It is here where the mammoth hunters lived, created their masterpieces like the Venus of Věstonice, and where you can still see many rare species of plants and animals. Even if you are not a big fan of extinct animals or biology, Pálava still has much to offer to you - excellent hiking and cycling trails, beautiful architecture, rich history, and good wine.
Explore Pálava from Mikulov
A great starting point for your Pálava adventure is the charming little city of Mikulov. It will wow you with its historical center, Jewish cemetery, renaissance castle or the Holy hill with the Chapel of St. Sebastian. When you are satisfied with the tiny city life, culture, and gastronomy, you can start your journey on the 15 km trail.
The Goat Castle
Before even leaving Mikulov, we highly recommend you another of Pálava wonders – the Goat Castle. It towers over the city since the 15th century and for most of its existence, it had a very important role – to protect the road connecting Vienna and Brno. The main part was a two-story artillery tower with a gallery and loopholes. Now tourists and locals alike use it as a place to chill with friends and can enjoy the view of the historic center of Mikulov.
The Girl's castles or „Děvičky“
Not far from the villages of Pavlov and Dolní Věstonice stands the ruins of the gothic castle Dívčí hrady (Girl's castles), also called Děvičky. The place was named after three rock formations, which are located directly in front of the ruins. According to a legend, they are three girls, turned into stone. Located on top of tall limestone rock and with stunning views of forests, villages, and lakes, the ruin is certainly another must-visit landmark of the landscape. The Děvín Ridge has an altitude of 549 meters and is the tallest peak of the Pálava Hills.
Seems like all the castles in the Pálava hills have some intriguing name, right? The orphan castle, called the Pink Castle by some, can be found in the woods above the village of Klentnice. It is part of the Růžová hora (Pink Mountain) Nature Reserve. The Gothic castle was founded in the 13th century and over the years it has welcomed many owners. Gradually, the owners stopped taking care of it and the castle fell into disrepair. It was originally built on two rocks separated by gorges and connected by a bridge. There was a palace on one rock and a watchtower on the other. Today, we can only look at its ruins and imagine its past form and glory.
The Orphan ‘s castle has an interesting legend of its own. It talks about a Templar knight named Čičos, who at a point in history took care of the castle. One day, he received a message that summoned him to go to war. He disobeyed the order, and the Templar expedition came to find and punish him. Before that, however, Čičos' wife had begged the Commander of the punitive expedition to baptize their son. He granted her the wish and baptize the child Sirotek (Orphan) and then had the knight executed for his disobedience. Čičos’ wife’s heart broke with grief and everyone in the castle was killed. Only little Orphan remained, and the Templar knights took him with them. Years later, as an adult, he returned to the castle, found out what had happened to his parents and went mad. Since then, it has been said that every night he rides around the country like a mad rider.
The Děvín Nature Trail runs through beautiful countryside
Not far from Klentnice begins the Děvín Nature Trail, which passes by the most treasured parts of the Pálava Protected Landscape Area. There are about 600 species of Embryophyte (or land plants), which is almost a quarter of all such species in the Czech Republic. The whole circuit has 11 kilometers and 15 stops. It will also take you to the slopes of Děvín with the ruins of the Děvičky Castle.
Discover the Nové Mlýny Reservoirs
There are many cycling routes around Pálava. One of the most popular of them is one encircling the Nové Mlýny (New Mills) Reservoirs. A cascade of three dam reservoirs was built on the Thaya River in the 1970s and 1980s. Each tank performs a different function. The upper one is used for recreation, the middle one - the Věstonice Reservoir Natural Reserve - is inhabited by waterfowl, including cormorants, and the lower one supplies water for irrigation.
The main dominant of the Reservoirs is certainly a small island with the former church of St. Linhart. The old church is sadly in not a very good condition, but it is the last building of the village of Mušov. One of the oldest local villages, it was founded in the first half of the 13th century and was sacrificed so that the Nové Mlýny Reservoirs could be created.