily spend time there when waiting for the next train. Obrataň is a small village with one pub to spend time in. The train journey from Prague usually takes at least three hours, including waiting for connecting trains.
From Jindřichův Hradec, just find the timetable at IDOS and buy the ticket from the conductor on the train.
From all other major cities in Czech Republic, again just use IDOS to find the right train. It is always necessary to change trains at least once.
If you taking a train somewhere from Kamenice nad Lipou, check if there is someone selling tickets in the station building. If there is someone, you have to buy the ticket from there, otherwise you have to pay a small extra fee to the conductor in the train.
You can easily get to Kamenice by car from any point in the Czech Republic. The main road connecting the town to the D1 highway in Humpolec is newly rebuilt and passes just next to Kamenice, so it is going to be a fast ride (under 90 minutes from the center of Prague if there are no traffic jams on the highway). You can park basically anywhere in town.
The surrounding region is perfect for biking, with decent hills a good roads without too much traffic. For a skilled cyclist, the nice 120 km (75 mi) bike trip from Prague is doable in one day. Use Mapy.cz for planning any bike trips. Kamenice nad Lipou lies on the main bike road from Prague to Vienna.
The town itself is small, so you can walk anywhere. For longer trips in the surrounding region, bike or car would be the best bet. They have bikes for rent at Hotel Berger, but it is unknown if they rent them to people other than their guests, so you have to ask. Another option is to rent a bike in Jindřichův Hradec (possible directly at the railway station, from Czech Railways) and then take it to Kamenice - you can take it to the train or ride the last 20 km (12 mi) from Jindřichův Hradec.
- 1 Renaissance chateau. A pink chateau, originally a castle from the 13th century, is the city main sight. In the castle itself, there is an exposition by the Czech Museum of Decorative Arts. This might not be interesting to everybody, but you can go to the chateau courtyard for free to see it.
- 2 Chateau garden. The main attraction of this garden is the 700+-year-old lime tree, which gave the town its name.
- 3 Historical church. From the 13th century, rebuilt in the 16th century. Quite a large church in the center of the city. Entry is free if the church is open.
- 4 Graveyard. At the edge of the town in a forest, there is a graveyard with a St. Magdalen chapel from the 17th century. The graveyard is on a small hill.
- The road there is a very nice 5 Way of the Cross. From the 18th century.
- 6 Main square. The square in front of the chateau is filled with many historical buildings and looks good at photos.
- 7 Heřmaň Aleé. 1 km long country road from Dráchov to Heřmaň (small villages 2 km away from Kamenice) surrounded by tall lime-trees, forming an aleé. Walking through this beatuful place is very relaxing, especially during sunset
- Take a ride on historical steam train. Using the narrow gauge railway, it runs every week in the summer. You can find the time table here. The train can take you to Jindřichův Hradec or some nice small towns and villages along the line, such as Černovice.
- Hike using the marked trails. Kamenice nad Lipou is on the crossing of blue- and red-marked tourist trails. You can use these to hike the surrounding region and see nice villages, quiet forests and beautiful ponds with in which you can swim. The only map you will probably need is the Mapy.cz app with offline maps of the Czech Republic downloaded.
- Go swimming in a 1 former quarry. Near Kamenice, there is a flooded quarry which is popular among locals because of its clear water and romantic setting. It is a walkable distance from the town, but you can also go by bike or car.
- Go swimming in ponds. There are many ponds around Kamenice, some of them suitable for swimming. Many of them are located in deep forests. Some of these ponds are:
- All of these are, of course, free, and it is unlikely you will meet any other people when there.
- Bike. With a bike, you will have enough range to go to many other places. The highlight is definitely the well-known romantic chateau on an island Červená Lhota, which is about 25 km (16 mi) on a good road. Other interesting places might be chateaux in Žirovnice and Počátky, Jindřichův Hradec, castles Choustník or Kámen near Pelhřimov or the lookout tower at Křemešník.
- Cross-country skiing. In winter, when there is snow, it is possible to cross-country ski in the surrounding countryside. It is, however, better not to plan this activity much in advance, as sometimes there is not enough snow for the whole winter. Mapy.cz offers winter maps for cross-country skiing.
- Toys festival Hračkobraní. Between the tenth and fourteenth of July
- There are a few ATMs in town to get cash, and there are two banksː
- They will exchange your money for a fee (only Mo-Fri). It is definitely better to have some cash at hand, as most restaurants are unlikely to accept cards.
- There is one larger chain supermarket, 4 Penny. At the edge of the town, but it is probably more convenient to use smaller supermarkets in the center of the town. On Sunday and Saturday afternoon, only Penny will probably be open.
- 5 Jana Vyhnálková, nám. Husovo 92. M-F 7AM - 8PM Sa-Su 7AM-11AM. A smaller, more traditional supermarket in the center of the town.
In a town like Kamenice nad Lipou, you have a good chance to experience authentic Czech cuisine for a decent price. During lunchtime, there are often a few set meals, which are even cheaper.
- 1 Restaurace U Nádraží, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Probably most frequented by locals if going to have a lunch, this restaurant is located close to the railway station and serves good meals and local beer all day long. 100 Kč for lunch.
- 2 Marty fast food. The only fast (street) food in the town.
- 3 DéKáčko, ✉ email@example.com. Local bakery and Café chain, good for a quick bite
- 4 Flop. Another bakery
You can probably get drunk in Kamenice nad Lipou much cheaper than in Prague. The local brewery has been resurrected and is becoming a thing in Kamenice and surrounding region.
- 1 Pivovar Kamenice nad Lipou, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A small brewery in the town. Produces and also sells several kinds good beer, which is also exported to many places, including several pubs in Prague. They also have daily menus. 30 Kč beer, 100 Kč lunch, 200 Kč dinner.
- 2 Bowling Bar. Usually open only on Saturday evenings. Two bowling lines, also serves as a disco for the local youth. Next to the Restaurace U Nádraží and railway station.
- 3 Bar Vackova 61. A local nonstop bar for the locals, you can try it if you are brave.
- 1 Hotel Berger, ☏ . The only accommodation directly in the town. A small but upscale hotel with a good, though expensive, restaurant and wide selection of wines. Provides good service and rents bikes.
- 2 Resort Johanka. Has spa, and is located in nearby forests. It is a nice place and good place for biking, but also pretty expensive.
- 3 Apartmány Pokorný, U Nádraží 351 (Near the railway station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A house with three nice apartments. They rent only whole apartment and only for seven days or more. 4200 Kč - 10000 Kč per apartment per week.
- 4 Ubytování WORKCENTRUM, Družstevní 511 (Inside the building block), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Two apartments that accommodate 4-6 persons, but can also be used for only two. 400 Kč per two person per night.
An adventurous person can pitch a tent anywhere in the surrounding forests, as long as it is out of sight.
There is free WiFi in the main square and in restaurants. There is mobile signal even in the deepest forests, often 4G. The post office is on the main square.
- Jindřichův Hradec - a larger town with large castle complex. 20 km by road or train
- Pelhřimov - another larger town, know for its Museum of Records and Curiosities. 20 km by road or train with change in Obrataň
- Červená Lhota - pitoresque chateau, 25 km by road or bike
- Tábor - a larger city well for its historical square and underground. 30 km by road
- České Budějovice - another larger city, center of the region with interesting historical center. 35 km by road