Discover the 15 must-see monuments and sites that you can’t miss in the Czech Republic.
From castles to natural monuments and ossuaries, the Czech Republic has a lot to offer! Take a look at 15 places that are well worth a visit.
The largest castle in the world is actually a group of palaces and buildings connected to each other through small streets. The heart of the architectural complex is the St. Vitus Cathedral, an impressive Gothic temple where the remains of several Czech saints and rulers were laid to rest. Some more highlights are; the picturesque colorful houses of Golden Lane, including the former home of Franz Kafka, along with the Convent of St. George and the former Royal Palace.
2. Charles Bridge
This bridge, nearly 1,700 feet (500 m) long, connects the Old City with Malá Strana. Since its construction in 1357, it has inspired poets, writers and painters. In addition to offering incredible views of the city of Prague, it is a real art gallery, as it has 30 statues aligned on both sides.
Travelers who come to this emblematic square in Prague will be able to see some of the most iconic buildings and monuments of the city up close: Týn Church, St. Nicholas Church and the astronomical clock, located in the tower of the Old Town Hall.
4. Dancing House
The famous Dancing House is not only one of the most Instagrammable places in Prague, but in all of the Czech Republic. The now famous deconstructivist building, designed by Frank Gehry and Vlado Miluni, contrasts with the more traditional architecture of the nearby area, which caused some disapproval when the building was first constructed.
5. Strahov Monastery
This monastery of the Order of the Premonstratensians, located in Prague, houses a fantastic library composed of two rooms: the Theological Hall and the Philosophical Hall. The latter was visited by Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife. The art gallery of the monastery has a collection with over 1,500 works of various artistic movements, from Gothic to Romanticism.
The castle, located 18 miles (30 km) from Prague, started being built in 1384 by the order of Charles IV. Its current neo-Gothic style is the result of reconstruction work carried out in the nineteenth century by the architect Josef Mocker. The interior houses an extensive gallery with portraits of the kings and a copy of the royal crown of Bohemia. In addition, there are 129 Gothic drawings by the master Theodoric in the Chapel of Santa Cruz.
The eerie decorations of this ossuary in the Cemetery Church of All Saints, located in the cemetery of Sedlec, attracts thousands of tourists and onlookers every year. Frantisek Rint, a carver, used bones to create the many decorative elements that make this place unique. His “works” include a huge chandelier and the Schwarzenberg coat of arms.
Both the Český Krumlov castle and the historical center were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1922. The 40 buildings and lavish homes that make up the complex are a true journey through the history of architecture, beginning from the fourteenth century and ending in the nineteenth century. Visitors can go from a Renaissance room to a Baroque apartment in the blink of an eye.
9. Hluboká nad Vltavou Chateau
Originally a royal castle, it was passed into the hands of the Schwarzenberg family in 1661, who reconstructed it to its current appearance, inspired by the Windsor Castle. Visitors who come to the palace can tour some of the 140 rooms and its 11 towers. Its luxurious rooms fully display its coffered ceilings, antique furniture and enormous chandeliers. Art lovers will also be able to enjoy various exhibitions of Gothic art and the works of the great Dutch masters. Without a doubt, an essential stop in South Bohemia.
10. Lednice Castle and Valtice Palace
In 1996, the cultural landscape of Lednice-Valtice was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an area of around 77 sq. miles (200 km2) that was modeled by the noble family of Liechtenstein between the 17th and 20th centuries. The Lednice Castle, one of the most beautiful Gothic-English complexes in Europe, features a lush French garden with a palm greenhouse. The Valtice Palace, a true jewel of the Baroque, houses the Wine Hall of the Czech Republic, where it is possible to taste and learn about the best wines of Moravia.
11. Brno Cathedral
Its two Romanesque-Gothic style towers, more than 260 feet (80 m) tall, dominate the Brno skyline. The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, one of the most important monuments in South Moravia, is probably the only one in the world where the bells ring at 11:00 instead of 12:00. Legend has it that during the siege of Brno in the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish troops had promised to abandon the battle if they had not conquered the city by noon on August 15, so some inhabitants of Brno cleverly decided to bring forward the ringing of the bells by one hour.
12. Mill Colonnade
Karlovy Vary is a picturesque spa town about two hours from Prague. Here is where you can find the Mill Colonnade, which was designed by Josef Zítek between 1871 and 1881. It is a huge structure, over 433 feet (132 m) long, with 124 Corinthian columns of neo-Renaissance style and six springs of healing waters – a real experience for the body and mind!
This park, which is part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, is one of the most exuberant places in the country, where pine forests alternate with valleys, rock formations, ravines, and labyrinths. One of the most photographed places in the park is the Pravčice Gate, the largest monumental rock arch in Europe.
14. Šumava National Park
Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Šumava National Park is the largest forest in Central Europe. Prehistoric forests alpine rivers and glacial lakes await you in this natural paradise located next to the German border.
15. Krkonoše National Park
Krkonoše was also declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site. This park has the highest mountain range in the country and its great variety of ecosystems attracts travelers from all over the world. Mountaineering enthusiasts can walk to the highest peak (Sněžka) by climbing the Obří důl valley, a route extremely difficult, but with incredible views. Another popular route is the one that leads to the source of the Elbe River, with a stop at the Pančava waterfall, the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic.