Each of Prague’s districts has its own characteristic atmosphere and unique charm. Prague presents itself to you as a changeable city, which likes to alternate styles: it is romantic and successful, ancient and modern, but above all it is a city that is cosmopolitan through and through, and is used to welcoming foreigners.
Castles and chateaux – the greatest Czech treasures
Impregnable fortresses, defiant forts, fairytale chateaux and whimsical summer palaces in expansive landscaped parks – these are places where the past comes to life. Tours are livened up by guides in historical costume, period music and dance, swordsmen and falconers. You will sometimes even come across a ghost! One of the most popular castles in the Czech Republic is Karlštejn Castle, where the Czech crown jewels are displayed. The castle and chateau in Ceský Krumlov with the Baroque theatre and revolving auditorium in the chateau gardens are presented to you as whimsically playful.
Health & Spa
Why are the Czech spas some of the most popular in the world? The main reasons are the healing mineral springs and other natural therapeutic resources. Guests can also look forward to superb high quality spa care, the comfort and services offered by the spa facilities and also the beautiful surrounding countryside. You must have already heard of Karlovy Vary with its beautiful colonnades, Mariánské Lázne with its singing fountain or the Luhacovice Spa with its characteristic Art Nouveau architecture, inspired by folk styles.
If you are already in the Czech spas, you should also start to try out the local specialties. From the spas, these include sweet wafers with their characteristic shape – round and thin with a filling, the tradition of which dates right back to the 16th century. Another spa specialty, specifically one from Karlovy Vary, is the Becherovka herbal liqueur, which is said to be the 13th healing spring in the Czech.
As far as drinks are concerned, the Czechs are especially good at production and consumption of beer (they are the number one beer drinkers in the world). There are more than 450 brands on the market, and small breweries, which brew their own original beer, are also very popular. The Pilsner Urquell and Budweiser brands are especially well-known around the world.
Czech, and above all, Moravian wines, especially the white ones, are also worth tasting. What is more, they come from the most beautiful corners of the Czech Republic and travelling in search of their production facilities is a guarantee of a contentedly spent holiday.
Czech cuisine excels in meat of all kinds, which is prepared in numerous different ways. Czech dumplings are also typical and unique. These are served in salted or sweet varieties. Another unique dish is potato pancakes or spiced potato cakes, which you cannot fail to love.
The Czech Republic is a promised land for those who have been bitten by the golf bug. The golf courses here are waiting just for you! These are not only championship courses, but also golf resorts, training academies, indoor simulators and golf schools for beginners and experienced players. Lots of golfing combinations on several courses are offered by the Kaskáda Golf Resort near the Brno Reservoir and the golf centre near the Konopište Chateau. Other trips to play golf take you to beautiful chateau parks, for example to a chateau modelled in the Windsor Gothic style in Hrádek u Nechanic or the former location of the office of Chancellor Metternich in Kynžvart.
Cycling & Hiking
If your bike has become a constant partner on trips through the flatlands and hills, the Czech Republic has lots of great tips to offer you. You can for example set out by bike from Vienna to Brno or from the German borders along the Ohre or along the banks of the Elbe right up to its source. The witches’ cycle path will take you past places where inquisition trials were held in times long past. Single track trails will take you to places where you really can give your body a thorough workout and all lovers of adrenaline sports will be supremely jealous of you; discover these in the Rychleby and Jizera Mountains.
You can also discover the charm of ordinary walks to places you can only reach on foot! One of the nicest places to take a walk in Prague is Petrín, whose imaginary crown is the famous lookout tower, nicknamed the little Eiffel Tower. The fairytale Pruhonice Park, which is one of the largest naturally landscaped parks in Europe, is only a few kilometres from Prague city limits. The mountain path along the River Vydra is a beautiful place for all fans of the enchanting countryside of Šumava. There is no other way to get to the Punkva Caves and the bottom of the Macocha Abyss than on foot and the same is true if you want to wander among the massive sandstone towers of the rock cities in Adršpach or the Prachov Rocks in Bohemian Paradise!
Prague Spring festival is held annually every year. It’s the oldest and the most renowned Czech music festival, presenting dozens of concerts and performances by more than a thousand artists from all over the world.
