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Czech Republic Travel Guide
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Top Things to See and Do
Czech Republic is a charming place and it is well worth seeing. It is not a big country, yet it is conveniently located in Central Europe and has a lot to offer – be it for a few days or couple of months.
The Czech capital city of Prague is a very popular destination for many travellers – for its compact old town and enchanting atmosphere. But there are other towns not to be missed:
Second biggest city Brno, pedestrian-friendly place with concentrated historical town and relaxed atmosphere, there are also nice forests and a lake close to the center. A place for modern architecture lovers (listed under UNESCO heritage) is
Olomouc, another beautiful city with a well preserved historical centre, not crowded and peaceful.
Český Krumlov city centre is under UNESCO heritage - a beautiful place where you think time stopped hundreds of years ago, yet these days is packed with tourists.
Famous spa resorts in Western Bohemia: Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně.
Plzen (Pilsen), the capital of Western Bohemia, was founded by the Czech King Wenceslas II. The eventful history of the city can be re-lived when sightseeing down-town. The historical city centre is dominated by the slim tower of the Gothic St. Bartholomew Cathedral. Plzen counts over 160000 inhabitants and is a significant cultural, business and industrial centre, famous mostly due to the products of Plzen´s brewery and the heavy machinery factories of Skoda.
Kutná Hora, UNESCO protected town with a great cathedral and silver mining history.
Hradec Králové, famous for its architecture dated 1910-WWII.
Znojmo, a town with a dense net of underground passages and cellars.
Telč with beautiful historical square where almost nothing reminds you of 2009. Also a very beautiful Jewish quarter.
Litomyšl, with UNESCO protected castle and charming old square.
Tábor, old town with a unique atmosphere reminiscent of tiny Prague.
Písek, quiet and charming small town on the Otava river with the oldest bridge in the Czech Republic.
Kroměříž with beautiful baroque gardens.
Zlín, worth seeing for its progressive architecture from the beginning of the 20th century. Another city worth of seeing is Litoměřice which is surrounded by České středohoří a mountain range expanding from west to north with beautiful views. Quite recent history can be seen at Terezín (concentration camp from WWII - next to Litoměřice) and almost every town has got its share of ugly architecture and urbanism from the communist era.
There are also many castles dispersed all over the country: Lednice, Buchlov, Bítov, Žďár nad Sázavou, Pernštejn, Bouzov, Velké Losiny, Kuks, Kost, Hluboká, Konopiště, Karlštejn, Orlík, Zvíkov, Křivoklát, Kozel and many others…
The Czech Republic is surrounded by an almost continuous mountain range that create natural borders: Šumava, Český les, Krušné hory, Děčínská vrchovina, Lužické hory, Jizerské hory, Krkonoše (with the highest mountain Sněžka, 1602 m), Broumovské stěny, Orlické hory, Králický Sněžník, Hrubý Jeseník, Beskydy, Javorníky, Bílé Karpaty. These mountains are not very high but certainly picturesque, and they all have many kilometers of well marked paths for hiking, skiing and biking. (You won’t get lost here even if you don’t have a local map.) Worth mentioning is also Moravian Karst (Moravský kras), the largest cave system in Central Europe, not very far from Brno.
Cycling is very pleasant all over the Czech Republic and many quiet and spectacular roads are marked as cycling routes (also available on special maps). Rock-climbing is popular in Adršpach and Prachovské skály, skiing is best in Krkonoše.
Czech people are nice and friendly I would say. Maybe to some extent only. Maybe shop assistants won’t seem very helpful but there might be somebody else in the shop who will help you. Some people may not speak any foreign language and show no effort to understand your poor Czech but there is always someone else nearby who understands you and is happy to translate for you. Maybe some people look at foreigners strangely if your skin is a bit darker but this is happening less and less. It is hard to generalize – it depends who you run into, like in any other country.
The Czech Republic was established in 1993 after Czechoslovakia split into two states. Try not to use the name Czechoslovakia if you mean Czech or Slovak Republic. Nothing happens but you will just sound much better informed to people in these two countries…
Czech cuisine has got a good reputation – for being tasty, even if a bit fat and heavy. You might want to try goulash, svíčková (roasted beef, knődel and special creamy sauce), vepřo knedlo zelo (roasted pork, cabagge, knődel), smažený sýr (fried cheese), nakládaný hermelín (marinated camembert), medovník (honey cake), rakvičky (“little coffins”, sponge-biscuits with whipped cream), bramboráky (potato pancakes)… And beer, of course, the cheapest (and the best many would say) drink in pubs. Surprisingly drinking good tea has become very popular here too. In every bigger town you will find a tea room (place where many kinds of teas are served) with a very special, kind of oriental or Asian atmosphere.
Getting around is fairly easy – big cities have very good public transport; buses and trains between towns run quite frequently. Be only careful with buying a train ticket – if you don’t have a special discount card (zákaznická karta) they charge you twice as much. This card (valid for 3 years only) can be obtained at every big train station for 600 CZK (21 EUR) so it may pay off even for more frequently short travel; you will need your photo for it. Or you can get discount if you buy a ticket for at least two people or a return ticket. Also be careful with taxis – taxi drivers might try to rip off foreigners. Some recommendations: take a note of the price on the door, arrange an approximate price with the driver beforehand, watch the meter, ask for a receipt with driver's ID. Hitchhiking is still popular and fairly easy in the Czech Republic. The same rules like anywhere else in Europe – hitchhiking on motorways is prohibited, so stand at entries to motorways or at petrol stations. It is also possible to find a ride on the web, where you find drivers directly and it is usually for free, or use the assisted hitchhiking agency (it is like Mitfahrzentralen, they charge you 1 CZK per 1 km + 350 CZK to the agency).
