Czech

Czech - is not only Prague...

For most people, Czech means Prague, and Prague only.  While it is true that Prague is an exciting city, nevertheless, Czech has a lot more to offer.

Czech map english

Cesky Raj

The Czech Paradise, also known as the Bohemian Paradise, is a natural park with huge rocks, hiking tracks, impressive castles and magical villages.

Jicin – a romantic small village in Cesky Raj.  The city center has a big open plaza. A pedestrian-only street with shops in both sides is a great continuation to this plaza.  Local foods market is taking place in this street on Sundays and Saturdays.
A good Mexican restaurant close to the center is called Casa De Piedra.  It has a very large variety of authentic Mexican food.
A recommended hotel close to the center, with good breakfast, luxury rooms and friendly stuff is Hotel U Krale. One tip about this hotel:  avoid room number 1.  This room is right on the lobby and the entrance, and an open window prevents any privacy.

 Turnov – This city shows Jewish history, including an remarkable synagogue.
Couples on a romantic trip, make sure you don’t miss the great restaurant Abeluv Mlyn.
Located at the city edge, in a unique building, the restaurant serves special dishes, and each dish is an experience. And the prices, like all Czech, are very reasonable.

Trosky Castle – Old ruins of a castle, sitting at the top of a huge black rock.  You cannot ignore this site from miles.  There is a parking space at the bottom, and a short 300 meters path will lead to the castle.  The climb up the stairs seems much harder than it actually is, and the view from the top is spectacular.

Prachovske skaly – A natural park five km from Jicin, with gigantic rocks.  There is a short yellow path of 1.5 km, and a longer green path of 3 km.  If you don’t know which path to take, start with the yellow path to the right.  Then, in the middle, you can decide at the junction if to return with the yellow path or continue with the green path.    The path goes between and above huge rocks, with several amazing view points on the way. This wonder of nature is surely a must. The walk is not difficult, and can suit even small children with the appropriate surveillance.

A maze of rocks near Mala Skala, at a town called Besedice.  Use a GPS application to get to Besedice, park your car at the town entrance (small fee), and you will see a clear sign across the road with an arrow pointing to the maze.  This attraction may take up to two hours, and it is a lot of fun for kids.

In Mala Skala  there is a sports center with rope park and boats rental (canoes, kayaks rafts and paddle boards).

 Detenice castle  offers tours in magnificent furnished rooms over 200 years old, and various activities in the summer. Kids will enjoy the knights and horses show.

 

North Czech – The Giant Mountains

In the north of the country there are mountains called Krkonose, which is translated to the Giant Mountains.  The site offers ski in winter and hiking tracks and activity attractions in summer.

Harrachov

A magical ski village in the Giant Mountains.  There are hiking tracks around it, including one leading to the Mumlava Waterfall.  For reaching the waterfall, you will need to park the car in the town, and walk 2 km up the river.  There is also an option for a nice circular trip to the waterfall.

The Harrachov area offers plenty of activity options.  Mountain bikes, activity parks, and mountain slides.  
You may also take a tour in the glass factory in town, with a popular restaurant and a beer brewery above it.

מפלי מומלבה

Two recommended restaurants on Harrachov main street are Terassa and the Italian Verde Rosa. In Terrasa, by the way, you may find unique healthy smoothy shakes, and in decent prices.

Harrachovská Hacienda is a recommended pension hotel for families.  The rooms are large and very clean, the light wood furniture is giving a good home feeling, breakfast is rick and tasty, and the stuff is very friendly.  Another recommended hotel with a swimming pool, is called Orea Resort Sklar. Children are allowed in the pool until 7 pm only, and afterwards is 

Spindleruv Mlyn

A ski town in the center of the Giant Mountains, offering a variety of activities.  A top of the line adventure park (ropes park), a long mountain slide, a slide on a zip line for a 150 meters ride, going over a river,  and downhill bikes.  There is also an impressive dam, with hiking tracks in the woods around it. Yellowpoint web site shows various sports activities for all ages.

A recommended accommodation place is called Hotel Bedriska.

Adršpach-Teplice Rocks

Located at the north east of Czech Giant Mountains.  It is a natural park with huge rocks, near a small lake. It is surely a wonder of nature, but if you plan to visit Prachovske Sakly, and you lack the time, then the Prachovske rocks may be sufficient for one trip.

More Points of Interest in the North

Liberec – The capital of this north district.  Kids would love to visit the science center iQLANDIA, which includes also a park for smaller children called iQPARK.  Kids would also enjoy the city zoo, with white tigers and lions.  There is also dinosaurs park, Dino Park, and a water park, Babylon Centrum.  
For shopping, Liberec is the right place.  NISA shopping center is recommended.

stalactite cave near Bozkov is nice to visit, but not a must.

