Vyhlidka Maj is one of the most beautiful places in the Czech Republic, only an hour from Prague but barely known among non-Czechs. Join us as we uncover the secret.
Vyhlidka Maj – May Viewpoint – is one of the most beautiful places to visit near Prague, a locals’ favourite with an astounding view of a meander of the Vltava River flowing through a wooded gorge.
Vyhlídka Máj remains something of a secret, well-known among locals but it’s not somewhere foreign visitors to Prague get to know about, let alone see. Our curiosity was piqued, so I decided to take a look myself.
This Vyhlidka Maj article covers getting to the site, what you can expect to see (and indeed not to see), facilities and conditions at the viewpoint, and two other Vltava river viewpoints very close by. As seeing Vyhlidka Maj doesn’t take much time, we also suggest another place to see close by to make a full day trip from Prague out of your visit.
- Vyhlidka Maj
- Why Is Vyhlídka Máj Special?
- Where is Vyhlídka Máj?
- Getting to Vyhlídka Máj
- The Walk To Vyhlídka Máj
- Is Vyhlidka Maj Safe?
- Vyhlídka Mařenka And Vyhlídka Myšak – Two Viewpoints Near Vyhlídka Máj
- Best time to Visit Vyhlídka Máj
- Onwards From Vyhlídka Máj – The Vltava River
- Vyhlídka Máj and Konopiště Castle From Prague Day Trip
- Other Day Trips From Prague
Why Is Vyhlídka Máj Special?
It’s one of the most beautiful places in Czech Republic, and something of a rarity in Europe – a bird’s eye view of a river meandering through a forested gorge
Vyhlídka Máj has become much more popular thanks to the likes of Instagram, and it certainly makes for a great – if potentially hazardous – photo opportunity
The Vltava – the same river that flows through Prague, just to the north – is one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe, and there is another popular horseshoe bend in the river to the south at Solenice
The view from Vyhlidka Maj is sometimes called the Horseshoe Bend of Europe, after the famous Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River in Arizona
Where is Vyhlídka Máj?
Vyhlídka Máj is a 1 km (0.6 mile) walk from the hamlet of Teletín, 30 km south of Prague.
Getting to Vyhlídka Máj
There are two ways to get to Vyhlídka Máj – by car or by bus from Prague.
There is one drawback with driving to Vyhlidka Maj, and that is finding somewhere to park when it gets busy. I’ve photographed the small car park (above), which has enough space for a maximum of 15 cars. One of the local farmers sometimes opens up a meadow for overflow parking in the summer months. However if you turn up midweek in the low season there should be plenty of space for you.
The other option is travelling by bus. It used to be possible to travel directly from Prague to Vyhlídka Máj, but recent schedule alterations necessitate a change of buses at the village of Štěchovice, 15 minutes before the viewpoint. The superb idos.cz site has up-to-date transport information, and you can also download their app.
Travelling by bus to Vyhlídka Máj is nonetheless easy. A one-way adult fare is currently 60 CZK (2.5 euros), and you can buy a through ticket at the yellow machines at the Metro stations in Prague, which you validate as you board the bus – or you can buy a through ticket from the driver.
Buses to Vyhlidka Maj depart from Prague Smichov station (Praha Smíchovské nádraži). The 360 or 361 depart from stand D, which is just outside the main station entrance. The bus then heads south through the Prague suburbs before running alongside the river to Štěchovice. Alight there, and your connecting bus, the 438, to Benesov, awaits you a few metres away.
The 438 winds its way through the Bohemian countryside, eventually passing through the small village of Krňany. You’ll need to alight at the stop after the village, Krňany-Teletín. It’s a small hamlet of around 15 houses, but the stop, like all others, is announced in Czech and displayed on the screen at the front of the bus.
The Walk To Vyhlídka Máj
It’s a little over 1 km from the bus stop or car park in Teletín. Head north out of the village – back along the road from Štěchovice, where you’ll see the yellow ‘Vyhlidka’ sign. Then turn left onto a lane image above) just before a turn on the right.
Walk 50 metres along the lane, and take the left fork in the path, passing what is left of the barrier pictured, and start the gentle climb through the field towards the woods, around 500 metres ahead of you. When you reach the woods, take the left fork in the path to get to Vyhlídka Máj – the right fork leads to Vyhlídka Mařenka viewpoint (more on which below).
The path gradually climbs through the woodland, and after around 300 metres reaches the top of the Vyhlídka Máj viewing area. As the image above shows, the initial view is a little underwhelming. If you want to see the full river meander and get your shot, you’re going to have to make your way down a steep exposed rocky area to do so.
Is Vyhlidka Maj Safe?
My first reaction when I arrived at Vyhlídka Máj was relief that my 7-year-old son had decided to stay at home with Mama. There are no signs or safety railings at the site, just exposed steep rock. I got down and back up safely, and got my shots of the river bend. It is a breathtaking sight, and the best time to venture down there is in dry weather – if it’s raining, you’re taking a risk that I never would.
