Known for its elaborate architecture and its magical atmosphere, a href="https://vacationidea.com/destinations/best-things-to-do-in-prague.html" target="_blank">Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and it's a must-see while you're in the Czech Republic. However, the rest of the country is worth seeing as well, and there are all sorts of wonderful spots within driving distance of the city. Relax in the thermal springs at one of the historic spa towns, take a bike tour of the vineyards in the South Moravia Wine Region, or take a day to explore the magnificent palace complex of Lednice-Valtice. If you like to hike, head to the beautiful Bohemian Switzerland.
Sometimes also referred to as Czech Switzerland, Bohemian Switzerland is a spectacular national park known for its fairytale scenery and its resemblance to the Swiss countryside. The area is a true hiker's paradise; visitors can stroll alongside the river in the moss-covered Gorges of Kamenice, explore the majestic sandstone formations along Gabriela’s Trail, and climb up to the ruined old Castle Saunstejn that overlooks the countryside below. No matter how you choose to spend your day, make sure to leave some time to stop by the Pravcicka Gate, a massive sandstone arch that soars 52 feet high.
Czechia, Phone: +42-04-12-35-40-50
Tucked away in the country's gorgeous South Moravian Region, Brno is an artsy, historic city known for its majestic 19th-century modernist buildings and its many cozy cafes. The city's walkable downtown core is the perfect place to begin your visit; many of the biggest and best attractions are located here, including the beautiful Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the 13th-century Špilberk Castle, and the Governor’s Palace, which houses a wonderful collection of art. If you'd like to learn a bit about the city's more macabre side, you can also visit the St. James Church Ossuary, which houses a large collection of bones.
Although it doesn't have as many major attractions as Prague and some other Czech cities, Ceske Budejovice is the perfect place to escape the tourist trail and get an authentic taste of Czech culture. The centerpiece of the city is its spacious main square, which is lined with gorgeous Baroque and Renaissance buildings that contain shops and restaurants, but you can easily spend an hour or two exploring the narrow streets that make up the rest of the historical center as well. If you love beer, you also need to tour the local brewery, which is famously home to the original Budweiser lager.
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Situated in the south of the country not far from Ceske Budejovice, Cesky Krumlov often reminds visitors of a miniature Prague. The beautiful old town is dominated by the massive 13th-century castle complex that sits at its center, and it's well worth making a stop here to take a guided tour of the grounds, admire the artwork, and learn about the history of the city's rulers. Other attractions include the Church of St. Vitus and the Minorite Monastery, but if you want to do something more relaxing, you can also enjoy a picnic by the river when the weather is warm enough.
Known in English as Bohemian Paradise, Ceský Ráj is a beautiful nature preserve dotted with historic hilltop castles and rugged rock formations. The best known natural sites in the area are the spire-like Prachov Rocks and the picturesque Hrubá Skála Rocks, but the Podtrosecká Valleys and their sparkling pools are worth a visit as well, particularly if you want to escape the crowds found in some other areas of the park. If you're more interested in the area's historic landmarks, highlights include the Gothic Kost Castle, the hilltop ruins of Trosky Castle, and the 19th-century Sychrov Chateau.
A. Dvoráka 335, 511 01 Turnov, Czechia, Phone: +42-04-81-54-02-53
Conveniently located right on the outskirts of Prague, Divoká Šárka is a surprisingly large nature reserve made up of small mountains, forested walking trails, and grassy meadows. Some of the trails lead to wonderful viewpoints that look out over the city, but there are also many that meander alongside peaceful streams and past majestic rock formations, making it easy to forget you're anywhere near Prague. During the summer, visitors are also welcome to cool off in the park's public swimming pool or in the Dzban reservoir, which is surrounded by an expanse of grass perfect for picnicking and sunbathing.
If you want to get out of the Czech Republic for the day, the German city of Dresden is undoubtedly one of the best places you can go. Much of the city was destroyed by bombs during World War II, but many of the buildings have been carefully restored, including the magnificent baroque FrauenKirche and the lavish Dresden Castle. The Zwinger palace is another must-see, particularly if you're interested in admiring art collections and exploring museums, and if you want to go for a walk, the promenade Brühl's Terrace boasts wonderful views of the Elbe River.
Best known for its many thermal springs, the spa town of Karlovy Vary has been a popular tourist destination since the 1800s. Your visit should almost certainly include taking a dip in one of the public bath houses, but there are plenty of other things to see and do after you're done relaxing. The Moser Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the art of glass making, while the Jan Becher Museum offers some insight into the production of Becherovka, a local herbal liqueur. Before leaving, take the lift up to the Diana Observation Tower to get a glimpse of the town from above.
Dating back to 1348, Karlstejn Castle is a spectacular medieval castle perched on top of a hill overlooking some of the most beautiful countryside in the Czech Republic. Visitors are welcome to stroll around the grounds free of charge, but in order to see the inside of the castle, you need to pay for a guided tour. It's advisable to book tours in advance, particularly during the high season, and visitors should be aware that the castle is closed on Mondays all throughout the year. After exploring the castle, you can enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants at the base of the hill.
