Visit a spa town and a chapel full of bones.
As a historical center of Europe, Prague has experienced significant cultural upheaval over the past 1,000 years. Changes have resulted in a fascinating tourist destination, one of the top five in Europe and one of the most popular for global tourists. After you visit this fascinating city, consider one of these interesting day trips.
32 kmThe tiny village of Karlštejn is perhaps best known for its beautiful and extremely popular castle. Charles IV, the rather grandly titled Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, had the castle built almost 900 years ago. The castle is fit for such nobility, perched on a promontory overlooking the town below and containing a specifically built freshwater system that was a closely guarded state secret. Nearby, the Český kras nature reserve offers hiking trails and a chance to get lost in the woods.
A chapel furnished with the bones of up to 70,000 people might sound like something out of a horror film, but beneath the Church of All Saints in Sedlec, that’s exactly what you’ll find. Chandeliers, coats of arms and ornamental garnish are made from the skeletal remains of the long dead. Bones occupy all parts of this macabre place of worship, which is a popular tourist attraction. Nearby is the grand Cathedral of Our Lady, an easy walk from the ossuary.
Kutná Hora, a neighboring city, is home to the beautiful St. Barbara’s Church. The gothic Roman Catholic church, along with the gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Both are impressive and imposing reminders of the disparate influences that have shaped Europe in the last millennia, and these grand collisions of religion and architecture are certainly worth a visit.
Dotted with brightly colored buildings, a warm water river and healing springs, Karlovy Vary is the perfect destination for a relaxing break from Prague. Take a stroll around the most popular spa resort in the Czech Republic, and rest your weary legs in a hot spa, a tradition that has occurred for more than 650 years.
Afterward, the Diana Tower, which overlooks the town, is a short walk up the charmingly named Friendship Hill. Or you can take the inclined plane railway, which will take you there in about three minutes. You can see more than 40 miles on a clear day from the top of the tower.
Second only to the capital in terms of size and population, Brno is a quieter yet fiercely unique “little brother” to Prague.
The Moravian city mixes modern and traditional architecture, and historical buildings are common. The Reduta Theatre is the oldest playhouse in Central Europe; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed with his sister here.
It has a thriving dining scene, which includes the popular roast pork and dumplings dish. Wash it down with a delicious local wine; Moravia accounts for more than 90 percent of the country’s vineyards.
Olomouc is the sixth largest city in the Czech Republic and has some of the best preserved historical monuments outside of Prague.
You’ll discover baroque columns, gothic towers, a decommissioned nuclear bunker for the “city’s elite,” and a cathedral linked with the murder of “Good King” Wenceslas more than 1,000 years ago.
While walking around town, you may come across six baroque fountains that feature ancient Roman motifs or the Holy Trinity Column, built in the 18th century and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.