The Czech Republic

Prague in all its gloryPrague.JPG

You are going to love Prague – everybody does.  It really is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.  Actually,  Prague was very lucky during both World Wars.  While many other famous places like Warsaw in Poland were completely destroyed, Prague somehow was saved.   And just as well really, as today Prague still holds all the charm of one of Europe’s oldest and most cultured capital cities.  The Charles Bridge was built in the late 14th century and crosses the river Vtlava, uniting Prague Castle with the old city and Wenceslas Square.

I’m sure you have heard the Christmas carol about ‘Good King Wenceslas’. But did you know that King Wenceslas was actually a Duke, and not a King?  He was stabbed to death by his jealous brother Boleslav in 935AD.  It was only after he died that the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I decided to give him the title of King.

Prague (17).JPGPrague is full of history, art and music, and street musicians are just about everywhere.  Part of the fun of Prague is simply being there and soaking up the atmosphere.  If you like waking up early, then there is nothing better than an early morning stroll across the Karoly Bridge, as the street artists are busy setting up their stalls.  Once you get across the river, just keep going up the hill towards the castle and you’ll have some fabulous views back over the bridge and the old town.  Then again, if you are a night owl, you will want to do the exact same thing in the evening, of course!  Or why not do both. 🙂

Karlštejn Castle Karlstejn Castle (4).JPG

Not far from Prague is the beautiful Gothic castle of Karlštejn, probably the best of all Czech castles.  It has a spectacular position as it perches on the side of a mountain overlooking the small village of Karlštejn, and it really does looks like something out of a fairytale.  Built in the mid 14th century by Emperor Charles IV, who was also Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the castle was built to keep safe all the Roman Catholic riches and relics of its saints.  It’s a small but amazing castle, and the single tower, where the riches and relics were kept, can only be reached by crossing a wooden walk bridge high up above the ground.   The logic was that if the castle was ever attacked, the defenders could simply burn the bridge to stop anybody from invading the tower.  Not that it’s ever been necessary, but it is an interesting walk across, especially if you don’t like heights.

Cesky Krumlov (2).JPG

Český Krumlov

In the south of the Czech Republic, close to the Austrian border, lies the gorgeous little town of Český Krumlov, which many people think is even more beautiful than Prague itself.  The same river Vltava that flows through Prague also flows through Český Krumlov and it really is the perfect place for some river rafting and canoeing.  There are several water sports centres where you can book river trips by canoe or raft – anything from an one-hour trips up to trips lasting more than 3 or 4 days.

This is only a brief sample of the A-Z of places to visit from ‘My Travel Kit for the Czech Republic’.  If you would like more information, please contact me.