The Czech Republic, or the Czech Republic, is a central European state that borders Poland in the north, Germany in the west, Austria in the south, and Slovakia in the east. The capital of the Czech Republic is the city of Prague, which is one big attraction in the open air. The country covers an area of 78 866 km², has a population of 10 610 947 people (2016). The largest cities are Prague, Brno, Plzen, Ostrava.
According to legend, the ancestors of today’s Czechs, led by their leader Czech, settled on the territory of modern Czech Republic, which has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The first chronicle mentions of settlements on the Czech land date back to the end of the 9th century, when these lands were united by princes from the Přemyslid clan. In the Middle Ages, the Czech kingdom had considerable influence, but the religious conflicts that arose (the Hussite wars in the 15th century and the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century) significantly weakened it. Soon the kingdom fell under the rule of the Habsburgs and became part of Austria-Hungary.
After the end of the First World War and the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Subcarpathian Rus united into the independent republic of Czechoslovakia. The country was occupied by Germany in 1939. At the end of World War II, the Czech Republic found itself in the Soviet camp, which predetermined its history until 1989. On January 1, 1993, Slovakia separated from the Czech Republic, and both countries gained independence. Today’s Czech Republic has been a NATO member since 1999, and has been a member of the European Union since 2004.
The Czech Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The country annually, regardless of the season, is visited by about 50 million people. The choice of tourist routes in the Czech Republic is so extensive that it is worthwhile to decide in advance which direction of tourism interests you at the moment, and which should be left for the next visits. The most attractive are historical routes, since the country has a huge number of objects that will be of interest to fans of antiquity: castles, fortresses, castles. Some cities of the Czech Republic are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
- Capital: Prague
- Area: 78,866 km²
- Population: 10,610,947 (2016)
- Language: Czech
- Of.site: https://www.visitczechrepublic.com/en-US
Fans of active recreation will find something to their liking – ecotourism and alpine skiing are developed in the country. Those wishing to admire the natural beauty in the Czech Republic are a real expanse: wooded mountains, caves, lakes and waterfalls. The Czech Republic also attracts tourists in need of health improvement: there are many popular thermal spas.
How to get to the Czech Republic
The Czech sky has opened! Since October 4, 2020, the Czech Republic has become closer for travelers. Czech Airlines launches flights to Prague on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Climate and weather in the Czech Republic
The climate of the Czech Republic is moderate continental with features of the sea. Summer in the region is warm, with daytime temperatures +23… +25°С, with a lot of precipitation. Winter is cloudy, cool, during the day around 0 … +3°С, and at night -5 … -2°С, snow often falls. In winter, ski resorts start operating in the mountains.
The minimum precipitation occurs in spring and autumn, this time is considered the most comfortable for excursions and travel around the country.
The weather in the Czech Republic rarely surprises: in summer, as a rule, it is not hot, and in winter it is moderately cool, so tourists visit the country all year round.
Regions of the Czech Republic
Vysočina is the land of glass blowers and pure pristine nature. A great place to retreat and escape from the city’s pace of life.
The Karlovy Vary Region is perhaps the most beautiful and popular tourist region in the Czech Republic, which is inseparably associated with spa treatment in the famous balneological centers.
The Moravian-Silesian Region is known not only for its technical and industrial monuments on the territory of former factories, but also for its unspoiled nature and picturesque mountains of the Beskydy. Here you can go down to an abandoned mine and get acquainted with the history of coal mining in the Czech Republic.
- Pilsen Region – This region attracts tourists with its old Baroque buildings, nature reserves, folklore and delicious food. Local beer is considered one of the tastiest varieties in the whole Czech Republic and beyond.
- The South Bohemian Region is the greenest and most picturesque region of the Czech Republic with a rich history and unique architectural sights. A third of its area is covered with forests and seven thousand ponds.
- Stí nad Labem Region – this area is also called the “Gateway to the Czech Republic”, as it is surrounded on all sides by hills – former volcanoes, from the tops of which an impressive view of the whole Czech Republic opens. The region will be interesting for those who like to explore ancient cities and their architecture. And for those who prefer rest among the picturesque nature – there are many reserves here. Thanks to the volcanic soils, the region grows the highest quality hops in the world.
- Liberec Region – the region is famous for its magnificent nature and ski resorts. It is also considered the birthplace of a precious stone – Czech garnet.
