Czech Republic Travel 2017-08-18T13:28:37+00:00

Czech Republic Travel, Europe

prague, charles bridge in early morning, czech republic

Prague town centre, Czech Republic, Europe

Why Czech Republic Travel

With  its location at the crossroads of Europe the Czech Republic offers a fascinating mix of tempestuous history and varied, colourful culture.
It has many spectacular buildings and monuments scattered around the country and more than ten places – including some entire towns, Prague for instance – have been listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
Prague, the capital, is one of the Europe’s most visited cities but the rest of the country is still well off the regular tourist route so its unspoiled nature is a great asset for outdoor activities.
The Czech Republic is relatively safe, good value, has excellent transport, superb sights and both outdoor and indoor activities in good supply.

Downsides

Prague crowds, Czech Republic, Europe

Prague summertime tourist overload at Kafka’s house.

– Crowds in Prague, especially in July/August, are barely tolerable.
– The country is not a party place, other the wild and stag-ridden Prague.
– Service people are not, generally, brimming over with the milk of human kindness which you can understand with their beautiful places overcome by vast herds of tourists.

Weather

Best season: May – September but check Prague weather
Worst: November – March when many sights are closed, except in Prague. Winter months, however can be fun in Prague if you don’t mind offsetting the cold with a wee glass of something warming on a regular basis.
Avoid July- August in Prague if possible, it’s screamingly crowded.
OK: April, October.

Length of stay?

Minimum worthwhile stay, not incl. flights: Prague only or including a quick whizz around the Bohemian states – 3 days
Recommended: Prague & nearby towns/Bohemian Spas – 7 days.

Czech Republic Main Attractions

Bohemia (the west)

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic, Europe

A doorknob at Hluboka Castle. Nice birdie. Photo by Etrielle.

One of the world’s most photogenic cities, a lively, living museum of 900 years of central European culture, with an superb mix of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings. See Prague pictures.

***Kutna Hora

A small version of Prague, with the finest Gothic masterpiece in Europe, Santa Barbora (Barbara) Cathedral – even more spectacular than St Vitus. 1 hour train ride from Prague.

***Cesky Krumlov

View over Cesky Krumlov, Bohemia, Czech Republic, Europe

View over Cesky Krumlov, Bohemia

One of the Europe’s prettiest medieval towns, with streets lined with fairly-tale buildings. A UNESCO World Heritage site. Better to take a bus, 1 hour from Prague. (The train is slower. )

One of Czech’s famous trio of Bohemian spas, this is the oldest, largest and the most popular, though overrun with tour groups.
Known for its therapeutic mineral waters since the 19th century, many historic celebrities have benefited from it including Beethoven, Bismarck, Karl Marx, Chopin and many more. The perfect place for winding down after intensive sightseeing in Prague.

**Krivoklat (Krivoklatsko)

A small medieval town free from tour groups, with an imposing Krivoklat Castle. It’s worth a trip by train along the Berounka Valley through the Bohemian forests – a UNESCO ‘biosphere preservation’ area.
There is a 18 km walk along the valley. 27 miles west of Prague.

*Tabor

An historic town formerly anti-Catholic, Tabor has well-preserved Gothic and Renaissance architecture along beautiful winding streets.
The word ‘Bohemian’ came from its excessive nonconformism.

Czech Republic, Hluboka nad Vltavou castle castle

Hluboka castle, near Ceske Budejovice. Photo by Czcharlie.

Moravia (the east)

** Moravske Slovacko (South Moravia)

One of the richest regions of central Europe for genuine, undiluted folk traditions – and a lovely place to boot.
The area is an open air museum of local arts and culture in typical villages, including colourful architecture, costumes, cuisine, folk music and dance.
Try to go Straznice for its annual folk festival.
The local wine (especially white) is said to be the best in the country, though not suited to the Bugbog palate.

** Moravsky Kras (Moravian Karst)

One of the most scenic area of densely forested hills, sliced by gorges and with hundreds of caves, including some of the most spectacular – Punkevni and Macocha Abyss.
A boat trip on the underground river is a popular way to explore these caves.

**Telc

Another UNESCO World Heritage site, is the most picturesque town in the country, with a gorgeous town square and a glorious Renaissance Castle. Founded in the 13th century, it hasn’t changed much since. It’s a 2. 5 hour bus ride from the capital.

Activities

Walking

Walking and Hiking: Nature in the Czech Republic is still unsullied and its gentle hills, low mountains, wild woodlands, lakes and canyons are great for hikes. Pretty much everywhere is walkable, but the Sumava National Park in southwest Bohemia and the Krkonose National Park in northern Bohemia are ideal areas. Both area are on the list of UNESCO Biosphere Reservations.

Bohemian Spas

Karlovy Vary, a spa town with mineral rich waters, Czech Republic, Europe

Karlovy Vary, a spa town with mineral rich waters. Photo by Bobak HaEri.

Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne are best for spa culture, including architecture.
Alternatively try Frantiskovy Lazne, known for healing heart and vascular diseases, gynecological diseases and infertility.
Or there’s Jachymov for rheumatism and disorders of the nervous system and the metabolism.

Climbing

The Sandstone Rocks of Labe in northern Bohemia are ideal.

Caving

There are about 12 areas of caves in the Czech Republic, connected by underground rivers. Try Punkevni and Macocha Abyss in the Moravian Kras area north of Brno, or near Olomouc.

Skiing

Downhill skiing (January – early April) is cheaper than the rest of Europe, though facilities are a few years behind the norm. The Krkonose (Giant Mountains) bordering to Poland are the best-known ski resorts and among the best and largest is Spindleruv mlyn, or Klinovec in the Krusne Hory mountains, bordering to Germany. Try Sumava, Liberac or Novo Mest for cross country skiing.

Nightlife

There are plenty of things to see and do in Prague and nights can be wild if you choose but the rest of the country is very quiet.

May- June: Prague Spring International Music Festival, classical music concerts in various venues; this is one of Europe’s best musical events, a must-see.
June: The Straznice folklore festival. The best-known and the biggest feast of folk tradition, with music and dance.
July: International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary.
Sept: Mozart Festival, appropriate music played in the gorgeous Bertramka Villa often visited by the the Wolfgangman himself.

Basics

Visas:
EU citizens and nationals of USA, Japan and New Zealand do not need visas for visits up to 90 days.

Electricity:
Czech Republic electric sockets are mostly 220v and take 2 round pin plugs.

Safety:
Violent crime is rare, but pickpockets and bag snatchers may take advantage of carelessness in cities.

Language:
Czech is not easy to pick up, but do learn a few words. . . your effort will be appreciated by locals. Otherwise you might try German since it is the most widely-spoken alternative language.

Eating

Food:
Chunky soup followed by meat (pork or beef) in a sauce served with dumplings, potatoes or rice is a heavy but essential part of old Czech cuisine. It’s available in many pubs.
Beer (pivo): Pilsner is the most popular local brew, but Budvar – the original and tastier Budweiser – is Bugbog’s choice!
Many pub/restaurants in Prague now serve dishes excluding dead animals. There are plenty of good pizzerias, too.

Currency:
Czech Republic currency is not the euro, even if they are in the European Union. It’s the Czech crown, also known as the koruna, Kc or CZk. However, the euro is accepted in some stores. The koruna is divided into 100 hellers.

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