Located about two hours by train from Prague, Kutna Hora is a small town best known for being home to the Sedlec Ossuary, the “bones chapel.” The inside of the small church is decorated using the bones of over 40,000 people, most of which died during the Black Plague that swept across Europe in the 1400s. Visitors can also stop by the Gothic St. Barbara’s Church, an UNESCO world heritage site and take a stroll along St. Barbara street, which offers amazing open views over the city.
A comfortable 40 minute train ride gets you to Karlstejn, a 14th century Gothic castle in remarkable condition. Climb the hill, passing by souvenir stands, cafes and restaurants and the occasional antique shop before entering the castle walls. Paid tours are the only way to access the rooms of the castle but in summer or autumn, bring comfortable shoes to explore the many hiking trails around the castle.
This German city, famous for outlet shops and great Christmas markets, is less than two hours away (on very comfortable buses with WiFi) from Prague. Head over for some cheap shopping, but don’t forget to check out Zwinger Palace and the Frauenkirche church, which was rebuilt after being completely destroyed during WWII. Check out the ruins of the original building in the basement while you’re there.
If you have time and the weather cooperates, take a stroll through Dresden Baroque Quarter and the Dresden Neustadt neighborhood for some unique art and architecture and a quaint bohemian feel.
Pilsner Urquell Brewery
Pilsner Urquell is Prague’s most popular beer and there’s a reason for it. Discover the secrets of Pilsner with a guided tour that takes you through the brewery museum, the brewing plant and the cellars. Tours always end with a couple of free beers. Before you take the one hour ride back, stock up on products and souvenirs at the factory shop or take a tour of the historic underground tunnel network that runs under the city.
Karlovy Vary is only two hours away from Prague, so it can easily be done as a day trip. However, consider staying overnight to truly discover everything the town has to offer. Karlovy Vary is best known for its 12 natural hot springs, which are said to offer lots of health benefits. Fill your own thermos for free at one of the many spring fountains or visit one of the many medical spas for treatment. On a clear day, take the funicular railway to the lookout tower or a stroll along the canal that cuts through the city. There are many outdoor festivals in summer, including the annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Terezin Concentration Camp
Part ghetto and part concentration camp, Terezin was often used to hold prisoners temporarily before they were shipped to Auschwitz. Although a somber trip, this is an important historical sight where you can see the original accommodation quarters, the barracks’ chapel, a cemetery, and an educational museum chronicling the history of the camp. Terezin is less than an hour away from Prague.