Travelling outside the country is a bit risky right now? Never mind. There are plenty of places worth visiting in the Czech Republic.
Here are five members of our team and their five tips for a proper Czech holiday:
1) The village of Čížov in-between Dyje, Vranov and Znojmo
Recommended by Mari: “90 minutes of driving south-west from Brno lies a little village that might not be any more picturesque than other similar country dwellings in Moravia, but it houses a family-run restaurant/campsite that can be a great base of operation for many hikes or bike rides – to the river Dyje snaking along the Austrian borders, the Austrian town Hardegg, or the Vranov reservoir and chateau. It’s also a short car ride away from Znojmo, one of the landmarks of this wine-making region.”
Don’t expect luxury, but Moravian hospitality and hearty food are a given.
- Price range: one € out of 4
- Distance: 90 min driving, 6.30 hours by bike
- More info: usvestku.cz
- Suitable for: a long weekend
- Cons: The hosts are more likely to speak German than English. This is as Czech as a holiday spot can get.
- Dog-friendly. Children-friendly.
2) Prague as you don’t know it
Luci: “I am definitely a Brno girl. But recently, I have become very fond of Prague. I found out Prague also has its very own (and equally knowledgeable and passionate) Don Sparling! 🙂 His name is Gunther. He moved to Prague from Vienna 15 years ago and is still absolutely in love with the Czech capital.”
“Gunther runs a small B&B located close to the city centre. The place is very homey and full of books about Prague and its history, Czech literature and art (all of which Gunther read, of course, and is happy to discuss with you in Czech, English, German, French or Italian). He also offers guided tours which – whether it is your first trip to Prague or one of many – will show you the city from unexpected angles.”
Did you know there are small villages tucked away all around the city (such as Nový svět or Staré Střešovice, Gunther´s favourite), that there is a small almost-hidden passage to a beautiful garden near the main entrance to the Prague castle or that Olšany cemetery is (as Gunther believes) more beautiful that the world-famous Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris? No? Well, maybe this summer is the right time for a real Prague adventure!”
- Price range: two € out of 4
- More info: accommodation Arco Guest House and guided tours Arco Academy (in Eng, Ger and Fre; groups and individual)
- Suitable for: a long weekend or longer
- Cons: The B&B is very pleasant (great breakfast included, a kettle plus free coffee and tea in each room) but do not expect luxurious hotel rooms.
- Dog-friendly. Children-friendly.
3) Pálava step-by-step
Jan: “To me, the most beautiful place of South Moravia is Pálava. And also the most typical: the hills, vineyards, villages, history, nature, food, and wine.
Take a bus from Brno to Dolní Věstonice, have your morning coffee at Habánský dům, and walk along the Nove Mlýny lake to Pavlov. Dolní Věstonice sits on a renowned archaeological site, where the oldest ceramic figurine in the world was found. After fulfilling your duty and learning all about it at Archeopark, have lunch at Marináda „viniční dům“, a newly designed hip bistro dropped from Brno straight into the traditional village. Walk around the corner, admire the beautiful new architecture, and visit Pálavská galerie vín Venuše. Sixty wine bottles – all from Pálava region – always sit available for you to taste. The wine bar is famous for its Moravian sparkling wine. Have it served with local cheese, and enjoy the perfect chill. Stay overnight in Pavlov at one of the many local B&Bs and enjoy the sunset at the lake.”
“In the morning, climb up the Pálava hill, take a selfie of the ruins of Dívčí hrady fortress and enjoy the view of the wine land. Continue to Klentnice village with the super popular Cafe Fara bistro, on the premises of what used to be a presbytery. You can get a lunch or snack, or glass of wine (again), before continuing on the final part of your hike, to Mikulov.”
