12 Can’t-Miss Places to Visit in the Czech Republic

August 10, 2023

places to visit in the czech republic

When most people think of the Czech Republic, they automatically think of Prague. While it’s definitely gorgeous, it’s over-touristed during the summer and Christmas seasons, and the mad crush of tourists can diminish your experience. Now, I’m not telling you not to go to Prague; you should, but the country has so much more to offer. Spend a couple of days and then head to some of the most stunning and fascinating places to visit in the Czech Republic that you’ll experience in your lifetime.

The Czech Republic, also currently known as Czechia and historically as Bohemia is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It’s a great destination for those who are seeking charming, older architecture, partially because it went mostly untouched during the world wars, and it has been under the influence of so many different nations throughout the last millennium.

The Czech Republic offers a winning combination of stunning medieval cities, beautiful scenery, captivating history, fairytale architecture from empires past, budget-friendly, and world-renowned beer,

This is a great country to explore by car as many of the destinations are not that far from Prague.

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Czechia at a Glance

  • Capital: Prague
  • Population: 10.51 million
  • Area: 30,451 mi²
  • Government: Parliamentary Republic
  • Language: Czech
  • Known for: Castles
  • Ethnicity: West Slavic
  • Drink: Beer
  • Flower: Rose

Best Time to Visit

places to visit in the czech republic

Prague and some of the other larger cities can get extremely crowded in the summer and Christmas seasons. Plus it’s really cold and cloudy in the winter. So in my opinion, it’s best to visit in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, when the weather is still pleasant but without the hordes of people.

Safety

Czechia is one of the safest countries in the world, but Prague, like other major European tourist cities such as Paris, Rome, and Barcelona, does have its share of pickpockets, particularly on public transportation. Just use the same caution as you would any other city. Here is my full guide for avoiding pickpocketing in Europe.

Here are twelve amazing places to visit in the Czech Republic!

12 Liberic

places to visit in the czech republic

Located at the base of the Jizera Mountains in Northern Bohemia, Liberec is the perfect destination for those who are looking for a fusion of Slavic, Germanic, and Austrian cultures.

Many of Liberec’s stunning buildings date back to the 18th and 19th centuries when the city was part of the Austrian monarchy under the Kingdom of Bohemia. Within the city, you’ll find a plethora of gorgeous architecture linking back to its Austro-Hungarian past such as the beautiful Opera House and the North Bohemian Museum.

Other tourist attractions in Liberec include the 16th-century Liberec Castle, the impressive town hall which can easily be mistaken for a cathedral, and gorgeous 19th-century townhouses.

The city is blanketed by Ještěd Mountain, where you can find Ještěd Tower perched at its peak. The tower sits at 3,200 feet at the top of Ještěd mountain, and in addition to a TV transmitter, it also hosts a hotel, a restaurant, and a ski resort.

If you’re looking for more exercise, the city is surrounded by the Jizera Mountains that mark the border with Poland, which provide many opportunities for nature lovers to explore.

11 Telc

places to visit in the czech republic

Located in the Moravia region, Telc was created in the 14th century to facilitate trade between Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria. The town’s fairytale historic center features pastel-colored Baroque and Renaissance architecture. The ornate old town was rebuilt after a fire in the 14th century.

This sleepy gem with its population of only about 5,500 people was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 – the same year the historical centers of both Prague and Cesky Krumlov were awarded their UNESCO statuses.

The Gothic palace which was redesigned in the 17th century into Renaissance style served as the home of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, as well as a war fortress, and a storehouse for treasure.

Due to its small size, you can easily explore all of Telc’s delightful sights on foot.

10 Kutna Hora

places to visit in the czech republic

Kutna Hora began as the first Bohemian monastery in 1142. It began to boom and prosper as the town’s mountains were discovered to have large silver deposits in the 12th century.

The UNESCO World Heritage site remains one of the best places to visit in the Czech Republic for any history buff. For Gothic architecture lovers, there are few places with as many preserved buildings dating back to the 1300s. Along with the lovely red-tiled bohemian old town, tourist attractions include the five-nave Cathedral, Gothic St. Barbara’s Church dating back to the year 1388, the royal residence and mint now called the Italian Court, and a museum called the Stone Haus.

Kutna Hora is most famous for being home to the Baroque Sedlec Abbey and its macabre underground ossuary, a UNESCO World Heritage site that houses the bones of more than 50,000 people who died during the 14th century Black Plague and the Hussite Wars a century later. It houses row upon row of human remains and elaborate chandeliers, statues, and altarpieces made from human bones, all making for one dauntingly haunting experience.

