Tourism in the Czech Republic largely dates from the bloodless revolution of 1989 and has mainly focused on the lively centre of Prague. However, the country possesses an immense number of fascinating castles, churches and other architectural gems in other towns.
The Sumava Mountains of south Bohemia offer excellent rambles and a range of sports, while Northeastern Bohemia’s mountains provide superb hiking.
Capital City: Prague
Population: 10.3 million
People: Czech with minorities of Slovaks, Poles, Germans, Romanies and Hungarians
Religion : 40% Roman Catholic, 10% Protestant
Government: parliamentary democracy
Brno is the second largest town in the country with its skyline dominated by the Spilberk castle. Other features include the Gothic cathedral of saints Peter and Paul., the Parnas fountain in the Baroque-naturalist style, the bishop’s court, the Renaissance palace of the Lords of Lipa and Kunstat, church of St. Jakub, and the Hausperg Palace.
This castle city in the Southwest of the Czech Republic has preserved its medieval centre as no other town in the region and as such has been included in the UNESCO List of the World Cultural Heritage.
Olomouc boasts a concentration of Baroque architecture second only to Prague. There are numerous religious monuments, such as the Bishop’s Cathedral of St. Wenceslas. The Bishop’s palace is an outstanding monument with a complex design of windows.
Aside from its lively nightlife and reputation as a centre for cheap stag parties, Prague remains an interesting maze of cobbled lanes, ancient courtyards, dark passages and churches all in the shadow of the city’s 1,100-year-old castle.
The large and tranquil forests in the Sumava Mountains stretch along the border with Austria and Germany. The mountains are ideal for walking or trekking, although the mountainous terrain largely rules out cycling on most hiking trails.
Situated in Central Bohemia, the impressive deep limestone caves were discovered in 1950, and consist of three levels and are more than 2km long. The top level housed a 15th century secret workshop of money forgers and also boasts unique opal-bearing decorations, as well as human bones and the remains of a woolly rhino.
Best time to go
The weather is best between May and September, but spring is a good time to go to avoid the crowds. If you’re primarily interested in museums, or other indoor activities then October, when it is wet, could be a good time to go.