One of the best things about Prague — the Czech Republic’s capital epicenter — is its central location within the country. To take advantage of the city’s proximity to other regions of the country, here are five day trips that will help you experience all the Czech Republic has to offer.
In the country’s southern region, near the border of Austria, lies Český Krumlov, a town of roughly 13,000 people. The town’s most popular landmark is Český Krumlov Castle, which stands on the banks of the Vltava River and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Similar to Prague, only on a smaller scale, the streets of Český Krumlov are lined with Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance-style architecture.
From downtown Prague, it’s a 108 mile (173 kilometers) drive south through the rolling green countryside. If you’re not renting a car, there are other transportation options that will get you to Český Krumlov, all of which usually take around three hours. RegioJet trains leave on the hour from Na Knížecí Station, and costs about 16 euro round-trip, while Flixbus’ don’t depart as often, but cost slightly less at 14 euro round-trip.
While the town is quite small and easy to cover on foot, bikes are available to rent (as are boats for river excursions), which allows visitors the chance to explore the surrounding area as well as the city’s picturesque center.
Fifty miles (80 kilometers) east of Prague, you’ll find the historical site of Kutna Hora. Filled with Gothic architecture, Kutná Hora is home to some of the country’s finest cathedrals — most notably St. Barbara’s Church, which was built over a span of 200 years.
Kutná Hora is home to other historic monuments, including the Sedlec Ossuary. An ossuary, in its simplest form, is a resting place for skeletons and bones. So naturally, at the Sedlec Ossuary, there is a giant chandelier constructed entirely out of bones — including every type found in the human body. The walls of the ossuary are also covered — from ceiling to floor — in bones.
Travelling from Prague to Kutná Hora is quite simple, only requiring an hour-long train ride. Once at the Prague Main Railway Station in Old Town, you’ll likely want to jump onto a local train since the main station is still a few miles from the Kutna Hora city center. Altogether, transportation should only cost around 10 euro.
Karlovy Vary, situated in the northwest region of the Czech Republic, is roughly 30 minutes from the German border. The area was made famous in the 19th century because of its numerous hot springs, some of which, like the Hot Spring Colonnade and the Charles VI Spring, can still be visited today. Karlovy Vary is home to numerous colonnades, museums, and art galleries, making it the perfect addition to your visit to the Czech Republic.
While planning your trip to the colorful little town, weigh your options. Bus and train routes are available from Prague and, though each has different costs and departure schedules, both will bring you into downtown Karlovy Vary.
Southeast of Prague, settled in a bouquet of rolling green hills, Karlštejn Castle awaits. Founded by the King of Bohemia, Charles IV, in the 14th century, the castle is like a scene straight out of a fairytale. Over time, the fortress was used to store relics and jewels for the Roman empire, but now is one of the country’s most popular? tourist attractions.
The castle’s charming architecture rises above the surrounding hillsides with three blossoming terraces, and at its bottom sits the town of Karlštejn. Pre-booking a tour to explore the castle isn’t necessary, but it is possible to schedule a half-day tour that leaves directly from Prague. For those who prefer independent exploration, an easy 40-minute train ride can be taken from the city center for only six euro. Upon your arrival to Karlštejn, a 20 to 30 minute walk is required to reach the castle’s entrance.
You don’t have to be a beer-lover to enjoy a trip to Pilsen — but it sure helps. Unsurprisingly, the city of Pilsen is the birthplace of Pilsner beer, created in 1842 by Josef Groll. Subsequently, the region is home to numerous breweries —Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, and Plzeňský Prazdroj to name a few— as well as a great number of pubs.
In addition to the beer culture, other big draws for visitors are the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew (the nation’s tallest church spire) and the city’s dazzling main square. Arriving in Pilsen’s downtown can be done via Flixbus, leaving from the station in Florenc, and costing roughly 10 euro for a round-trip.