A visit to Czech Republic implies a visit to Prague for sure, since this beautiful European city is bejewelled with Baroque marvels, happening pubs and more! Thanks to its easy connectivity, people tend to start and conclude their Czech sojourns in Prague, often staying limited to the boundaries of this capital city. Be it the famous sights like the Prague Castle, the Old Town Square, or a simple evening out at a cool European style cafe; the itinerary is mostly similar. But, if you are an explorer, you’d love to tour these 5 lovely places in close proximity with Prague!
So, do you know what awaits beyond Prague? Perhaps, it is a good idea to start exploring places in and around the city and get to know Czech Republic tourism in its entirety. Here are some wonderful add-ons to the Prague trip itinerary you have been planning.
1. Cesky Krumlov
The medieval town of Cesky Krumlov, at a short distance from Prague, is one of the most recommended places to visit near Prague. It perfectly complements the taste of the tourists in Prague. Another castle awaits your attention here, full of the old-world charm splendour, but with a difference. The bastion is mounted on a hill overlooking the Vltava River.
Cesky Krumlov Castle has a beautiful exterior facade, consisting of a large Rococo-style garden attached to an elaborate fountain in place. The interiors of this place are a pleasant walk down the history of the town during the 17th and the 18th century. The castle takes you through the life of the Royalty here including their dining etiquette, as well as details of their wardrobe or the Royal Pink upholstery. There is a stunning Baroque theatre inside, giving a glimpse of entertainment during those years.
Expect yourself to be in a town full of life, with people roaming around at a leisurely pace and finding enough space and time to pick up small souvenirs, or having coffee, beer, Mediterranean food in comfort of a boutique cafe and long-drawn conversations surrounding the beauty of the place. There is no one in hurry here.
Distance from Prague: 175 km (2.5 hours)
Things to do: If you are into photography, you are gonna want to visit to Museum Fotoatelier Seidel which was an actual photography studio of Joseph Seidel. Take a tour around the museum which has been decorated in Art Nouveau style. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee at Castle Cafe which not only brews amazing coffee and beers but also provides stunning views of the whole city. Another one of the things to do in Cesky Krumlov is kayaking or canoeing on Vltava River in summers.
Tips: It is cheaper if you buy a Cesky Krumlov Card which provides access to most of the attractions in the town which includes castle museum and tower, Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Monasteries Český Krumlov. It costs less than $15 (INR 1,000). If you think you can’t visit all the places in one day, don’t worry because the card is valid for 12 months.
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2. Karlovy Vary
If discovering a new place full of colourful architecture is your way of doing Prague and its boundaries, then, head straight to Karlovy Vary for an extension.
This city was discovered in 1370 and is a popular tourist site for its architectural brilliance and hot springs. It must be an eyesore for people who enjoy Prague and still visit Karlovy Vary for its colourful and imaginative architecture. If you cannot have enough of the special display from Prague, be here and enjoy another exquisite architectural splendour from Czech Republic.
Of all the places near Prague, Karlovy Vary is a grand destination and very picturesque naturally. The hot springs destination is famous for its spa treatments, which has been on offer for the past six centuries. The spa complex offers physical and mental rejuvenation, which is a good option if you please so.
Distance from Prague: 130 km (2 hours)
Things to do: One of the things to do in Karlovy Vary is get a bird’s eye view from Diana Observation Tower which offers stunning views of the city from the height of 18,00 ft. Visit the Moser Museum and Glasswork Factory where you can learn a lot about the renowned Moser glass art. Get a drink of Mother nature’s soda recipe aka mineral water from the one of the 5 hot springs in the city. It is one of the unique experiences this place has to offer. Also, check out the 1970’s Hot Spring Colonnade which spurts hot water 40 ft above the ground.
Tips: The best way to get around the city is by public transport. If you wish to buy antiques and artwork from the city, make sure your paperwork is in order since export of objects of cultural value is prohibited
3. Kutna Hora
Located at distance of about 80 km from Prague, this 13th-century mine town is full of surprises. The famous bone church, yes, you read it right- a skeleton house called Sedlec Ossuary is located here.
This small Roman Catholic Chapel uses only human bones for interior decorations. There is a big chandelier hung at the centre-top, made of only human bones. If that sounds strange to you, wait until you experience it all. It looks beautiful and the intent is noble too. The chandelier, for example, has been constructed to commemorate people who died during the plagues and wars in Europe. The single piece of chandelier contains at least one bone of every person who died during this time. it is estimated that 70,000 people died due to plague and wars.
Kutna Hora has other attractions like the Cathedral of Saint Barbara which has an exquisite vaulted ceiling and ornate frescoes. A must visit is the historic silver mining site. The cave mine tour is a bit of an adventure plus its visitors get to learn a lot about how coins were minted inside. It takes you through the complete journey of coin mining, through the caves. Otherwise too, Kutna Hora has a pretty hill-view and a lot of space to walk to visit every corner of the town in pleasure.
Distance from Prague: 85 km (1.5 hours)
Things to do: Known as the mining city, do not miss out on visiting the medieval silver mine where you will learn how silver was mined and processed inside the ‘donkey gin’. After that, grab a fancy lunch at 400-year old Restaurant Dačický where you can gorge on lip-smacking Czech cuisine. Visit the Italian Court where silver coins were produced during the rule of a king. In the evening, take a stroll in the charming streets of Kutna Hora which seem right out of a fairy-tale. It makes one of the beautiful places to visit around Prague.
Tip: You will need not more than two days in Kutna Hora since all the attraction can be visited in a day. If you are travelling on a train, the station is near to Sedlec Ossuary from where you can begin the trip.
4. Krivoklat Castle
Krivoklat Castle located in the Berounka River Valley will take you back in time. The castle tour is a must for travellers who are looking to experience the serenity of hill by own. Krivoklat Castle rests on a forested hill and was originally a royal residence built in the 13th century.
The castle was founded in the 12th century and built in Gothic style and its interiors are still the same, full of paintings, art and a massive section of books (the collections is over 50,000). A walk inside the castle will take you through dark patches of the political prisoners captured here; their sentiment finds expression through beautiful cravings in the Royal Chapel today. These carving show angels holding instruments of torture.
A Krivoklat Castle tour will let you enjoy the unspoilt beauty of its surrounding highlands. It is a well-preserved landscape, which has most of its tourist attraction in order, carefully preserved and most importantly, it is still not crowded.
Distance from Prague: 60 km (1 hour)
5. Terezin Concentration Camp
A must-visit for the history buffs, about a one-hour drive from Prague is Terezin Concentration Camp. The campsite was constructed by the Nazis to hold war prisoners around the time of World War-2. It is one of the unique and heartrending places to see near Prague.
There are similar concentration camp builds to be seen in Munich or Poland, for example. The Terezin Concentration Camp is notorious for housing many Jews imprisoned by the Nazis. The majority of the camp prisoners were from the community who underwent a lot of torture. A guided walk through the camp is enough to give you the chills and imagine what a hard task life it was for the Jews under the Nazi regime, led by Adolf Hitler.
The Terezin camp area also has ghettos where most of the camp prisoners went torture during interrogations during the 18th century. People who are curious to know more about Hitler and his regimen can specifically find a lot to observe and watch out during the camp visit-it is an equivalent of ‘life at the site’.
Distance from Prague: 60 km (1 hour)
It’s always a good idea to go beyond boundaries, see the places that are often left unseen. So, now you know where else to visit in Czech, other than Prague. For a hassle-free trip planning customizable Europe tour packages will be around for rescue too, you just have to be the one who’s determined to go!
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