Prague is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central Europe. It is a frontier of the modern West and the former Iron Curtain, hiding such beauty and elegance that you will be amazed. Prague has a bit of everything: historical monuments, admirable architecture, as well as vast gardens and parks. Find what you like in Prague!
Beautiful architecture is one of the main Prague symbols. Charles Bridge, a dominant soaring above the Vltava River. Old Town Square with the best preserved astronomical clock in the world. The monumental Prague Castle, an old seat of Bohemian monarchs, more than a thousand years old. St. Vitus Cathedral with its elaborate stained-glass windows and strong spiritual atmosphere. Or the Dancing House on the bank of the Vltava River, one of the first expressions of modern architecture in the post-socialistic Czech Republic. If you already know these popular places, it is time to get deeper into the Prague corners. Plan a stroll through the Vinohrady Quarter, which combines historicist villas, functionalism and cubism. Have a rest in the gardens of Prague Castle, or plan a picnic under the bronze rider in Vítkov. There is a lot to see in Prague!
Tips for Trips around Prague
An hour by car from Prague is Karlštejn, one of the most frequented castles in the Czech Republic. Nearby, you can visit the monumental limestone quarries called Amerika. There is also a beautiful chateau in Průhonice, where you can reach by car in 20 minutes.
Karlovy Vary: Jewel of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle
The incarnation of spa elegance, imposing colonnades, exclusive spa buildings and a wonderful layout in the heart of a forested valley. That is Karlovy Vary. The best known town in the world renowned West Bohemian Spa Triangle, in which some of the most famous figures in European artistic and cultural life have enjoyed treatment, is today the second most visited spot in the Czech Republic. Thanks to its unique architecture, it is one of Europe’s most beautiful spas.
Legend has it that Karlovy Vary was founded by the Czech king and holy Roman emperor Charles IV in the 14th century. It is said that the ruler discovered a unique spring here while out hunting deer. Over the centuries a spa town has developed here whose fame has surpassed the borders of Bohemia, with Karlovy Vary becoming synonymous with charm and social standing. It has welcomed such figures as Goethe, Beethoven, Gogol, Paganini, Casanova, and Mozart, along with dozens of heads of state, while in recent times it has hosted many movie stars thanks to its film festival, which is one of Europe’s most important.
Discover the Healing Power of Thermal Springs
The most well-known hotels include the Grandhotel Pupp which enchants not only with its unique architecture, but also with its unrivalled comfort and first-class services, neo-renaissance Hotel Imperial, spa complex Spa Resort Sanssouci, five-star Carlsbad Plaza Medical Spa & Wellness Hotel or the Hotel Thermal, which hosts the world-famous Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Where to next?
Would you like to see one of the most important treasures of the Czech Republic with your own eyes? If so, you should visit Bečov nad Teplou, whose chateau is home to the wonderful St. Maurus Reliquary, one of the most beautiful examples of medieval art in Europe. Another great destination for a trip is the small fairytale town of Loket, which boasts a lovely historical centre and a magnificent Gothic castle. A torture instruments exhibition and a porcelain display can be seen here.
Elegant townhouses gathered around one of the largest squares in Europe, an idyllic salt store and a brewery cooking up the original Budvar beer – this is České Budějovice, the capital of South Bohemia. This city has preserved its historical character over the centuries but is also a modern regional centre. So come and savour the city’s pleasant atmosphere with a tankard of our world famous beer.
České Budějovice was founded in the mid-13th century as a royal city. Thanks to its strategic position straddling the ancient salt trading route between Prague and Linz, later replaced by Europe’s first horse-drawn railway, the city grew gradually richer and richer and developed into an important settlement. Despite frequent wars and fires in the Middle Ages, a large number of historical sites have survived and these can be admired by today’s visitors.
A textbook square
In the centre of České Budějovice you’ll find the city’s pride and joy – a square piazza named after King Přemysl Otakar II. One of the largest squares in Europe, it’s exactly a hectare in size and has become an integral part of every Czech mathematics textbook. The square is hemmed by exquisite Baroque arcaded houses, and the grand building of the town hall, one of the country’s most attractive, also graces its cobbles. Take a break by the Samson Fountain in the middle which sports some wonderful sculptural decoration. On a walk through the city centre be sure to visit the Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the city’s famous salt store.
Watch out for the skeleton!
If you’re fit enough, be sure to climb to the top of the Black Tower. This symbol of the city was built to show how rich České Budějovice had become, and is steeped in myths and legends. One of these relates how a skeleton would sit astride the Bumerin bell, ringing it to mark deaths as the tower keeper was too lazy to climb the tower when he was supposed to. Today it’s said that only children can see the skeleton.