9 Tabor

places to visit in the czech republic

Founded in 1420 by the Hussites, the South Bohemian town of Tábor is one of the most scenic towns in the Czech Republic. It has about 34,000 inhabitants. Tabor is a perfect destination for day trips either from Prague or from Ceske Budejovice.

Records show that Tabor was a center of the Protestant Reformation in the 1420s. The town was the Hussites’ home base and as such has a fascinating and turbulent history. It was founded on ideas of equality and Christian communism which believed that all property was held in common and split among community members according to their needs.

A sophisticated system of fortifications was also built here, some of it preserved to this day, including the historic town center which is protected by law as an urban monument reservation. To see everything (including the museums and underground tunnels) you need around 3-4 hours, making it an easy choice for places to visit in the Czech Republic.

8 Kromeriz

places to visit in the czech republic

Kroměříž is a town in the Zlín Region of the Czech Republic with about 28,000 inhabitants. The town’s main attraction is the town center with UNESCO World Heritage Site Kroměříž Castle protected by law as an urban monument reservation. The well-preserved castle is a great example of a European Baroque palace with impressive gardens, including the famous Pleasure Garden which is considered one of Europe’s finest gardens.

7 Ostrava

ostrava

Ostrava is one of the Czech Republic’s hidden gems, offering historical beauty and Baroque architecture with a curious fusion of Soviet utilitarianism, Russian Brutalism, and post-industrial expansion.

Located near the border with Poland, Ostrava was once considered a mainly industrial city. For centuries, it was the main coal-mining urban area in the country, and later on a major metallurgical center.

ostrava

Since the 1990s, many changes have taken hold, and the few industrial sites that remain in the city are now considered historical heritage. One of the must-visit places in the city is the large industrial area Dolni oblast Vitkovice, the city’s most significant industrial architecture, saved from demolition. The tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site (aka “the town of steel), where visitors can explore a labyrinth of iron towers and pipes and now serves as a remarkable multifunctional event center for conferences, art exhibitions. The Great Hall in the upper part seats almost 1600 people. I did attend a TBEX conference here and found it one of the most diverse places to visit in the Czech Republic.

ostrava

For the prettier attractions, you can admire colorful, ornate historical buildings as you stroll around the neoclassical facades of Masaryk Square, get the best view of the city at Czech Republic’s tallest town hall, and for partiers, make your way to Stodolní Street, the street that never sleeps. For more details, check out this Ostrava city guide.

For adventurous travelers, explore underground coal mines and museums or go rafting down the Ostrava River.

6 Litomerice

places to visit in the czech republic

The royal city of Litoměřice is a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region and one of the most beautiful in Czechia. It has about 23,000 inhabitants.

The historic town center boasts enchanting and colorful Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture and is surrounded by largely intact Gothic fortifications. In the squares, you’ll see attractive medieval houses, some of which rank among the oldest permanently inhabited houses in the entire Czech Republic., and well-preserved Gothic fortifications. The town is protected by law as an urban monument reservation.

Litoměřice is also a renowned center of Czech wine.

5 České Budějovice

cesky budejovice

Founded by German-speaking settlers, South Bohemia’s capital city is full of architectural beauty. The medieval fairytale city is situated at the confluence of the Vltava and Malše rivers, and there are some lovely pathways for cycling alongside the water.

Ceske Budejovice was founded way back in the 13th century by King Premysl Otakar II, who now lends his moniker to the pretty array of colonnades, burgher mansions, and Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance buildings that form the city’s central square – one of Europe’s largest main squares.

ceske budejovice

Explore the labyrinth of cobblestone streets to find the Fountain of Samson, the former 14th-century prison known as the Iron Maiden Tower, and the gilded 16th-century Black Tower which you can climb to get one of the best views of the city.

budweiser budvar

Beer brewing in the city of České Budějovice dates back to the 13th century. Budweiser Budvar Brewery (Budějovický Budvar) is the country’s only state-owned establishment of its kind. Historically, there’s been an ongoing controversy regarding the trademark of “Budweiser” between Budweiser Budvar in the Czech Republic and Anheuser-Busch in the United States. But don’t let that stop you…the Budweiser Budvar Brewery has fun tours, even for people who don’t drink beer.

Ceske Budejovice is also home to a plethora of historic settlements and landscapes, protected as monument reservations and monument zones, as noted below.

Holasovice

holasovice

UNESCO Holasovice is a tiny (population 140!) rural baroque village in South Bohemia. Its rustic, non-touristy beauty has been well preserved with pastel folk Baroque gabled buildings dating back to the 18th century and farmsteads and pastures surrounding the lovely village green.

Plástovice & Malé Chrášťany

plastovice

Plastovice

Plástovice and Malé Chrášťany are two small villages in the PodKlety region. They are well-preserved, very rural villages with typical 18th-century architecture.

malechrastany

Malé Chrášťany

Plástovice and Malé Chrášťany, while not as famous as Holašovice, exude a vibe that time has stood still here, and are worth a short visit.

