Prague is one of the most magical and mysterious cities in Europe. In a region that sadly experienced much destruction during the fighting of World War II, Prague was remarkably spared. In fact, the only major bombing that occurred in Prague was launched by American pilots after a navigational mistake led them off course, assuming that the city was Dresden Germany, where massive bombing campaigns were occuring.
There’s much to experience in Prague, from the Castle that towers over the city, to the gorgeous Karlův most (Charles Bridge) that connects the old town with the newer section where many of the Amadeus exteriors of were filmed. Much has been written about what to see in Prague. I lived there for nearly two years and spent a lot of time exploring the city, but feel like I only really scratched the surface of this intriguing and inspiring city.
Prague Day Trips
I took many Prague day trips while I was there, exploring as much of Europe as I could, but I also explored many surrounding Czech villages that are easily accessible by train or bus. Most of them are easy Prague day trips. If you’ve got the time while visiting Prague, consider some of these memorable destinations.
Located less than an hour from Hlavni Nadrazi, the main train station, is a stunning gothic castle situated on a picturesque hill of woodlands above a town of the same name. Built in the mid-14th century by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and the King of Bohemia the castle safeguards crown jewels and other royal treasures as well as holy relics.
It is one of the most popular Czech attractions right outside of Prague, so get there early to avoid the busloads of tourists incessantly snapping photographs.
Karlovy Vary (or Karlsbad)
You can easily make this a day trip by bus or train to this attractive 14th century spa town situated on the Ohře and Teplá rivers. It takes a couple hours to get there by train, so you should consider staying there for a night in one of the grand, elegant hotels. There are also many inexpensive places to stay. If you are in the Czech Republic in July, consider attending the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the oldest and respected film festivals in the world.
Terezin (or Theresienstadt)
You can easily catch a bus (they run every half hour) right outside of the center of town in the Florenc area. This is an historic trip to a more sobering time in Czech and European history, the Nazi terror.
Built in the late 18th century, Terezin is a former military fortress with a citadel and adjacent walled town. Gavrilo Princip was imprisoned and died here after his conviction for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, but it is mostly known for its use as Jewish transit camp during the Nazi occupation.
The Theresienstadt concentration camp was originally designated as a “model Jewish settlement” and was used for propaganda, especially during the Red Cross visit, in the spring of 1944.
With so many artists, musicians and composers housed here, the ghetto did have a rich cultural life and several ensembles were created and there were many performances presented here. But tens of thousands died there and more than 150,000 were contained there before being sent off to concentration camps.
The Gothic Cathedral, St. Barbara’s sits in the middle of this quaint medieval town, but the most fascinating attraction here is the nearby Ossuary Chapel located in the All Saints at Sedlec.
Said to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, they are used to form decorations for the chapel, garlands of skulls, coat of arms, and furnishings. The centerpiece of the ossuary is the grand chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body.
By far the most wonderful tip I took outside of Prague in the Czech Republic is the quaint village of Český Krumlov. Setting foot in this enchanting town is like walking through a fairy tale. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a mesmerizing small village with a large castle (the second largest in the Czech Republic) dwarfing the town. The Vltava River winds through it with parks on both sides. The village contains a slew of colorful pubs and restaurants, alluring (and expensive) hotels in the center of town, but also boasts several inexpensive hostels for the budget traveler. It takes a little more than four hours to get there on a commuter train from Prague, so definitely consider staying for a night or two. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Discover more information about traveling to Prague and some of its environs.