Finding accommodation should not be difficult, even in small towns there is a hotel, pension or ubytovna (like a dormitory). Hostels are common only in big cities. For prices see the last section of this intro. You can find accommodation at:
Prague Holiday (Prague),
Czech Site (Prague + interesting general guide),
Czech Hotels (has a very large database of hotels/pensions),
Ubytování (only in Czech but covers the whole country). Pretty good site about accommodation in Czech, you will also find Prague hotels, Brno hotels, spa hotels in Karlovy Vary, industrial Ostrava hotels, or historical hotels in Cesky Krumlov .
Most shops are open Mon-Fri 9am–6pm, Sat 9am–12am, the same for banks and post offices, except banks don’t open on Sat. Shopping malls and supermarkets are open also at weekends, often from 7-8am till 9-10pm. The biggest cities also have non-stop open supermarkets (Tesco). See also the Czech bank holidays – on these days all offices and most shops are closed. Most supermarkets stay open all year round. Also the public transport is restricted (buses and trains usually have the same schedule like on Sundays).
Online map for the Czech Republic.
As for sports, two most popular (when it comes to watching…) are football (soccer) and ice-hockey. If you come to the Czech Republic at times of big championships, you will notice big gatherings of people in pubs with TV screens – drinking beer and cheering up the Czech team. After victory people like to celebrate in streets. This could be quite a special experience! Or a disappointment, if you thought there was something special about Czech fans.
If you like to have fun in water, don’t miss the aquapark in Liberec. And if you go to Czech sauna, be prepared that men and women go often together and without swimming suites.
Approximate prices (in CZK; 30 Czech crowns = 1 Euro):
Accommodation: 1 night in hotel 500-2000 / pension 300-1200 / hostel 200-600.
In restaurant: meal 60-150, soft drink 20-30, beer 20-30, wine 20-40, tea/coffee 20-30 (in tea room 40-80).
Transport: town buses 15-20 per ride or per hour, 100 km by bus 80, by train 90, taxi 30 per 1 km.
Petrol, Diesel: 28 per litre.
Food in supermarket: water 1,5l 10, bread 15-25, butter 25, milk 15, beer 0,5l 10-20, bar of chocolate 10-25, apples 1kg 15-30.
Cigarettes: 35-65 (fixed prices for each brand).
Internet café: 30-80 per 1 hour.
Cinema: 80-150. Concerts: 100-500.
This intro has been submitted by kalupinka.
Who is coming?
Im currently in Prague halfway through a charity hitchhike to Belgrade! We are raising monez for the following charities. Me and my two friends Jennie and Louise are in Prague early and we are staying here until Wednesday! If anyone can help us in any way we would be very appreciative of - help with accomodation would be great, or help getting out of Praha on Thursday 29 morning would also be really useful. You can click here to find out more about Bummit 2007
Thanks, Tom Tirapani, +447731436330
wjlvalentin, To celebrate New Year's Eve in a snowy and pittoresque way, me and my friend come over from 30th of december until 2nd of january to Prague. Any offer for alternative accomodation is highly appreciated. Cheers..
pieroh, I am in Prague for six month and i would like to meet nice people and visit check republic. for the moment I am sleeping in kolej hostivar. so if anybody wants to show me his country, join me...
Brusine is coming to Plzen, Praha on 15-16.august and would like to meet friendly people and to stay for 1 night (if necessary).
Nolan lifeasacrow is coming to Prague from the 2nd to the 6th of July and would greatly appreciate a place to stay for a night, even a few if it is convenient.
csupika in august.
haivan dekuje mockrat to all the czech hospitalityclub members that replied to my call. we had very nice holidays in Czech Republic. Hope to welcome some of you soon at our place...
leenuli :Arriving in Brno the 1st of July, workcamp somewhere near Boskovice from the 2nd to the16th of July, then going around the country (Hradecke Kralove and Praha at least, you can still invite me to other places!!!) for a week and flying home to Finland from Praha the 24th of July.
larigot Greetings! I am larigot or Franklin, and I am a classical musician and teacher from the USA. I will make my first visit to the Czech Republic in July, 2006, and will visit Prague & some other cities. I would appreciate hosts and guides, and I must avoid pets, due to allergies. If there is a pipe organ available, I would present a benefit concert for the church, as I did in Romania last year.
eg0zer0: hi! i'm a girl from Russia, will be in Prague in early September and will appreciate some host or just good company in hanging around!
Just add your user name and basic info (date and places you will visit) about your trip here, maybe other members will invite you or meet up with you on the road. Use your profile to tell more about your plans.
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Hospitality Club Meetings
HC meeting in Prague in august or september For actual information take a look at this forum thread and subscribe to it!
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Edited by: doberman on 01.03.2012 richmom on 27.06.2009 kemuv on 11.02.2009 kemuv on 28.10.2008 kemuv on 16.10.2008 kemuv on 12.10.2008 eg0zer0 on 26.06.2008 tomtirapani on 26.03.2007 jirkadolezal on 15.11.2006 svatoboj on 06.08.2006 doberman on 22.07.2006 kalupinka on 21.05.2006 larigot on 08.05.2006 Leenuli on 04.05.2006 puffin on 19.01.2006 epultar on 05.01.2006 wjlvalentin on 29.12.2005 pieroh on 16.09.2005 adamm on 10.09.2005 blaazha on 08.08.2005 kalupinka on 09.07.2005 aldert on 23.06.2005 aldert on 22.06.2005 lifeasacrow on 10.06.2005 ramujana on 03.05.2005 hhanke on 05.03.2005 tealow on 28.02.2005 haivan on 20.09.2004 haivan on 11.08.2004 brusine on 16.07.2004 csupika on 11.06.2004 puffin on 03.02.2004