- Hradec Králové Region – the region is home to the highest mountains of the Czech Republic – the Krkonoše with numerous ski resorts, a large number of castles and fortresses, as well as the largest Czech zoo – a real African safari.
- Pardubice Region – looks like heaven on earth. Along with the magnificent nature, this region is proud of its history and technical monuments, and on the territory of the National Stud Farm in Kladruby nad Labem, you can see how the white breed of Starokladruby horses are bred.
- Olomouc Region – the region attracts tourists with its nature reserves and the Jeseníky Mountains with exceptional climatic conditions. This area is rich in its cultural traditions and ancient monuments.
- The Zlín Region is a land of Czech traditions and folklore, good wine and plum brandy, delicious food and mysterious castles. Visit the local town of Zlín with its unusual architecture in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the local businessman Tomáš Bati, who invited the most unusual architects here in the 1930s, the city has become a real monument to functionalism.
- South Moravian Region – this hospitable region is considered a wine-growing region, as 96% of the Czech vineyards are located here. A region with beautiful picturesque nature and UNESCO Intangible Heritage Sites.
- Central Bohemian Region – the atmosphere of local towns and villages is created by the legacy of ancient royal dynasties, the prints of which can be found all over the region.
What to see for tourists in the Czech Republic
The pride of the Czech Republic is its castles, of which there are about 2500 pieces. Almost every corner of the Czech Republic has its own castle – an old one with an interesting ancient history. Castles – fortified dwellings of feudal lords – were built according to a certain structure: the castle itself (castle) with a church, surrounded by one or several suburbs, added gradually and used for economic purposes. During the Renaissance, castles lost their importance as military fortresses and turned into comfortable dwellings. In the 19th century, many Czech castles were rebuilt in the spirit of romanticism, acquired neo-Gothic elements and a certain “English accent”. At the end of the 20th century, some of the castles were returned to the families who had historically owned them as part of restitution, others became hotels, and still others – museums. Many castles today offer guests magnificent theatrical performances – excursions into the history of the Czech Republic, arranging knightly tournaments, costume performances, concerts of ancient music, tastings of Czech cuisine. Below is a list of the most famous castles in the Czech Republic. You can read more about Czech castles in the article “Castles of the Czech Republic. The fabulous atmosphere of the Middle Ages ”.
- Hluboka nad Vltavou castle
- Karlštejn Castle
- Konopiste castle
- Cesky Sternberk Castle
- Melnik Castle
- Orlik castle
- Castle Rozmberk nal Vltavou
- Křivoklát castle
- Zbiroh Castle
- Detenice Castle
- Sychrov Castle
- Lednice castle
- Pernstein Castle
- Friedland castle complex
- Bouzov Castle
- Castle Hradek u Nechanic
- Zhleby’s Castle
Old cities of the Czech Republic
In addition to castles in the Czech Republic, it is definitely worth visiting ancient cities, in which a huge number of historical and architectural monuments are concentrated.
Cesky Krumlov is the most famous historical area of South Bohemia, located in the Sumava foothills, famous for its stunning ensemble of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings. Ceskokrumlov Castle is the largest in the Czech Republic after Prague Castle, it is also included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The castle ensemble includes 40 buildings and palaces, 5 courtyards and a garden.
The castle on the old trade route was founded in the 1st half of the 13th century by representatives of the Vitkovich family. The architecture and the name of the castle determined its geographical location: the castle was located in a loop formed by the bend of the Vltava River (die krumme Au – crooked meadow). Podhradie was named Latran (latus – side, side), and it was also planned taking into account the bends of the river. The huge castle complex, originally built in the Gothic style, underwent changes – first in the Baroque style, then in the Rococo style. In the city, tourists will be interested in the garden and park, theater, galleries, cellars. The dominant feature of the old town is the church of St. Vitus rising on the steep bank of the river. Buildings decorated in sgraffito style, red-tiled roofs of houses and gilded turrets give Krumlov a special charm and style.
Not far from Krumlov, only 32 kilometers away, there is a new (opened in 2012) attraction – a wooden observation tower at the top of Kramolin, above Lake Lipno. This tower is unique among such structures for its pedestrian zone – a wooden suspended structure begins on the ground and gradually rises to the top of the tower. In 2012, this site was named the best new Czech landmark.
