Czech Republic Travel Guide

Destination-Guide-Czech-Rep.

Above: Prague

The Czech Republic sits in the center of Europe, with Germany to the west, Poland to the north, Slovakia to the east, and Austria to the south. It is said that the country has one foot in Western Europe, the other in the Slavic East.

While Prague is where the majority of tourists go, the regions of Bohemia and Moravia have many highlights worth exploring. Covering the western two-thirds of the Czech Republic, Bohemia has Renaissance breweries and hilltop ruins while, to the east, the region of Moravia is known for its vineyards (producing surprisingly good wines) and some beautiful – and much less-visited – towns and cities.

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Costs

Currency: Czech koruna (Kč). Approx 20 Koruna to the USD. My trick to calculating back to USD: drop the last number in the koruna figure, then divide by 2 (ex 100 koruna, drop the last 0, divide 10 by 2 = $5)

Accommodation: Hostels (www.czechhostels.com) start at around 270 Kč (approx. $14). Private rooms start at around 350Kč per person. Look for signs with the Czech word Pokoje (rooms) or the German Zimmer Frei (free rooms) or book through a local tourist office. Hotel rooms (see Trip Advisor or Booking.com) can be found starting at around $50.

Food and drink: Czechs drink more beer (pivo) per capita than anyone else in the world; not only is Czech beer considered the best in the world, it is cheap! (less than $2 for a 0.5 liter draught). Czech food often consists of pork, game, dumplings and cabbage but you’ll also find sandwich shops, pizzerias, and Chinese restaurants. Vegetarian food can be hard to find outside the larger cities. Approximate costs: Lunch for one in a pub: $6, lunch for one in a sandwich bar: $4, Dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant: $30.

Great post summarizing the cost of living in Prague.

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Map credit: Lonelyplanet.com

Czech republic

Places to see

Prague. A magical city of bridges, cathedrals, towers and church domes, it has over 10,000 years of history. Regarded as one of Europe’s most charming and beautiful cities, it is the most popular travel destination in Central Europe with millions of tourists visiting the city every year. Many of Prague’s most important attractions date to the 14th century when the city thrived under the rule of Charles IV. Almost undamaged by WWII, the city’s medieval center is a wonderful mix of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and churches – as well as one of the largest and oldest castles in the world. Highlights: Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, the Old Town (featuring many highlights including the Tyn Church and the Astronomical Clock), the historic Jewish Guetto and the Lesser Town under the shadows of the castle. Much more on Prague in the Czech Republic section of this blog.

Below: Prague 

views from charles bridge

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Day trips from Prague:

Karlštejn Castle. 30 km southwest of Prague, it is one of the most beautiful and visited castles in the Czech Republic (and the most popular day trip from Prague). It was completed in 1365 under the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. The area is also good for hiking: there is a picturesque 12 km hike from the castle to the Svatý Jan Pod Skalou monastery through the Bohemian Karst protected area (path meanders through forest, streams, and some hilly ground). Note that once at the monastery you have to hike another 8 km to Beroun to take the train back to Prague.

Below: Karlštejn Castle (photo credit: Wikipedia.com)

Karlštejn Castle

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Kutná Hora. Another popular day trip from Prague, this medieval city is famous for the bone church (Sedlec Ossuary – human bones hang from ceiling and a chandelier is made using every bone in the human body), the Cathedral of St. Barbara (one of the country’s most impressive cathedrals), and the Czech Silver Museum where you can tour medieval mine shafts (Silver made Kutná Hora prosperous in the 14th to 16th century).

More on beautiful Kutná Hora.

Below: views in Kutná Hora

walking around Kutna Hora, Czech Republic (3)

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Best of Bohemia

Český Krumlov. Very popular with tourists and for good reason – this small town features a spectacular castle (the 2nd largest in the Czech Republic), a beautiful old town built within a horseshoe bend of the river Vlatava, and some interesting museums. You can take a tour of the Graphite mine where you’ll get to wear a miner’s uniform and be transported underground by a miner train.

More on the incredible town of Český Krumlov.

Below: Český Krumlov (photo credit: ceskykrumlov.com)

looking up at the castle, Cesky Krumlov, czech republic

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České Budějovice. The largest town in Southern Bohemia with 94,000 inhabitants. České Budějovice has a several historical landmarks around its immense town square: St. Nicolas Cathedral, the Black Tower, Samson’s Fountain, and the yellow-colored Vcela Palace. The city is also home to the Budvar brewery, the home of the ‘real’ Budweiser beer (there have been many trademark disputes with the ‘Budweiser’ beer sold in North America). You can take a guided tour of the brewery and drink some beer. A nice city to stay but also an excellent place to use as a base to explore South Bohemian highlights including Český Krumlov (which can get overrun with tourists) and nearby Trebon.

