Eastern European countries are famed for being subjected to name changes, and border realignments, and the Czech Republic is no exception. Under past rulers, the former Bohemia and Moravia areas were part of Czechoslovakia, until 1993 that is, when the state became two countries in their own right.
The history is hard to ignore though, and this is something that will delight you on a trip to the Czech capital of Prague, the focus of the majority of tourist activity in the country. Easily accessible from British and European airports, Prague is packed full of gothic, renaissance, baroque, and cubist architecture. It also boasts a charming medieval old town, and an infamous and eclectic nightlife, ranging from classical music and opera, to bars and nightclubs spanning several floors. A popular city break destination, visitors here are also attracted to the old town square, city museums, the Saint Vitus Cathedral, Prague Zoo, and of course Prague Castle.
The fairytale Prague Castle has been dubbed the largest castle complex in the world, and one which has helped the Czech Republic gain the Guinness World Record for the most castles per square mile of any major country in the world. Other castles worth a visit include Karlstejn Castle, built in the 14th century, and once occupied by Charles IV, Lednice, founded in the middle ages, and Konopiste, which was seen in the film The Illusionist.
Travelling beyond the city borders of Prague, doesn’t just bring you closer to the built history of this country though, as the Czech Republic is also a famous beer brewer. Cultivation of crops for beer dates as far back as 859 AD, and some iconic brands have originated here. Quench your thirst on the well known Pilsner Lagers, such as Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen. The original (not to be confused with the US version) Budvar Budwieser also originated here. Tourists visit brew towns such as Plzen and Ceske Budejovice, and often combine their drink with a meal of traditional Czech food, such as goulash and dumplings.
Spa Towns also draw visitors away from the capital, and when you see the green mountain ranges, and natural springs it’s easy to see why. Marianske Lazne is well worth a visit, and you’d be following in the footsteps of notable figures and rulers, such as Thomas Edison, who proclaimed it one of the top European Spa Towns.
There is so much to explore if you travel inland from Prague, including Sumava National Park, The Krkonose Mountain Range, which is good for hiking and paragliding, and numerous ski resorts. Although lesser known in the UK than its Western European counterparts, the Czech Republic can still hold its own as a ski resort.
If this sounds like your ideal holiday, then you’ll be pleased to know that UK and European airlines, along with the national airline, Czech Airways, run flights to and from Prague. There are also domestic and international train and bus services to transport you in and around the capital city and beyond.