Telč is a city on the water, Moravian Venice, the layout of which is due to the presence of three artificial reservoirs and a bypass channel – a former castle moat. The historical core of the city is an old fortress, which has retained its appearance since the Middle Ages. The Gothic castle on the water was founded in the XIII century, and the building acquired its modern appearance during the reconstruction in the XVI century. The main building of the old city is a palace with rich interiors: the Golden, Blue, Theater and Knights ‘Halls, the All Saints’ Chapel, a treasury and a banquet hall decorated in the sgraffito technique.
The town of Jindrichuv Hradec is home to the third largest castle complex in the Czech Republic, built in the 13th century on the historical border between Bohemia, Moravia and Austria. The main building of the complex is a Gothic palace with valuable paintings, the Church of St. John the Baptist with rare frescoes and a former Minorite monastery. The city is famous for its annual classical music (Concertino Praga) and folk music (Folková růže) festivals.
Brno is the capital of Moravia and the second most important and largest city in the Czech Republic. The most recognizable symbol of Brno is the Gothic castle of Spilberg, the silhouette of which is depicted on Czech coins. The castle was founded in the 13th century on the summit of the Spilberg mountain. You can read more about Spielberg here.
Once in Brno, it is worth taking the time to explore the Moravian Gallery, the second largest museum in the Czech Republic, famous for its rich collection. The gallery, founded in 1961, houses objects of free art – not only painting, graphics and plastic arts from ancient times to the present, but also photography, applied art, and graphic design.
Also noteworthy in Brno are the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Church of St. Jacob, the Town Hall, the Church of St. Michael.
The historic town of Kutná Hora, the second largest after Prague in the 14th century, became famous for its silver mines. In the 16th century, after the cessation of silver mining, its importance fell, but the town retained its charm, becoming one of the most famous tourist centers in the country. Tourists may find it interesting to visit the Chapel of All Saints, built around 1400 at a Gothic cathedral in the cemetery of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec. As a result of the cholera epidemic of 1318 and during the Hussite wars at the beginning of the 15th century, the cemetery grew greatly, and the arriving bones began to be piled up in pyramids. In 1870, by order of the Schwarzenbergs, woodcarver František Rint decorated the interior of the chapel with bones from 40,000 skeletons, from the altar to the chandelier.
It is worth visiting Vlašský Dvor – a cultural monument of Kutnogorsk, which is a complex of buildings from the 13th – 14th centuries, once the residence of Czech kings, with an old mint; the stone palace Hradek, which today houses the Silver Museum with an interesting exhibition; Cathedral of St. Barbara – Czech Notre Dame de Paris.
Plze, the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic, located in the west of the country, stretches at the confluence of four rivers – Uslava, Uglava, Radbuza and Mži. Pilsen is famous for the following attractions: the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic (103 m) – the tower of the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, the cathedral itself with the late Gothic Sternberg Chapel, the Town Hall, the dungeons, the Museum of West Bohemia, the third largest synagogue in the world in the Moor-Romanesque style.
As you know, Plze is the capital of Czech brewing, and Plze beer of the Prazdroi and Gambrinus brands is brewed here. The beer is produced according to the old technology, unchanged since the century before last, and the inimitable taste to the drink, according to the Czechs, is given by the water from Pilsen, its own malt and the unique storage conditions in the cellars. You can learn more about the history of the Plzeský Prazdroi brewery in the Brewery Museum.
The Terezin Fortress was founded at the end of the 18th century at the confluence of the Laba and Ohři rivers, 5 km south of Litoměřice. During World War II, the German occupiers set up a concentration camp for Jews in the fortress, the so-called Terezin ghetto, which housed just under 140,000 people (33,000 of them died while in the ghetto). Some of the Jews (88,000 people) were deported to Auschwitz and other death camps. By the end of the war, 17,247 people had survived in the ghetto. Terezin was liberated by Soviet troops on May 9, 1945. Today in Terezín there is a memorial to the victims of the concentration camp.