Park Mirakulum north of Prague, is a very special amusement park when traveling with kids.

Mala Skala –  A nice village on the way to the north, offering a rather calm rafting experience.

“Swiss Czech”

In the north west of Czech, there are mountains called “Swiss Czech”.  The drive from Prague is quite long, but the road is beautiful with small villages and green hills.  The starting point would be Hrensko.  It is built under huge cliffs of rocks.  In Hrensko turn and drive into the town, and park after one kilometer in one of the two available parking lots.  The yellow track starts right there, near Klepac restaurant. The path goes along the river with nature all around.  Yet, it cannot really be compared to the terrace of Switzerland.

The path consists of walking in a wide and easy path, and taking a boat twice, which floats down the river.  Overall, the walk is about 5 km.  The track ends at Mezni Louka, and there you may take a special tourists bus back to the cars.

This whole adventure would take around 3-4 hours, including the boat trip. This trip can be shortened by taking the green path to Mezni Louka at the paths junction after the first boat ride.  The second boat ride is not much different than the first ride, so you may just decide when you get there, if you want to do the long path, or take the shortcut. The road is easy, and is suitable for small children, at their own pace.  There are also some surprises during the boat trip, in the shape of animal statues along the way, and an artificial waterfall.

Map of the track and bus hours:

Another popular attraction near Hrensko is a huge stone arc.  You cannot park there, so this is yet another walking trip or taking the tourists bus.  Families with kids would most likely do only the yellow track with the boat ride.

West Czech

Karlovy Vary

The famous mineral thermal springs city.  You’ll be surprised to learn that there are no public baths with the spring water, but only taps of water for drinking.  These drinking water is considered very healthy, by the way.  The taste of the water is a bit salty, but not too bad.
The city is very romantic and pleasant. You will enjoy walking down the main street, visiting the stores and the coffee shops.  All along the street there are taps of spring water of various shapes and types.  People buy nice ceramic shaped cups, and use them for drinking.  It is a unique experience touring the place and tasting the water from the various taps.
Near the famous Pupp hotel, there is an easy track in the woods.  Just near the hotel, through a small street, there is a cable car going up the hill.  On the hill there is a lookout tower and a restaurant called Diana.  The cable car goes also down, but it is recommended to take the 1.5 km blue path in the woods, back to the Pupp starting point.

Restaurants in Karlovy Vary

There is a huge variety of restaurants to choose from in Karlovy Vary, but vegetarians would not manage easily in Czech.
Two recommended restaurants for vegetarians are:
An Italian restaurant, Palermo, which offers all the known Italian food and also some fish like sea-bass.  
An Indian restaurant,   Tandoor Indicka, totally authentic, with the traditional Indian flavors. 

Accommodation in Karlovy Vary

The city offers many choices of hotels and pensions, starting from the legendary Pupp hotel, but also many low cost options. But couples who arrive with a car, and seek for a romantic place out of the city rush, would like hotel Retro Riverside.  This five stars hotel is just 10 minutes ride from the city. It sits on the river bank, and offers big rooms with river view, exclusive breakfast, and an almost private spa area with huge Jacuzzi and five different types of saunas.

Karlovy Vary with kids?

On a first thought, the answer would be no.  But on a second thought, why not?

You may visit the glass factory, take the cable car to the Diana lookout and restaurant, or walk down the main street and buy ice cream and pizza.  Adventure park is located close by, and there is also an underground mine to visit and a children amusement park.

Marianske Lazne

Marianske Lazne is another springs city close to Karlovy Vary. It has many gardens and more open spaces than its neighbor city.   Also here you will find tap water in the streets from mineral springs. The taste of the water here is more sulfur and a bit sparkling.

You may walk down the romantic streets, or choose to take a nature track in the woods surrounding the city.  The tracks are marked with colored signs.  The shortest track is the red one, 1 km long, with the longest track, the blue, is 6 km.  Map of the tracks is available at the info center in the main street.

Lake Kladske

10 minutes ride from Marianske Lazne, you’ll find a romantic lake with an easy wooden path around it.  If you must choose, then this track is nicer than the Marianske’s marked tracks.  Parking is near the village in a free parking lot, and the 2 km trip around the lake starts right there.

Loket

Very close to Karlovy Vary, Loket is a small and magical spot.  A river surrounds the village on 3 sides, somewhat like Cesky Krumlov.  The impressive castle at the city center is surrounded by romantic streets. The recommended place to park for free is outside the village, near the gas station, and then walk inside on foot.  It is also possible to pay park in the city center. 
ST Florian is a recommended restaurant and a beer brewery, in an historical building.