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Formerly one of the wealthiest and most significant cities in the Kingdom of Bohemia, Kutna Hora is a historic silver mining town with a handful of fascinating attractions that draw visitors from all over Europe. Visitors can learn about the city's history as a royal coin mint at the beautiful Italian Court, and if you'd like to see a stunning display of the city's former wealth, make sure to visit St. Barbara's Cathedral as well. If you're interested in the city's more gruesome side, you can also stop by the Sedlec Ossuary, which is famous for its artistic but macabre arrangements of human bones.
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Built and maintained by the wealthy and powerful Liechtenstein dynasty between the 17th and 19th centuries, Lednice-Valtice is an enormous palace complex spread out over more than 100 square miles. The site consists of two separate castles connected by beautifully landscaped grounds; the castles are just over four miles apart from each other, and a shuttle service is available if needed. Visitors can also explore the grounds on boot, by bicycle, or by car, and in addition to the two main castles, other sides include the Iron Curtain Museum, a stately minaret, and the Temple of Appolon.
691 44 Lednice, Czechia, Phone: +42-05-19-34-09-86
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Nestled in the Jizera Mountains of the northern Bohemia region, Liberec is a staggeringly beautiful city that provides an interesting contrast to Prague. The city is an especially popular destination in the winter, as it's surrounded by downhill ski resorts and miles of cross-country ski trails, but the mountains are an excellent spot for hikers to visit during the warmer months as well. If you'd rather stay in town, there are no shortage of things to keep you entertained here either, with highlights including the North Bohemian Museum, the ornate Town Hall, and the Liberec Zoo, which is proudly home to white tigers.
Established in 1273, Marianske Lazne is a historic spa town known for its thermal springs, which are believed to have therapeutic properties. Many of the town's luxurious spas require reservations, but if you're planning a spontaneous day trip, you'll almost certainly be able to get into the elegant Roman Baths, which boasts plenty of pools, saunas, and steam rooms. Aside from the spas and springs, other attractions in the town include a singing fountain that plays classical music several times a day, the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and the Park Boheminium Marianske Lazne, which features a collection of replica Czech monuments.
Centered around the majestic Nachod castle, Nachod is a charming town nestled in the Metuje river valley. The castle is by far the biggest attraction in the town; there is a wide variety of guided tours for visitors to choose from, and the complex features opulent rooms with painted ceilings, a medieval tower with a dungeon, and a beautiful chapel. After visiting the castle, try to leave some time to relax by the beautiful river and see the town's other attractions, which include the Brezinka open-air museum and a 1938 fort with an extensive artillery collection.
Dotted with baroque fountains, majestic cathedrals, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, the city of Olomouc is an architecture lover's dream. Take some time to simply wander through the streets admiring the beautiful buildings and pastel-colored houses, but make sure you eventually end up in the main square, where you'll find the stunning trinity column the city is known for. Next, you can stop by the Archdiocesan Museum, the Cathedral of St. Václav, and the fascinating Natural History Museum. If all this sight-seeing makes you thirsty, stop by one of the city's many trendy microbreweries for a cold pint of beer.
Straddling the Elbe River, Pardubice is a charming historic city primarily known as a hub for steeplechase racing. Many of the biggest attractions in the city revolve around the sport, and visitors can watch a race at the city's cross-country race track, visit the Old Kladruber Horse Museum, or stop by the stud farm in the nearby village of Kladruby nad Labem to get an up-close look at the horses. Other attractions in the town include the Kunetice Mountain Castle, the Pardubice Brewery, and the Zelená Gate lookout platform, which offers wonderful views of the city.
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The proud home of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, Plzen is the perfect place to learn about the country's longstanding dedication to making the perfect lager. The brewery offers guide tours in English three times a day, and although this is often the highlight of a day trip here, it's not the only thing to do. A local tour company offers excursions into the medieval tunnels under the city, and above ground, architectural highlights include the Saint Bartholomew Cathedral and the Great Synagogue. If you're traveling with kids, you might also want to stop by the Plzen Zoo to see the hippos and lions.
Another inviting Czech spa town with an abundance of thermal springs, Podebrady is a wonderful escape from the busy streets of Prague. The waters are reputed to help with circulatory problems and cardiovascular disease, and many of the local spas offer innovative treatments like honey massages and chocolate mud wraps as well as the opportunity to bathe in the water. If you need something to do for the rest of the day, you can visit the Baroque chateau on the riverbank, play a game of tennis or golf, and snap a photo of the city's iconic floral clock.
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19.South Moravia Wine Region
Beer is usually the first beverage to come to mind when you think of the Czech Republic, but the country produces some excellent wine as well, and the South Moravia Wine Region is one of the best places to give it a try. More than 90% of the country's registered vineyards can be found here, and there are plenty of cycling and driving tours available. The best time to visit is generally between April and September, and if you come during harvest season, you'll get the chance to watch the winemaking process in action and perhaps even participate in a “closing of the vineyard” festival.