Medical resorts of the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a recognized destination for health tourism, the country is famous for thermal and mineral spas, the most famous of which is Karlovy Vary. The city founded by Emperor Charles IV. 1358, appeared in a place where 132 mineral springs break through to the surface of the earth, 12 of which are with healing water. The resort has a glorious history, all the world’s elite came here to improve their health: monarchs, prominent politicians, famous people of art. The streets of the city repeat the bends formed by the Teplaya River, across which openwork bridges are thrown. The city is decorated with picturesque buildings of different eras, parks, squares. In addition to medical procedures shown for a wide range of diseases, and pleasant walks in the bosom of nature, you can always spend time here, for example, the city hosts the Karlovy Vary Film Festival – the second most important in Europe after the Cannes Film Festival.
Marianske Lazne is the second most important resort in the Czech Republic after Karlovy Vary, whose history begins in 1528 – with the discovery of the Ferdinand’s spring. Today there are about 40 mineral springs here.
Another Czech town with a spa tradition is Frantiskovy Lazne, popular mainly among women, because the local mud successfully treats infertility.
Czech amusement parks
National Park “Bohemian Switzerland”
This reserve, which has no analogues in Europe, stretches from the town of Tisza in the Ustecky region to the Shluknovsky ledge in the Decinsky region. The park was founded on January 1, 2000, and became a Czech extension of the German Sächsische Schweiz National Park (Saxon Switzerland), founded 10 years earlier (1990). The Bohemian Switzerland Park is part of the vast natural complex Labské Sandstones (Labske Piskovce), and the main object of protection is the characteristic sandstone phenomenon – the “rocky sandstone city” of Etrschovické and Decinské Stena, and the associated biological diversity. Tourists love to visit observation decks with unique views of sandy cliffs, bridges and castles created by nature. The park is popular with fans of active sports: climbers, cyclists, rafting and hiking enthusiasts.
Aquapark Babylon is located in Liberec and is part of the largest entertainment center in the Czech Republic Babylon. The interiors of the water park resemble antique baths, the most popular attractions are the “wild river” and the adrenaline “spacebowl”.
The AquaPalace water park is located in the village of Čestlice near Prague and is the largest water park in Central Europe. The complex consists of the Palace of Waves, the Palace of Adventures and the Palace of Relaxation. For lovers of deep-sea diving there is a diving tunnel, sauna lovers can visit the classic Finnish saunas, a Roman bath and a Russian bath.
The Aqua-Olomouc water park is located in Olomouc and is famous for its adrenaline-pumping attractions. Visitors are also offered massage, solarium and tepidarium (dry heating zone).
Ski resorts in the Czech Republic
Ski resorts in Austria, Andorra, Italy or France come to mind first when talking about winter activities. Their advantages are undeniable, however, it is worth paying attention to new directions of winter tourism. An example is the Czech Republic, whose ski resorts are becoming more and more popular. The season here starts in mid-December and ends in mid-April. The slopes of Czech resorts are well-groomed and very comfortable, and rest in this area, which is important, is affordable.
- Spindleruv Mlyn
- Pec pod Snezkou
- Ski Arena Krkonoše (Černá Hora resorts – Janske Lazne, Černý Dul and Velka and Mala Upa)
- Rokytnice nad Jizerou
- Velke Losiny
- God’s gift
- Jablonec nad Jizerou
Interesting places in the Czech Republic
- Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.
- Brno is the largest city in Moravia and hosts the Moto GP Grand Prix every year.
- Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic.
- Cesky Krumlov is a beautiful old town and castle.
- Opava is a rich and historically important city in Silesia, near the border with Poland.
- Jeseník is a popular winter resort.
- Karlovy Vary aka “Karlsbad”, a historic resort.
- Karvina is a resort located near Ostrava.
- Kutná Hora is a historic town with the famous St. Barbara Cathedral and old silver mines.
- Novosedly is a village in the Moravian Wine Region, where you can take a horse ride through the vineyards.
- Olomouc is a vibrant university town.
- Plze is the birthplace of Pilsner Urquell beer, the largest city in West Bohemia.