Horni Chrastany

horni chrastany

Horni Chrastany is a great place to stop and relax and have lunch in South Bohemia. The rustic restaurant is on a lovely lot blanketed with colorful flowers and offers simple but delicious food. After lunch, visitors can take a stroll to the scenic lake on the property.

Hluboka Castle

hluboka castle

Just a short drive away is one of the country’s most stunning castles. With a fairytale façade, graceful spiral staircases, and gorgeous flower-strewn grounds, it’s no wonder that Hluboká Castle is considered to be one of the most beautiful and romantic castles in the Czech Republic.

In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built on site by Bohemian kings as a guardian fortress. Over the centuries, the castle underwent several expansions and major renovations, taking on the styles of Renaissance and Baroque.

The current neo-Gothic transformation took place during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg, one of the most well-known families of Czech nobility, ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the style of England’s Windsor Castle. The Schwarzenbergs also created the expansive park, meticulously landscaped with colorful flowers that enhance the castle experience.

Although you can enter the main arch and wander around the inner courtyard, you can only see the 140 rooms and 11 towers in the interior as part of a guided tour. Visitors can take one of a variety of tours, including the representation rooms, ceremonial halls, private apartments, kitchen, and tower. Some of the lavish interior items are exquisite crystal chandeliers, rich tapestries, carved wood paneling, pristine period furniture, and a collection of paintings.

Lake Lipno

lake lipno

Sometimes called “the Czech Riviera,” the Lipno Lake area offers every kind of water activity. With a backdrop of the beautiful countryside of Šumava, the lake is popular with both locals and tourists. During the summer season, you can go cycling, inline skating, swimming, windsurfing, sailing,  chill on one of the Lipno beaches, or discover the Lipno Landal Marina.

Lipno treetop

places to visit in the czech republic

Responsibly integrated into the natural landscape, the Lipno Treetop Walkway is as educational as it is fun. Along the way to the 130-foot summit are plaques that teach about preservation, the views,  forest functions, and the lake. The walkway, one of the most popular and unique attractions in the whole Czech Republic, is barrier-free and can be enjoyed by just about everyone.  To add to the fun, guests can take a ski lift up to the walkway and/or ride a mountain bike back down on a dirt path through the forest.

Vltava River

vltava river

The Vltava River rises in southwestern Bohemia from two headstreams in the Bohemian Forest. It flows first southeast, then north across Bohemia, and empties into the Elbe north of Prague.  The river goes through České Budějovice, where you can rent a boat for a scenic cruise to other parts of South Bohemia.

4 Karlovy Vary

places to visit in the czech republic

Once a retreat spot for royals, the charming and elegant town of Karlovy Vary has hot springs believed for hundreds of years to have waters that can heal anything from digestion issues to brain tumors.

Sometimes referred to by its old German name, Carlsbad, the opulent spas were built in the 13th Century, commissioned by Charles IV. It was a popular destination in the 14th century and over the centuries has received many well-known guests, including Beethoven, Chopin, Goethe, and Peter the Great. A series of natural disasters destroyed most of the buildings that existed before the heyday of Karlovy Vary in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The beautiful colonnades and Art Nouveau and Baroque buildings will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale as you meander the streets, taking in the opulent architecture and the surrounding lush valley.

To this day, visitors come here mainly to relax in the famous hot springs, fed by the warm waters of the Teplá River, 13 main hot springs, and 300 smaller springs. Bathing in the springs is supposed to have curative properties because of its mineral composition and carbon dioxide content. Visitors can partake in a wide range of experimental holistic treatments from sulfur immersion baths to Turkish hammam sessions.

After enjoying the spa, be sure to explore the surrounding area, and try some of the therapeutic mineral-rich drinking water.

3 Brno

places to visit in the czech republic

Brno is the regional capital of South Moravia and the Czech Republic’s second-largest city, located near the border with Austria.

If you’re looking for an authentic Czech vibe without the mass of tourists, then Brno should be one of the places to visit. Though once portrayed as a dull place, Brno now pluses with effervescent student energy and a booming café culture to rival both Prague and Vienna.

There are tourist attractions galore to choose from, including a gorgeous Old Town district, palaces, churches, town squares, pubs selling local craft beer bars, wine cellars cafés, museums, and the architecture of many impressive historical buildings like the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, and Špilberk Castle and fortress, the 14th-century Church of St. James and its underground ossuary, and the Capuchin Church and Crypt and its collection of human remains.

Brno is home to only one UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Villa Tugendhat, considered the most significant example of modernist architecture in the country. But there are plenty of other significant historical buildings in the city as well, including the massive Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul and its 84-meter-tall twin towers and the Moravian Gallery.

