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I stress this a lot in my posts about the Czech Republic. Granted, most visitors who come for the first time to the country vacation exclusively to Prague, and I don’t blame them. I love the city and even after living here for nearly three years I am still discovering new places I didn’t know existed. Tourism to the Czech Republic has been increasing heavily over the past 10 years, but still, many remain happily and blissfully unaware of the beauty that lies outside of this charming city. You don’t even have to travel far from Prague to begin to experience the expanse of the cultural richness, spectacular landscapes and history that this under-rated country has to offer.
Perhaps it’s the fear of the foreign language that puts people off (English is not widely spoken outside the main city) or maybe it’s the country’s history that still weighs heavily on people’s minds. The Czech Republic is a far cry from the post-revolutionary country it was 26 years ago. But still, people refrain from leaving the comfortable confines of its capital city.
Since the internet, people have become much more adventurous in their explorations while abroad. I do not believe fear of the unknown is the major issue here. I think the majority of the problem is the lack of knowledge of what amazing experiences, places and culture the Czech Republic has to offer. So for the latter reason here are 10 reasons to visit the Czech Republic. Escape the claws of its capital city and discover all the beauty, magnificence and charm the rest of this magical country has to offer.
1. Come to drink wine not beer in Moravia…
For a country that is famous for it beer and its numerous breweries, the fact that the country also produces some tasty wines might shock you a little. A two and half hour drive south-east of the capital city lies the area of Moravia, the Czech wine country, filled with hundreds of lush vineyards and quaint little villages.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit the area, while the weather is still decent and the nights aren’t too cold. Time your trip to coincide with the grape harvest, and you can join the locals as they sample the first bouquet in vast quantities in their wine caves.
2. Come to recharge your batteries and relax in a Bohemian Spa
The highly valued healing effects of the Hungarian thermal waters may appear to overshadow the spa culture in the Czech Republic which dates back hundreds of years. Visitors flock to the Turkish baths and thermal spas in Budapest every year but very few think of heading to the not so busy spas of the Czech Republic instead.
Most of you may have heard of the most popular spa town Karlovy Vary but most don’t know about the small spa town of Mariánské Lázně. The town, surrounded by green lush mountains, is a mosaic of beautiful spa parks, romantic colonnades, charming pavilions, pleasant cafes and cosy hotels.
3. Come to ski…
We all know you ski lovers love the slopes in the Alps and let’s be honest with our selves, they are pretty difficult to beat for quality and guarantee of snow. The Czech Republic doesn’t have the highest mountains nor do they have the best slopes but they do have a wide range of ski resorts that stretch from the border of German all the way to Moravia.
So if you’re seeking a little bit of fun, cheaper skiing resorts or perhaps you want to try to learn to ski, resorts such as Špindlerův Mlýn will be perfect for that winter break. It boasts 25 kilometres of groomed ski slopes, 3 snow parks, a U-ramp, 5 chairlifts, 11 ski lifts, 2 children’s parks and 85 kilometres of cross-country trails to explore.
4. Come to explore deep caves….
Did you know there are over 2000 caves in the Czech Republic? 14 of these caves are open every year for tourists to come and explore and some are incredibly popular with Hollywood film makers searching for mysterious, fairy tale and spooky settings. Among the most famous is the Punkva Caves in the Moravian Karst in South Eastern Czech Republic.
Hundreds of people visit this particular cave every year mostly to experience the romantic river boat ride into the caves and to witness the amazing Macocha Abyss (named in 17th century) that was created by fall of the ceiling of the huge cave.
5. Come to hike (like a Czech!)….
The Czech Republic is a nation well known for its love for hiking, and subsequently, the country is packed full of various hiking or walking trails. There are over 24,000 miles of marked hiking trails that run all over this beautiful Central European country that is waiting to be explored including the picturesque Czech Bohemian Switzerland National Park as pictured above. Lovingly maintained by Czech Tourist Club volunteers, these routes are painted with strips of red, yellow, green and blue that will allow you to discover quaint villages, castle ruins and a variety of majestic and scenic hikes for every level, ability and fitness. It is by far one of the best places to visit in the Czech Republic for outdoor lovers.
6. Come for history…
Situated in Central Europe, this landlocked country is bursting at the seams with history. From the Bohemian Kingdom to the history of Czechoslovakia, to the occupation in World War 2 and the Velvet Revolution, there is a lot to be learnt in these Czech lands and its array of historical museums, monuments, memorials and attractions is enough to excite even the geekiest of history buffs.
There is also a considerable amount of Jewish history that can be found in the heart of Prague’s historic old town and in the country’s only concentration camp Terezin, used during the reign of the Nazi’s.
7. Come to be a Prince/Princess (for the day)…
I am sure there are many of us who dream of waking up as a Prince or Princess, but unfortunately, unless you’re Catherine Middleton, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon! Luckily, however, the Czech Republic is abundant in castles and royal chateaus with some offering elegant and luxurious accommodation that peasants such as you and I can now stay into experience life as a Prince or Princess. My favourite is the luxury castle hotel the Zbiroh Castle. This five-star gothic castle accommodation boasts a sleek modern interior that has been carefully combined with period Renaissance furniture pieces to produce a hotel that is both convenient for modern day travellers while still remaining much of its character. Its magnificent location and peacefulness creates a real sense of antique romanticism that sets the scene for the perfect escape for two.
8. Come and explore its UNESCO World Heritage Sites….
For such as small country compared to some of its neighbours, the Czech Republic has a lot to offer including 12, yes 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That is more than Austria, Cuba, neighbouring countries Slovakia and Hungary and history and culturally enriched countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Thailand. Sites include the historical centre of Cesky Krumlov, the Jewish Quarter in Trebic and the historical Old Town of Prague amongst others…
9. Come to follow in Kafka’s Footsteps…
Recognised as one of the most paramount and influential writers of the 20th Century, Franz Kafka called the city of Prague his home. On a visit to the city, you can retrace his footsteps, visiting his local hangouts and cafes, his birth house, his school on Masna and where he is buried in Prague’s Jewish Cemetery. Head up to the castle and you can even visit the house he used to live in on Golden Lane.
10. Come to visit a brewery or two…
We’ve already covered the best place to visit for wine, but if you’re a beer lover than the city of Prague is the best place to be. The Czech Republic is home to the Pilsner style of beer that has been imitated all over the world. If you want to drink delicious beer in one of the oldest, most authentic pubs, you will find no better place than Prague. Check out Go Real Europe’s list of the best breweries in the city!
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