This Czech Republic article is a guest post by Claire Lovesti.
Prague may be the heart of Europe but there’s plenty to see in the rest of the Czech Republic as well, so don’t stop wandering once you’ve seen the fair city!
There’s a habit among short trip travellers, they don’t stop outside of big centralized cities when they travel. When they do, they only spend a day or two getting to know a new city.
But I like to treat my cities like new guys I can’t wait to try on—and I’m not usually the kind of girl to kiss after only one date, which is why I’m totally the same with my travel destinations. To get to know any guy you’ve got to put in the time and the work, and a new city is absolutely no different. Though don’t judge me, I usually fall in love faster with new destinations than new men (and certainly my love for new places tends to stick around longer)!
So when it came to exploring the Czech Republic, I didn’t relegate my adventure to one day viewing the famous astronomical clock, partying on Dlouha street and limiting myself to the tourist attractions in Prague. Instead, I got a work stay in the city for a few months and travelled it extensively, as well as the rest of the gorgeous country. I’ve got the beer cards to prove it!
If you’re up for an adventure that is just slightly out of the ordinary, check out my guide to the Czech Republic and I will take you there.
First Stop, Prague
Prague didn’t get the nickname “The Heart of Europe” for nothing; it’s seriously one beautiful city that is a must-stop for any European lover.
From incredible nightlife and great music to a complicated past that is great for history buffs, the city can keep on giving and giving, no matter what it is that you’re looking for (or have already found).
Great spots to visit that are always on the tourist must-see list are the Prague Castle (with a cathedral that’s thousands of years old), Petrin Hill (a mini version of the Eiffel Tower with one heck of a view of the city), the Jewish Quarter (home of the Golem legend!), and Old Town Square (if you can catch it at Christmas or Easter you’ll be surprised with plenty of excellent arts, crafts, and GREAT food).
But to get a little off the map and go beyond the tourist attractions in Prague, I suggest…
- Taking a trip through Letna Park, a hipster hangout for locals and students.
- A tour of Vysehrad which also has a killer view, and isn’t crowded.
- A wander to Naplavka, the riverside near the dancing house, well-known for great beer!)
- The Prague Zoo. Forget about your tightly caged in animals and take a relaxing walk through this garden inspired sanctuary.
- Party with the locals at these clubs in Prague.
- Prague is also the perfect place to travel for food.
If you have extra time, there’s plenty more to do around Prague!
When it comes to food, here are my favorites: Lokal for beer, Bahn-mi-ma for snacks, Bakeshop for goodies, and U Parlementu for goulash. No muss, no fuss, just the best.
And as an aside, I loved using HearPlanet around town to learn about all the things without having to pay tour guide prices (plus I was a solo traveller for most of my wanderings) and it’s free. With the help of a SIM card and an unlocked phone, I hit the pavement hard and learned about every statue on the Charles Bridge—but you’ll just have to go to find out!
Here are some great choices on where to stay in Prague.
Make Time for Cesky Krumlov
This picturesque city is something that seemingly hopped right out of a fairytale, and in fact, it’s the home place of many Czech fairytale movies and one of the best Renaissance Festivals in the world (timing a trip in June is perfect for the lovers of medieval times). Come here for a step back in time, and plenty of excellent Czech beer!
With a castle all it’s own, perfect gardens for wandering, and all the churches, art galleries, and traditional Czech eateries you can imagine in a small town, it’s a one-stop shop for travellers hoping to skip the more trodden path and see something new.
For architecture lovers, check out the Rosenberg Ballroom, the Plague Column, and the Town Hall—they’re beautiful and have lots of history for the avid learner.
Visiting the Czech Republic surely opens your mind.
Share in Some Haunting Adventures in Kutna Hora
And to continue our jaunt for old stories with real life counterparts, enter Kutna Hora and it’s fascinatingly gothic bone chapel, the Sedlec Ossuary (even the name sounds a little creepy right?).
From floor to ceiling, the local townspeople took the village’s lack of proper burial grounds and turned into an architectural genius— The Sedlec Ossuary is definitely a must-see on any list.
But other than the femur chandeliers and pinkie finger candelabra, Kutna Hora is a charming town that requires a walk around just for a breath of fresh air and the beautiful, old Europe feel. Stone houses, cobblestone streets, ornate fountains…who could ask for anything better?
Just remember to lock your hostel door at night there’s a local legend that at night the bones come back to life on the full moon and sneak out to wreck havoc…only kidding!
You’re as safe as a bug in a rug.
Chase After Over a Hundred Castles and Chateaus in the Area
If you’re wondering whether the fairytale continues after a trip to Cesky Krumlov (or to get out of the dark nightmare of the Bone Chapel) never fear—Czech is absolutely stock full of castles and chateaus. In fact, there’s far more than even I got to visit, and it’s not because I didn’t try.
While it’s easy to get to Troja Palace (it’s just outside the gates of the Prague Zoo), some of the other locals, like Pernštejn Castle, is going to cause you a little bit more trouble, but for fans of the dark and creepy, there’s plenty of ghost stories buried here to keep you occupied for a lifetime.
When traveling to the some of the neighbours it would be a shame to skip over this central European gothic beauty. Hopefully, this guide to the Czech Republic was helpful and you can start exploring beyond the tourist attractions in Prague.
For any questions about accommodation or additional off-the-map must-see stops, make sure to leave a comment below. If you’ve been before, feel free to share some more of your tips!
I’m Claire – a self-confessed travel nut. I’ve been travelling around the world since my mum farewelled me in a teary goodbye and I haven’t looked back since. You can read all about my adventures through 48 cities in 26 countries on 4 continents on my blog Traveltio.com.
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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad and epically failing at the American Dream since 2011. Her sassy yet informative blog, Where in the World is Nina? is all about how to work abroad to live a more adventurous life. If you want to travel longer you have to work to wander.