Velka Amerika and Mala Amerika are two abandoned limestone quarries that for some strange reason are named after America..? If you translate both names directly they would translate to Big and Small Amerika…interesting.

Velka Amerika pin for Pinterest!

We agree, the name is strange but the views are beautiful and visiting these two made for the perfect day hike near Prague. We stopped by Karlstejn Castle first and then continued along our hike towards Velka and Mala Amerika.

With the names being in Czech and lots of navigating we’ll do our best to make this hike easy for you to follow so you don’t have to worry about getting lost in a foreign country.

Even though many people speak English in the Czech Republic, sometimes in the countryside and smaller towns it is less common. So better to be prepared and know where you’re going! That’s where we’ll do our best to guide you so you can visit the castle and big and small America.

Practical information about hiking to Velka and Mala Amerika Trail

Distance: 12.7 km return / 7.89 miles return
Elevation: 280 m / 918 ft. elevation gain
Type: Loop / Lollipop
Length: 3.5 – 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Velka Amerika in the Czech Republic.

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Everything you need to know about visiting Velka America

We didn’t really know what to expect for this day trip since we basically put this hike together the day before we went. Thankfully it turned out amazing.

We’d been to Karlstejn a few years ago and absolutely loved it. So while we were looking at visiting Karlstejn this time around, we realized this beautiful “quarry” called Velka Amerika wasn’t too far away.

So we created a trail on Google Maps where we could visit the castle, the big quarry, the small quarry, and even enjoy a classic Czech meal all in one day.

Jo exploring the Czech countryside near Karlstejn.

You’ll take in so much beauty in one day on this trip through history and nature that will truly leave you speechless. From a gorgeous castle in a medieval town right next to the Vltava river to man made Quarries in the middle of nowhere we’re sure you’ll love it!

You would have no idea the quarries are even there unless you’ve seen them on social media or read a blog post about them. It feels like you’re just walking in a farmers field and then out of nowhere this enormous hole in the earth just shows up. It’s beautiful to look at it from above, and some people even go swimming and kayaking down in the quarry. If you’re lucky enough and it’s a hot summer day then don’t forget your swimsuits.

After you’ve enjoyed the quarries and taken a dozen of pictures and maybe even gone for a dip you can head back to the town of Karlstejn to enjoy a proper Czech meal and beer. This is both necessary and mandatory after a long day of exploring the Czech countryside. 😉

Dom walking in the country near Karlstejn
Dom walking towards Velka America.

This is the order of our day trip and you can plan accordingly to what you want to see:

  • Checking out Karlstejn, a historic castle,
  • Eating a yummy Czech meal,
  • Walking in the countryside,
  • Enjoying the views at Velka and Mala Amerika, a few big holes in the ground,

It definitely doesn’t sound like one of our typical day trips hiking in the mountains but we can promise you that this one is special. It’s one of our favourite day trips from Prague to date. The trail is relatively easy to follow and not too steep. The trail we created can be done in about 3.5 – 4.5 hours depending on how long you spend at each viewpoint (and of course, how fast you walk.)

With Karlstejn being so close to Prague you don’t even have to wake up at 6am to be able to do this day trip. We’d recommend 7-8 hours to fully enjoy the day with time for pictures, lunch, and just enjoying the day. This includes the 50 minute or so train ride each way.

Views of the amazing Velka Amerika near Prague!

Now we’ll explain each checkpoint a bit and any other information you may need for visiting the Karlstejn area and Velka Amerika.

How to get to Karlstejn from Prague

One of the reasons why going to Karlstejn is one of the best day trips from Prague is because of its proximity to the city. With public transport, it is less than 1 hour from Prague to Karlstejn. The easiest way to go there is by hopping on a train from the central train station (Hlavní nádraží) in the direction of Beroun.

To buy your tickets, we recommend using an app called Muj Vlak or the one called IDOS. You can also go to the main train station beforehand and purchase your tickets at the office there. We find using the app much easier though.

The trains from Prague to Karlstejn and Karlstejn back to Prague run quite frequently so whenever you get to the station you rarely have to wait for more than 30-ish minutes. During the day and on weekends the train runs every 30 minutes or so. In the evenings it’s less frequent. You can check the train times on Google Maps on your phone or on České dráhy right here.

The stop you will get off at is called Karlstejn so that makes it easy. From there we got you covered down below! =)

We also have a full post about Karlstejn Castle if you’re interested in spending some time at this historic monument.

Karlstejn Castle is one of the most historic castles in the Czech Republic.

Karlstejn Train Station to Karlstejn Castle

Once you get off the train in the town of Karlstejn you’ll start your walk to Karlstejn Castle by following these instructions. This will be the first viewpoint on your way to Velka Amerika! The town is very Medieval-esque and worth exploring early in the day before the crowds of tourists take over. Roam the streets and go to the bathroom in one of the cafes because after that there aren’t many more along the way to Velka Amerika.