Strings of Autumn
Every year members of the current international music scene of various genres, from classical music to jazz, crossover and old music to world music come to this Prague festival in autumn. The Strings of Autumn seeks a broad perspective to convey the immense diversity of the music world to audiences, regardless of the well-traveled ruts of certain genre.
Annually in August, Giuseppe Verdi’s operas are played in Prague as part of this well-known festival.
The festival is held in honor of one of the most renowned personalities of Czech music – the composer Leoš Janácek. It takes place right in the Hukvaldy castle and the adjacent game preserve.
International Music Festival Ceský Krumlov
The International Music Festival Ceský Krumlov is the longest-running summer music festival in the Czech Republic. Offering a wide range of musical genres performed by world-renowned Czech and international artists, the Festival is held every July and August in the UNESCO world heritage town of Ceský Krumlov.
The most famous native of Litomyšl, composer Bedrich Smetana, is celebrated every summer with a big music festival. Dating from 1949, it is the second oldest music festival in the Czech Republic. The center of festival events is the magnificent Litomyšl Renaissance château with a covered courtyard and unique theater, registered as a UNESCO site.
Kutná Hora Music Festival
A series of classical music concerts held in September in the unique settings of the UNESCO-listed St. Barbara’s Cathedral in Kutná Hora.
Brno International Music Festival
This festival is one of the prominent festivals of classical music in the Czech Republic and one of the most important musical events in Moravia.
Bohemia Jazz Fest
This festival is a unique event of its kind primarily on account of its merging of first class music with the breathtaking scenery of medieval squares. Each year, the historic centers of Czech cities welcome 80,000 visitors who come to enjoy the top-class jazz performances, for which there is absolutely no entrance fee!
Jazz Goes To Town
Hradec Králové lives for jazz in October. This festival annually presents top musicians from the World, European, and Czech jazz scenes playing a wide range of genres from traditional jazz, blues, fusion, mainstream, funky jazz, be-bop and free jazz.
Czech Summer Festivals
Summer season is literally riddled with festivals of various genres - from pop-rock to hip hop. An irresistible atmosphere, concerts and other outdoor events attract thousands of people and expand the programs every year. Just choose a musical style, tune into the right mood and hang out with friends for unrepeatable musical experiences.
Classical Music and Jazz Festivals
It is not without good reason that it is said that every Czech is a musician. Czech classical music has a good reputation throughout the world and nobody plays the compositions of Smetana, Dvorák or Janácek better than Czech performers. Nothing charges you with energy like a visit to one of the many music festivals, which are held in the Czech Republic. To name but a few, Prague Spring, Smetana’s Litomyšl, Janácek’s May, Jazz Goes to Town or International Jazz Festival Prague.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has an absolutely unique standing among film festivals. Stars from all over the world descend on the world famous spa at the beginning of July and the town transforms into the location of a week-long party with a unique atmosphere. Another festival with international participation is the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradište and a great tip for a trip with children is the traditional International Film Festival for Children and Youth, which has already been held for half a century in Zlín.
Joy from discovering the best the Czech Republic has to offer is supported by the magic of traditions, the renowned taste of the local cuisine and also by a selection of great wines or beers. Several traditions represent the Czech Republic on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, i.e. customs, traditions and cultural events. These include for example falconry, the colourful Shrovetide processions in the Hlinecko region, the men’s folk dance verbunk and the unique festival known as the Ride of the Kings. The Ride of the Kings from Moravian Slovakia is a unique tradition in the Czech Republic which is included in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list.
Prague Food Festival
The Prague Food Festival is a three-week celebration of Czech food with a tradition going way back. The open-air event sees the best chefs and drinks producers all gather in one place. Come and sample the beauty and romance of Prague and enjoy the best food the country has to offer into the bargain!
Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová´s Festival of Gastronomy
You can delight your taste buds during the gastronomic celebrations held in May in a small historical town of Litomyšl, these being held in honour of Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová, the most famous Czech cookery book writer.
Czech Beer Festival Prague
Enjoy the best that Czech breweries, butchers, meat smokers and confectioners have to offer at one of the 10,000 seats served by waitresses in full national costume. You can down steins of speciality beer from regional brewers as well as more traditionally well known names.
