The Czech Republic never ranked high on my bucket list. It was only after receiving multitudinous invitations from my Czech friends that I finally started looking at flights to Prague
Five months later I showed up at Prague airport with a heavy backpack and a long list of things to do and see in the capital. So when my Czech hosts asked me what other places were on my itinerary, I could only stare at them blankly before sheepishly admitting that I hadn’t planned to go anywhere else besides Prague.
Over the next half an hour and my first pint of Pilsner, I was introduced to some of the most beautiful places in the Bohemian region. However, I was only in Czech Republic for six full days, two of which I planned to spend in Prague, but my friends seemed rather certain that time wouldn’t be an issue. And they were right.
We covered a lot of miles in four days, travelling across Bohemia to explore Medieval villages, drink healing water in a world-famous spa town, and climb one of the most prominent mountains in the country. Every place we went to exceeded my expectations, and the Czech Republic quickly earned a place among my top 3 favourite countries.
If you’re looking to get out of Prague for a few days and explore the rest of the country, the following places will leave you wishing you had planned a longer trip to this magical land.
1. Trosky Castle
Perched high on steep crags of volcanic rock, the ruins of Trosky Castle in the Liberec region are an icon of Bohemian Paradise (the first nature reserve in the Czech Republic).
The two towers of Trosky Castle, known as Baba (Old Woman) and Panna (Virgin), can be spotted from miles away and are both accessible – although the castle was difficult to conquer in the past.
Trosky Castle is open from April till October at an admission fee of 70,00 CZK. Once you’ve taken in the staggering views from both towers, you can treat yourself to more stunning scenes by walking the Bohemian Paradise Gold Trail.
2. Ješted Tower in Liberec
Fancy spending a couple of nights in a conic transmission tower?
Standing on the highest peak of the Ješted-Kozákov Ridge at 1, 012m is a 94 metre-tall television transmitter and hotel. It’s a steep walk to the top, but once you get there it certainly feels like the whole of Bohemia is at your feet. You can even see as far as Germany and Poland on a clear day.
This futuristic tower was built in the late 1960s and has since remained the most popular modern building in the Czech Republic. It is accessible by road and cable car, but I highly recommend taking a walk through the forest if you’re there in the summer months.
There is also ski resort on the mountain, which operates from early December until April.
Want to treat yourself or your significant other to a special night? Book a room at Hotel Jested
and spend a day or two taking in the stunning views.
3. Kutná Hora
Once known for its silver mines, Kutná Hora is now famous for hosting one of the finest Gothic churches in Europe, St. Barbara’s Cathedral. On the edge of town sits another popular attraction, the Sedlec Ossuary, better known as the Chapel of Bones.
Kutná Hora is still worth a visit if you’re not really interested in the remains of 30,000 people. Take a walk through the city’s quaint cobbled streets and along the colourful facades of Renaissance buildings, stopping for a hearty meal at a traditional Czech pub – we had ours at Dacický Restaurant
and it was absolutely divine.
4. Karlovy Vary
Brightly-painted hotels and restaurants line both sides of the River Teplá in the elegant town of Karlovy Vary. The biggest and oldest spa town in Bohemia, Karlovy Vary is home to 15 fountains that dispense hot mineral water. The traditional spa treatment in Karlovy Vary is based on the healing properties of the water, which is believed to cure metabolic disorders and digestive tract diseases.
Many visitors take the cure walk from spring to spring, sipping the hot, mineralised waters from a porcelain mug. You risk burning your tongue a few times, and the water leaves an unpleasant rusty taste in your mouth, but once you’ve sampled each spring you can reward yourself with some chocolate spa wafers.
5. Ceský Krumlov
If you’ve only got time to visit one other place in Czech Republic besides Prague, it should be Ceský Krumlov
. Steeped in rich history, Ceský Krumlov boasts the second largest castle complex in the country after Prague and one of the oldest Baroque theatres in Europe.
You can easily spend a whole day exploring this charming town and marvelling at its stunning architectural heritage. There are plenty of artisan and eccentric shops around, and you can also go on a canoe trip on the Vltava River whilst you’re there.
Planning to spend a few days in Cesky Krumlov? Book a room in one of the many gorgeous guesthouses in the old town, such as Penzion Gardena
6. Hluboká Castle
This architectural jewel in South Bohemia is often described as the most beautiful castle in Czech Republic. Situated in the small town of Hluboká nad Vltavou, just half an hour away from Ceský Krumlov, this Tudor-style chateau has 140 rooms, all splendidly furnished and decorated.
Just like most other places in Bohemia, Hluboká Castle looks like it was lifted straight out of a fairy tale.
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