We didn’t spend too much time exploring the castle because we had a full day planned for Velka Amerika. However, it’s definitely worth checking out the courtyard which is the free area where you can get some cool shots of the castle and the town below. We have a whole post about Karlstejn Castle if you want some more info about the trip and the castle.

Stunning views of Karlstejn Castle near Prague.

Karlstejn Castle to Restaurace Pod Draci Skalou

Depending on what time of the day you go you can stop for a bite to eat at Restaurace Pod Draci. It’s on the way to the two quarries and has yummy traditional Czech food with a huge patio. It’s a nice place to enjoy the sun and sip on a delicious Czech beer! We actually went to the restaurant on our return journey but it can be done either way since you will walk by it both ways.

The trail from the castle to the restaurant may be a little challenging to find. Here are the directions to help guide you. There is a little “hidden” path before you enter the castle grounds. It’ll be on your right-hand side marked with a green diamond. Once you find that then you’ll just follow the path and it will lead you to the restaurant. It’s only about a 5-10-minute walk from the castle to the restaurant. Enjoy a Czech beer or two before heading to Velka Amerika!

Views of the town of Karlstejn down below.

Restaurace Pod Draci Skalou to Velka Amerika

So once you’ve enjoyed the restaurant or just stopped for a quick beer and pee break you can continue along the Czech countryside towards Velka Amerika. It’ll feel like there is no path and you’re just walking on a road but there are usually paths in the trees parallel to the road for walkers. So just be on the lookout for them and you’ll find them.

It’s not so much hiking and more just walking in nature through villages and countryside but you’re surrounded by forests and fields the whole way. It’s such a peaceful and scenic walk towards the town of Morina and then eventually to Velka Amerika.

It should take roughly an hour to walk from the restaurant to the parking lot of Velka Amerika. Click here to see the directions. You’ll see a car park which may or may not be full depending when you go. Lots of locals just drive up and walk around the quarry instead of hiking like us. But since you’ll most likely be coming from Prague and wanting to get a full day trip then is the best way! =)

Jo exploring the Czech country side.
Jo walking on a road in Czech Republic.

Velka Amerika to Mala Amerika

There are two ways you can go around Velka Amerika from the parking lot. From what we were told by locals and other people it’s better to go left from the parking lot (south side of the quarry) there are more lookout points and better views from the south side.

There are tons of beautiful spots along the perimeter but be careful because there are steep drop offs. The views of the big quarry are definitely the highlight of this day hike. So spend some time enjoying the views and taking cool pictures of the quarry. If you go to the very west end of the quarry there are a few lookout points where you’ll be able to get the best pictures.

Dom exploring the Czech countryside.

Once you’ve had enough of BIG America you’ll be able to venture off towards the small America. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the end of the first quarry to the beginning of the second one. Not as scenic or picturesque as the first but it is still worth checking out since you’re hiking in the area. There are also a bunch of places you can rest as well and enjoy a nice snack while being surrounded by beautiful nature on the hike.

If you have some extra time, there’s also a third quarry in the area called… Mexico! You can see what that one looks like in the image below.

Mala Amerika near Prague.

Mala Amerika to Karlstejn Train Station

Now it’s time to go back to the train station or to the restaurant first if you’re hungry! Here are the directions that go past the restaurant and back towards the train station.

It’ll be about an hour walk back to the train station from Mala Amerika. So it may be a good time to look at your Muj Vlak app and see when the next train is going (they should be going every half hour or so). Luckily they go often so you shouldn’t have to worry. Worst case you end up having an extra beer at the restaurant! 😉

There aren’t any more viewpoints after Mala Amerika but the walk is beautiful. You’ll walk through fields and countryside that feel untouched and natural.

It’s quite strange but here in the Czech Republic, you can actually just walk on private land in the country. So you may see that sometimes while you’re exploring the Czech Republic. So don’t worry if you feel like you’re walking on someone’s property in the countryside. It’s completely normal here!

Views of Velka Amerika from above.
Dom standing in front of Velka Amerika.

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Other important information about the day trip

You can see the full trip here with all the main viewpoints. We also recommend downloading MapyCZ. They have all the trails and more detailed maps than Google Maps does. But for the simplicity of this post, we used Google Maps for all the directions since that’s what most of us use. That being said, if you plan to hike a lot in Czech then MapyCZ will become a close friend.

Stunning limestone quarry in The Czech Republic.

Summer and fall are definitely the better times to enjoy this day trip. Nice weather makes hiking through the countryside much more enjoyable and in the fall you get the pretty colours. So with all that being said we hope this day trip goes smoothly and you get to enjoy all the viewpoints throughout the trip!

Let us know which one was your favourite and why down below!

Have fun!

Dom & Jo
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Day trip from Prague pin for Pinterest! =)

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