Eastern Europe is becoming more and more popular for tourists to visit, and the Czech Republic is currently one of the most popular Eastern European destinations.
So where should you go when you visit the Czech Republic? Prague is the most obvious Czech destination, with over 90% of visitors only going to Prague.
This is understandable since Prague has numerous attractions that are well worth the visit.
But we thought we would tell you about three cities in Czech Republic that are off the beaten track, and well worth visiting.
Cesky Krumlov: The Medieval City
The great thing about Cesky Krumlov is that it’s architectural heritage has remained in tact thanks to its peaceful evolution for more than five centuries.
The main highlight of the city is the Castle, which was once the home to the Rosenberg dynasty for 300 years beginning in the early 1300’s. The best way to experience the castle is through a private guided tour where you’ll walk the cobble stone streets, see historic sights and learn about the history of Cesky Krumlov. Click here to get your tour tickets.
When the Rosenberg’s moved to Cesky Krumlov the town was blessed with many improvements to the city. Elaborate buildings were structured, commerce and culture flourished, and the town grew in importance.
The town’s architecture still reflects this period of influence, so it is like stepping back in time when you wander through the old town. In the early 1600’s the Rosenberg’s were forced to sell the city to the ever-growing Habsburg empire.
This slowed the relatively rapid expansion of Cesky Krumlov as the Habsburg’s did not have the grand visions for city like Rosenberg’s did. Most of the imprint of the Rosenberg’s is still noticeable, so the city is small, picturesque, and it’s history is celebrated.
Cesky Krumlov is a great place to experience a traditional Czech festival.
During the summer there are festivals on a regular basis that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture and mingle with the natives. Before you visit, we suggest looking up the festivals schedules, so you can plan to be in Cesky at the right time.
Kutna Hora: The city of the bone church
There are a handful of mysterious churches in Europe that house an incredible amount of human bones.
The Chapel underneath the Church of All Saints in Sedlec, just 2km outside of Kutna Hora is by far the most impressive. In the late 1200’s the Priest of the Sedlec took a trip to Palestine (the Holy Land), and brought back with him a small amount of the earth.
He sprinkled this over the cemetery in Sedlec, and from that day on everyone in the area wanted to be buried there. When the plague destroyed much of the population in the 1300‘s, there became less and less room in the cemetery to bury people.
In the early 1400’s the Church of the All Saints was built in the middle of the cemetery, which required many of the tombs to be dug up.
The Ossuary (or Chapel) below the church is where bones were stacked and stored because they could no longer fit in the cemetery. In the 1800’s a professional woodcarver was employed to sort all of the bones, and the result is astounding.
He created a room decorated with what is believed to be approximately 50 000 human bones. Not only is it decorated, the detail and extravagance of the decorations are beyond belief. A day trip from Prague is easily doable to explore this Medieval city. You can get your tickets here.
Sedlec doesn’t have much to offer tourists other than the Church, but Kutna Hora is only 2km away, and is a great medieval town to visit.
In the late 1400’s Kutna Hora was a miners settlement with abundant deposits of silver ores. It quickly became a royal town which competed with Prague in terms of wealth.
Thanks to Kutna Hora’s silver riches, the Bohemian King became one of the richest rulers in the 14 and 1500’s. When the deposits of ore became depleted, the Kutna Hora royal mint was closed.
Nowadays the town is not quite as important as it once was, but it is a picturesque medieval town and well worth the visit.
Pilsen: The city of Beer
Did you know that the Czech’s are probably most famous for their beer?
Many travelers are under the impression that if you are a beer lover, you should visit Germany.
While Germany has a storied history when it comes to beer, the history of beer in the Czech Republic is just as important and possibly even more fascinating.
Believe it or not, the Czech’s are the biggest consumers of beer per capita in the world. If you like beer, Pilsen is the city for you!
The Czech’s created the world’s first pale lager and named it Pilsner. It was named after the city it comes from, and it is a great feeling to enjoy a Pilsner in Pilsen.
Pilsner Urquell is one of the most popular exported Czech beers, and their brewery in Pilsen is a lot of fun to visit. Grab your beer tickets here.
Beer is not the only exciting thing about Pilsen. No other city in Europe can pride itself on:
– The highest steeple in Central Europe (130m) on the Cathedral of Bartholomew
– The second largest Synagogue in Europe, and the third largest in the world.
– Their historical underground tunnels extending 20km under the city in several levels. They were once used as storage and a hideaway in times of danger, and can be visited by tourists.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of Czech beer, you may find this interesting:
When you travel to the Czech Republic, you are likely to come across a beer called Budweiser Budvar.
