Planning a trip to Europe? Travelling by rail? Here’s everything you need to know about taking the train from Berlin to Prague. The thrill of a train trip in Europe The train station restaurant was so crowded I had to share a table with a young Englishman. “Where are you going?” he asked. “Berlin,” […]
Things to do in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a wonderful country to travel to and an easy introduction to Central and Eastern Europe. It has great architecture (did you know Prague is one of the few major cities that made it through WWII without getting bombed?), and a fascinating history from its days as part of the Hapsburg Empire to the Velvet Revolution when it broke with Communism in 1989.
Add to that atmospheric castles, unspoiled towns, natural beauty and a certain majestic elegance, especially in the spa towns of Bohemia, and you've got yourself a full itinerary that can include adventure travel, historical tours, spa vacations, beer and a lot of pleasant ambling around. To help you organize your trip here are some of the top things to do in the Czech Republic.
Things to do in the Czech Republic - Visit Prague
Prague is the top stop in the Czech Republic and for good reason. With the mighty Prague Castle lording over the city, the statue-lined Charles Bridge, the famous Astronomical Clock and endless cobblestone streets to wander through, it's almost impossible to run out of things to see. Nonetheless, the Czech Republic has plenty of other less-travelled tourist attractions and it's worth at least doing a few day trips.
Enjoy a bone-chilling experience in Kutna Hora
Known as the Silver City, Kutna Hora's wealth came from its silver mines and its city centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. While you don't want to miss its impressive cathedrals, the Cathedral of St. Barbara, dedicated to the patron saint of miners, and the light-filled Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, one of the most popular attractions in the Czech Republic - and one of the most macabre - is the Sedlec Ossuary, or Bone Church, where the bones and skulls of some 70,000 skeletons (many from plague victims or casualties of war), have been fashioned into a strangely-striking masterpiece of skull chandeliers, chalices and candelabras.
Taste the mineral-rich spring water of the Bohemia Spa Triangle
Near the German border, in the region of Bohemia, are the three famous spa towns of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) and the smaller Frantiskovy Lazne (Franzensbad). During their Golden Age these stunning spa towns were part of the Bohemia Province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the wind of the past is still very much in evidence today, with their graceful colonnades, beautifully laid-out parks and numerous fountains, where spa go-ers
Sample a Pilsner in Plzen
The Czech Republic is known for its beer and sometimes it's even cheaper than a bottle of water. One of the most memorable things to do in the Czech Republic is to delve into heart of this golden brew at the Plzeňský Prazdroj Brewery (Pilsner Urquell Brewery) in the town of Plzen. Explore the 10-km long cellar tunnels, once used to store beer, try a golden-hued Pilsner, then visit the Brewery Museum set in the Plzen's original brewing-house.
The Ohre River
Go rafting in Loket
The picturesque town of Loket makes a great day trip from Karlovy Vary. A popular backdrop for film sets, Loket has an impressive castle, a pastel-hued medieval town centre and sits high above the Ohre River, a romantic river that appeals to outdoor addicts who rent can rafts to float downstream from Loket to Karlovy Vary, a scenic 15-km ride that takes about 4 hours.
Step into the medieval past in Cesky Krumlov
A Renaissance beauty, this well-preserved town is firmly established on the tourist trail of the Czech Republic and popular as a day trip from Prague. Things to do in Cesky Krumlov include visiting the castle, exploring the medieval town centre with its 18th-century Plague Column and hiking up to the Chapel on the Mountain of the Cross.
Visit a Baroque library - or two
The Strahov Library in the 12th-century Strahov Monastery in Prague is the most famous - and largest - Baroque library in the Czech Republic. It's one of the oldest libraries in Europe and is a cultural attraction well worth visiting. Both it's Philosophical Library and Theological Library house thousands of rare manuscripts within ornate Baroque settings, including the rare and exquisite 9th-century Strahov Gospel. Equally beautiful (personally, I think it's even more beautiful), is the Baroque library in the Tepla Monastery near Marianske Lazne.
For more ideas on things to do in the Czech Republic, scroll down to read some of my Czech Republic travel blog posts.
Tepla Monastery makes an intriguing day trip from Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne or even Prague. Located in the Czech province of Bohemia, this ancient monastery has a 12th-century church, a famous Neo-Baroque library and a heart-breaking past. Tepla Monastery: a day trip from Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne or Prague As the formidable female guide at […]
With its elegant Neoclassical architecture and graceful colonnades, the Czech spa town of Marianske Lazne, or Marienbad, is one of the most appealing spa towns in Europe. If you’re going to spend one day in Marianske Lazne, here are the top things to do. A historical Czech spa town Ever since my first visit to Marianske Lazne, when I discovered the […]
If you’re looking for things to do in Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad, search no further. An elegant spa town in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary has a rich history, steaming mineral springs, woodsy walking trails and plenty of upscale shops, cafes and spas. Spending one day in Karlovy Vary is a great addition to […]
With thick forest and scenic hills surrounding the spa town of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, it’s no surprise that hiking and strolling are two of the town’s top activities. There are many Karlovy Vary walks , but one of the most popular is to the Diana Lookout Tower and to Jeleni Skok, the Deer […]
Icon or eyesore? The towering Spa Hotel Thermal in the glamorous Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary stands out, but what many people don’t know about is its fascinating past. Here’s a review of the Spa Hotel Thermal and two other landmark hotels, the Hotel Imperial and the Grandhotel Pupp. Karlovy Vary Spa Hotel Thermal Glancing out the windows […]
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a spa vacation in a Czech spa town? I did a week-long spa package at the historic Hotel Nove Lazne, and found that there’s no better way to learn about European spa culture, improve your health and eliminate stress. I’m passing on what I learned to […]
The oh-so-pretty town of Loket in the Czech Republic makes a great day trip from Karlovy Vary, or even from Prague. With a 12th-century castle, medieval town centre and dramatic natural setting, it’s a movie location dream. If you want to spend one day in Loket, read on to learn about its top attractions. Who knows? You might run […]
Beer goggles makes you look beautiful – it’s now a scientific fact. But did you know that beer spas make you beautiful, too? Yes, beer spas are a worldwide phenomenon. And so is beer drinking, but you knew that one already. The mystery of beer goggles solved The drunker you get, the hotter everyone else […]