Can't-miss Czech experiences, Part 2

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The second half of a post on things that will spark your senses in the Czech Republic!

6. Mix beer and history in Pilsen
In the General George S. Patton Museum
If the first pilsner ever to be created is still going strong worldwide, you can assume the formula is a winner – but you'd better have a taste for yourself! Visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in the Bohemian city of Pilsen for a tour on the history and production of the golden brew, and then polish off a few samples straight from oak barrels at the end.  Check for tour times in English.
Pilsen is also brimming with other types of history; it has one of the largest synagogues in the world, a heady gothic cathedral, and the unique George Patton Museum, which documents Czechoslovakia's liberation from the Nazis by US troops. And back to beer; Pilsen also has a charming and informative Brewery Museum in a 15th century house that documents beer brewing and drinking over the centuries. 

7. Skip between chateaus in South Moravia
The magnificent Chateau Lednice
Two chateaus and their captivating landscapes in grapevine-rich South Moravia are not only mere kilometers apart, but they’re also both UNESCO world heritage sites. In the grandiose Chateau Valtice, one can make like Liechtenstein aristocracy by sampling the vibrant wares of an award-winning wine salon. Learn about Czech viticulture here and then meander through the showy halls and gardens.
Neighboring  Chateau Lednice is where the Liechtensteins spent their summers. The stunning interior drips with ornate wood carvings, and the English park outside is dotted with whimsical monuments, such as a Roman obelisk and an Islamic minaret. Rent a bike to cover more ground and pack a picnic to eat with your newly-purchased Moravian wine. For more information, visit Czech Tourism.

8. Hike like a Czech
Hiking signs in the woods
 Avoid the tourist crush and go where the Czechs go – into the woods. There is an extensive network of 40,000 km of color-coded trails throughout the country, with every meter marked on easy-to-read maps available at knihovas (book stores). The trails are maintained by Czech Tourist Club volunteers who clear obstructions, pick up waste and lovingly paint strips of red, yellow, green and blue on trees, posts and rocks so you won’t get lost. There’s no better way to find quaint villages and crumbly castle ruins, and hikes are available for every level of ability and fitness.
While there are endless options for stellar hikes, two particular areas offer very different flora and fauna. The Trebon region is flatter and full of picturesque woods and peat bogs, and has been named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its rich marshes and water birds. Hikes can be found at the webpage for the city of Trebon. In contrast, the environs of Cesky Raj have hillier hikes that wind through thick conifer forests and volcanic sandstone pillars, not to mention peaks capped with medieval ruins. For more information, visit the official Cesky Raj tourism website.

9. Follow Kafka’s footsteps in Prague
Kafka hung out here
Franz Kafka may have been a blip on the literary scene when alive, but posthumously, he’s been recognized as one of the paramount writers of the 20th century. In fact, a handwritten manuscript of his novel The Trial was purchased for almost 2 million dollars – not bad for a guy plagued with worry over being mentally and physically repulsive. You can trace his peculiar story with tour guide Ivan through Prague’s Old Town buildings, cafes and the Jewish cemetery where he was laid to rest. 
In addition, the Kafka Museum conveys how Prague, which he called a “little mother with claws” affected his prose, as well exhibits the city’s topography as presented in Kafka’s writing.

10. Enter the mouths of the Moravian Karst
from Prazak / Wikimedia Commons
Straight out of a Jules Vernes novel, you can float down a subterranean river and weave through a toothy  labyrinth of dripstone stalagmites in the caves of the Moravian Karst. While these spectacular geological features extend about 92km, five caverns are currently open to visitors. Having been discovered in early 20th century, they are remarkable well-preserved.
The karst are popular with locals, so be sure to reserve tickets ahead of time in the summer months. A cable car and two trains are available to assist people in getting around the region.   

10 comments

  1. So many great littles tips here! I've only spent three days in the Czech Republic so I will definitely draw on these when I eventually make my way back there for more exploring!

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    1. Excellent! I feel the same about Germany; must do more exploring! It's only a hop, skip and a jump away!

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  2. Love this post! I was just in Prague last weekend, and this makes me want to go back!
    I stopped by because I saw you'd followed one of my old blogs somehow on Bloglovin, and I thought you might like a link to my current one. (I'm glad you did - I love your blog!)

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    1. Hey Lola! Glad you stopped by :) I will follow the new one- thank you for pointing that out! Hope you had a smashing time in Prague!

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  3. you've sold it! i'm ready to go!!

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    1. Ha- IF ONLY some big ol' ad agency wanted to capitalize on the posts we write :) You totally should visit!

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  4. I think I must be a South Bohemia snob or something because I would never think of going to Plzn, even though I almost moved there instead of CB. I just find Budvar sooo supremely superior to Urquell :P
    Nice list though-- I have to agree that the Trebon area is really lovely for a good hike.

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    1. I just realized from your comment that I used the German spelling for Plzen- eep! You know, I prefer Cerny Kozel to all of it, tho I do agree Budvar beats Pilsner Urquell. I love that you like to hike the CR!

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  5. I have to be honest & say that the 'Can't miss' bit in your title here & in the previous post, immediately raised my hackles. I have a complete aversion to very similar sentiments when they are expressed on Facebook - 'must see' or 'like & share'. You can guarantee that I won't see & won't like or share because I'll make those decisions for myself, rather than being told what to do. OK - rant over!

    Having said that, I concur with your suggestions of places that you ought to visit ;-) In particular, that there is so much more to see here than just Prague, amazing city though it is.

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    1. Hi Ricky! Perhaps I should have named it "Czech recommendations" or something... though I do think those South Moravian chateaus are a can't-miss! :) Yes, I agree with your Facebook sentiments. Share at your own risk!

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