Budweiser was one of the first internationally well-known Czech beers that is believed to have begun being brewed in the 1400‘s. It became popular in the 1700’s when King Ferdinand of Bohemia had Budweiser delivered to his Palace because he loved it so much. Budweiser Budvar was soon labelled the ‘Beer of Kings’ after King Ferdinand named it the beer of choice in the royal court.
Does the name sound familiar?
The American ‘Budweiser’ was created in the 1800’s with the tagline ‘King of Beers’. Coincidence or Rip-off? Well, the Czech’s and the American’s have been in and out of court many times disputing it. Czech Budweiser is still one of the largest selling beers in the Czech Republic, and I am not afraid to admit that is far more sophisticated than the American Budweiser.
You will see Budweiser Budvar sold all over the Czech Republic, and it is a fun story to share when tasting Budweiser Budvar for the first time.
All in all, the Czech Republic is a unique country with a fantastic history.
If you are planning to visit the Czech Republic, make sure you take a few days to visit one, or all of the cities we suggest. We know you will not be disappointed!
Our other posts:
- Ultimate Guide to the Christmas Markets in Prague
- Doing A Working Holiday In Central or Eastern Europe
- The Kindness of Strangers in Eastern Europe
- Why you shouldn’t be afraid of Eastern Europe
- 18 Unmissable things to do in Budapest, Hungary
Looking for a secret hidden destination in the Czech Republic? Check out this World Heritage Site that made this list on destinations in Europe on a budget!
About the Author:
I hail from Australia, but currently live in the USA and manage an online travel website called TravAddict.com that specializes in adventure travel on a budget. I also write for the TravAddict blog, and I love to write about budget travel tips and the history of destinations, since I was a tour guide for many years. I have either worked in the travel industry or studied travel my entire adult life. I live and breathe travel, and I like to inspire others to see the world.
11 thoughts on “Three cities to Visit in the Czech Republic”
We have had the Czech Republic on our list for a LONG time (soon, ver soon). Great post guys.
BTW – Your making a name for yourself with beer-related content! I see some very fun brewery-hosted travels in your future!
Beer is our best friend 🙂
One of my biggest regrets during my trip to Czech five years ago was being too hungover from Absinthe every day to make it to Cesky Krumlov… 😉 Looks gorgeous!
Yup! Absinthe will do that to ya:)
Candice, a really fun and interesting post. My wife, Dorothy’s, family came from Czechoslovakia late in the 19th cy. Both her parents were Czech.
When we lived in Germany, we tried to drive through Czechoslovakia to Zittau, German Dem Rep, but were denied a transit visa. That was during the Cold War. So your post is particularly interesting to us. As with Kristin’s post, “48 Hours in Sydney,” Dottie said, “When do we leave?”
I’m a sucker for those old cities with castles and other old buildings.
About German beer, I really fell in love with beer when we lived in Germany. Haven’t had an easy time finding similarly good beers here, but I haven’t done much with microbrews.
Russ’s latest blog: After the Awe, http://bit.ly/aZAAXD
Im glad you liked the read! Yeah, it can be hard to find beer here that rivals anything in Germany or Eastern Europe for that matter:-) I bet things have changed quite a bit since you with to what is now the Czech Republic. It would have been such a great experience to visit during the cold war.
I’ve always wanted to go there — and just narrowly missed the chance last summer. It looks gorgeous! My business partner actually lives there and has thoroughly educated me on its beer!
They have really great beer!
Nice! I want to visit the Czech Republic next Spring… How long were you in each city?
Hey guys! Nice post. We’ve been in the Czech Republic 2 months and have a month left. Your suggestions above great. We’ve been so far to both Cesky Krumlov (a fairytale town) and Kutna Hora – I would actually suggest that downtown Kutna Hora is actually much more interesting than the Sedlec Monastery. I see people taking the train from Prague to visit it, but honestly it’s only worth half an hour (quite small). For those thinking of going, you really have to see Saint Barbara’s Church as well as the other highlights of Kutna Hora: http://bbqboy.net/kutna-hora-sedlec-ossuary-photo-essay-travel-tips/.
We haven’t visited Plzen (Pilsen) but you’ve piqued my interest. In the Eastern part of the country (province of Moravia) there are a few other towns worth exploring: Telc, Olomouc, and Brno are supposed to be very nice. We’ll be visiting in the next few weeks.
Yeees. I definitely recommend visiting something more form CZ, when you are here.
For example we went to Krusne hory ( https://www.honourandgrace.com/ ) and I can only recommend. The nature here is crazy.