Want to do something really different? How about riding icelandic horses in a tiny Czech village?

Published Summer 2013

In a small village called Ludvikov-pod-Smrkem lies the ultimate in secret equestrian vacation spots — Ludvikov Horses and Holiday. Located on the border of three countries (Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic), Ludvikov is nestled into the middle of the Jizera Mountains, with breathtaking views of the rolling mountains, hillsides, and forests in every direction. Owned by a Dutch couple, Gideon and Hefziba, it’s the perfect getaway for any outdoorsman, combining a peaceful environment with closeness to nature and, of course, a little taste of Czech culture.

Early mornings in the quaint guest house or on the grassy campsite are so quiet that you can nearly hear the horses grazing. The guest house contains very simple rooms with comfortable beds. Guests share a cozy lounge area with stunning views and a kitchen space that is available for cooking if you prefer to stay in. The area offers a wide range of small restaurants. Typical of a small European village, most restaurants are tiny and intimate, serving typical Czech fare. Visit U Nadrazi, a small restaurant at the steps of the nearby Hajnist train station, or the Grill bar Krakonos, open Wednesday through Sunday. The outdoor garden at Na Kamenu in the neighboring town of Frydlant offers a variety of traditional dishes, in addition to some international basics, such as pastas and soups.

Though most visitors come specifically to ride the Icelandic horses through the mountainous trails, even the non-horse-enthused can enjoy hiking and biking through the beautiful terrain or relaxing on the sunny deck of the guesthouse. Neighboring towns also provide many different attractions. Whether you are interested in shopping or visiting the “aquapark” in the city of Liberec, skiing at the resort in Harrachov, or visiting the castle in Frydlant, there is plenty to do.

An Idyllic Valley

With vast amounts of land, Ludvikov’s herd of Icelandic horses roam in expansive pastures that stretch for miles. Icelandic horses are docile, but sturdy — perfect for trail riding on rugged terrain. Hefziba is often found training her Icelandic stallion, Baldi, and if you are lucky, you may even see a little foal brought to life. With a herd of over 40 horses only steps away from the guesthouse, there are mounts to suit every level of rider. Visitors who have never sat on a horse before can take a few lessons in the outdoor arena. Or for the more experienced rider, Gideon climbs aboard his Friesian stallion, Omke, to lead five-hour treks to the top of the “Smrk” (the tallest mountain in the area). The views of the beautiful countryside are unforgettable, no matter what time of day you choose to ride.

Ludvikov Horses and Holiday is truly a unique experience for all. Pricing is approximately $1,000.00 per week for two guests. This includes breakfast and three hours of riding each day. Pricing may be adjusted depending on riding preferences and length of stay. Ludvikov-Pod-Smrkem is approximately 87 miles from the airports in Prague, Dresden, and Wroclaw, Poland. Prague’s airport is the largest and most accessible, therefore many guests fly into Prague and board a bus to the village.

Hidden in the Jizera Mountains, this cozy equestrian escape offers an authentic taste of country life in a small Czech village.