The only “safe” bars are the open-air ones, so enjoy your drinks in the woods of Jeseníky

Lately it seems that even pretty innocent activities, like going on a train or visiting a bar can be potentially lethal. If you are afraid of both of these, you can just jump in your car and go to the Forest Bar. There is no need to be afraid of corona there: you’ll be in the middle of the woods and even if you have drinks or barbecue with friends, you’ll still be breathing the fresh mountain air. And the area of Jeseníky, which is home to the Forest Bar, has much more to offer...

To the bar in the woods

Some might find it incredible that a country like Czechia can have a place like the Forest Bar close to Horní Lipová. What makes it so unique, apart from being in the forest? Well, first off, it has no staff. When you are there, you can simply get anything on offer, look at the price list on the wall and throw the correct amount of money into the cash box. Nobody will check that you really paid for everything you ate and drank – the whole business model is fuelled by trust. The range of products is quite varied, and the managers take good care of their bar, supplying it with local delicacies. If you’re lucky, they’ll have their excellent kremrole pastries, and you can always expect the “pure mountain beer”, Holba. That should come as no surprise: the Holba brewery lies in the nearby Hanušovice and if you feel thirsty after your roughly 5 km hike from the parking or the Lipová – lázně train stop and back, you can go there for a tour.

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If roasting meat over a fire is your thing, the Forest Bar is ready for you and the managers make sure you’ll have all you need. Fire-roasted sausages will warm your soul not only in the summer, but in winter too. The Forest Bar doesn’t close shop with the first frost; quite on the contrary: in the winter months, it offers quite a variety of heart-warming specials, such as the local nut liquor. If you come at the right time, you might even get a taste of the products from the managers’ smokehouse.

When you’re in Horní Lipová, make sure you don’t miss the local Fauna Park, an alternative zoo in the nearby village of Lipová-lázně. The little private zoo park will bring joy to children and adults alike, especially due to its quaint feel: some animals roam freely amongst the visitors, including macaws, and at the moment, the zoo even has tiger cubs.

Into the clouds

Horní Lipová is close to the Polish border, but if you really want to get the best view over our neighbours’ landscapes, head to Dolní Morava and their Sky Walk. You will be walking in the sky, but don’t worry, it’s not much of a hike: you can get right to the start of the trail by cable car. Then you just need to go through the walk itself, accessible even to wheelchairs and prams. If you feel brave, you can always get up there in a more creative way: on foot, by bike or on Alpine skis. And if you want to have some fun after your trip into the sky, you can try to go down the bobsled chute by the entrance, close to the parking and the cabin car.

Dlouhé stráně: the perfect lazy outing

You can enjoy beautiful sceneries from the pumped-storage hydroelectric plant Dlouhé stráně. You can even go for a guided tour into the powerplant itself, but at the moment, all dates in the nearby future are full, what with the whole country spending the holidays at home. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Dlouhé stráně from the outside. You won’t have to do too much for it, although you can climb the hill if you so desire. You can take a chairlift from Kouty nad Desnou all the way to Medvědí hora and then either follow a three-kilometre trail to the dam, which happens to be highest dam in Czechia, or, if you prefer to take your views with your coffee, you can take the shuttle. After all, it’s much easier to walk three kilometres downhill than up.

Thermal pool with a bit of (dark) history on the side

If you’d rather lounge at the waterfront than wander through nature, you can head to Velké Losiny, a spa with a large indoors and outdoors thermal pool with a number of water attractions. On a weekday or in the late afternoon, you’ll have a good chance to enjoy a peaceful summer swim. The Therme Park’s website also displays information on the current number of visitors, which is a useful feature, especially these days.

Velké Losiny might look like an idyllic spa town, but it has quite a dark past. In the 17th century, the biggest witch hunts in the Czech lands happened right in the area. Almost 250 people were burnt at the stake and the bloodshed later inspired Václav Kaplický to write his novel Witchhammer. You can follow in the footsteps of the witch trials thanks to a nature trail from the Mohelnice castle to Paczkow in Poland. Right next to the castle, you can also visit a paper mill, which has been making its world-famous hand paper for 400 years.

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If you decide to head to the Jeseník region, you will not want for entertainment. Apart from the attractions we mentioned, you can also enjoy the local food, especially sweet blueberry dumplings made from raised dough. Blueberries are extremely popular in the area and you can visit the annual blueberry festival in Malá Morávka. Sadly, it has been cancelled this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you can always get a blueberry treat out in the wild on your trips.