The Czech Republic is a small landlocked country bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. Historically the country was divided between the Bohemian states in the centre and west and the Moravian states in the east. Moravians remain fiercely proud of their dialect, as well as preserving their history and heritage, and both areas have plenty to see and do.
The capital city of Prague with its UNESCO listed Old City was founded around Prague Castle, the largest in the world, on the banks of the Vltava River. Highlights of this wonderful city include Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock and the Gothic Tyn Church. After sightseeing by day, attend a classical concert at one of Prague’s outdoor theatres, churches or concert halls. The Christmas markets are a great excuse to visit in December and enjoy some seasonal music, shopping and festivities with a wonderful atmosphere in the home of “Good King Wenceslas”.
Those visitors who travel beyond this lovely city will discover a land brimming with charm, history, vineyards and architecture along with some impressive unspoilt natural beauty. Central Bohemia is home to Kutna Hora, a historic town with old silver mines, the St Barbora Cathedral and the extraordinary Ossuary at the Chapel of All Saints. Karlstejn has a very famous castle and hikers can follow the track to the old monastery.
Bordering Germany, North Bohemia is best known for the thermal spas in the city of Teplice. There are many attractive parks in the area and keen footballers will have heard to the FK Teplice Football Club as they frequently qualify for the European Cup. The well-named Bohemian Paradise is also in this area and is popular for hiking and cycling.
West Bohemia has a long German heritage, particularly the historic city of Cheb with its old castle. Visit the thermal spas at Carlsbad and Marianske Lazne or head to Pilsen, the birthplace of Pilsner beer. South Bohemia is rich in architectural masterpieces, particularly in Ceske Budejovice. Cesky Krumlov has some beautiful baroque buildings and a huge castle.
The Moravian Highlands include Telc, one of the prettiest towns in the Czech Republic, and the historic town of Velka Bites. Further east, South Moravia has some splendid attractions including the modernist Tugendhat Villa at Brno and the scattered villages in the wine region, best explored on horseback. North Moravia is an opportunity to step back in time at Olomouc. It has a large historical centre and an impressive Plague column.
Exploring the cultural attractions is what most visitors to the Czech Republic spend their time doing, but it has far more to offer for more adventurous visitors. Hiking in the forests and national parks, cruising along the Vltava River or rock climbing in canyons of the Ardspach-Teplice are a great way to discover the wilder side to the Czech Republic. Cycling, riding to the top of Snezka in a chairlift, fishing and canoeing are also popular and skiing is available in the Czech mountains in winter.