Where to go in Czechia
Czechia, also known as the Czech Republic, is a spectacular Central European country overflowing with charm while boasting numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than 2,000 castles, storybook-like medieval architecture, stunning natural wonder, and more affordable prices as compared to its Western counterparts. The country is known for its beer but it also offers tasty Moravian wines, produced in the southern region. While its capital city of Prague is the most popular destination, visitors will find plenty beyond with a diverse array of places to visit far beyond the capital.
The “city of a hundred spires,” Prague is one of the hottest travel destinations in Europe. It’s built on nine hills along the Vltava River, the very river that inspired one of the most beautiful pieces of 19th-century classical music, Czech composer Smetana’s Moldau symphony. Visitors come from across the globe to stroll the Old Town’s narrow cobbled streets and marvel at the gothic architecture. Walk across the romantic 14th-century stone bridge, explore hilltop Prague Castle, and enjoy lush riverside parks, lined with bars and cafes. It all comes together to create a fairytale scene. When it’s time to relax, there are many cozy pubs and beer gardens where you can enjoy some of the world’s best brews. For those looking for a lively scene after dark, there are plenty of buzzing nightclubs and cellar bars with live music.
An easy day trip from Prague, Český Krumlov is a medieval town often named among Europe’s most picturesque. Looking as if it stepped out of a fairytale with a 13th-century castle, pretty bridges, and narrow cobbled streets, it has managed to stay untouched by war and even time itself with its heritage well-preserved. A walled city, you’ll see many exquisite buildings beyond the castle, from the 15th-century Church of Vitus to the ancient Minorite Monastery with its impressive early Baroque facade. You can learn more about what you’re seeing by visiting the Castle Museum and the Regional Museum of National History. There’s plenty of nature and outdoor adventure to enjoy too, including trails to hike on nearby Mount Klet and the River Vltava, a top spot for kayaking, canoeing, and rafting, with rentals available.
Czechia is renowned for its spa towns, attracting travelers from all corners of the globe for centuries. Karlovy Vary is one of the most popular, with the town and its castle founded in the mid-13th century along the Vltava River. It’s home to many hot springs that are believed to offer restorative properties, with spas and wellness centers taking advantage of the soothing waters for curative baths and other treatments. In fact, it was once a retreat for royals including the Russian tsars and other elite meeting in the bathhouses and spas. The colorful neo-Renaissance and neo-Baroque buildings give the town a unique look architecturally while the grand and historic Hotel Pupp was the filming location for the 2006 Bond movie, Casino Royale.
Brno is Czechia’s second-largest city, offering a laid-back small-town feel but with plenty to see and do. There are tens of thousands of university students, resulting in a lively cafe scene that can even rival what you’ll find in the capital, along with countless clubs for fun after dark. Numerous historical attractions can be explored too, like the 13th-century hilltop Spilberk Castle, once the seat of the King of the Holy Roman Empire, and the 11th-century Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. While Villa Tugendhat, dating from 1929 is considered one of the earliest and best examples of modernest architecture in Europe. So much so that it’s one of only a handful of 20th-century buildings inscribed in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.
Whether you’re a lover of good brews, a history enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, a nature lover, or perhaps all of the above, Czechia offers a rich tapestry of delights to discover. With a long list of diverse destinations, you can embark on your own personalized journey based on what interests you most. The most difficult decision isn’t whether to go, but narrowing it all down to fit your itinerary.
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