Are you planning your vacation in the Czech Republic, don’t know what country to visit on your trip around Europe or don’t know what to do in Prague when you get there? This article will give you an idea about what places to visit in the Czech Republic.
Places to Visit in the Czech Republic – Contents:
- Bohemian Paradise
- Lookout May (Vyhlídka Máj)
- Cesky Krumlov
- Bohemian Forest – National Park Sumava
- The Bohemian Switzerland
- Krkonose Mountains
Prague – the most romantic city in heart of Europe
I have to start with the best place of all – Prague. Even though I have lived here all my life, and therefore I am partly immune to the beauty of Prague, it is still one of the most beautiful cities you will find in Europe. I have visited all sorts of European cities – Paris, Rome… but the historical center of Prague is (in my humble opinion) the most picturesque of all.
Enjoy the sunrise on the Charles Bridge
The construction of the Charles Bridge began in 1357 under Charles IV. (in 1355 he became Roman emperor). It is the oldest standing bridge over the Vltava river in Prague. The bridge is over 500 m long, almost 10 m wide and is located in the heart of the historical part of Prague.
I recommend getting up early in the morning to enjoy a magnificent sunrise. It is hard to describe feelings when you stand on the Charles Bridge practically alone just before dawn around 6 am. You can feel the Middle Ages breathing on you from all sides. You almost expect the Baroque statues that decorate the Charles Bridge to come alive at any moment. During the day there are so many people here that you will be happy if you even get to the other side of the bridge 🙂
Beautiful yet overcrowded Prague Castle
Prague Castle is one of the largest ancient castles in the world – the total area of the Prague castle is more than 7 ha. Established in the middle of the 9th century, Prague Castle used to be the residence of kings ever since. In 1918 it has become the home of the President. The castle stands on a rocky hill, offering the best view of the historical center of Prague. The main dominant of the whole Prague Castle is St. Vitus Cathedral. One of the most important (and most beautiful) Czech Roman Catholic churches in the whole Czech Republic. Be aware of security points at entrances to the castle area – there are long, long waiting ques to get in. So if you get there early in the morning you should be relatively fine and you see the Prague Castle almost without tourists. Directly from the castle, you can reach Malá Strana, which is the oldest and most impressive part of Prague, located right under the Prague Castle. Near the Prague Castle, you will find Petrin Hill – one of the largest green areas in the city. You can get to the top by cable car. Additionally, you can also visit a mirror maze there. Or just lie down on the grass under the cherry blossom and relax, as many Czechs do.
What to do in Prague
There are many exciting places you need to visit in Prague – at least I will mention a few. The Old Town Square with the Prague Astronomical Clock (medieval mechanical clock and a lot of beautiful architecture), Wenceslas Square – here, you will find the Czech National Museum and many shops. Or take a walk to Vysehrad, a historical fortified settlement with a beautiful park. A short walk along the Vltava river during sunset is simply beautiful… btw. pedal boat rides and swan feeding is also fun. I will give you one more tip – when you enjoy enough sightseeing in Prague and think about what to do next, try to consider visiting Prague Fear House. Only if you like to be afraid. Spare underpants with you, haha! It’s a total guilty pleasure. However, this article is not only about romantic Prague, so let’s move on.
How to get around Prague
You can get almost everywhere in Prague’s center on foot. But if you don’t like walking, you can always use public transport. Wait! And watch out for public transport inspector – they are everywhere 🙂 During the day you probably won’t be asked by the bus driver to show him a valid ticket, but some of these undercover inspectors might get you. The best way to buy city transport tickets is via SMS -> write “DPT32” (valid for 90 minutes, costs 32 CZK) or “DPT110” (valid for 24 hours, costs 110 CZK) and send it to “902 06”. Official instructions for SMS tickets are here, but only in Czech. Or you can use other methods to buy a ticket (including a mobile app).
Explore the beautiful nature in Bohemian Paradise
Bohemian Paradise is the oldest protected landscape area in Bohemia, located about 90 km northeast of Prague (near a small town Turnov). The dominants of Bohemian Paradise are mainly large sandstone rocks, rock complexes, including various caves and rock gates. I love it here. It’s hard to count how many times I’ve visited this place!