What to do in the Czech Republic for a tourist
If you exclude the sights of the Czech Republic, for which most tourists come, you can take care of your health here. As in neighboring Hungary, in the Czech Republic, rest in the balneological resorts of the country is in particular demand – in addition to the famous Karlovy Vary, these are also Karlsbad, Marienbad, Velke Losine, Frantiskovy Lazne, Marianske Lazne, Jachymov, Teplice, Klimkovice, Podebrady, Lazne Belograd and others. It is thanks to its mineral springs and pleasant climate that the Czech Republic has earned fame as one of the centers of medical tourism. Moreover, each spa resort can be characterized according to its “specialization”. So, tourists with problems of the respiratory tract and kidneys go to Bludov; in Karlovy Vary, Frantiskovy Lazne, Marianske Lazne – with oncological diseases; in the same Frantiskovy Lazne, as well as in Hodonin, Darkov, Jesenik, Lazne Libverde, diseases of the circulatory system are treated. As for the problems with the musculoskeletal system, then virtually any spa resort in the Czech Republic is suitable for this.
You can find out more about the country’s resorts in our article “Czech Medical Resorts”, which tells about the most popular places for treatment on the waters. You can also follow the links below to the cities in which sources are beating out of the ground, and read detailed information about each of them:
- Karlovy Vary
- Frantiskovy Lazne
In addition, Czech clinics deserve special attention, which have long and successfully introduced modern diagnostic and treatment technologies, for example, the Da Vinci operating system and the Cyberknife stereotaxic surgery system. Patients with orthopedic problems often go to hospitals in the Czech Republic; they are quite in demand among women suffering from infertility. At the same time, the cost of medical services in the Czech Republic is noticeably less than in neighboring Germany, so many Russians who cannot afford clinics in Western Europe prefer treatment in the Czech Republic.
The main clinics of the Czech Republic
- University Hospital in Motol
- Clinic “MyClinic”
- Clinic “Na Gomolets”
- Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Getting around the country
The most convenient mode of transport for traveling around the Czech Republic is by bus. In some destinations, buses run faster and more frequently than trains. Dozens of carrier companies operate flights throughout the country. Communication between large cities is provided at least several times a day. You can also get to small towns and distant places with daily flights without any problems. The lines are operated by comfortable buses with air conditioning and TVs, often with reclining seats. Czech buses adhere to the schedule impeccably. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in advance, at the entrance to the bus from the driver, or online on the website of the carrier company. The seat is not indicated on the tickets – passengers sit on empty seats.
One of the main carriers is the country’s largest bus company CSAD (Ceska Autobusova Doprava), which operates both domestic and international routes. The starting point in Prague is the Florenc train station. Information about routes and timetables is available on the website www.florenc.info, or in the CSAD information window from 6:00 to 19:45, on Saturday from 6:00 to 16:00, on Sunday from 8:00 to 18:00 … Tickets are also sold there. If the window is closed, you can consult the Tourbus travel agency located opposite, which also carries out its own transportation around the country.
Another very popular bus company in the Czech Republic is Student Agency. Her buses are distinguished by impeccable comfort and high level of service: female flight attendants will offer you tea, coffee and chocolate, the Czech press for free. In addition, tickets from this company are often cheaper than tickets from other carriers, and the bus spends much less travel time. Bright Student Agency buses leave from Prague from the Zlicin metro, tickets can be bought when they leave from the kiosk at the platform or ordered on the company’s website. Seats are indicated on Student Agency tickets.
The required bus route in the Czech Republic can be found on the National Timetable System. To create a personal itinerary, select the kombinace link, enter the name of the starting (Odkud) and destination (Kam) points, the date (Datum) and time (Čas) of departure (odjezd) or arrival (příjezd), as well as the possible number of transfers (přestupů). The site will display a list of route options with the numbers of all flights, indicating the time of departure and en route, as well as a cost estimate. The only caveat is that the site works in Czech, but words can be typed in regular Latin, without using diacritics. For translation, you can use one of the online dictionaries.
The Czech Republic has a fairly dense rail network, which is operated by České Dráhy, or simply CD. Trains to most destinations leave hourly.
The slowest regional trains are called Osobni (O), they stop at all stops, and in large cities several times. Spešný (Sp) are regional express trains that run somewhat faster than usual ones, as in big cities they stop only at the main train stations. The fast trains are called Rychlik (R) and Express (Ex) and usually have a dining car or buffet.
Fast night trains are also called Rychlik, but they are not very convenient to move around – you will still not be able to get enough sleep due to the shortness of the trip. International night trains are called EuroNight (EN).
The fastest – InterCity (IC) and EuroCity (EC) trains have a high level of comfort, and the trip on them will be more expensive. EU trains are international, connecting Prague with major European cities, while IC trains are domestic.
