Olympic South Bohemia have enough to offer throughout this year. So, just take your bicycle, skates, skis and participate in some of this year’s events inspired by the Olympic idea. You will see that active movement may come a natural part of your leisure time. This personal victory requires no medals.
Walking races are in fact the oldest Olympic discipline. Contestants have lined up for these races since Ancient Greece. The essence is simple: you need no sporting equipment, just endurance and good condition. The desire to walk has survived the centuries, and hiking is still among the most widespread recreational activities today.
The 5,000 km of excellently marked South Bohemian hiking trails have something for everyone.. They encourage you to travel by foot through the clean country of South Bohemia, mainly in the Šumava and the Novohradské and Písecké mountains. To get to know the picturesque Šumava forests and sun-drenched shores of Lake Lipno, pass by majestic former noble residences and their ruins. To enjoy negotiating the more difficult stretches, rewarded by magnificent views of the countryside. To just wander through the wild, or follow a clear path to knowledge. Information panels of dozens of South Bohemian nature trails tell fascinating stories of the marauder Grasel, the fumbling good soldier Švejk, and the sad story of the last Šumava bear. Just get out your desire to walk, take your Nordic walking sticks for some stretches, or use the GPS navigation system to find hidden cases and discover the beauties of the modern game of geocaching.
CYCLING AND IN-LINE SKATING
Contestants in Olympic Games take their bicycles to the road and racing ovals. In recent decades, mountain and BMX bikes have been spotted on the trails.
Recreational cycling is loved by both children and adults. The South Bohemian countryside is a true paradise for cyclists. Whichever way you set out, it will be a beautiful trip. The region is criss-crossed by a dense network of marked cycling routes and trails, where you really won’t see a car and will feel safe. You can ride the easy terrain around Třeboň, maybe circle Svět Pond, or to the Rustic Baroque of Holašovice, a village on the UNESCO Heritage List, as well as Hussite history. The more skilled cyclist will be attracted to the Šumava ridges, where they can rest along the path that symbolically runs along the former Iron Curtain. You can take your bicycle onboard a steam or motor train with the nostalgic atmosphere of the Jindřichův Hradec narrow-gauge line and the peaceful territory of so-called Bohemian Canada. South Bohemia has around 5000 kilometers of marked cycling trails ready for you. You can leave your car at home, as this whole region can be cycled – to see sights, to swim and to get picturesque views of the landscape. You can ramble around Lake Lipno, where tourists are thought of. For example, Horní Planá has replaced the cycling on a first-class road with a much safer new cycling trail. As for in-line skaters, you can look forward to excellent surfaces even in the core zone of the Šumava National Park. The moderate gradients are ideal for children and even for mums with prams.
Whether you prefer running on soft paths, hard roads or in unconventional places, South Bohemia will let you enjoy the maximum of this sport. South Bohemia was made for running. You can run along the rivers in many of the cities, such as along the Vltava in České Budějovice, all the way to Hluboká nad Vltavou or even Týn nad Vltavou. In Písek, you can have a run along the Otava. If you are attracted to wild country, the Šumava and Novohradské mountains are looking forward to you. And if you like racing, you will surely enjoy the many runs across South Bohemia. The most traditional ones are the half-marathons in Velešín and České Budějovice and the marathon in Písek.
There are quite a lot Olympic disciplines where water plays a role in addition to the sporting effort. They include yachting, speed canoeing, water slalom, swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, and rowing.
Water sports feel at home in South Bohemia. You come across water at almost every turn, and in every form. It will satisfy the expectations of every tourist. You can canoe or raft on the Otava, Lužnice and Vltava, the latter can even be experienced in the protected area of Šumava if there is enough water. Whitewater can be tried on the artificial canal near České Budějovice, and windsurfers will enjoy the lake waves. Relaxation is pleasant by a fishpond or a small outdoor town swimming pool with a nostalgic atmosphere, as well as on slides in modern water parks. Clean trout streams will seduce recreational fishermen. The waters of Lakes Lipno and Orlík are criss-crossed by cruise boats, and the town of Borovany offers swimming without chemicals. The water in the local pool is cleaned ecologically, using only plants.