Pálava Wine Festival
The Pálava Wine Festival takes place over the second weekend in September in the South Moravian town of Mikulov. Those who appreciate fine culinary delicacies and fine wines, served with a bit of culture, can expect three days of fun and a wide-ranging programme of events. Come and savour this year’s young wine, give your taste buds a treat with local specialities and revel in this superb cultural experience.
Trips with children should be playful, fun, and no-one should get bored! While you can obviously also visit a zoo, aquapark, castle or chateau, there are many other places to go. Here are some tips for the best places to go and where both you and your children can enjoy yourselves.
Tips for babies and children in prams
Do your children still ride in prams, or are they just taking their first, awkward steps? Then take them to a Czech DinoPark. These fun parks, with life-size models of prehistoric animals in the open air, can be found in Ostrava, Vyškov, Plzenand Prague, and include refreshments stalls and sandpits with palaeontological playgrounds.
One popular destination for going walks with children is Petrín hill in Prague, with its lookout tower and mirror labyrinth – while children have to enter it on foot, but loads of fun is guaranteed! You’ll also enjoy yourself in the Boheminium Park in Mariánské Lázne, where the paths are lined with perfect miniature models of famous castles, chateaux and other monuments in the Czech Republic.
Tips for active children
Is there anything better than a place where children can find lots of attractions in the one spot? If this is the kind of place you’re looking for, take a trip to the Bohemian Paradise, where you’ll find not only amazing rock formations and lots of castles and chateaux, but also the Happy Earth (Štastná zeme) complex in Radvánovice, full of fun, environmentally-friendly attractions, climbing-frames, mazes and trampolines.
Tips for children who like to create and discover things
Go to Ostrá nad Labem for a tour of the Botanicus complex, with its herbal and ornamental gardens. The main attraction for children is the historic arts and crafts village, where they can learn about traditional crafts that formed an essential part of the lives of our ancestors, but are now slowly being lost. Children can see tinkers, potters, rope-makers, soap-makers and candle-makers at work. A variety of interesting events also take place here every weekend in the summer.
Castles and chateaux
Whereas castles are a reminder of the turbulent Middle Ages, Czech chateaux are a monument to the ostentatious life of the local aristocratic families. The first amaze visitors with their majestic nature and functionality, the second with their luxuriousness and often very grandiose design. If you would like to visit them all, one holiday will not be enough as we have a total of around 2,000 castles and chateau in the Czech Republic.
At the most popular, you can expect to see examples of life at that time, sword fighting displays, exhibitions of birds of prey and from time to time also medieval fairs with the possibility of buying traditional Czech products.
In search of Jewish culture
The Jewish community in the Czech lands was never very numerous, but its cultural influence was enormous. Even today, we can walk through Jewish neighborhoods, bow our heads at Jewish cemeteries or explore one of about two hundred synagogues. You can discover the complete picture of Jewish life at the Jewish Museum in Prague and develop awareness by strolling through Prague’s Jewish Town. You can take a guided tour through the Jewish Quarter and see other sites in, for example, Boskovice, while a part of the educational trail in the Jewish Quarter inMikulov includes the ritual mikveh bath. The Jewish Quarter in Trebíc has just been enrolled in UNESCO thanks to the 123 list of preserved buildings.
Museums and galleries
Lovers of classic exposition and admirers of the modern museum concept can choose for themselves. You will learn about the secrets of the past, the mysteries of the future, and the essence of the present. If you are interested in how things work around us, then visit the National Technical Museum in Prague – a paradise of science and technology. Whoever is intoxicated by the scent of gasoline or diesel won’t be able to resist the cars in the Škoda Auto Museum in Mladá Boleslav. Admirers of architecture, design and art will also find what they’re looking for. The atmosphere of the art of the past 10 centuries can be seen at the National Gallery in Prague, while contemporary art can be found at Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.
Open air museums
We should not forget to mention the open-air museums in Bohemia and Moravia, which ensure that our customs and traditions survive in the 21st century. This concerns monument zones, in which you can find traditional housing from times a hundred or more years ago. It is precisely here that you can learn how people celebrated Christmas and Easter in the individual regions; you can try out traditional dishes here and have a look at how people used to live in the countryside in our country long ago. Maybe you will take such a liking to some of the customs demonstrated, for example in Rožnov pod Radhoštem or in Strážnice, which you will even take them home with you.