Below: České Budějovice (photo credit: Wikipedia.com)

České_Budějovice, czech republic

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Plzeň. Another pretty Czech city, it is the birthplace of the Pilsener beer variety (which is derived from the city’s name). It has the second largest synagogue in Europe (3rd largest in the world after Jerusalem and Budapest), the Pilsen Urquell Brewery (take a beer tour) and the Pilsen Zoo (home to over a thousand species of animals in natural conditions without bars).

Below: Plzeň (photo credit: stories.czechtourism.com)

Plzen, czech republic

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Karlovy Vary. Fashionable town, the closest thing to a glam resort in Czech Republic – the town is especially popular with German and Russian tour groups. Sulphur baths, hiking, lots of cafes and restaurants on the riverside. Go up the Diana Lookout Tower for great views of the town and surroundings.

Below: Karlovy Vary (photo credit: Wikipedia.com)

Karlovy_Vary_Czech republic

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Best of Moravia

Telč. A small, sleepy town, it is the best preserved of all the Bohemian and Moravian Renaissance towns and the historical heart is a Unesco World Cultural Heritage site. Unique because of fish ponds built around the old town square.

Below: Telc (photo credit: panoramio.com)

telc, czech republic

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Brno. The 2nd largest city in the Czech Republic (pop 380,000) located in a beautiful natural environment between the South Moravian vineyards and the Moravian Karst (see more on this further below). The city has the 2nd largest historic preservation zone in the country (1st is Prague, 3rd is Olomouc) with a mixture of architectural styles. Things to see:  Three castles, the Brno Underground (a labyrinth of cellars including the 2nd biggest ossuary in Europe), the Catheral on Petrov Hill, the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, St. Jacob’s church, the Moravian museum. Brno is the cultural hub of Moravia as well as a university city.

Below: Brno

Brno, czech republic

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Olomouc. Lying on the Marava river and surrounded by the fertile Hana plain, Olomouc may be the undiscovered gem of the Czech Republic with its beautiful buildings, great culture, and unique restaurants, bars and pubs. It is quiet in the summer but livens up in September when 20,000 students converge on Palacky University, one of the largest and most prestigious universities in the country. The city has some of the most beautifully decorated churches in Central Europe (St. Michael’s church, St. Wenceslas Cathedral, St. Moritz church), a huge town hall (you can climb the tower), and many impressive monuments, fountains and parks. Close to Olomouc are other sights of interest including Bouzov castle, the Javoricko caves, Helfstyn castle, Kromeriz, and Litomysl.

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bohemian paradiseAbove: Bohemian Paradise Geopark (photo credit: czechtourism.com)

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Nature and Hikes

Visit the Bohemian Paradise Geopark in North Bohemia, a picturesque landscapes in the foothills of the Giant Mountains. This region was made the first Natural Protected Landscape Area in 1955 in the former Czechoslovakia and is revered for its many castles and chateaus built on a terrain of sandstone rocks. The town of Turnov is the closest to most of the castles and rock formations. More on this excellent postKrakonoš (the Giant Mountains); the highest mountains in the Czech Republic along the Polish border. The most popular Czech ski resorts are located in this area. North of Brno, in the Moravian Karst, is the Macocha Gorge, a 138m deep gorge. The Punkva River begins to run underground here through the Punkveni cave system. The whole area is a popular tourist attraction; in addition to caverns, the nature preserve also contains bicycle trails and hiking paths. Also; see the hike to the Svatý Jan Pod Skalou monastery above under Karlštejn Castle .

 

Feel free to comment with recommendations, tips, or your stories on the Czech Republic. I’m always looking to supplement/update the above and welcome all constructive feedback!
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Planning on going to the Czech Republic? If so check out my favorite affiliated companies. I book all my hotel stays with Booking.com (because you don’t have to pay upfront). I’m also a big fan of Lonely Planet’s guides because they have lots of detailed information that I can’t possibly cover on this page.  Book through the links below to get special discounts.

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Comments

  1. Soumi Halder says:

    Hi Frank and Lissette,
    I am back from my Czech Rep vacation . Such a pleasant trip it has been. During my preparation I referred to many blogs and of course yours too..which was really helpful … …Keep travelling..Keep writing

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you so much Soumi! So nice to hear, really appreciate. Comments like yours motivate us to write these posts :)

Thanks for reading! Feedback is always appreciated!

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