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Only five minutes away from the spa town of Ceský Krumlov, Svachovka is a large resort complex with all sorts of things to do even if you're not planning to spend the night. The most obvious feature of the property is its beautiful 18-hole golf course, but it also boasts its own brewery and distillery as well as a cozy restaurant that serves up hearty Czech specialties. If you want to try something more unique, you can book a session in the resort's beer spa, where you'll have the opportunity to soak in a bathtub full of beer.
Svachova Lhotka 1, 382 32 Mirkovice, Czechia, Phone: +42-07-74-49-98-12
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Tabor was originally founded by supporters of the Hussite religious movement, who wanted to create a city where everyone was equal, but it continued to flourish even after the Hussites were defeated in the mid-15th century. Today, it's a beautiful city with plenty of things to see and do, but most of the worthwhile tourist attractions have to do with the Hussites. The museum in the main square is full of informative exhibits about the town's history, and from here, you can descend into a network of tunnels that were built hundreds of years ago.
Set on the border of Bohemia and Moravia, the historic town of Telc looks like something plucked straight from the pages of a fairytale. The main square is the town's principal attraction, and it has a somewhat unique history. After the entire city was destroyed by a fire in the early 16th century, the young ruler rebuilt the chateau and the residential buildings around the square from scratch in a stunning Renaissance style. Many of the facades were later updated to a pastel-hued Baroque style, but they're still wonderfully beautiful, and simply strolling around the square will likely be the highlight of your visit.
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23.Terezin Concentration Camp
Undoubtedly one of the most sobering day trips you can take from Prague, the Terezin Concentration Camp offers some insight into one of history's darkest periods. Established in 1941, the camp played an important role in the Nazi's propaganda efforts, and it held a large number of culturally prominent Jews. Although it was not an extermination camp, it was the final stop for many prisoners on their way to Auschwitz and other camps. Guided tours are included in the price of admission, and while learning about the camp's history, visitors will see the crematorium, the cemetery, and the fortresses where the Jews were held.
Created by the limestone mining industry in the early 19th century, Velká Amerika can be thought of as the Czech Republic's version of the Grand Canyon. The quarry is approximately 60 feet deep and more than 2,600 feet long, and a gorgeous blue lake sits in the bottom, providing some truly wonderful photo opportunities. You can get a good view of the lake from almost every angle, but if you want to explore the area properly, there is a hiking trail that runs along the rim of the canyon. It takes approximately one hour to circle the gorge entirely.
267 17 Morina, Czechia, Phone: +42-07-24-70-05-75
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Home to three of the country's twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites, the breathtakingly beautiful Vysocina region is one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the Czech Republic. The three best cities to visit in the region are Telc, Trebíc, and Ždár, and although many people choose to visit just one, it's possible to see them all in a single day if you plan your time right. If you'd prefer to explore the area's natural beauty instead, you can skip the cities and hike around Žákova Mountain, explore the peat bogs at Velké Dárko, and admire the many stunning rock formations.
25 Best Weekend Getaways and Day Trips from Prague
- Bohemian Switzerland, Photo: grondetphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Brno, Photo: Kinga/stock.adobe.com
- Ceske Budejovice, Photo: serawood/stock.adobe.com
- Cesky Krumlov, Photo: Veronika Galkina/stock.adobe.com
- Cesky Raj, Photo: muuraa/stock.adobe.com
- Divoka Sarka, Photo: zm_photo/stock.adobe.com
- Dresden, Photo: meseberg/stock.adobe.com
- Karlovy Vary, Photo: kaprikfoto/stock.adobe.com
- Karlstejn Castle, Photo: dtatiana/stock.adobe.com
- Kutna Hora, Photo: flycatdesign/stock.adobe.com
- Lednice-Valtice, Photo: lubos K/stock.adobe.com
- Liberec, Photo: Boris Stroujko/stock.adobe.com
- Marianske Lazne, Photo: Kletr/stock.adobe.com
- Nachod, Photo: Jan/stock.adobe.com
- Olomouc, Photo: mila103/stock.adobe.com
- Pardubice, Photo: kaprikfoto/stock.adobe.com
- Plzen, Photo: kaprikfoto/stock.adobe.com
- Podebrady, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- South Moravia Wine Region, Photo: peteri/stock.adobe.com
- Svachovka, Photo: antpkr/stock.adobe.com
- Tabor, Photo: Richard Semik/stock.adobe.com
- Telc, Photo: kaprikfoto/stock.adobe.com
- Terezin Concentration Camp, Photo: pyty/stock.adobe.com
- Velka Amerika, Photo: daliu/stock.adobe.com
- Vysocina, Photo: kaprikfoto/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: serawood/stock.adobe.com