11 amazing places to visit in the Czech Republic

Pavlo Fedykovych, CNNUpdated 26th February 2018
(CNN) — The Czech Republic is a destination straight out of fairy tales.
With an array of picturesque historic cities, world-class architecture, romantic castles and charming natural wonders, this Central European country should definitely be on every travel list.
Covering an area of just 78,866 square kilometers, it boasts an impressive 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Fascinating, affordable and filled with beautiful sights, the Czech Republic is a magnificent destination where history comes to life.
Here are 11 of the most amazing places to visit:

Prague

Prague
Czech Republic capital Prague is a city for all seasons.
Pixabay/Creative Commons
Prague is a magical city that looks spectacular in every season.
Admired for the beauty of its well-preserved Old Town, romantic narrow pathways, an amazing variety of architectural styles, affordable prices and delicious cuisine, "The City of the Thousand Spires" can easily cater to the wanderlust needs of every type of traveler.
Whether you're exploring the magnificent medieval Charles Bridge, walking around the biggest castle complex in Europe, or enjoying the beauty of magnificent churches -- Prague is definitely a great place to be.
For a magical panorama of the bridges of Prague there's the Letná Park, and whether it's sunrise, sunset or midnight, it's hard to be disappointed by the view.
Czech extra: The Michelin-starred La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise is ideal for a culinary experience of modern Czech cuisine.
La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, Haštalská 18, 110 00 Prague, Czech Republic; +420 222 311 234

Kutná Hora

At first glance, Kutná Hora seems like a quiet Central Bohemian town like any other.
However, it is one of the most visited destinations in the country and a unique highlight of the Czech Republic.
Renowned for its splendid architecture and protected by UNESCO, Kutná Hora is a gem of a town.
On a daily basis, hundreds of people flock to see the Sedlec Ossuary -- a Baroque chapel made entirely of human bones.
Between 40,000 to 70,000 skeletal human remains are held in this macabre monument of death.
Apart from the ossuary, the city is famous for the Gothic St. Barbara's Church, the superb Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist and the charming old town.
Once a competitor in wealth to Prague, Kutná Hora is famous for its silver mines and the Czech Museum of Silver provides a closer look at this as well as the chance to descend into the actual silver mine which is a part of the museum.
Czech extra: Visitors can also travel back to the glorious medieval times in V Ruthardce -- a traditional, lively Czech restaurant serving local meals.
Czech Museum of Silver, Barborská 28, 284 01 Kutná Hora, Czech Republic; +420 327 512 159
V Ruthardce, Dačického náměstí 15/10, 284 01 Kutná Hora, Czech Republic; +420 607 286 298

Kroměříž

Kroměříž
Kroměříž's Flower Garden was established in the late 17th century and is one its main highlights.
Courtesy Marc Staub/Flickr, Creative Commons
Admirers of Baroque beauty will be astonished to discover how many amazing attractions of this kind dot the Czech land.
The city of Kroměříž, located in the East of the country, is one of the of the finest places to experience this exquisite architectural style and another UNESCO-protected destination.
Here can be found the splendid Flower Garden, also known as "Libosad", which is considered to be among the best preserved Baroque gardens in the world.
Its perfect geometrical shapes, a variety of statues, sparkling fountains and magnificent colonnades give you a true sense of Baroque beauty.
Also, the city boasts an imposing castle that once belonged to the mighty and wealthy Bishops of Olomouc housing the grandiose authentic halls and an elaborate old library.
To feel the architectural grandeur of the past, it's worth visiting the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape -- an enormous UNESCO-inscribed area filled with superb palaces, elegant gardens, artificial ponds, beautiful fountains and whimsical colonnades.
Considered to be one of the largest man-made landscapes in Europe, this complex is a quintessence of the architectural beauty.
Czech extra: For the best coffee shop in town visit Velo Cafe and treat yourself to a great coffee and a heavenly cheesecake on the side.
Velo Cafe, Velké náměstí 46, 767 01 Kroměříž, Czech Republic; +420 773 317 743

