Liberec is one of our favorite day trips from Görlitz – it’s only about an hour away by car or 2 hours by train. That’s one of the great things about living in Görlitz, you are a very short distance away from both Poland and the Czech Republic!
We have really fallen in love with this little town. Liberec (Lee-bur-etz) is the fifth largest city in Czech Republic and part of the historical region of Bohemia. The city was formerly known as Reichenberg and was settled by German migrants in the 14th century. Most of the Germans were expelled after WWII. The city thrived in the textile industry and many beautiful buildings were erected towards the end of the 19th century, including the impressive town hall and the opera house, which boasts a curtain designed by the famous Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.
Liberec is also located on the Neiße River and is surrounded by the Jizera Mountains, where you can hike, bike or ski in winter. Sitting atop the highest summit (1,012 m/3,320 ft) is the Jested Tower, a futuristic, space-ship like structure that was finished in 1973. It’s a hotel, restaurant and television tower. You can choose to hike up to the summit, drive, or take the cable car.
We decided to take the cable car to the top, although there were many people walking, biking or driving up. We were lucky to have great weather that day and although it was a bit windy up top, the views were fabulous in all directions. We stopped to have a beer and take it all in.
During one of our visits we decided to walk down instead of taking the cable car back. There is a paved road that winds around and around down the mountain. It was taking forever, so we thought we’d be clever and take a shortcut down the path of the ski-lift. This was a mistake since the path was so steep we had trouble walking down it (can’t imagine walking up!), but we made it in one piece.
Starving after our strenuous hike down the mountain, we stopped and ate at our favorite restaurant in Liberec: Plzeňka-Duli. The portions are generous, the food is hearty and filling and the prices are unbelievable. The most expensive meal on the menu is 120 Czech Koruna (which as I write is equal to about €4.44!). Once you look at the beer prices (Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus) you will need no further convincing. There are also several cafes lining the Dr. Edvard Benes Square where the town hall is located and you can enjoy a drink or some ice cream while people watching in this beautiful square.
Liberec is also known for its zoo, botanical garden and its water park. The zoo was the first to be opened in the Czech Republic in 1919 and has many different species on display including rare white tigers. The Babylon aqua park is a great escape for both children and adults, with a spa, waterslides, caves, laser games, bowling, indoor golf and an aquarium, among other things!
If you decide to go to Liberec by train, there is an incredible deal to be had by purchasing the Euro-Neisse Ticket. This ticket covers several destinations in Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. The ticket is for 1-5 people (the more the cheaper!) and is valid for any number of trips until 4am on the following day and also covers local public transportation. The Euro-Neisse ticket will also get you a reduced price for the cable car to the summit.
Whether you are looking for a day trip from Görlitz or Prague, Liberec is just more proof of the unique experiences and surprisingly great prices you can find when you take a risk and stray from the more touristy cities!