National and natural parks, protected landscape areas, and other places are trying to attract visitors with a number of innovations. Visitor centers, observation towers, marked trails for cyclists and pedestrians, and thematic nature trails are being built. The promise of summer scenery of warm rock walls and floodplain meadows is in the Podyjí National Park, while you can check out the cold world of our highest mountains in Krkonoše National Park. In Bohemian Paradise you will find rock formations and rock cities with romantic lookouts, and stroll through mysterious bottomland forests in the Dolní Morava Biosphere Reserve.
Krkonoše National Park
The Krkonoše National Park is one of the most valuable natural areas in all of Central Europe. The highest Czech mountain range, it is a unique mosaic of ecosystems which have remained here as a reminder of the ancient glacial past. Come explore this wonderful landscape with high mountain slopes, flat ridges, alpine meadows with colorful wildflowers, and mysterious moorlands, all presided over by the “Czech Matterhorn” – the highest Czech mountain Snežka.
Šumava National Park
Few places in Central Europe offer such a harmonious landscape as the Šumava National Park. The deep forests on the Czech-Bavarian border are so vast as to form the largest forested area on the continent. A combination of centuries-old primaeval forests, crystal-clear glacial lakes, and mysterious peat bogs creates a uniquely poetic place for active holidays at all times of year.
Podyjí National Park
Even though it is the smallest Czech national park, the Podyjí National Park is among the most important natural sites in Central Europe. Here you will find an exceptionally well-preserved river valley in a richly wooded landscape full of breathtaking scenery. Among the meanders of the Dyje (Thaya) River is a unique reserve which will enchant you with its charm, warm climate and the many ways to enjoy its beauty.
Bohemian Switzerland National Park
A mystical landscape of pine forests and deep valleys, with majestic rock towers, gates, walls, ravines, rock cities and labyrinths rising up from them. This description fits the Bohemian Switzerland National Park precisely. This empire of rocks is home to the rarest of animals and also plays host to remarkable plants.
The stylish new restaurant, bar and lounge CottoCrudo opened at Four Seasons Hotel Prague on March 2, 2012. An Italian classics menu with a modern twist, a central culinary station with prime Italian delicacies, a crudo bar, variable seating options and a unique design showcases the latest in dining trends.
The Philippines have a beautiful cuisine, with influences from Spain. Colors abound, and seafood and meat commingle with fresh vegetables, sweet touches of coconut and bright, zesty herbs and the like.
Billing itself as "the first Gambrinus concept restaurant," Pod Juliskou is a typical gastropub, but it happily lacks the pretensions that can accompany many such places. A standard mix of Czech staples, salads, pastas and steaks - is a notch above the usual with a few standout items, and is a bit cheaper than a lot of other places.
Michelin star restaurants
Two restaurants in Prague with Czech chefs, Alcron in the Radisson hotel and La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, have received one star in this year´s edition of the prestigious French Michelin gastronomical guidebook. Czech chefs, Roman Paulus from Alcron and Oldrich Sahajdak from La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, have won a Michelin star for the first time in history.
Prague boasts with modern design stores specializing in contemporary Czech art as well as 20th century Czech Cubist, Functionalist and Art Deco styles.
An elegant gallery specializing in furniture and accessories from the first half of the 20th century, Modernista covers every style from Czech Cubism, Functionalism, Bauhaus and Art Deco to Industrial and Mid-Century Modern designs.
Kubista store is located at the House of Black Madonna. Kubista store specializes in Czech Cubist and Art Deco art, offering both originals and replicas. The museum of Czech Cubism is located on the top floor.
Qubus design shop showcases the best of Czech design (art, furniture, fashion, accessories).
Design furniture by renowned Czech artists such as Jerry Koza.
Czech glassware, history and shopping
Want to take a souvenir or gift back with you from the Czech Republic? You can’t go wrong with Czech glassware, whether you go for wine glasses, crystal jewellery, bijouterie, richly decorated chandeliers or designer items by top contemporary artists. Shops selling traditional glassware can be found on almost every street corner in Prague, Karlovy Vary and other towns.