SuperCity or Pendolino – the new high-speed trains recently bought by Czech Railways have a special ticket fare (SC). The schedule is available on the website www.scpendolino.cz.
The ticket price depends on the class of the carriage and the distance. To save money, you can buy a weekend pass – SONE +, which is designed for travel on all trains throughout the Czech Republic during the weekend, it is also valid in the border regions of Germany, Austria and Poland. On other days it is worth using one of the Sitova jizdenka passes, information on which can be found here.
There are significant discounts for young people and students: the ticket will be about one and a half times cheaper for them. Travel is free for children under 6 years old, children under 15 years old receive a 50% discount.
Remember, getting to small breweries or remote towns by train is likely to require multiple connections. You can optimally plan your route on this website.
Bicycles are a very popular form of transport in the Czech Republic: the length of cycle paths now exceeds 37 thousand km. The most extensive route network is located in Prague, in Central and Northern Moravia, and most of them are so-called greenways. “Green Roads” are laid along rivers, water canals and railways, they pass along old pilgrimage and trade roads, past famous historical monuments or natural attractions. These include the following routes: Prague – Vienna, Amber Route, Moravian Route, Labe Route, Moravian Wine Route, etc. The widespread development of cycling in the Czech Republic is due to the fact that the country was included in the project of the European network of bicycle routes “EuroVelo”, developed The European Cycling Federation with the aim of linking 12 European bike paths connecting all European countries.
To travel in the Czech Republic by car, the driver must be over 18 years old, have a valid international driving license, an identity card (for everyone except EU citizens, you also need a passport), registration documents for the car and a third party liability insurance policy (Green card).
The car must be equipped with a nationality badge and a fine is imposed for its absence. The car must have an emergency stop sign in the form of a red triangle and a first aid kit. Children should only ride in a car with seat belts and appropriate seats. From October 15 to May 15, drivers must turn on the dipped headlights even during daylight hours. Drunk driving is punishable by a severe fine or detention. Motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear protective helmets.
The maximum permissible speed for cars and buses is 50 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h on normal roads and 130 km/h on motorways.
Motorways and motorway-type roads in the Czech Republic are toll, so motorists need to purchase a ticket with which they can drive throughout the whole year. The coupon is glued to the windshield. You can buy it at the post office, at gas stations along the roads, at all large border points. The cost of the coupon is 400 CZK for vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tons, 1000 CZK – over 3.5 tons.
Gas stations are located on all major roads after about 50 km, at the entrances to major cities. Most gas stations close after 21:30.
Renting a car in the Czech Republic will not be difficult: at airports, in large cities and in high-class hotels, there are offices of all leading car rental companies. If you intend to visit only Prague, you should not rent a car: many streets of the city are closed to car traffic, and public transport is very well developed.
Domestic air traffic in the Czech Republic is practically undeveloped: by plane you can only get from Prague to Brno and Ostrava. Flights are mainly operated by CSA. There are several international airports in the Czech Republic: Prague Ruzyne airport, Brno Turany airport, Ostrava Leos Janacek airport and Karlovy Vary airport.
Not surprisingly, the main language spoken here is Czech. Czechs are very proud of their mother tongue and even in Prague there are few signs and signs in English (outside of the main tourist spots). Older people often do not know English, but most young people speak at least a little English, as they learn it in schools.
Czech cuisine is the result of local culinary traditions and borrowings from the cuisines of neighboring nations. Czech cuisine is very nourishing, made from natural products, abounding in first courses, meat dishes, delicious desserts.
The Czechs cannot imagine a meal without sauces, of which there are a lot: tomato, horseradish, dill, cucumber, sour cream, lingonberry, garlic, onion, etc. The basis of the sauces is meat broths, in which flour is sauteed and various ingredients are added.
Another specialty of Czech cuisine is dumplings – boiled pieces of flour or potato dough. By themselves, dumplings are not used, only as a side dish for meat dishes.
First courses – soups, or Polévky (voles) – hold a special place in Czech cuisine – Czechs love them very much. The most popular are Česnečka (garlic) garlic soup, Jihočeská kulajda (yigocheska kulajda) – mushroom potato soup with sour cream, often served in bread, Cibulačka (tsibulachka) – onion soup with croutons and cheese.