“Mikulov is a picturesque town with a long history, a castle with gardens, narrow streets, a view from the “Holy Hill”; a place where the old meets the new. All made of limestone, Gallery Závodný offers not only modern art but some sweets, wine, and coffee. Down the street through what used to be a Jewish quarter, you’ll find Tanzberg – a boutique hotel and restaurant run by a top Czech chef, and inspired by Jewish cuisine. For a lighter snack visit Kuk bistro – for a ham and cheese plate and a glass of… you know what, or Café Pala – for fresh crepes and galettes. If you’re fit, climb up Svatý kopeček with the chapel and gorgeous view of Mikulov and Austrian wind turbines. If you feel lazy, and the weather allows, go for a swim into the old quarry Lom Mikulov. Stay another night or take a bus or train back to Brno.”
- Distance: 1h by car or bus
- More info: vychodni-morava.cz
- Suitable for: a weekend
- Cons: Be ready to do some hiking up the hill. And book your overnight stay in advance.
- Dog-friendly. Children-friendly.
4) The quirky, poetic and jolly region of Moravian Wallachia
Katka: “If you want to get away from all the noise and bustle of the city and be surrounded by nature and beautiful sites, head to the eastern outskirts of Moravia, to my favourite region of Wallachia – Valašsko. In my personal opinion, it’s quite similar to my beloved Ireland: the landscape is hilly and full of pastures, with old original houses scattered up on the slopes. The region is not rich, but the people are all the friendlier, cordial, temperamental, hospitable. Wallachia enjoys wonderful music, folklore and food, and it’s the home of the famous Moravian plum spirit, slivovice, which they say is a cure for everything – when taken with moderation. ;-)”
“You can of course find the usual hotel-style accommodation, but for a true Wallachian experience, I’d go for a smaller venue or renting a typical Wallachian cottage, up in the hills, with a nice view. A car is useful for discovering the most far-off places and views but local buses will also take you there.”
Here are a few tips for interesting, but not-so-crowded places you could visit:
- Bystřička reservoir for swimming
- Svantovítova skála rock formation for a good hike and view
- A historical wooden church where the author of a famous children’s book once worked
- Santov cottage pub for great food and friendly service
- Pivovar Zašová for locally brewed beer
- A bio farm where you can buy good local milk and cheese
- Local glass-making museum
- A wild primeval forest walk at Razula
- A tapestry factory and museum
You can of course also include some of the most famous Wallachian attractions (preferably on weekdays!)
- The oldest open-air museum in CR, presenting traditional houses and folklore, a must-see, really, if you’re in Wallachia
- Picturesque mountain cottages at Pustevny, leading to the Radhošť mountain with a breathtaking view and the famous Radegast statue; you can take a cable car to get there
- Jurkovič lookout tower by the same famous architect of Pustevny who lived in Brno
- Lysá hora, another popular mountain, especially for skiing
- Pulčín rock formation – a former fort of brigands and also a nature reserve
- Distance: 1:45 h driving, 2,5h by train
- More info: valasskomoje.cz/about-the-region
- Price range: very modest – definitely when in comparison with Brno prices
- Suitable for: a long weekend or even a week
5) Cool off in the caves of the Moravian Karst
Veronika: “Moravian Karst is one of the most beautiful karst areas in Europe. There are more than 1100 caverns and gorges and only four are open to the public. Punkva Caves is my favourite one of them – there’s so much to see and do! First and foremost, I love the underground river – do go for the boat cruise, you’ll also get to see the famous Macocha Abyss from its bottom. You’ll appreciate it especially now, during summertime – inside the caves, the temperature always stays around 7-8 °C, so do not forget to take something warm. For those who don’t appreciate much walking, there’s a dog-friendly cableway and a small local train. They connect the Punkva Caves with the 140 meters deep Macocha Abbys. There are two look-out balconies, so you can stare into the abyss properly! Of course, only if you’re not afraid of heights, unlike me.”
- Price range: entrance fee for the Punkva Caves is between 100 – 210 CZK
- Distance: 30 minutes by train or car
- More info: visit.caves.cz
- Suitable for: one-day trip
- Semi dog-friendly – dogs are forbidden in the caves. Children-friendly.