Written by local experts Adriana & Matěj
Adriana and Matěj Halouskovi are travel bloggers behind the successful blog Czech the World.
Matěj was born in Prague and has lived here his entire life and Adriana moved here 6 years ago.
We have traveled to more than 60 countries, but if we could tell you what place we know the most, it is our city.
Do you have more time for trips within the Czech Republic? Great! We would love to introduce a perfect outdoor day trip from Prague to Velká + Malá Amerika Limestone Quarries. The Velká Amerika quarry is often referred to as the Czech Grand Canyon and probably from there comes the name America 🙂
This trip is perfect for all nature and history lovers because you can also visit Karlštejn Castle on the way.
Nestled just a stone’s throw away from the bustling heart of Prague lies a natural wonder that many travelers might overlook. The Velká Amerika quarry is the largest of the quarries, with the Mexiko and Malá Amerika quarries also being well-known. This area has been a sought-after destination for tramps for many years and is a popular place for family trips, ranking among the most beautiful places in the Czech Republic. Especially, the yellow trail leading to Karlštejn Castle is popular.
1) Velká Amerika (Great America) Quarry
The Velká Amerika quarry is the first quarry you will reach if you arrive by car or bus to Mořina. It is a massive limestone quarry measuring about 800 meters in length and 200 meters in width. The depth of the Amerika quarry is up to 100 meters. At its bottom, there is a lake with beautifully clear water.
Access to the viewpoints at the edge of the quarry is mainly from the yellow tourist trail. The quarry can also be walked around from its other side. The most beautiful view is from its southwest end.
2) Malá Amerika (Little America) Quarry
The Malá Amerika quarry is the second limestone quarry with crystal clear water. The lake at its bottom is called Rešenské, and the water in it is so clean that even protected crayfish live there. Swimming and entry are prohibited, just like in Velká Amerika. In the walls of the quarry, you can observe large square holes – these are the former mining tunnels. The main collecting corridor of the 3rd mining team leads here. Currently, the tunnels are an important wintering site for bats.
3) Mexiko Quarry – Former Political Prisoners‘ Quarry
Tourists may know this quarry more by the name Mexiko. However, this quarry experienced the cruelties and inhumanities of the communist regime. Between 1949 and 1953, about 2,000 prisoners passed through it. Almost all ended up in a destitute state in the Pankrác hospital after a few weeks. Prisoners who survived this „Czech Mauthausen“ pooled their resources and erected a memorial at this penal quarry.
How to get to the Velká Amerika quarry? The Velká Amerika quarry is located just 21 km southwest of the center of Prague. You can easily get there by car, but also by public transport.
The quarries are located near the village of Mořina. For navigation, you can enter „Velká Amerika“ directly. From the center of Prague, the fastest way is via the D5 motorway, which you leave at exit 10 – Loděnice. From there, drive through Kozolupy to the quarries. If you come from another direction, simply head uphill from the village of Mořina towards Kozolupy/Bubovice. When arriving from Mořina, you will have the quarry on your left side.
You can park without problems directly at the Velká Amerika quarry. There are two larger parking lots, and parking is free. The yellow tourist trail also starts from here, leading you to other quarries.
You can easily reach Mořina by bus from Prague – Zličín, which stops in the village of Mořina. From the stop in Mořina, it’s a 1 km walk to the Amerika quarry following the yellow trail. Directly at the Velká Amerika quarry, bus no. 311 stops, which also departs from Prague – Zličín, but this line only stops here 1-3 times a day (stop Mořina, quarry branch). To find the best connection, we recommend IDOS.
The nearest railway station is Karlštejn. Trains on the route Prague – Karlštejn – Beroun run at regular half-hour intervals. You can download the train schedule in the app Můj vlak.
Between Karlštejn and the Amerika quarries, there’s a beautiful tourist trail. If you want to take a nice trip, we recommend arriving by bus to Mořina and starting the trip from Velká Amerika because buses don’t run as frequently as trains. If you choose the opposite approach, starting at Karlštejn, you might have to wait up to 2 hours in Mořina for a bus.
A popular walking trip leads from the village of Mořina, through the Velká Amerika, Mexiko, Kanada, and Malá Amerika quarries, all the way to Karlštejn Castle. The route is 6.5 km long and is well-marked by tourist signs. The route will take you about 2.5 hours, including photo stops. The starting point is in the village of Mořina. From there, the yellow trail leads you around the quarries to the Dub of Seven Brothers. From there, the red tourist trail leads to Karlštejn.
