Top 10 things to do in the Czech Republic
The Czech republic offers a unique blend of Southern, Eastern and Western Europe. It is not too expensive which makes it an ideal place to travel for backpackers, couples and families. The Czech republic offers beautiful scenery, rich history and delicious food and drink.
Top 10 things to do in the Czech Republic
1. Punkva Caves
Exploring the epic Punkva caves was definitely one of my top highlights in the Czech Republic. The subterranean scenery includes stalagmites, stalactites, underground pools, an underground river and a very impressive cavern entrance called the Macocha abyss, which is a breathtaking 138.4m deep. Top 10 things to do in the Czech Republic.
Cost: Entry to the Punkva cave 180kc (6.00GBP or around 9.00USD) + 40kc photo fee (photo fee not strictly enforced in the cave). Child ticket 6-15 years old 100kc (around 3.00GBP or 4.50USD). Children under 6 free. Students under 26 years old may be able to get a discount with student ID.
Location: The cave system is situated in the beautiful Moravian Karst nature reserve in the south of the country, around 40km north of Brno. The ticket office and information centre is next to the Skalni Mlyn hotel.
Time: The cave tour covers 1250m distance and takes around an hour. It would be possible to visit these caves as a day trip from Prague, but it would be a very long day.
Top tips: Bring some food. There is only one food outlet in the area, an expensive restaurant in the Skalni Mlyn hotel.
2. Village life
The Czech countryside offers beautiful, quaint alpine scenery. You can explore crisp, clean villages and see magnificent churches. As soon as you get off the beaten track you are unlikely to bump into other travellers. The downside is some of these villages can be pretty tricky to get to- they really are awkward but awesome! We hitch hiked to a beautiful village called Vranov in the south of the Czech republic. We stayed in a lovely pub and had an amazing evening of food and local beer at ludicrously low prices.
Top 10 things to do in the Czech Republic
Cost: Free- except for transport and accommodation costs which will vary
Location: There are a few villages by the name of Vranov which can be confusing. There is ‘Vranov Nad Dyji’ near the southern Australian border which is also beautiful and worth a visit. There is also a village called ‘Vranov’ which is about 40km southeast of Prague. The Vranov we are writing about is in the South Moravian region between Brno and Blansko.
Time: Due to transport challenges it is worth having a couple of days free if you wish to explore some of the villages.
Top tips: Few people speak English in the villages, buses may be infrequent and there may not be shops- or if there are shops that are likely to be closed on Sundays and public holidays. If you are a foodie like me, it is probably worth having some rations in your backpack just incase!
3. Karlstejn Castle
A visit to the Czech Republic wouldn’t be complete without seeing bavarian-style fairy tale castles nestled in deep valleys surrounded by alpine woodlands. One such castle is Karlstejn castle (pronounced “Karl-stein”) which is a stone’s throw from Prague. Even the walk up to this castle is an experience in itself, as you follow the valley up and enjoy the castle from different panoramic perspectives. Once you reach the top you are rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Top 10 things to do in the Czech Republic.
Cost: Train tickets cost 96kc day return (any train, any time).
Location: Karlstejn Castle is situated in Karlstejn village around 30km southwest of Prague. The easiest way to get here is by taking a train from Prague central station (Hlavni nadr, on subway line C, red line).
Time:This could be done in a morning or afternoon from Prague: The train journey takes around 45 minutes from Prague central station, the castle is a further 15 minutes walk from the station. The tour of the castle may take around an hour.
Top tips: During low season (start of November - end of February) the castle is only open on Saturdays and Sundays 10am-3pm. During mid season (Start of March - end of June and start of September to the end of October) open every day except Mondays. During high season (July and August) it is open every day. Opening hours get longer towards the summer.
4. Bohemian paradise
This gorgeous part of the Czech Republic became known as the Bohemian Paradise due to its idyllic natural beauty and the fact that bohemian gypsies originally came from this part of the world. The Bohemian paradise is home to the Hruboskalsko stone forest. This is a spectacular karst landscape situated in an alpine forest.
Cost: There is no entry fee for the Bohemian Paradise or the stone forest and no tickets or permits are required for trekking in this area.
Location: Around 1km south of Turnov, in the North of the Czech Republic
Time: A round trek may take roughly 5 hours from Turnov but we would recommend leaving a full day for the trek.