For Moser originals, go to Karlovy Vary
The global prestige enjoyed by Czech glassware, synonymous with quality and tradition, is largely due to the renowned Moser glassworks in Karlovy Vary. The glassworks was founded in 1857 and its products are, to this day, regarded as some of the best in the world. The Moser glassworks, museum and visitor centre are one the most frequently visited places in this famous Czech spa town.
Museum of Glass and Jewellery, Jablonec nad Nisou
Visit Jablonec nad Nisou to take a truly close-up look at the beauty of glass, bijouterie and jewellery. Glassmaking and jewellery-making traditions have been developing in this town at the foot of the Jizera mountains since the 16th century. These unusual crafts are showcased in the Museum of Glass and Jewellery, with its collections of glass, jewellery, coins, medals and plaques, and the Belveder jewellery gallery.
To the glassworks in search of glass
Want to see for yourself the places where these exquisite exemplars of traditional, high-quality Czech glass in both classic and modern designs? Then visit a glassworks. In Harrachov you’ll fine the Novosad glassworks, which have been in operation since the beginning of the 18th century and are thus amongst the oldest in the Czech Republic. Traditional methods are still used to produce not only luxury drinks and utility glassware, but also crystal chandeliers.
The Czech Republic does not only mean the best beer in the world, sports fans will also come into their own here. Practically everybody will find something to their taste in the diverse countryside of Central Europe. In summer, you can play golf, cycle or head for the water. In winter, ski centres are open for you and you can take part in adrenaline sports and geocaching the whole year round.
Charming countryside, historical monuments and golf with a long tradition. You could define one of the faces of the Czech Republic in this manner. Golf has been played here since 1898, but the real boom did not come until recent decades, when emphasis has especially been placed on the quality of the courses and their facilities.Most golf courses are currently concentrated in three locations: the area around the City of Prague, the Triangle of the West Bohemian Spas and North Moravia. Testament to the quality of the courses is the names of their architects: Gary Player, Miguel A. Jiménés, John Burns and many others.
The Czech countryside is specific, especially in its diversity. In a relatively small area, you will find all types of terrain, a fact which will especially be appreciated by keen cyclists. You will never be bored on a bike in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic currently offers hundreds of well-marked cycle paths and thousands of kilometres, which you can ride here. The densest networks of paths are to be found in the most beautiful corners of the Czech Republic. We could for example name the “cyklomagistrála” leading through the wild mountain range of Šumava, or the network of paths in the beautiful Jizera Mountains.
One of the nicest places to take a walk in Prague is Petrín, whose imaginary crown is the famous lookout tower, nicknamed the little Eiffel Tower. The fairytale Pruhonice Park, which is one of the largest naturally landscaped parks in Europe, is only a few kilometres from Prague city limits. The mountain path along the River Vydra is a beautiful place for all fans of the enchanting countryside of Šumava. There is no other way to get to the Punkva Caves and the bottom of the Macocha Abyss than on foot and the same is true if you want to wander among the massive sandstone towers of the rock cities in Adršpach or the Prachov Rocks in Bohemian Paradis.
Do you know that feeling when a white trail stretches off into the distance before you and your cross-country skis slide contentedly along step by step? Then you will like the Jizerská magistrála, which is one of the most popular cross-country skiing trails in the Czech Republic. The Jizerská padesátka long-distance cross-country ski race takes place on it every year, intended for recreational skiers and for professionals. If you long for a true sporting challenge, set out for the Krušné Mountains in the footsteps of a great Czech athlete on the Lukáš Bauer Tour course.
You will find slopes for experienced skiers in the Czech mountains and training slopes where children will feel at home. Ski centres also offer lots of new things every year, ranging from sledging, snowtubing and new snow parks, right through to new cable cars. The most popular ski centres in the Czech Republic are Skiresort Cerná hora and Skiareál Špindleruv Mlýn in the Krkonoše Mountains. Great skiing can be enjoyed with children in Skiareál Lipno.
Yachting, windsurfing and more
Although the Czech Republic is a landlocked country, it is officially a seafaring nation and yachting has a long tradition here. Natural and artificial reservoirs are used for sailing of all types. Rental outlets can be found by many of these, providing boats and surf boards – enthusiasts of new sports such as zorbing will also not find themselves short-changed here.
The most popular areas of water are the Lipno, Orlík, Slapy, Vranov and Nové Mlýny reservoirs and Mách’s Lake.