The 10 Best Day Trips From Prague

The fairytale town of Český Krumlov is especially picturesque in the winter
The fairytale town of Český Krumlov is especially picturesque in the winter | © Natalia Deriabina / iStock
Diana Bocco

As a historic city with breathtaking scenery, modern art and culinary experiences, Prague has many things to offer its visitors. But a day out of the city can broaden your perspective of the country and add unexpected experiences to your travels in the Czech Republic.

One of Europe’s most charming cities, Prague draws millions of visitors from home and abroad every year. Spectacular views of the city, centuries of art and architecture and the extraordinary atmosphere of a central European city – one that has endured turbulent times that have shaped its character and that of its inhabitants – Prague is a true gem to explore. Whenever you feel you have seen what the Czech capital has to offer, there are other sights, not far from the city, that provide invaluable insights for the context of your central European experience.

1. Kutná Hora

Church, Market

Bones and skulls on wall, Kutna Hora, Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic
© Francis Palma / Getty Images
Located about two hours by train from Prague, Kutná Hora is a small town best known for being home to the Sedlec Ossuary, aka the ‘bones chapel’. The inside of the small church has been decorated using the bones of over 40,000 people, most of whom 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 views over the city.

2. Karlštejn

Building

Aerial view of Medieval castle Karlstejn in Czech republic, Drone view
© Tatiana Dyuvbanova / Getty Images
A comfortable 40-minute train ride gets you to Karlštejn, a 14th-century Gothic castle in remarkable condition. Climb the hill, passing by souvenir stands, cafés 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.

3. Dresden, Germany

Architectural Landmark

Dresden, Germany
© Nikada / Getty Images

The German city on the Elbe River, some two hours away by train from Prague, is famous for its magnificent Baroque architecture. Explore Zwinger Palace and the Frauenkirche church, rebuilt after being completely destroyed during WWII, with the ruins of the original building accessible in the basement. Take a stroll through the Dresden Baroque Quarter and the Dresden Neustadt neighbourhood for some unique art and architecture and a quaint bohemian feel.

4. Pilsner Urquell Brewery

Brewery

Copper brewing tank in old brewhouse in Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Pilsen city, Czech Republic
© Kpzfoto / Alamy

The city of Plzeň – or Pilsen in German – gave its name to a popular type of lager, the pilsener, that was first produced in the Pilsner Urquell brewery nearly two centuries ago. Discover its secrets 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.

5. Karlovy Vary

Market, Park

Panorama of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
© Pavel Demin / Getty Images
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 stroll along the canal that cuts through the city. There are many outdoor festivals in summer, including the annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

6. Terezín Concentration Camp

Historical Landmark

DFB Delegation Visits Terezin Concentration Camp Memorial
© Markus Gilliar / Getty Images

Built in the 18th century as a fortified garrison town, the Nazis turned Terezín, an hour from Prague by bus, into a concentration camp. It held the Jewish population of Czechoslovakia and several other countries during WWII before they were sent to Nazi death camps. Although a sombre 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.

7. Český Krumlov

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
© Алексей Облов / iStock

Some three hours by bus or train from Prague, the fairytale-like town of Český Krumlov lies on the meandering River Vltava. Dominated by the historic century castle overlooking the town, Český Krumlov is a maze of winding little streets that are fun to explore. The castle, built in the 13th century and later updated in Renaissance and Baroque styles, is one of the Czech Republic’s most visited sights. The town also features the Egon Schiele Art Centrum, dedicated to the Modernist Austrian artist, one of Český Krumlov’s most famous residents.

8. Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Park

Park, Natural Feature

Landscape in the National Park Sächsische Schweiz with rock
© Frank Bienewald / Getty Images

On the border between the Czech Republic and Germany, around a three-hour bus trip from Prague, lies the Bohemian Switzerland and Saxony National Park, where the stunning landscape resembles an Alpine retreat. Mostly known for its sand rock formations, the most famous, the Pravčice Gate, draws scores of visitors each year. The area is ideal for hiking and biking, as well as for boat rides among the rocks on the Kamenice River.

9. Mělník

Historical Landmark

Panorama or skyline or cityscape of historical city Melnik with historical castle and river Vltava and famous vineyards. Melnik is 30 km north of Prag
© Jan Fidler / Alamy

The historic town of Mělník overlooks the confluence of the Vltava and Elbe Rivers and lies in the heart of the Bohemian wine-making region. The town, located less than an hour to the west of Prague, offers many opportunities to taste local red wines. Visit the local castle, the residence of the princely Lobkowicz family, and take a stroll along the river and through the streets in the historic town centre.

10. Brdy

Park

Restored chateau in Dobris
© Radomir Rezny / Alamy

A beautiful hill range an hour to the southwest of Prague, most of the Brdy Hills long served as a military training area closed to the public. After the army left, the hills became a popular hiking area due to its preserved natural beauty, several castle ruins and nearby towns, such as Dobříš with a beautiful chateau.

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