Meat dishes are no less popular: the Czechs honor pork, beef, lamb, poultry, and game. The traditional meat dish is Vepřo-knedlo-zelo (veprso-knedlo-zelo) – baked pork in gravy with dumplings and stewed cabbage. A favorite among tourists, Pečené vepřové koleno is a baked pork knee with horseradish and mustard, or a pork knuckle. The knees are usually very large, pay attention to the weight – sometimes there are many portions for two. In the menu of any restaurant you will also find dishes from ribs, goulash, rolls, cutlets, steaks, schnitzels, kebabs, etc.
The most interesting beef dishes are: Pivovarský guláš (brewer’s goulash) with gravy and dumplings, Biftek naložený v barevném pepři s omáčkou (biftek laid in barevny peprzi with omáčkoyu) – beefsteak on multi-colored garnish with moss sauce, Moravne sauce Moravian pot.
Fish is not the most popular product on the Czech table, however, during the fishing season in the Moravian lakes or for Christmas, many dishes are prepared from fish: Pečený kapr na česneku (capra baked for garlic) – baked carp with garlic, Pečený pstruh (baked pstrug) – baked trout, Pečený tuňák (baked tunyak) – baked tuna.
Czech desserts are very good. It is worth trying Zmrzlinový pohár s čerstvým ovocem (zmrzlinový pohár s čerstvým ovocem) – ice cream with fruits, syrups, chocolate, waffles, Horka laska (weasel slide) – “hot love”, ice cream with hot raspberry syrup, sirinki and fresh palms malinami a šlehačkou (zmrzlinova butchers with bitter raspberries, and shlehachka) – pancakes with ice cream, hot raspberry syrup and whipped cream. Not worse than Italian and Czech tiramisu – Domácí tiramisy zdobený čerstvým ovocem (Domácí tiramisu zdobený čerstvým ovocem), and Czech strudel Jablečný štrudl s vanilkovou zmrzlinou (apple strudel can compete with vanilla beetle)
Wine is a popular drink, especially from Moravia in the southeastern part of the country, where the climate is most suitable for growing vineyards. White wine is considered better because the growing conditions are more suitable for it. Try the white wines Veltlínské zelené (Green Wellliner), Muškát moravský (Moravian Muscat), Ryzlink rýnský (Rhine Riesling) or Tramín (Traminer); or red wines such as: Frankovka (Frankovka), Modrý Portugal (Blue Portugal, named after the grape variety, not the country), or Svatovavchinecké (Saint Lawrence).
Also try ice wine (ledové víno), made from the harvest after the vines have been frozen; or a straw wine (slámové víno) made by ripening grapes on straw – these wines are more expensive and are almost the same as dessert wines. Bohemian Sekt is a very popular wine among Czechs, it is sweet, effervescent, similar to Lambrusco and is drunk on holidays. Places to buy wine: a wine bar (vinárna) or a wine shop (vinotéka), which sometimes has a small bar.
For spirits, try Becherovka (Becherovka, a herbal liqueur, vaguely similar to Jagermeister, its taste is a mixture of cloves and cinnamon, improves digestion), Slivovica (Slivovice, a plum brandy, a very popular tonic), Hruškovice, a peach liqueur , not as hot as Slivovitsa). Alcoholic drinks are made from almost all fruits (plums, peaches, cherries, thorns, etc.). Unique Czech tuzemský rum (made from sugar beets, not sugar cane like Cuban rum, sold under the brand name Tuzemák. Be careful, as they all contain about 40% alcohol.
Try also Svachák, a hot wine served in pubs, outdoors during Christmas sales, Grog, hot rum and water, served with a slice of lemon, and Medovina (honey), which is usually served hot, and is especially good for keep warm in the cold winter market.
Finally, if you’re heading to Moravia, try Burchák, this drink is only sold in late summer or early autumn. It is a very young wine, usually white, cloudy, still in the fermentation stage when the wine is very sweet and easy to drink. It continues to ferment in the stomach, so the alcohol content during consumption is unknown, but usually high. Czechs say that it should be drunk only fresh and many private winemakers are passionate about it, waiting until nightfall for the moment when the wine reaches the “burch” stage. It can be bought at wine festivals across the country, sometimes at markets or wine bars.
