The Czech Republic boasts picturesque landscapes, fairytale castles and chateaux, UNESCO-protected town centres and breathtaking spa towns that have provided industry-leading restorative treatments for hundreds of years. A small slice of paradise tucked away in Central Europe, the Czech Republic is an idyllic destination for those that prefer a slower pace of holiday, combining natural beauty with fascinating history and a peaceful atmosphere. Here are some of the best experiences across the country for silver travellers.
UNESCO sites, wine tours and a city watched over by dragons, South Moravia
South Moravia is a microcosm of what the Czech Republic is all about, combining picturesque scenery and UNESCO-protected sites with bustling urban areas and unique culinary experiences. Located in the South East of the country, South Moravia is the warmest and most fertile region in the Czech Republic, so it shouldn’t really be any surprise that this corner of the country produces over 90% of Czech wine. Known for its light to medium-bodied white wines, some of the local specialities include Green Veltliner and Moravian Muscat. Immerse yourself in the distinct flavours of the Czech Republic with a foot or bike tour through South Moravia’s wine trails.
In search of some UNESCO-worthy sightseeing? The Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is made up of a romantic castle, picturesque village and extensive gardens. Built between the 17th and 20th centuries, this impressive landmark marries the baroque, neo-Gothic and romantic English styles to create something that served as inspiration for the entire Danube region. Finally, you can visit the region’s other UNESCO Heritage Site in Brno, South Moravia’s capital. In addition to the Modernist triumph that is Villa Tugendhat, the country’s second largest city is perfect for those looking for a switch-up from Prague. Watched over by the iconic dragon of Brno, the city’s skyline is dominated by the 13th century Špilberk castle and you will find countless welcoming bars, restaurants and ornate churches waiting to be discovered.
Cobbled streets, charming market squares and local secrets in Czech’s historic towns
Think cobbled streets, ancient architecture and romantic cafes lining old market squares. Czech’s historic towns offer the unbeatable combination of a rich tapestry of history and a welcoming atmosphere. Swap the busy city streets for a weekend wandering through the treasure trove of Kutná Hora, post-card perfect Český Krumlov or maybe colourful Telč, each with their own story ready to discover.
Located roughly 70km from the capital, spend a weekend scratching beneath the surface of Kutná Hora. Discover how this ‘City of Silver’ became Bohemia’s economic epicentre at the Czech Museum of Silver before appreciating the gothic spires and fresco paintings within the UNESCO-listed St. Barbara’s Church. South Bohemian town Český Krumlov is loved for its medieval castle and centre which is mounted overlooking the chocolate box houses and looping Vltava river, hence its nickname ‘Little Prague’. The floating town of Telč offers a different ambiance with its colourful collection of renaissance buildings, surrounding lakes and one of the country’s best-preserved historic squares.
Feel like royalty for a day with the charm of Czech’s fairytale castles and chateaux
There’s no shortage of charming chateaux and fairytale castles here in the Czech Republic, meaning if you dream of a whimsical escape once this is all over, you’ve come to the right place. In fact there are over 2000 castles and over 1600 chateaux dotted across the country, some of which are UNESCO-listed for their historic and cultural significance. Find medieval castles which loom high above meandering rivers and grand houses, with ornate architecture that ooze opulence and grandeur. Lose yourself in age old stories of kings, archbishops and princesses that once called these paradise palaces home.
Discover atmospheric castles such as the epic Karlstejn Castle, a towering gothic landmark that stores the country’s crown jewels and treasures. Walk through parlours, chapels and gardens that were once home to the King of Bohemia. Ascend Karlstejn’s highest tower for some of the best views of Bohemia’s luscious landscape. Experience true Czech luxury at Archbishop’s Chateau in Kroměříž, a Baroque chateau that dates back to the 17th century and was constructed on the foundations of a long lost castle. Inside, spot walls lined with paintings, glittering chandeliers and beautiful fresco ceilings. Appreciate the intricate and deliberate landscaping of colourful flower beds, hedgerows and the entire town from the 34-metre high tower.
Recharge and restore with retreats to the historic West Bohemian Spa Triangle
With a legacy dating back hundreds of years, the Czech Republic’s spa facilities are some of the oldest and most-respected in Europe. Spend your well deserved break reinvesting in your mind, body and spirit with personalised health programmes and retreats at one of the 30+ spas dotted across the country. Notably, the three towns Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně, which together form the famous West Bohemian Spa Triangle.
In addition to its inclusion in UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list, the West Bohemian Spa Triangle brings together the beauty of Czech’s historic towns with the practices of traditional healing and cutting-edge medicine. This means you can spend your mornings spotting the varied architectural styles that line the river Tepla in Karlovy Vary, followed by afternoon spa treatments and mineral water baths in the resort.
Uncover the Czech Republic’s 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Czech boasts an impressive 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites, which is more than double the world average. Cultural enthusiasts travel from across the globe seeking out the medieval city centre of Prague, the awe-inspiring Church of St Barbara in Kutna Hora and the modernist architecture of Villa Tugendhat.
Take the pilgrimage to Olomouc, the magnificent former capital of Moravia with a rich religious history and a trail of beautiful baroque architecture to match. At its heart, find the UNESCO-listed Holy Trinity Column, the largest free-standing Baroque sculpture in Central Europe. Memorialising the city’s resilience throughout the 18th century plague, the magnificent Holy Trinity Column matches the beauty of the surrounding square, alive with lively cafes and family-run restaurants.
Extend your UNESCO-inspired tour with a trip to the enchanting Kromeriz Gardens, a luscious eden on the grounds of a fairytale chateau. Lose yourself amongst the greenery of the site’s two landscaped gardens, the Castle Gardens and the Flower Garden. Founded in the 16th century by the Bishop Karl von Lichtenstein-Castelcorno, each is lined with topiary hedges, colourful flower beds bursting with tulips and statues.
Swap days indoors for endless adventures through Czech’s diverse landscapes
After a year of housebound life, what better way to explore the Czech Republic’s beautiful landscapes than by combining sightseeing with outdoor adventure. Pedal along 37,000km of cycling routes which criss-cross the country, including the longest EuroVelo route, the Iron Curtain Trail and the capital-connecting Prague-Vienna Greenway. Follow the Elbe, one of Europe’s greatest rivers, with the Elbe Cycle Route which commences at the waterway’s source high amongst the Krkonose Mountains, before descending into flat lowlands of Central Bohemia. En route, stop off at historic towns, villages and fairytale castles.
If you prefer the slower pace of life, tie up your laces and explore the Czech Republic’s peaceful hiking trails. Weave your way through the maze of unusual geological formations at the Adrspach Rocks in East Bohemia. Journey through the pine forests and down steep ascents and deep gorges of Bohemian Switzerland, a national park so beautiful that it’s a certified European Destination of Excellence. Delve 150 metres deep within the natural valley to follow the meandering banks of the Kamenice River, spotting wild gorges and hidden waterfalls on the way. A must-see of Bohemian Switzerland is the iconic 50-foot sandstone arch, Pravcicka Gate, the largest of its kind in Europe.