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Czech Republic

Beyond Prague

 

The magic of the Czech Republic doesn’t start and end in its capital, so why stop there when it comes to exploring?

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Prague may be the capital city that sits at the heart of the Czech Republic, but there’s so much more to this captivating country to explore. Away from the hustle and bustle, you can uncover traditional towns, striking architecture and sweeping landscapes, all with the promise of fewer crowds - what’s not to like?

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to branching out from Prague, let’s begin with the Central Bohemian region. It completely encompasses the capital and stretches around a 40-mile radius, giving you plenty to get cracking with!

Ready to get more out of your Czech Republic trip? Here are the top things to do in Central Bohemia:

  1. Karlštejn and Křivoklát Castles
  2. Rock formations in Bohemian Paradise
  3. Kutná Hora
  4. Glassmaking
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1. Karlštejn and Křivoklát Castles

Did you know there are more than 200 castles and châteaux in the Czech Republic? Less than an hour from Prague lies one of the country’s most visited – the majestic Karlštejn Castle. It was built in 1348 on the orders of Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, as a stronghold for the crown jewels and royal treasures.

As you approach, you’ll see the Gothic building soaring into the sky, surrounded by lush forests, giving you a true fairytale castle experience. Inside, you’ll be immersed in rich history. Think spectacular paintings by Master Theodoricus, gold-clad ceilings glistening above you and replicas of the glittering crown jewels – Karlštejn Castle is straight out of a storybook.

Around an hour away, you’ll find Křivoklát Castle. With turrets piercing the sky, terracotta-topped buildings and a spectacular hill-top location, it’s little wonder Křivoklát Castle is a favourite for the silver screen. The main square was used as the backdrop for films such as The Brothers Grimm and Wanted starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. Visit the castle yourself and wander the halls to discover why it’s enchanted so many.

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2. Rock formations in Bohemian Paradise

The Czech Republic is home to more than 40,000km of beautiful winding trials. For the very best of these routes, head to Bohemian Paradise – paradise by name and certainly paradise by nature.

Blanketed by rich green forests and flush with stunning panoramas at every turn, this is the place for nature lovers. As you explore, discover unusually shaped sandstone rocks towering high above the trees, that have been battered and shaped by dramatic weather over thousands of years. For any treasure hunters out there, you may also find the remains of a medieval castle on your travels, hidden among the trees.

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Photo by Pavel Gryč

3. Kutná Hora

This UNESCO-listed city is a real sight to behold. Wander the streets and be in awe of the stunning Gothic architecture that’s famous the world over. It sits around 50 miles to the east of Prague and hourly trains run here from the capital’s main train station.

You won’t find any castles in Kutná Hora, but this was once the centre of the kingdom’s economic and political power, and the second most important city after Prague.

Once you arrive, you’ll immediately be taken aback by the splendour of St. Barbara’s Church. Three striking spires dominate the skyline while intricate flying buttresses encircle the walls. These unique features make it the city’s most recognisable landmark.

While you’re here, don’t miss the Czech Museum of Silver – you can pick up a lamp, helmet and mining coat with hood and venture through a 250m-long underground mine!

Glassmaking

4. Glassmaking

Czech glass, or Bohemian glass, has been in production since the 13th century. Ever wondered how these intricate and delicate items are made? Uncover the region’s rich glassmaking heritage and get to the know the process of making glassware and jewellery. High quality and timelessness – these are the two important values of the traditional Czech glassmaking craft.

Visit the family-run Glasstar glassworks in Nenačovice and you’ll get to see behind the scenes of this amazing craft and have a go at making your own!

Intrigued by what you might find outside the capital?

Posted: 24th Dec 2019.

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