And finally, beer. A drink without which it is difficult to imagine any meal or snack in the Czech Republic. Some go to the Czech Republic solely for the sake of beer, making up special “beer” routes for themselves, and paying little attention to Czech cuisine itself. You can read about the history of brewing in the Czech Republic, modern types of beer, snacks, beer and prices for a foamy drink in our special article “How to drink beer in the Czech Republic?”. You can also get acquainted with the breweries of the Czech capital under the heading “Beer Prague”.
Shopping in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is the center of Europe, and shopping in it promises the same variety of goods as in any other European country. In the Czech Republic, shopaholics will find not only a good assortment of goods of famous brands, pleasing with democratic prices, but also an impressive list of authentic endemic things that can be bought only here.
Shops in the Czech Republic are open, as a rule, from 9:00 to 18:00, on Saturdays – from 9:00 to 13:00. In large cities, shops can be open until 21:00. Grocery stores are open on weekdays from 6:00 to 18:00, and on Saturdays until noon. Sometimes there is a lunch break in shops, usually between 12:00 and 13:00. Large supermarkets are open daily until 22:00, and some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day.
You can read more about shopping in the Czech Republic (popular souvenirs, opening hours of shops, shopping centers, shopping in Karlovy Vary, Brno, Olomouc, Pilsen and Cesky Krumlov, tax refunds and much more) in the article “Shopping in the Czech Republic”. If your visit to the country is limited only to its capital, then you can read our special article “Shopping in Prague”.
You can buy a Vodafone SIM card (for example, in Prague, this can be done on Wenceslas Square, if you go down from the monument to St. Wenceslas – on the right side), a SIM card costs 200 CZK (already includes credit for calls). To call Russia: +7 – city code – number ;, Czech Republic code: +420. You can top up your account at the Trafika kiosks, the nearest kiosk on Wenceslas Square is in the Mustek metro.
- Taxi drivers. Negotiate the price before getting into a taxi or use trusted companies (for example, in Prague AAA taxi, Profi Taxi, City Taxi). Taxi drivers in Prague are known to take the longest route in order to make more money. The Prague municipality has introduced new rules according to which legal taxis must be yellow. Don’t want to overpay – use public transport – cheap, fast and reliable. In Prague, the metro runs until midnight, and there are also night trams that run all night, and very often go to the central tram stop Lazarská.
- Pickpockets. Keep an eye on your wallet, especially in a crowd (on sightseeing, on the subway, on trams). Be especially vigilant in the presence of large groups of people.
- Prostitution. Prostitution is not illegal in the Czech Republic, but the health risk can be very high, especially in cheap brothels on the streets. There were also cases when prostitutes gave their clients drinks with sleeping pills, and then took everything they had. Pay attention to the age of the prostitute, as it is a crime to pay for sex to a person under the age of 18.
- Drugs. Since the beginning of 2010, in the Czech Republic, you can have up to 15 grams of marijuana, up to four ecstasy pills, two grams of amphetamine, one and a half grams of heroin, one gram of cocaine. Czechs are also allowed to grow up to five hemp bushes and 40 hallucinogenic mushrooms at home. In connection with the legalization of the above drugs, an increase in the number of HIV-infected people and an increase in the flow of drug tourists are expected in the Czech Republic, and a general decrease in drug prices may lead to a cocaine boom.
- Ticks. In the Czech Republic, there are ticks that cause encephalitis and borreliosis. Ticks hide in grass and bushes, so try to walk along paths and examine your body after you walk. Encephalitis vaccination is available and recommended. A good insect repellent will do the trick too. Ticks are also sometimes found in city parks, including Prague.
Pharmacies (lékárna) are usually open from 8 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday. In large cities there are 24-hour pharmacies, you should find out the address of the closest one on the list on the window of the nearest pharmacy. One of the central 24-hour pharmacies in Prague is the one located at the corner of Belgická and Rumunská streets, where they sell both prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Medicines are dispensed from a small window regardless of the time of day – ring the bell if no one is there.
A well-established hospital in Prague is Nemocnice na Homolce, located at Roentgenova 37/2, Prague 5 (tel: 257 272 350). This clinic is adapted for foreigners. The person at the reception speaks English and can make an appointment. Most doctors speak at least some English and the service is of a high standard.