Walking through the rock labyrinths is a relaxing and fun activity that your soul sometimes needs. Bohemian Paradise is usually not crowded with tourists – it is a peaceful place. For a moment, it will take you to another world. And it’s not just about beautiful nature and rocky outlooks. You can visit Valdstejn Castle, Hruba Skala Castle, the ruins of Trosky Castle. Each of these monuments is very interesting and unique. At Hruba Skala Castle you can even stay and swim in the hot tub on the edge of a cliff (I can recommend it from my personal experience!).
Where to stay in Bohemian paradise
For the best experience, stay in the Sedmihorky car camp, which can be reached by car or train (‘Karlovice-Sedmihorky‘ train stop). Map here. Camp Sedmihorky offers many advantages. Firstly of all the camp is located right in the countryside of the Bohemian Paradise (so you can go on a trip directly from here) furthermore it is located by a lake where you can swim. The Sedmihorky camp is also very well equipped.
Award for the best photo spot in the Czech Republic goes to… Lookout Máj
Lookout Máj (also translated as Lookout May; in Czech Vyhlídka Máj) is a romantic viewpoint located about 1 km west of Teletin village. From the lookout Máj, you will have a beautiful landscape view of a deep rocky canyon in the shape of a horseshoe, through which flows the river Vltava. This is one of the most famous views of the meanders of the Vltava River. You can get to the village of Teletin either by bus from Prague (‘Krnany, Teletin‘ stop) or by car – there is a small parking lot. I recommend visiting this place especially during sunrise. Not only because there will be fewer people but you will have an undisrupted view of the beautiful landscape. And be sure not to miss the Lookout Máj in autumn, when trees will be full of colors. It might be a quiet trip if you’re staying in Prague, but this place has its irreplaceable charm! And to be honest, it is not that far from Prague (about 45 km from the city center), so be sure to add it to your bucket list! How to get to Lookout Máj (map) Photographers, take your wide-angle lens with you 🙂
Cesky Krumlov – almost a better city than Prague
Cesky Krumlov is a small town, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, located in South Bohemian Region. It is my favorite small town ever. I also like to say that Cesky Krumlov is a Czech version of Italian Venice. What do I mean? Cesky Krumlov has the most picturesque and most intimate historical center you could ever imagine. Looking at well preserved historical houses, you feel that the time has stopped here for a few centuries. You can also stay in authentic lodges (expensive, but worth it!) or taste traditional old Czech cuisine, which you will not find anywhere else! Yep – Cesky Krumlov is a fairy tale island surrounded by water – the Vltava River flows through here.
Just like in Prague, where the Prague Castle rises above the city, here a chateau rises above Cesky Krumlov. To the surprise of anyone who does not know, the Cesky Krumlov Castle is almost as big as the one in Prague (around 6 ha) and equally breathtaking! It also includes a large chateau garden and a revolving theater. The open stage consists of the space of the surrounding chateau park and allows you to enjoy the uniqueness of the magnificent chateau garden with centuries-old trees. It’s a great experience! But keep in mind that the theatre plays take place only in the summer.
Cesky Krumlov is a city of culture. You will find several museums and exhibitions (my favorite one is the exhibition of photographs and paintings by Jan Saudek). There is even a torture museum (right in the main square) or a wax museum. To sum up, this small town is very similar to Prague but more romantic and authentic. You’ll see when you get to visit Cesky Krumlov.
Get to know nature in the Czech Republic even better in the Bohemian Forest and National Park Šumava
The Bohemian Forest is an extensive mountain range in the south of Bohemia – ner the border of the Czech Republic with Austria and Germany. A large part of Bohemian Forest was declared as a protected landscape area in 1963. The highest mountain of National Park Sumava is Plechy, only 1378 meters above sea level. So, Sumava and the Bohemian Forest are not a particularly high mountain range. However, the breathtaking nature you can discover here will surprise you.
I visited the Bohemian Forest last year and stayed in a small town Nova Pec. This place is a great starting point for any trip to the most beautiful places in the Bohemian Forest. It is only a short walk from here to the beautiful Plesne Lake (a large glacial lake), above which rises the highest peak of Sumava – Plechy. You can get to the top of Plechy relatively easily – the trail runs along the lake. Head more on the northwest to visit the Bohemian bog (the largest and best-known peat bog is Chalupska bog).