South Czech

Cesky Krumlov

Two hours drive south of Prague, there is a city you must visit.   Narrow old streets, view of the river from every corner, small coffee shops, and very pastoral atmosphere.   A kayak trip on the relatively calm river would be a great way to spice your stay.

Recommended Accomodation in Cesky Krumlov

 

A pleasant, clean and friendly hotel is called Penzion Krumlov.

There are only a few 5 stars hotels, and one of them is very special due to its old 16th century building.  It is called Ruze.   Its location is great, very close to the center.  Staying there is a special experience, even though not fitting everyone…

Lake Lipno and Šumava National Park

A magical lake with plenty of activities for kids.  You may swim in the late, sail, or rent bikes.  There is also a water park and an adventure park.  You may also try rafting in the Vltava river near by.

Don’t miss the Treetop Walkway. A path up above the trees, with some adventurous parts, leading to a tall tower. Children can slide down from the tower, but tickets need to be bought in advance at the cashier near the parking. There is also an adventure park for small children, down near the parking.  

A recommended beautiful lake side resort, with activities for both children and adults, is called Amenity Resort Lipno.

Sumava park offers amazing tracks in the nature of woods, small lakes, far reaching views, and water streams.

Punkva Cave

This stalactite cave is so special because you sail in a boat inside it.  The wonder of nature is located 2.5 hours drive south east of Prague, near the city Brno. By the way, it is cold under ground, so take some warm cloths with you.

And finally, Prague…

The old city is a small area, which can be toured by foot. If you like walking, there is no need for a car or even for public transportation.

West of the river there is the castle district (Hradcany) and the small disctrict (Mala Strana).   East of the river resides the old city (Stare Mesto) and the main plaza (Vaclavske namesti).  Carl Bridge is the famous connection between the two city parts.  The Jewish district is also worth a visit.

The old town square, staromestske square, is a main attraction for tourists. The old city hall is located by the square, and has the famous astronomical clock at its front. Every hour the clock goes off with a small show, to the delight of the crowed waiting for it.

Wenceslas Square is the new center of shopping and culture. This square looks more like a long boulevard than a city square, and it offers fashion shops, coffee shops, bars, hotels and clubs.

Restaurants and Shopping in Prague

Paladium shopping mall is close to the center.  It is huge and relatively expensive.  A great shopping mall which is located a bit far is called Letnany

A restaurant with a remarkable interior modeling is called James Dean.
La Casa Argentina is a good meat restaurant. Quite expensive but worth it.
A great Italian restaurant close Paladium shopping center is Pizza Nuova.
Two recommended vegetarian restaurants in Prague would be rawcha  and secret of raw.

Prague with Kids

You may visit the city zoo – Zoo Praha, the Lego museum – Muzeum Lega, the chocolate museum and the candies store VIVA near it, the toys museum at Prague castle, the miniature trains kingdom (Království železnic)Petrin mirror maze and the Eiffel Tower near it with its 299 steps to climb.  In the south suburb of the city, there is an awesome water park called Aquapalace. Most of the park is indoors, so it can be a great attraction to fill up a rainy day.

Hotels in Prague

Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel is a fancy 5 stars hotel, near Wenceslas Square. It is a great location close to the new culture and shopping center of Prague.

Ambassador is also near Wenceslas Square. A highly recommended 5 stars hotel.

Unitas Hotel resides in the center of the old town, only 250 meters from Charles Bridge. The building is in a quiet location, used to be a convent. Breakfast is rich, and the rooms are spacious, including the bathroom.

Buddha-Bar Hotel is a fantastic 5 stars hotel, at the very center of Prague.

Tips

  • Getting from Prague to Karlovi Vary or Cesky Krumlov is very convenient with a public bus.  There is a bus company called "student agency" with luxury buses including TV and coffee.  There is a need to book the ticket at least a day in advance (in the internet site or in the local booth), because the buses are usually full at the high season.
  • It is easy to read czech, because what you see is what you say.  Some basic letters to pronounce:  Ch sounds like cleaning your throat, c sounds like 'ts', č sounds like 'tsh', and š sounds like 'sh'.
  • Everything is so cheap...  Especially beer 🙂
  • Hotels and gas stations will accept credit cards, but most restaurants will accept only cash.
  • Speed limit is 50 km/h in city limits.  Notice that even five houses and a church is a considered a 50 km/h road, so you'll need to slow down.
  • Water bottles in supermarkets would be mostly sparkling.  If you like still water, look for the label: "neperliva".
  • Some of the mountain slides do not have safety belts. You must slow down in the curves, or otherwise, you may fall off. It is especially important to children.
  • Prague duty free shops are expensive.
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