I would be wary about taking kids down there. My son has hiked terrain as varied as the Australian bush and several of the Czech ‘rock cities’, yet I’d be hesitant to take him down with me. The image of the view back up shows you what’s entailed.
One of the reasons for the increase in popularity of Vyhlídka Máj is social media, especially Instagram. It’s easy to see how an accident could happen at Vyhlídka Máj – someone perches themselves on the outermost rock, strikes a pose, loses balance – and they’re gone. It made me think of the accidents at the Figure 8 Pools in Australia, where several people have lost their lives for the sake of a cheesy photo. It just isn’t worth it.
Vyhlídka Mařenka And Vyhlídka Myšak – Two Viewpoints Near Vyhlídka Máj
There are two other viewpoints within a short walk of the Vyhlidka Maj Vltava lookout. You can reach them either by following the ridge (there isn’t a defined path, but you’ll be able to see places where people have walked) down through the woods. After around 300 metres you’ll reach a house- continue straight on here and you’ll reach a tiny cottage behind a wooden fence with a gate. You’ll finally see signs for them – Vyhlídka Mařenka is 50 metres away to your left, while Vyhlídka Myšak is through the gate, just past the cottage and a few metres down the hill.
You can also reach these viewpoints by backtracking to the end of the forest and taking the path on your left as you reach the field. This takes you on a gradual descent to the aforementioned house – turn right when you reach it and follow the directions as above.
Vyhlídka Mařenka arguably offers a better view than Vyhlídka Maj, an uninterrupted view of the Vltava river bend, albeit at a slight angle away from the apex of the bend. Again, there is an unguarded drop into the forest and gorge below, but this viewpoint is a great deal safer than Vyhlídka Máj, and you can stand back a few feet from the edge and get a great shot of the river.
Bear in mind that there is another Vyhlídka Mařenka in the Czech Republic, close to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Třebíč in Moravia.
Vyhlídka Myšak – the Mouse’s Viewpoint – isn’t as spectacular as the other two, but still offers a fine view over this splendid Czech Republic river.
Best time to Visit Vyhlídka Máj
Weekdays are the best time to travel to Vyhlídka Máj, as most usual visitors – from Prague and around – will be at work. It’s so much quieter during the week – I visited in November, and saw ten people in an hour and a half around the viewpoint.
I would also look to see Vyhlídka Máj in dry weather, given the rocky terrain and potentially dangerous conditions if you’re determined to climb down to get the best view of the river. Under no circumstances would I try scrambling down those rocks in the rain.
For Vyhlídka Máj photography, I’d look to head there towards late October for the autumn colours (but don’t leave it much later), or in late April and early May when the trees are a beautiful fresh green. If you want a daytime shot of it, the middle of the day is fine. In the longer days of summer it’s also possible to shoot a HDR sunset from there.
Onwards From Vyhlídka Máj – The Vltava River
The River Vltava is one of the two most famous Czech rivers, along with the Elbe, with which it meets at the lovely wine town of Mělník, 30 km (20 miles) to the north of Prague.
The Vltava – called the Moldau in German – is best known as the river that runs through Prague. Our article on the Vltava River in Prague details everything to see along the river in Prague, as well as here is ways of exploring it.
It rises in South Bohemia, flowing through the gorgeous medieval town of Český Krumlov and regional capital České Budějovice and nearby, romantic Hluboká Castle. It also passes Orlik Castle and Zvikov Castle before embarking on a long series of meanders, beginning at Solenice and continuing beyond Prague. Small wonder that it’s sometimes called the national Czech river. The Vltava river is one of the most beautiful rivers in Czech Republic – of that there is little doubt.
Vyhlídka Máj and Konopiště Castle From Prague Day Trip
If you start early enough, you can double up and do one of the less obvious, but most rewarding, day trips from Prague. The bus stop for Vyhlídka Máj is on the 438 route to Benesov u Prahy, and passes magnificent Konopiště Castle two stops before the end of the route. It’s just over half an hour from Teletin to the stop for the Castle, Benešov Konopiště, which is a request stop.
Konopiště is one of the best castles near Prague and indeed one of the most famous of all Czech castles, and is perhaps best known as the preferred residence of heir to the Habsburg Imperial throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand d’Este, whose assassination in June 1914 precipitated a series of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War a few weeks later.
You can catch another 438 bus the last 2.5 km into Benešov, or catch one of the tourist trains which run between May and September. Alternatively, it’s a pleasant countryside walk under a row of trees alongside a field most of the way to the station. Trains from Benešov to Prague are frequent, taking between 30 and 50 minutes – the Czech Railways website has up-to-date times.
Other Day Trips From Prague