Although it is hard to find explicitly adrenaline disciplines at the Olympics, a serious dose of adrenaline essentially belongs to any contest, namely when fighting for a medal and battling yourself.
South Bohemia too offers a tasting of adrenaline. It is not only melancholic and lyrical, as described by novelists. It is open to everyone who desires a sip, or a hefty serving, of adrenaline. You can surely raise your heart rate in the region’s climbing centers with difficult obstacles for rugged sportspeople and easy ones for children. Airfields, surfaces of frozen fishponds and wide plains are enticing for kiting, and adrenaline parks promise lots of fun on the bobsled coaster, suspended catwalks, climbing walls and aquazorbing. The diverse offer on the South Bohemian adrenaline menu is complemented by the popular game of paintball, tandem skydiving, paragliding, and descending the South Bohemian hills on mountain bikes or scooters. An adrenaline speciality unique in the Czech Republic is served on the Treetop Trail at Lipno. Although the top of the forty-meter wooden lookout tower is climbed at a strolling pace up a spiral walkway 675 meters long, the daring ones can get back down within seconds. They can slide down the center of the tower using the longest dry slide in the Czech Republic.
Although golf already appeared on the Olympic agenda in 1900, it had to fight for its place on the list of Olympic disciplines later on. It has only managed to return among the Olympic sports recently, so golfers will fight for medals in Rio after more than a century.
Eager layers with clubs are welcomed at all South Bohemian courses. You can try to get the ball in the hole in the pleasant setting of the region’s open countryside, which will silently look on: for example in the vast meadow with age-old oaks below Hluboká Chateau, or in the Jistebnice Highland Nature Park, where you can play at Čertovo Břemeno Golf Course or visit the Černice Game Preserve Nature Monument in Bechyně. There is room enough for both experienced and seasoned golfers and beginners, just learning to hit the ball perhaps on a driving range. For example, the Golf Resort in Hluboká nad Vltavou is open to everyone. Worth a visit are the courses near Český Krumlov, Monachus – Mnich and Nová Bystřice, and the Golf Resort Písek – Kestřany.
The horse is the only animal involved in the Olympic Games. Equestrian sports comprise three disciplines: eventing, dressage and jumping.
You can also get to know South Bohemia from the saddle. This is no fairytale; it is reality. The region is criss-crossed by a number of horse trails, where you can ride either with your own or a rented horse. Horseback riders can take advantage of 500 kilometers of well-marked trails with stations, where you can rest or even spend the night. The trails, full of pointers and information panels, will take the rider to attractive places, such as Hoslovice, where you can visit a functional medieval water mill.
ACTIVELY WITH A HANDICAP
Contestants with a permanent disability also fight for medals at the Olympics. The Paralympic Games belongs only to them, and take places every four years as well, right after the Olympics.
South Bohemia is open to handicapped people too. Enjoying the view of Lake Lipno and the surrounding mountains from forty meters above ground, or seeing the peaks of the Alps in good weather? Nothing impossible for people with walking difficulties or other handicaps. You can go to the wheelchair-accessible Treetop Trail, unique in the Czech Republic, on your wheelchair without a major concern. People with disabilities are considered in Český Krumlov too, where an annual event known as the Handicap Day is organized. People with a handicap can use the assistance of volunteers and various equipment to view heritage and other sites that are otherwise difficult to reach.
Indoor halls are the venues of many sports included on the Olympic agenda. People support their favorite boxers, gymnasts, or watch volleyball, handball and basketball matches indoors.
Recreational sporting under a roof has an advantage: movement is not ruined by any inclement weather. In South Bohemian halls, you can play tennis, volleyball, badminton, football and even golf without any worries about wind or rain. Your accuracy and shape will be tested by bowling alleys, in operation in many places in the region. Indoor spaces are also welcome by bicycling enthusiasts, who may prefer spinning - exercising on a stationary bike - particularly in winter. The numerous fitness centers are a good opportunity to stretch the body and strengthen muscles throughout the year.