Charming landscapes, historical landmarks, gothic beauty, saint statues, some of the largest castles in the world — all of these are reasons why many consider Prague one of Europe’s must-visit locations.
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and is the perfect destination for travelers that want to immerse themselves in culture. This city has many architectural gems to see and historical locations to visit. Plus, it has a healthy nightlife scene!
Another reason many choose to visit Prague is that they can easily travel to some of Europe’s other cities as well. Approximately eight trains leave from Prague each day to Budapest, another one of Europe’s must-visit capital cities.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to go to another large city after visiting Prague. There are plenty of smaller, scenic trips to go on, all of which can be reached by car or train from Prague.
Travelers that are looking to stay in Prague and take day trips to surrounding towns should add Pelhrimov to their list of places to visit. Located about an hour away from Prague by car, Pelhrimov is one of the oldest mining towns located in the Czech Republic. This town dates back to the 13th century and offers plenty of historical sightseeing locations.
To help tourists easily navigate some of the most important buildings in the town, Pelhrimov has put together an educational trail known as the “Styles of Architecture”. This track allows tourists to visit around 40 monuments, including town halls, churches, gardens, and houses. It also allows tourists to see the various architectural styles used throughout history.
Many tourists also enjoy visiting the Museum of Records and Curiosities. This unique museum has over five floors of exhibits, including photographs and items from Czech history that cannot be found elsewhere. Most people enjoy a quick walk-through of the museum before heading out to explore Pelhrimov.
The majority of Pelhrimov can be explored in a day, but there are hotels available for tourists that want to thoroughly experience what the town has to offer. Pelhrimov hosts various festivals throughout the year, so some tourists prefer to schedule their visits around a festival. There are also a handful of nightclubs in Pelhrimov, where tourists can grab a bite to eat, enjoy a drink, and listen to some live music.
Another location for tourists that are staying in Prague but are interested in day trips is the Koneprusy Caves. This cave system is located in Bohemian Karst, which is about a 40-minute car ride from Prague. The dripstone formations inside the caves date back millions of years and visitors are allowed to travel deep within the complex.
Guided tours allow visitors to explore the cavern. Over 2000 meters of cave corridors over three different levels have been discovered so far. Visitors are only allowed to explore the first two levels, but there is still plenty to explore on those levels. It is a physically demanding hike; the tours usually go through a route that is about 600 meters long. Pets are not allowed into the cave system.
There is still much to be explored in the caves. While bats currently still live in parts of the caves, other animal bones and human bones have been unearthed. There has even been a forger workshop discovered that dates back to the medieval times.
Of course, many tourists also enjoy exploring areas outside the cave as well. The nearby Krivoklat Castle dates back to the 13th century; tourists can tour the castle, including the library full of century-old books and the torture chamber. Another favorite nearby attraction is the Golden Horse Mountain, which provides an excellent view of the surrounding area. There is also a limestone quarry area where visitors can search for fossils.
For those that want to venture a little further out from Prague, Cesky Krumlov is a city that is located in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. Some travelers plan overnight trips here, though some choose to make it a day trip. It is about a two-hour car ride or three-hour train ride from Prague
Cesky Krumlov is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This town managed to escape the bombings of World World II. It has also never experienced a major fire or other disasters. While updates have been made over the year, visitors still get to experience the charm of a historic town filled with architectural styles that have survived through the ages.
A favorite for many tourists is visiting the Cesky Krumlov castle, which is the second-largest castle in the Czech Republic. Over the years, families that inherited the castle added onto the castle, creating a unique interior and exterior. One family even added a bear pit. Those that are interested in visiting the interior of the castle do need to schedule a tour.
There are also plenty of museums to visit. The Egon Schiele Art Centrum is a favorite for art lovers. The gallery features classic and contemporary artwork, including pieces by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. History lovers will want to head to the Regional Museum that contains artifacts relating to the history of the region. There are also several more unique museums to visit — the Marionette Museum and the Wax Museum are particularly fun to visit with children.
Those who are looking to explore one of the countries surrounding the Czech Republic might be interested in heading to Bratislava. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia—and while it is a capital city, it isn’t as populated as Prague or Budapest. The smaller, compact size of the city allows visitors to easily visit all must-see locations in a day or two.
Bratislava is a little over three hours away from Prague by car and up to seven hours by train. It is an ideal location for travelers that want a stopover location between Prague and Budapest; scenic transfers allow you to take a break while traveling but with the bonus of exploring another country. Many people like stopping in Bratislava because it isn’t as busy as some of the larger capital cities.
Historic locations to visit include the St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Slovak National Theatre. The Slovak National Theatre has been around since 1886 and it is possible to catch an opera or ballet at a reasonable price. There is also a newer opera house for those that want to explore the more modern areas of the city.
Many tourists enjoy visiting a few historical locations before going out to enjoy the wide range of cuisine that Bratislava has to offer. Cafes and bistros offer soup and sandwiches at lunch; coffee and tea houses offer sanctuaries for those that want a quiet place to read; local pubs offer burgers and drinks. As for dessert, tourists will want to try traditional steam buns filled with jam.
Another scenic stopover location for those that are traveling from Prague to another large city is Hallstatt. Hallstatt is a village in Austria; it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about five hours from Prague by car and about seven hours by bus or train.
This little village only has a population of less than 1000 and offers a more secluded atmosphere than larger European cities. It is right by Lake Hallstatt and offers a beautiful view of the Austrian Alps. Many tourists stop here just for the scenic views. The pastel houses and cobblestone streets make the village have a fairy-like charm, while the nearby mountains offer beautiful natural scenery. Not to mention, swans can often be found around Lake Hallstatt.
In addition to the scenery, many travelers like visiting the salt mines. Hallstatt has some of the oldest salt mines, dating back to Bronze Age mining. Those who want to venture deep down into the mines do need to schedule a tour.
Many travelers can spend a day or two walking around Hallstatt and taking photographs of the beautiful scenery. In addition to the natural scenery, those that are looking for a good photo opportunity should head to the Main Square, which has a statue of the Holy Trinity. The Main Square is also a popular destination for both visitors and locals because there are plenty of local shops and stores to explore. Overall, Hallstatt is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate before heading to another large city.
Most travelers like to take at least a week to explore Prague. However, for travelers that want to explore surrounding areas, it is possible to visit Prague’s must-visit locations in three days and spend the other days going on day trips.
Travelers that are planning to travel to another capital city after Prague should consider stopping at another town or village as a stopover location. While many smaller towns and villages can be explored in less than a day, they’re a wonderful way to explore more of central Europe.