2 Prague

prague

Considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Europe, Prague is a magical labyrinth of cobblestone streets, picturesque town squares, secluded courtyards, stunning medieval castles, towers, and jaw-dropping views. A place where even a non-beer drinker like me has to acknowledge that here is the best brew in the world.

Prague played an important role in the Protestant Reformation and became the capital of Czechoslovakia after World War I. The city escaped World War II with minimal damage to its historic buildings, making the city’s architecture some of the world’s most pristinely preserved, including exquisite examples of Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Neo-Classical, and über modern. Following Czechoslovakia’s 1993 division into two separate governments, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.

places to visit in the czech republic

Known as “the city of the 100 spires,” Prague’s medieval architecture and fairy-tale red rooftops are just part of the reason the city feels like out of a dream. Home to Prague Castle, the world’s largest castle complex at Vyšehrad, and one of Europe’s oldest bridges (Charles Bridge’s construction started in 1357), Prague is also host to many other amazing attractions, including the world’s oldest astronomical clock still in operation.

Plenty of historical and quirky museums dot the city too, including the Museum of Communism and the 12th-century library at the Strahov Monastery. You can even tour a real nuclear bunker from the Cold Era.

Here is the good news and bad news: Prague is one of the best places to visit in the Czech Republic and the top ten most visited European cities; its historical center has been given UNESCO World Heritage status. However, that makes it unbearably packed with tourists at certain times of the year, so if possible, plan your visit during spring or fall.

If you’re interested in off-the-beaten-path types of attractions, check out Unique & Quirky Things to Do in Prague.

1 Cesky Krumlov

cesky krumlov

When it comes to towns that pack on the charm, Cesky Krumlov claims the limelight. Having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, you’ll feel like you’re in a fairytale as you wander around this medieval city’s streets and brightly-colored stucco facades, picturesque, cobblestoned streets, and crooked, winding alleys.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov has the distinction of being the second biggest castle complex in the world and one of the most beautiful sites in Europe. Located about three hours south of Prague, this enchanting town is nestled in the hills and countryside of South Bohemia. The Vltava River twists, turns and bisects the town forming a natural moat around part of the castle.

castle cesky krumlov

Český Krumlov is immersed in the intricate and tortuous history of several high-ranking noble families, each of which had control over the castle and town during different eras.

The castle itself is pure medieval magic. The prominent feature is the vibrantly-colored round tower, which can be seen from anywhere in the old town. Inside the castle grounds is the Gothic-style Church of St. Vitus, dating back to the 15th century, with frescoes from the same period. The castle grounds include extensive

The castle was built in the 13th century by the Vítkovci family; from the 14th  to 16th century it was held by the Rosenberg family, who ran the city from this perch for three centuries until sold in the 17th century. From the early 18th century until its nationalization in 1947 the castle was owned by the House of Schwarzenberg – the same noble family that owned Hluboká. After World War II, the castle was returned to Czechoslovakia.

Simply put, Cesky Krumlov is one of (if not THE) best places to visit in the Czech Republic.

Here’s how to spend a weekend in Cesky Krumlov.

Here’s a guide to the best Czech castles.

What to Eat in Czechia

These are the 10 favorite things that I ate in Czechia:

chicken schnitzel

Chicken schnitzel and potato salad

Svickova

Svickova – beef and dumplings

places to visit in the czech republic

Goulash – hearty meat stew

meat

Roasted meats of every sort!

Bramboracky

Bramboracky – potato pancakes

egg benedict

Eggs benedict – best I’ve ever eaten!

Prawn and Crab Kanom Jeeb

Prawn and Crab Kanom Jeeb – steamed Thai dumplings

Jungle Curry Seafood

Jungle Curry Seafood – spicy curry with coconut milk

Cheese dumplings with blueberry sauce

Cheese dumplings with blueberry sauce

Watermelon and Strawberry Granita

Watermelon and Strawberry Granita – a semi-frozen dessert

Conclusion

The great thing about the Czech is that because it’s pretty small, it’s possible to visit most of the parts of the Czech Republic (except for maybe Ostrava) on multiple day trips from Prague, but also fantastic for one continuous road trip.

Bohemian history, Moravian charm, Baroque architecture, and Slavic flamboyance converge in gorgeous cities and medieval towns. It should top your list of places to visit in Europe.

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Disclosure:  The author was honored to be the guest of Visit Czech Republic, South Bohemia Convention Bureau, Visit Ostrava, and JayWay Travel during her multiple visits, but as always, the opinions, reviews,  experiences, and determination on the best places to visit in the Czech Republic are her own.

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer.

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and the southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

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