Český Krumlov

Český Krumlov
Český Krumlov's historic center is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
Pixabay/Creative Commons
If you're looking for a fairytale city, Český Krumlov is an ideal choice.
This little town in the South Bohemian region has one of the best preserved medieval city cores in the whole Europe.
The red rooftops, colorful houses, dramatic castle views and picturesque river panoramas make Český Krumlov a charming destination.
Be sure to explore the numerous museums of the Old Town and climb to the top of the castle tower for breathtaking vistas.
Český Krumlov is famous for Egon Schiele Art Center, which exhibits the works of the Austrian painter who lived in the city in 1911.
Holašovice, located 30 kilometers north of Český Krumlov, is a place where time has stopped.
This small village is a unique example of a medieval settlement with rows of lovely historic houses that remained almost intact throughout the centuries.
People living here preserve ancient local culture.
Visitors can also take a short day trip to the nearby city of České Budějovice, home to Budweiser beer, which has been brewed here since the 13th century (Budweis is German for České Budějovice).
Apart from rich beer traditions, the city is famous for an impressive main square and scenic old town.
Czech extra: Another nearby attraction is one of the most romantic chateaus of Czech Republic, Hluboká Castle. This architectural wonder, reminiscent of Windsor Castle in England, is definitely worth a visit for a charming atmosphere and elegant looks.
Hluboká nad Vltavou Castle, státní zámek Hluboká Zámek 142 373 41 Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czech Republic; +420 387 843 911

Bohemian Switzerland

Bohemian Switzerland
Bohemian Switzerland was named as such due to its resemblance to Swiss landscapes.
Pixabay/Creative Commons
For an amazing natural experience, head to the region of the country known as Bohemian Switzerland, which was developed as an extension of Saxon Switzerland in the German part of the border.
Named due to its resemblance to Swiss landscapes, Bohemian Switzerland is a magnificent area of charming valleys, long forest walks, picturesque panoramas and giant rock formations.
The Pravčická brána -- the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe and an impressive one-of-a-kind natural attraction -- is great for hiking.
Visitors can also hike to the Mariina skála (Mary's Rock) for another wonderful viewpoint to observe the glorious splendor of nature.
Czech extra: Bohemian Switzerland is also situated near to one of the most intriguing natural attractions in Europe -- Adršpach-Teplice Rocks.
Getting lost in this labyrinth of giant sandstone formations, nicknamed "City of Rocks" for their surreal looks, is a magical experience.

Brno

Brno
Brno -- the Czech Republic's largest student city.
Courtesy larsjuh/Flickr,Creative Commons
Although Brno is the second biggest city in Czech Republic, it retains a laid back atmosphere and has managed to avoid becoming a tourist trap.
The large student population of the city keeps Brno young and trendy.
Brno is a fascinating mix of architectures where one street can feature Gothic, baroque, art nouveau and functionalist buildings standing next to each other.
The imposing St. Peter and Paul Cathedral is a good location to begin sightseeing before proceeding to the 13th century Špilberk Castle, which dominates the skyline.
The brightest architectural jewel of the town is undoubtedly the Villa Tugendhat -- a UNESCO-inscribed masterpiece of modernism built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Right underneath the lively St. James Square lies the silent kingdom of death -- an enormous Brno Ossuary that is a home to more than 50,000 human bones. It's the second largest ossuary in Europe after the Catacombs of Paris.
Czech extra: For an exceptional cocktail experience there's Bar který neexistuje. Translated as "The Bar that doesn't exist," it's one of the hottest nightlife spots in the city.
Bar který neexistuje, Dvořákova 24/1, 602 00 Brno-střed, Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary
Spa town Karlovy Vary is known for its hot springs and colorful architecture.
Pixabay/Creative Commons
Echoing the opulence of the golden days of the European aristocracy, Karlovy Vary is one of the most beautiful spa towns in the world.
Take a walk along the Teplá River enjoying the elegant colorful architecture and sampling the local healing waters at one of the colonnades with springs.
Be sure to taste the Karlovarské oplatky (traditional Czech wafers made with water from the springs) and try Becherovka -- an iconic Czech liquor invented by pharmacist Josef Vitus Becher.
Travelers can learn all about Becherovka liquor in the Jan Becher Museum, which explores the history of the drink and the process of its production.
Czech extra: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in the world, is held in the city annually and Karlovy Vary also served as a backdrop for 2006 James Bond film "Casino Royale".
The luxurious Grand Hotel Pupp became "Hotel Splendid" in the movie and also served as one of the inspirations for Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
Grandhotel Pupp, Mírové náměstí 2, 360 01 Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic; +420 353 109 111