Top tips: The trail starts next to Turnov Město train station in the South of Turnov. Follow the red and white markers. Markers are fairly regular and can be seen on trees and signposts. A few things to watch out for:
- Red and white trail to Valdštejn-hrad (a beautiful house)
- Red and white trail to Hrubá Skála (a beautiful castle) keep an eye open for view points to the left along this section
- Yellow and white trail to Mariánská vyhlídka viewpoint
5. Visit a microbrewery
The Czech Republic is home to a wide array of refreshing beers that have earned a reputation afar. The beer is enviably cheap and delightfully refreshing (typically around 30Kc or $1.50 or 1GBP per pint). There are many micro breweries around. We enjoyed a visit to the Pivovar Rohozec brewery. To the left of the brewery is a small restaurant / pub serving amazing local beer and very tasty food for excellent prices. This place has a very good reputation with locals for good reason
Cost: Beer and food are both cheap
Location: the Pivovar Rohozec brewery is just outside the village of Malý Rohozec
Time: 1 hour +
Top tips: Many breweries do not offer tours but will have pubs where you can buy food and beers
6. Czech food
A short walk around Prague city centre will leave your mouth watering and stomach rumbling. Czech food is tasty stodge- perfect for a hungry foodie like me! Some of my food highlights include a large shank of roast pork (for my birthday!), amazing borscht (beetroot soup) and delicious dumplings.
Cost: The cheapest street food (e.g. a hot dog) starts around 60Kc (2.00GBP or $3.00), more expensive dishes can cost 300Kc or more (10GBP or $15.00). Food is noticeably cheaper outside Prague.
Location: Pubs, bars, cafe’s and restaurants
Time: All day if you can
Top tips: In some rural places menus may not be in English so be prepared for a surprise
For a cheap adrenaline rush that won't give you give you a headache try bobsledding. It is a fantastic morning or afternoon activity if you are staying in Prague and fancy a good laugh! You sit in a cart that feels slightly too small for a grown adult, and then push the lever to release the brakes. The track weaves and winds down the hill as you keep accelerating and eventually get so terrified you begin to brake. The good news is you don’t even need to walk back up the hill at the end- the carts are tugged back up the hill where you can jump off and queue for your second go.
Cost: 70kc for adult (GBP2.30 or $3.50)
Location: 906/34b Prosecká street. If you are taking the subway go to Prosek subway station (line C). Walk down Prosecká street (down the hill) 10 minutes and the bobsleigh is on the left
Time: This is likely to take around 2 hours from the city centre including journey time
Top tips: Use the brakes to slow your descent
8. Charles Bridge
If you haven’t been to the Charles Bridge then you haven’t visited Prague. Yep it’s one of those places and for good reason. Personally I adored the hustle and bustle atmosphere of the Charles Bridge. People dress in fantastic costumes, perform music, sell things art, jewelry and souvenirs. And the bridge affords an impressive view of the river, hills and old buildings in Prague. If you want an atmospheric experience of the bridge and to avoid the crowds, try visiting at sunrise.
Location: Very central. It is a short walk from Staromestska Metro station (Line A) and it is a 5-10 minute walk from the Old Town Square.
Time: Excluding travel time 10-30 minutes would be a reasonable amount of time to enjoy the bridge
Top tips: Keep a careful eye on your valuables as this is a busy area
9. Try Trdelník (“Donut cones”)
Don’t you love it when having an experience of traditional cultural food means eating something like this? These are as good as they look. The “donut cone” is made fresh and then choose decadent fillings- cream, ice cream, fruits, sauces. Just remember- it is your cultural duty to try at least one so don’t feel bad!
Cost: 60Kc - 120Kc (2-4GBP or 3-6USD)
Location: They are sold all round Prague, especially around the old town.
Time: Due to popularity be prepared that you may need to queue and wait for these
Top tips: Ask for a spoon and cup if they don’t give you one (it can get messy!)
10. Climb the clock tower
If you are staying in Prague and want to enjoy the historical buildings and get a great view of the city, then make sure your climb the Astronomical Clock tower. The top of the clock tower enables you to walk round and look over the city in every direction. As you would imagine it is almost always crowded so be prepared to “go with the flow” and dodge a few selfie sticks.
Cost: Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office at the bottom of the tower 130kc (4.00 GBP or 6.00 USD)
Location: Old Town Square, Prague city centre
Time: 30min -1 hour
Top tips: No need to pre-book but you may need to queue at busy times. There is a lift available.
There’s always more
In Prague: The castle- on the hill. The John Lennon Wall- 2 minute walk from Charles Bridge. Colorful graffiti wall. On the street side- Velkopřevorské náměstí street. Boat tour of the river. The ice bar (east bank of the river, close to the Charles Bridge)
Outside Prague: Sedlec Ossuary (the church of bones), Pancava waterfalls, the creepy Houska Castle and much more