Alternatively, you can come by train to Karlštejn train station and make a loop/lollipop trip. We highly recommend downloading the best outdoor maps mapy.cz
Map with the hiking trail:
Around the Velká Amerika Quarry, there are beautiful viewpoints where you can take stunning photos. Direct access to the quarry is prohibited, making it challenging to get down there. The quarries are owned by the company Lomy Mořina spol. s.r.o., and if you violate the ban, you can be fined 15,000 CZK (650 USD). So, there’s no entrance fee or opening hours. The ban on entry is primarily for safety reasons.
However, if you still want to see the underground tunnels of the Velká Amerika quarry, there are two options:
a) Pre-arranged tunnel tours with the Hagen Association (OS Hagen)
Private tours and excursions into the underground tunnels are possible for groups of 10 or more, or by agreement. For more information, check out the association’s Facebook page or contact them directly at [email protected].
b) Annual „European Day of Protected Areas“ event
This event takes place just once a year, offering an educational trail, excursions, and passage through the tunnel from Dub Sedmi bratří to the Malá Amerika quarry. For current event details, follow the websites of the Protected Landscape Area of the Czech Karst (CHKO Český Kras).
Swimming in the Malá and Velká Amerika Quarries Swimming in the quarries is also prohibited. Violating this ban can result in a fine of 15,000 CZK (650 USD). Unfortunately, swimming cannot be arranged with the Hagen Association either.
For better orientation, we have prepared a detailed map with all the attractions of the Karlštejn area and the quarry region, which you can download to your phone. You can export the map and upload it to mobile apps like Maps.me or Locus Map.
Where to go next next?
Do you have a whole weekend or want to extend your trip to other interesting places nearby? Here are a few more tips for your next trip:
1) Karlštejn Castle
From the Velká Amerika quarry, it’s just 6.5 km to Karlštejn Castle via a nice hiking route. We have prepared a separate guide with information and interesting facts about the castle: Karlštejn Castle – practical tips for your trip.
2) Solvayovy Quarries
In the Solvay Quarry Open-Air Museum, you can find the original signaling equipment that, according to legend, could summon the ghost of Hans Hagen. The Solvay Quarry tour includes a mine train ride. The museum has 4 main exhibits:
- Limestone mining and transportation in the Bohemian Karst
- Geology and speleology
- Cable railways for freight
- Periodic machine workshop
The open-air museum is open from May to October. Entrance fees and opening hours can be found on the official website of the Solvay Quarries Museum.
3) Svatý Jan pod Skalou
Svatý Jan pod Skalou is a picturesque village, enchanted by the Saint John rock formation, which towers over the village up to 150 m. From this village, there’s a nice educational trail (4.5 km long) leading to the Solvay Quarries. Under the Saint John rock, we find the church of St. John the Baptist, connected to the cave of Saint Ivan. Nearby is also a Benedictine monastery.
The Baroque Church of St. John the Baptist is accessible from April to October on weekends (between 10 am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 5 pm) and during the summer holidays every day except Monday.
4) Koněpruské Caves
If you’re a cave lover, you shouldn’t miss the Koněpruské Caves, especially if you’ve come by car or are staying in the area for longer. The caves are located about 5 km from Beroun and form the longest cave system in Bohemia. The cave system spreads in Devonian limestone over three floors. The place was discovered in 1950 during blasting in the local quarry. In the past, there was a coin minting workshop and 13,000-year-old human bones were found.
The basic entrance fee is 210 CZK. They are accessible every day from April to October.
The nearest accommodation near the quarries can be found in Karlštejn.
Karlštejn Castle’s surroundings offer several accommodation options. The most popular and highest-rated is the Hotel Karlštejn with a pool, sauna, and a beautiful view of the castle. Other favorites include the Romantický Hotel Mlýn Karlštejn, located by the Berounka River. Apartmány Karlštejn offer favorable prices.
For many years, the quarries and their surroundings have been popular among tramps. According to Czech laws, „sleeping“ in nature is allowed, but camping in a tent is not. So, if you’re tempted to sleep outdoors or in a hammock nearby, it shouldn’t be a problem. You can read more about wild camping in Czechia here. If you’re looking for a place for a tent, we recommend campsites near Karlštejn.
The nearest campsite is Autokemp Karlštejn near Karlštejn in a beautiful location on the banks of the Berounka River.
Remember to bring enough water and some snacks. You can eat in Mořina at the „Hostinec na růžku“ or in Karlštejn, where you will find many different restaurants in the castle surroundings.
Our day trip to the Velká Amerika quarries showed us that you don’t need to go far from Prague to have an amazing adventure. Walking around the quarries, snapping a few memorable photos, and enjoying the peace away from the city hustle – Velká Amerika delivered it all. Heading back to Prague, it’s clear we’ll be returning here again.
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