Attractions close to Prague

I won't bore you with anymore Moravian culture, however, will tell you a bit more what is there to do in close vicinity of Prague. About 50km from Prague is a smaller city called Pribram. Historically, Pribram was a mining town with vast woods in Brdy hills. However, nowadays it has a lot more to offer. Find out more about its history here.

You can start by taking a bus from metro station Andel in Prague to Pribram. Some of the buses stop in a picturesque small town of Dobris which has a wonderful small chateau with picturesque garden which is worth the visit. You can either make stop in Dobris first or on the way back. Once in Pribram, you have several choices. First, if you are a music lover, you will more than likely want to visit the nearby memorial and museum of Antonin Dvorak, the famous Czech composer. His memorial is situated in a nearby village called Vysoka u Pribrame where you can get with one of the local buses at the main bus station.

Second choice and one of the most popular ones is to visit the Holly Mountain which has been overseeing the happenings in Pribram over 300 years now. There are basically two ways to get up there, either follow the regular road or take the Holy Mountain steps which are located in the Dlouha street. The steps are not the easiest to find, but if you ask, everyone in that area will show you where to go. After you have explored the church, you can decend back to the main shopping street and grab a cheap bite to eat in one of the local joints.

If you are still hungry for some more information about this region, why not pop into the Mining Museum where you will find out what it was like in the early years. And finally, after all the walking and sweating, you can relax and cool off your brain in the Aquapark before you head back to the mother Prague.

The Moravian capital - Brno

As mentioned in my previous post, the world outside of Prague is usually off limits to every day tourist, however, little do they know that it takes about 2.5 hours on a direct bus to explore the Moravian metropolis, Brno. There are tons of buses that go every day from the Florenc bus station where you can get with the local subway system. I believe that Czech Airlines also run a bus directly form the airport to Brno. One of the best companies is the Student Agenecy and they do have a shuttle from the airport as well. If I may give you an advice, it is very easy to get from the Ruzyne airport with public transport for about 1 euro, just hop on a bus 100 and go to the end station. There hop on the subway in the station Zlicin and you have access to everywhere. No reason to dish out money for taxies or shuttles.

Anyway, so now you are probably asking me why the hell would I want to sit on a bus to go see Brno. Well, I tell you why, because you can. :). As I said, Brno is the capital city of Moravia and it even though it is not as achitecturaly phenomenal like Prague, it has its own. Above Brno, there is a Spilberk castle which became famous as a prison during the 30 year war and today you can visit its catacombs and get a great panoramic view of the town.

Close to the train and bus stops there is a St. Peter and Paul cathedral overlooking the city. You cannot miss its two pointy towers on the Petrov hill. The view from the towers is just spectacular and inside the cathedral you can wander around exploring the catholic church's wealth or sometimes local exhibits with different motifs.

Brno has recently become a lot more internationalized, so you might not be the only foreigner walking in the streets, but do not assume that everyone will speak English. A good Czech phrasebook is always handy. If you are a musically talented individual, Brno has one of the best music school in Europe and a quite large number of cultural institutions are active here as well. So why not study in Brno at the Janacek Academy of Music and Arts. Also, if you made it all the way this far, why not take a trip to Vienna, Austria or Bratislava, Slovakia which are only about 2 hours away.

Czech Republic and its treasures

Well, our planned travels have ended, however, that does not stop us from exploring more of the world out there which is just waiting to be discovered. In our next adventure, we embark on a short visit to the picturesque Czech Republic. To tell you the truth, not very many tourist ever make it out of Prague which is due to a couple of fundamental reasons. First, the language ain't the easiest to grasp and the locals with their non-english speaking majority do not help much in that extent (Please stop dubbing your movies). Second, there are just so many things to see in Prague (Prague Castle, Old Town, Jewish quarter, Charles bridge etc. etc.). Most of the Praguocites do not realize how much they are missing by just sticking to this one metropolis. Forget France and its chateaux on the river Loire. Czech Republic is much cheaper (still), people are friendlier and the castles and chateaus are quite exquisite as well. There are literally houndreds of these spread all over the country.

One of the most visited and the closest to Prague is the renown Karlstejn, the retreat home to Charles IV. The trip there is quite simple, via a 40 minute train ride and then about 30 min walk up a beautiful little town with its food and crafts stall. The castle itself has English tours, but to tell you the truth is much cooler to look at from outside than to actually visit inside. It all depends what you like and how many castles you have visited before. If you are a virgin in castle hoping, Karlstejn can offer a quick and easy start.

I am more of a hunting trophy freak, so this won't do it for me. If you are similar and need more decoration in the castles themselves, you can try the Orlik chateau which belongs to the Schwarzenberg family. The Czech prime minister is the proud father of his son Jan, who currently owns this exquisite site. Orlik sits on a cliff above the Vltava river and before the Orlik dam was build, it was about 60m about the water level. Its halways are full of miscellaneous weapons and hunting trophies which add the chateau wonderful decor.

Near Orlik sits another Schwarzenberg castle called Zvikov. It is even possible to take a boat ride from Orlik to Zvikov or vice versa. Zvikov offers self guided tour with a quide written in English and is full of exhibits from the times of castle's prosperity. Zvikov is for sure one of the nicest places out there and with its georgeous view over the Vltava river provides a great retreat for every day tourists.

To get to Orlik or Zvikov, you can take a bus, but you will have to transfer in one of the bigger cities. You can check out the bus or train schedules here.