Take in the aroma and the Baroque beauty of Olomouc!
Olomouc has always been one of the most important cities in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Thanks to its advantageous position, ancient university, spiritual and cultural traditions, it has been the natural centre of Moravia for many centuries. The historical heart of Olomouc, which is dominated by the Holy Trinity Column, which is included in the UNESCO list, is the second most important monument zone in the Czech Republic after Prague. You should certainly also try the local speciality – the famous Olomouc tvarůžky, cheeses legendary for their distinctive flavour and aroma.
Treasures of the past
The most important monument in Olomouc is the Holy Trinity Column standing in the central square. It represents the largest group of Baroque statues in one structure in Central Europe. You can gain a panoramic view of the column from the nearby Town Hall Tower. You can also enjoy its remarkable beauty whilst sitting in one of the cafes here. Apart from the many historical buildings, another interesting point about Olomouc is the astronomical clock, designed in the spirit of Socialist Realism. You can also discover the wealth of history here whilst taking a tour of the Olomouc Fortress, which was designed to stave off attacks by the enraged Prussian army thanks to its massive ramparts and extensive barracks.
Where else to set out for?
A rest from the ostentation of the buildings in Olomouc is provided by the beautiful countryside of the Jeseníky Mountains. This picturesque mountain range is the ideal destination for an active holiday. Another historical gem to be found in Moravia is the city of Kroměříž, which thanks to its chateau and gardens has found its way onto the UNESCO list.
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem: the city opens up before you
Ústí nad Labem offers many surprises. Above the Elbe River, the ruins of Střekov Castle tower majestically. Another significant monument is the Gothic Revival Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
To get to the Větruše Chateau, which has a restaurant with a garden, you can take a really unusual means of transport: A 330-metre cableway leads there from the Forum shopping centre. Put into operation in 2010, it offers an exceptional ride with wonderful views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Also of interest is the Mariánský Bridge, built in 1998 and ranked by the renowned journal Structural Engineering International as one of the world’s ten most beautiful structures of the 1990s.
Discover Liberec – a city with a high IQ!
In the shadow of a world-known hotel and in the embrace of the Jizera Mountains lies a city which probably could not have chosen a more beautiful location. The North Bohemian city of Liberec is an ideal place to spend your holidays in any season, offering inexhaustible opportunities to enjoy active movement, expand your mind, or just relax. Come see for yourself all that the city below Ještěd has to offer!
Liberec is a city with a long and glorious history. It enjoyed its greatest prosperity in the 18th century, when it became the largest manufacturing city in the Kingdom of Bohemia and ranked in importance just beneath Prague. Due to its largely German population, after the Munich Agreement it became the main metropolis of the Sudetenland. Today, it is above all a lively city and a great starting point for day trips to the beautiful Jizera Mountains and their observation towers, or in the winter to its popular ski resorts with downhill slopes and tens of kilometres of groomed cross-country trails.
A city hall or a cathedral?
In Liberec, there are so many choices it is hard to decide what to do first. Most visitors start their tour of the city on the main square. The first sight that catches your eye is the majestic silhouette and slender towers of the Liberec City Hall, whose appearance is reminiscent of a Gothic cathedral. Do you get the sense that you have seen it somewhere before? Perhaps in Vienna, because that is where her more famous sister is located. Just a few steps from here, you can imagine yourself for a while in the midst of a fairytale as you stroll past the Valdštejn (Wallenstein) houses, a set of beautiful half-timbered structures from the 17th century.
Envelop yourself in a bubble!
Do not forget about the local museums! At the Regional Gallery, in addition to top works by French, Dutch and Flemish masters you can also admire distinctive works of Czech Cubism and Impressionism. The most beautiful museum in Liberec, however, is the spectacular North Bohemian Museum, located in a stunning Neo-Renaissance building. In addition to expositions about the local landscape and history, you will also see an exhibition of glass and costume jewellery that includes such treasures as a unique Cubist tea set. Do you prefer more interactive exhibitions? Then do not miss the IQ Park! Here you can try walking in a rotating cylinder or in a disconcertingly angled room, create a sculptural impression of your body, or envelop yourself in a giant soap bubble!
White tigers – only in Liberec
Do you feel nature beckoning? Would you like to walk amongst some white tigers? The Liberec Zoo is the only place in the Czech Republic where you can see these beautiful creatures! Do not miss the other popular zoo residents such as the elephants, pumas, chimpanzees and birds of prey, whose breeding programme is the biggest one in Europe!