Plzeň (Pilsen)

Plzeň
Famed beer Pilsner was first produced in Plzeň.
Pixabay/Creative Commons
While the Czech name "Plzeň" may not sound familiar, the word "pilsner" should definitely ring bells, even to someone completely unfamiliar with the city.
World-famous pale lager Pilsner was first produced in this town 175 years ago.
As the years passed, its unique taste quickly conquered the planet, making it one of the most famous Czech products around.
Plzeň, therefore, is a proud beer capital of the country and Pilsner Urquell, the world's first blond lager, is still made here.
It's a beautiful city with all the ingredients to amaze -- there's St. Bartholomew's Cathedral (which has the highest tower in the country), Great Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in Europe, and the Renaissance and baroque houses based in the main square.
Czech extra: To find out more about the history of the Pilsner, you can visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery Museum, which is set in a medieval brewing house.
There's also Comix Excelent Urban Pub, one of the coolest pubs in the city, which offers a modern take on the traditional Czech pub experience.
Comix Excelent Urban Pub, nám. Republiky 360/14A, 301 00 Plzeň, Czech Republic; +420 777 66 28 00

Telč

Czech Republic / Telc
The picturesque town of Telč is a perfect day trip destination.
Rob Tilley
With rows of gingerbread-style houses on an enormous historic main square, UNESCO-protected Telč is a certain leader among the picturesque small towns of Czech Republic.
It was built as a royal waterfort at the crossroads of the trade routes, and hasn't changed much ever since.
Surrounded by ponds and city gates, Telč is a perfect day trip destination.
You can visit the Gothic castle, climb to the top of tower at St. James's Church and explore the mysterious passages underneath the main square.
Just a short trip from Telč is another UNESCO-inscribed treasure -- the little town of Třebíč, which is noted for its outstanding well-preserved Jewish Quarter. The spectacular Basilica of St. Procopius is another must-see, boasting wonderful Romanesque-Gothic architecture.
Czech extra: The Zadní (Rear) Synagogue in Třebíč's Jewish Quarter has a beautiful floral interior continuing with Seligmann Bauer's House, which gives an insight into Jewish culture and way of life. There's also a large ancient Jewish Cemetery with tombstones dating back to 1631.
Rear synagogue, Subakova 1/44, 674 01 Třebíč, Czech Republic; + 420 568 610 023

Olomouc

The Moravian city of Olomouc is one of the most underrated Czech towns. Almost untouched by mass tourism, it's a relaxing destination featuring some of the most impressive churches in the country, numerous museums and a variety of good restaurants.
It is famous for the impressive 35 meters high Holy Trinity Column, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Such columns are common for central European towns and were built to express gratitude for surviving the plague epidemic.
This one is an absolute masterpiece of Czech Baroque.
Czech extra: Another highlight is the Minor Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an outstanding Baroque pilgrimage church just outside the city.
Just outside of the city is Litomyšl, where you can visit the magnificent UNESCO-inscribed renaissance castle, with its amazingly preserved sgraffito decoration.

Karlštejn

Karlstejn Castle
14th century fortress Karlštejn Castle.
Pixabay/Creative Commons
Karlštejn is home to one of the most visited landmarks in the country -- Karlštejn Castle. Once a treasury for keeping the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, it has survived several sieges and renovations, remaining an impressive relict of the Czech history.
Built on the hill overlooking the valleys of the Central Bohemia and boasting grandiose halls and rooms, Karlštejn can easily qualify as one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
Visitors can tour its magnificent historic interiors, admire the valuables in the Treasury, climb the Marian Tower for superb views and descend into the castle's prison.
Czech extra: Just a half an hour drive from Karlštejn is another wonderful royal residence - Křivoklát Castle. With mighty walls dating back to the 12th century, splendid looks and the second largest royal hall in the country, Křivoklát is an impressive sight to explore and easily fits the fairytale castle bill.
Křivoklát Castle, Křivoklát 47, 270 23 Křivoklát; +420 313 558 440
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