The Jizera Mountains, which traverse across the Czech-Polish border, take their name from the source of the river Jizera and are the most northerly situated mountain range in the Czech Republic. To the west lie the Lusatian Mountains and to the east rise the Giant Mountains. The highest peak on the Czech side of the Jizera Mountains is Smrk (1,124 m.a.s.l.).
The Jizera Mountains was declared a protected landscape area in 1967, and thus ranks amongst the oldest protected areas in the Czech Republic. The Jizera Mountains are characterised by peat mountain meadows, peat moors and its beech vegetation.
The upper plateau of the Jizera Mountains is interwoven with many kilometres of marked footpaths and cycle paths, which connect the most interesting places of the whole district (Jizerka, Smědava, Kristiánov, Nová Louka, etc). Such paths not only entice walkers and cyclists on trips, but also wheelchair users and families with children in pushchairs or prams. The town of Nové Město pod Smrkem and the Libverda Spa pride themselves on the unique single track mountain bike trail, which opened last year.
Winter in the Jizera Mountains offers one of the oldest and most popular cross-country ski circuits and is the venue for the world-acclaimed ski race, Jizerska 50, along the Jizera Mountain Cross-Country Track. This route prides itself on 170 km of prepared ski-tracks. The relief of the mountains and the 23 starting points, (for example Bedřichov, Janov nad Nisou – Hrabětice and Smědava), facilitate comfortable skiing along gentle hilled terrain. Fans of downhill skiing can head straight to one of several ski centres, the most popular of which are Tanvaldský Špičák, Bedřichov and Severák.
Other popular attractions for tourists, particularly in the summer season, are the distinct Jizera Mountain view towers, which offer beautiful views of the surroundings. Among the most visited view towers belong Černá Studnice, Královka, Smrk, and also those which have been newly built, such as Nisanka in Nová Ves nad Nisou and Císařský kámen (The Emperor’s rocks) above the village of Rádlo.
The Jizera Mountain Region is divided into four sub-regions: those of Liberec, Jablonec nad Nisou, Frýdlant and Tanvald. Each one offers unique destinations typical to the region.
The Liberec sub-region, with the city of Liberec as its regional capital, offers a wide choice of cultural and sports experiences. Among the most favourite destinations, especially for families with children, is the entertainment centre at Liberec zoo and the botanical gardens. Dominating the city is the summit of Ještěd, with its hotel and television transmitter by the same name, and which visitors can reach by cable car. A wide range of adrenaline and sports activities, including a mountain bike park, are on offer in the Ještěd resort. In 2010, a new sport resort was established in the village of Jeřmanice, near Liberec. Apart from a bobsleigh run you can use a four-person chairlift, a ski-run for beginners, a snowpark, and a ski-cross slope.
With a touch of glassmaking tradition, the Museum of glass and jewellery in Jablonec nad Nisou presents tourists with the opportunity to visit a number of glassworks and buy a typical souvenir. Favourite attractions for families with children are the bobsleigh run in Janov nad Nisou and the reservoir in Jablonec, where one can swim during the months of summer.
The Frýdlant sub-region lies on the northern side of the Jizera Mountains. Frýdlant Castle and Chateau, which stands above the town of the same name, is a memory of the rich history of the region. Another favourite tourist destination in this corner of the Jizera Mountains is the picturesque and peaceful spa town Libverda, which has mineral springs and the well known restaurant Obří sud – Giant barrel. An important pilgrimage site, the baroque Basilica of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, along with a monastery, is to be found in the foothills of the Jizera Mountains in the village of Hejnice. Old half-timbered houses and modern wind farms are also typical to the Frýdlant sub-region.
The region of Tanvald lies on the other side of the Jizera Mountains and its attractive area can be explored using its rack railway. The railway runs from Tanvald to Harrachov, via Kořenov, and will soon be extended into neighbouring Poland. And finally, your journey into the life and history of the Jizera Mountains would not be complete without a visit to the settlement of Jizerka.