Where do we get the words, “co Čech, to muzikant,” which means “every Czech is a musician,” which should give you some insight into the wealth of art and culture emanating from this small but wonderful country. The Czech Republic is located right in the middle of Europe. From 1948 until 1989 Czechoslovakia (consisting of today’s Czech Republic and Slovakia) was ruled by the Communist Party and thus part of the Warsaw bloc behind the iron curtain which divided whole Europe from the Baltic to the Adriatic into two antagonistic parts. Soon after the so called velvet revolution in 1989 international tourism developed at a rather rapid pace. Indeed, Prague, the famous golden city, became a trendy destination practically overnight, but this has served as an experience for the country that has developed into one of the most visited countries . Prague as the famous capital has always been inline with the most popular countries in the world, such as of London, New York and Tokyo. Tourists are drawn to Czech Republic because of its historical sites, impressive range of architecture, vibrant nightlife, and wealth of outdoor activities. It was in the ’90s that Czech Republic transformed into an alternative, electrifying country. Döner kebabs, bockwurst, and Czech cheeses are peddled side by side. Freewheeling youth and a relentless drive toward the modern mean endless streets of hip hangouts and vehemently chill attitudes, making Czech cities, especially Prague, some of the best student destinations in Europe. And even though the locals might be too cool for school they do appreciate a tenacity to learn, evident from all the Czechs who cheer your blatantly wrong attempts at their language. Prague is peppered with sights and sounds to constantly keep your head turning, including the Charles Bridge, Prague Old Town and Jewish Quarter, the Astronomical Clock, and the glorious Prague Castle. To the south, you’ll find the medieval towns of Bohemia, Mělník, and Kutná Hora, while to the west lie a number of luxury spa retreats, such as Karlštejn and Karlovy Vary, and many of the country’s national parks teeming with cycling, hiking and rock climbing from early spring to mid-fall, and skiing and snowboarding dominating the winter months. All of these are just prelude to your vacation in Czech Republic.
The Czech people have a reputation for being lovers of music, art, and beer, which is evident in the sheer number of jazz, rock, and blues, concert halls and classical music venues, pubs and lounges. Art is everywhere, not only in the galleries and mobile exhibitions, but out on the streets and walls of alternative restaurants. As for the beer, the breweries of České Budějovice and Pilsen are known to produce some of the best lagers in the world.
Where to go in Czech Republic?
Prague. The Golden City.Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic is referred as the golden city or the city of the hundred spires. Prague was spotted as a major tourist destination immediately after the velvet revolution and a constant influx of tourists from all over the world emerged. Prague established itself as one of the most visited cities of Central Europe. The number of inernational tourists in Prague is estimated of about 4 million (in 2008). Prague is extremely popular especially among younger U.S. American tourists. Quite many of them stayed altogether as students or expatriates working at the growing number of multinational enterprises which chose Prague as regional headquarters for their operations in Central Europe. This made Prague to a bustling city full of cultural events and with a vivid urban life.A lot of famous attractions are located in Prague that made it even more popular. Among of which is the Prague Castle dominating above the old city. The Prague castle was visited by more than 1.3 million people in 2008 and thus was the most visited Czech tourist attraction. Prague is best experience by taking a walk through the old city and the castle district (Hradčany), discovering the many historical bridges considering the Charles Bridge as the most famous one, exploring the hilly outskirts of the old Prague with its many villas from the Czech Cubism period, are among the many highlights.
Budejowice. Major City of Southern Bohemia. It was was founded in 1265 by King Přemysl Otakar II and built along a chessboard layout. České Budějovice has a population of about 94.000 and is one of the tourist attraction in Southern Bohemia at the transit route between Prague and Linz (Austria). As all Czech cities it has an amazing old town center with a large square-shaped plaza around the Samson fountain attracting many international tourists. The popular landmark of the market plaza is the Black Tower, a 72 m high bell tower built in 1577. Budejowice is famous for its beers. The Budvar (Budweiser) beer is probably the best known Bohemian beer and very popular in neighboring countries for decades. There is no dispute that it is of a much higher quality than its American name cousin Budweiser.
Český Krumlov (Bohemian Krumlov). Český Krumlov is an old town in South Bohemia at the Vlatava river. Known for its historical architecture and and its large castle (Český Krumlov Castle), it has become major tourist attractions of Bohemia Krumlov, the second largest castle of the Czech Republic next to Prague Castle. The painting of Egon Schiele (1890-1918), The Little Village showcasing Bohemian Krumlov is among his many famous artistic works.
Giant Mountains (Krkonoše) The Giant Mountains are the highest mountain range of the Czech Republic with the Sněžka (1602m) as its highest peak. The Giant Mountains are located between Bohemia in the South and Silesia in the North, now the border between the Czech Republic and Poland and is part of the so called Sudetes range. The Giant Mountains are a popular tourism region in summer and winter. Špindlerův Mlýn and Harrachov are the main towns and well known ski resorts making both towns important tourist attractions for winter sports.
The Ore Mountains (Krušné hory). The Ore Mountains are a mountain range located at the border between German Saxony and Bohemia. The highest peak is the Klínovec (1244m). East of the Ore Mountains are the Elbe Sandsonte Mountains which are a popular destination for rock climbers. The name of the Ore Mountains indicates its history of mining, especially silver and tin ore back in the fifteenth century. With the discovery of the great silver deposits in the “New World” (Mexico, Peru, Chile) mining declined and a particular wood carving industry emerged. Today the Ore mountains are an important tourism region and boast some popular ski resorts. Jáchymov (or in German Joachimsthal) is an old mining town and it was there where the first “Joachimsthaler” was minted in 1519. Thus, the name for the dollar (thaler) has its origin in an odd Bohemian mining town almost nobody in the US knows about.
Famous Spas in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic boasts a great many of famous, traditional spa towns which are important tourist attractions. The European aristocracy traveled to these spas for centuries to cure their diseases or to just relax. The most famous spa towns are Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) and Mariánské Lázně. Both spa towns are located in picturesque landscapes and attractive for their specific spa architecture.
Castles and Chateaux in the Czech Republic.The number of castles and chateaux in the Czech Republic is well over 2,000. It is even estimated that the number of castles per square mile in this region is the highest of any country in the world. The turbulent history of the region, located at the crossroads of different cultures and empires, has resulted in a great need for protective measurements such as fortresses and castles. Later on, the comparative richness of the region and its economic dynamics resulted in many chateaux built by the regional aristocracy. The famous “Castle Road”, a string of hundreds of different castles, castle ruins and fortresses between Mannheim in Germany and Prague in the Czech Republic is probably the best way to explore the interesting history of castles in Central Europe. A perfect tourist attraction for all lovers of medieval history.
Planning a trip doesn’t have to be luxurious and heavy to handle, what it takes for a vacation in Czech Republic is light but relaxing although it packages everything that you look forward to when taking a vacation. Once you experience how it is to have some fun and love its culture, you will surely consider this trip just a beginning for your successive trips to Czech