This attractive region was named after the romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha, who loved its countryside, with its deep forests, striking peaks and especially its castle ruins so much that he used it as the inspiration for his masterpieces (May, The Gypsies). In addition to this, Mácha’s Country has an abundance of ponds, rocky gorges and rock labyrinths, and villages with well-preserved rustic architecture. One of the region’s big attractions is the former military training base and airfield of Ralsko. The district is excellent for hiking, but if you would rather not go directly to the rock labyrinths, biking is the best active means of getting around. The Ploučnice River, which has the most meanders in the Czech Republic, is popular with water sport enthusiasts.
From a geographic standpoint, Mácha’s Country is kind of hybrid. The Ralsko Uplands (also known as the Broken Mountains) belong to the largest area, while the Jizera plateau belongs to the smallest. The region’s highest mountain towers steeply up to Ralsko Peak (696 m), which is the site of the ruins of a castle of the same name. The district’s most well-known river is the aforementioned Ploučnice. Its largest and most well-known body of water is Mácha Lake (Máchovo jezero) – it is not, however, a lake in the true sense of the word, as its original name was Big Pond (Velký rybník).
The protected landscape area of Kokořínsko forms a substantial part of Mácha’s Country. It is covered in spruce and pine forests, long canyons, and ravines that – unlike the vast majority of other Czech valleys – mostly without water. Another phenomenon in this region is its assortment of bizarre sandstone formations.
The most beautiful and most fascinating part of the region has a dense network of trails marked by the Czech Hiking Club. In the area surrounding Mácha Lake there are also plenty of recreational facilities that are popular with families, but as soon as one sets off for the region’s more remote spots – for instance, to the former military training base – it is necessary to consider that the distance between places offering accommodation and/or refreshments increases. With regards to the nature of the landscape and its elevation, hiking in a more extreme form is also possible in winter – Mácha’s Country is not very well-suited for winter sports.
Marked bike paths run mainly along highways with little traffic. There are also trails that lead bikers through forests and fields and along former military highways. Cycling maps are available at regional information centres and in several recreational facilities, restaurants and refreshment kiosks. If we don’t take the incredibly romantic summits into consideration, most of the landscape is flat, so cycling excursions through it are not difficult for the most part, and manageable even for occasional cyclists.
Bodies of water
There is a vast quantity of ponds spread out over Mácha’s Country. Those that are open to the public attract plenty of vacationers and water sport enthusiasts. The most popular of these is Big Pond, known today as Mácha Lake. The original pond was founded by Bohemian King and Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1367. Today it is surrounded by numerous recreational facilities. The Horecký and Hamerský Ponds are situated near Stráž pod Ralskem and Hamr na Jezeře, respectively. The “Holany Ponds” system is also very attractive. The area around Novozámecký Pond is well-known from an ornithological perspective.
Windsurfing is possible at Mácha Lake and at the Hamer a Horecká Ponds. You can also experience the thrills of water skiing and wakeboarding at Horecká Pond.
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