Just tell me, when was the last time you walked on a forest path and at every step found an anthill almost meter and a half high? In the Bohemian Forest, you will find simply the best and most characteristic nature the Czech Republic will ever offer. You can also rent electric scooters/bikes, which can be used perfectly here. Although it is quite far from Prague, you can easily get there by train (4h journey) or by car (2 – 3h journey). If you have more time (at least 2 – 3 days), make sure to put the Bohemian Forest and Sumava on your bucket list!
Stunning landscape in Bohemian Switzerland just like the one you see in movies
Bohemian Switzerland National Park is located in the very north of Bohemia. The easiest way to describe Bohemian Switzerland is by comparing it to Bohemian Paradise, which I’ve already mentioned above. However, I think that for many of you Bohemian Switzerland might be more interesting. Visit Bohemian Switzerland and you will find unique sandstone formations here – rock “cities”, towers, and labyrinths. But it’s much more intense here. Additionally, in Bohemian Switzerland, you will find one truly unique formation, the largest sandstone gate in Europe – Pravcicka Gate.
In 2009, Pravcicka Gate got into the New7Wonders poll of seven natural wonders of the world, when it advanced among 71 semi-finalists. No surprise. The span of the arch at the bottom is 26.5 m, the height is 16 m and the width is 7-8 m. But in the close-up Pravcicka Gate seems even bigger! Yeah and some of you can remember Pravcicka Gate from The Chronicles of Narnia movie – part of it was shot right here. You know, as a little boy, I didn’t like traveling too much. But a few places got stuck in my head. These places have impressed me so much that it was impossible to forget. These places touched me. Actually, I only remember 2 places that hit me so deeply, and this is one of them (the second place is the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia).
How to get to Pravcicka Gate
Take a bus from Prague and you will reach the rock town in Bohemian Switzerland in 2 hours (stop ‘Hrensko, Pravcicka Brana‘)! But it is still about an hour’s journey to Pravcicka Gate – map how to get to Pravcicka Gate. Credit for the photo below belongs to my friend @joe_pear.
Don’t miss hiking in the Krkonose
The Krkonose is the highest mountain range in the Czech Republic and famous for mythical spirit Krakonoš (Rübezahl). You probably won’t meet Krakonoš here, but you definitely will enjoy incredible landscapes and majestic waterfalls. Pancavsky waterfall is not only the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic, but it is also one of the largest waterfalls in Europe. Pancavsky waterfall is 148 m high (162 m high during spring thaw!) and falls from 1298 m. Although most tourists visit Krkonose only to see Snezka – the highest mountain in the Czech Republic (1602 m). Although it is a beautiful trip, I rather recommend you visit more unusual parts of the Krkonose mountain range.
Visit more unusual parts of the Krkonose mountain range
Zlate Navrsi (about 1400 m heigh) is a mountain in the northwestern part of the Krkonose Mountains and one of the most beautiful places of these mountains. The top of this mountain can be reached by bus (car access is prohibited). So, no hike this time. The only adventure that awaits you is zigzagging with the mini-bus next to a cliff and going up / down. The whole trip to Zlate Navrsi is only about relaxation. Once you get off the bus (at Vrbatova Bouda), you will find yourself in a small paradise. Clean air, no trees (mainly grass and scrub pine), breathtaking landscape view on all sides. And from here it is only a half an hour walk to Pancavsky waterfall! From there you can also enjoy one of the most stunning views in the Czech Republic – a view of the valley of Sedmidolí. And after another half hour, you are at Labská Bouda where you can eat, have a beer or even stay. Not to mention that you can collect blueberries all around!
The trip map can be found here. By car, you get to the Krkonose Mountains from Prague in 2 hours (by bus in 3 hours). In winter the bus to Zlate Navrsi does not run. It should be noted that countless wonderful trips can be made here (as in the Bohemian Forest). And in winter it is the main resort in the Czech Republic where you can ski. The center is mainly Spindleruv Mlyn, where you can also enjoy the water park.
Do you need more tips on what to do in the Czech Republic?
You can check out a great article Beautiful places in the Czech Republic you have to visit from my friend Teresa!