Cesky Krumlov’s beauty is clear for all to see. Photo by Peter Ciro / CC BY 2.0
A grand yet personable country, the Czech Republic exudes its own brand of irresistible magnetism. Whether it is historically significant architectural gems, picture-perfect towns or local cultural practices, the Eastern European country has the uncanny ability to draw visitors into its folds and whisk hearts away.
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It comes as little surprise then that the plethora of sights and experiences available in the country can make choosing how best to spend your time in the destination a tricky affair. Immerse yourself in an exploration of cobblestoned streets of storybook towns or make merry with the locals as you clink glasses of frothy Pilsner beer together. Intrigued? Uncover five of the essential experiences you should embrace in the Czech Republic for a holiday to remember.
Be enchanted by the fairytale-like town of Cesky Krumlov
Dubbed one of Europe’s most picturesque towns by Lonely Planet, the small locale possesses a dreamlike quality. From its eye-catching 13th-century castle on a hill to its endearingly uniform red-topped buildings to the calm waters of the river that winds through the town, creating perfect picnic spots along the banks, the UNESCO World Heritage Site effortlessly appeals. Bask in Cesky Krumlov’s beauty in all four seasons; lush flora blooms in the lands in the warmer months, while the blanketing snow bestows an ethereal beauty on the destination in winter.
Watch a centuries-old mechanical clock show at Prague’s Old Town
The astronomical clock on the tower of the Old Town Hall isn’t just any other old clock. Composed of approximately 350 different components, the intricate 15th-century timepiece puts on a short show every hour as animated figures ranging from a skeleton ringing a bell to a golden rooster crowing pop out to greet you. The fascinating sight typically draws a huge crowd so be sure to head out early if you plan on getting a good spot to view the short show. And since you’ll already be in the Old Town, put aside some time to meander around the bustling historic square and enjoy traditional treats such as trdelnik or grab some colourful local trinkets from market stalls.
Down glasses of fine beer at a microbrewery in Pilsen
Behold the land where the Pilsner Urquell was born. First concocted in 1842, the golden-hued beverage has since won the hearts of many with its smooth body and light accents. Where better to enjoy glass upon glass of this frothy beverage than at its hometown, Pilsen? Independent breweries are the pride of the beer-loving city, whose fondness for the blond lager is such that it not only hosts an annual beer festival but even boasts a beer spa and museum. Indulge in a tasting spree whilst in the area and drink your fill of the beverage; the locals will gladly join you for a pint (or two)!
Enjoy some much-needed therapy at a spa in Karlovy Vary
Located just a couple hours away from Prague, Karlovy Vary has gained a reputation as the choice destination to indulge in spas for being frequented by monarchs such as Peter the Great to famous musicians such as Beethoven. With 12 hot springs rumoured to have restorative properties to choose from, visitors will be spoiled for choice — the most famous springs in the territory is the Vridlo, the source of thermal water for the local spa baths. Besides soaking in the heated waters, you are also free to taste the thermal waters from the various drinking fountains available or to tour the underground spring. The town’s attractive facade is another plus; stroll around the idyllic streets to further lift your spirits!
Admire architectural masterpieces in Kutna Hora
Once a silver mining town, Kutna Hora’s Historical Town Centre is blessed with so many architectural gems that it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Visit the magnificent Church of St. Barbara, a truly remarkable Gothic church so intricately designed that it took a whopping 500 years to complete, and the Bone Church, an eerily beautiful chapel that puts hundreds of human bones crafted into decorations on display. Other equally fascinating sites such as the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady, a one-of-a-kind Baroque Gothic church that was once the most magnificent church in the Bohemian Kingdom, also reside in the city.
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