Beauty of the Czech Republic – castles, culture, countryside & Bohemian Switzerland NP
Stunning nature views, rugged countryside, impressive table mountains, sandstone formations, quaint towns, good food, beers and a lot of castles, that is the Czech Republic! Not exactly the first images that came to mind when I used to think of this country. Most people mainly think of Prague, and to camping enthusiasts it's also popular because of the affordable camp sites. But trust me when I say; the Czech republic has so much more to offer!
I found out last month during my 4 day road trip with Visit Czech Republic and a one day trip from Prague to Bohemian Switzerland with Northern Hikes, and was truly amazed by its stunning beauty, National Parks, unique towns and abundance of castles! In just 5 days I visited 6 castles and several hotspots throughout the country.
The perfect trip for nature lovers, photography enthusiasts and people that enjoy culture, authentic towns and villages like I do.
Let me show you the beauty of the Czech Republic through my eyes with a lot of my own pictures of some of my favourite spots and sights, to convince you of the fact that the Czech Republic is definitely worth a visit, and so much more than just Prague:
(Remember to click on the smaller pics and galleries to see the full version and description)
Even though I love castles and culture, I am a true nature lover at heart, and think that’s one of the reasons why my absolute favourite during this trip was our visit to Bohemian Switzerland NP with Northern Hikes.
Have you ever heard of such a land? Until a few weeks ago I hadn’t, but I'm happy I got to know it! It sounds like a place out of a fairy tale, and easily could have been, although it’s just a 2 hours’ drive from Prague to the north of the Czech Republic.
After a relaxing drive in the airconditioned van with WIFI of Northern Hikes, we were surrounded by mountains, scenic views and fairy tale forests. The perfect setting for avid photographers and Instagram-enthusiasts like me!
During this day trip with our guides Vojta and Tomas we visited several sites throughout this National Park around the Elbe river, and each of them had scenic viewpoints, beautiful natural surroundings and impressive rocky formations, which made the most amazing Instagrammable spots.
From the boat ride through the Kamenice river gorges, the deepest sandstone canyon of Europe, the Medieval Bastei bridge, to a spectacular sunset ending at the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ film location: the Tisá labyrinth, everything was so stunning and photogenic. See for yourself through this picture gallery:
Read more about my experience and see all of my favourite photo spots in Bohemian Switzerland in my guest blog on the Northern Hikes website.
And make sure to contact them for your own daytrip from Prague, as they are the best local guides for a visit to the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, which can not be missed during your visit to the Czech Republic or city trip to Prague.
But what also surprised me and what I liked a lot, was the fact that there are so many castles in the Czech Republic, and I was amazed to read that this country houses more than 1,000 castles, which makes it one of the countries in Europe with the most registered castles!
To keep it short and sweet I will show you 4 of the castles we visited during this trip in central and south Bohemia with the names, so you can Google them yourself and put them on your wish list:
A more quiet and rugged 13th century castle looking out over a big lake with an extensive park around it.
My favourite castle because of its impressive façade and stunning gardens.
This castle was rebuilt in 1840 in Neogothic style to resemble the iconic Windsor Castle. The landscaped English gardens surrounding it are gorgeous, as well as the inside with its unique décor and intricate architectural details:
(Click on the smaller pics to see the full version and description)
In this pink Renaissance styled chateau we even stayed overnight, as it also functions as a hotel with just 6 rooms.
But merely a tour through this aristocratic mansion is also worth it to admire the mix of Renaissance and Baroque elements, including the Saint Anna Chapel with stunning fresco’s, listed as a National Heritage Site.
A unique Medieval stronghold from 1569 surrounded by moats and a beautiful estate with fruit- and vegetable gardens.
Although we visited several quaint towns and villages during our road trip, this town certainly was one of my favourites:
A rafting trip down the river here is highly recommended and the views over the town from the castle are wonderful, despite the rain during our visit.
And even though it is declared a Unesco World Heritage Site and can therefore become a bit overrun by tourists, the quaint cobble stone streets with colorful buildings and lovely shops and restaurants around the Vltava river can not be missed, as you can see here:
But also Prague was stunning and I can certainly understand why it’s so popular, as it truly is worth a visit. With its historic castle, beautiful viewpoints, many bridges and unique and classic architecture all around the river, this city should be visited at least once in your life.
While there make sure to meet up with a local, like I did with my friend Samantha, or book a local guide to discover some of the less touristy spots. Like the delicious restaurant of Villa Richter, by the vineyard below the castle, where we had lunch in this classy setting with stunning views over the city:
But also the views from the bridge bell towers upon the iconic Charles Bridge are worth it for shots like this:
For the perfect trip to the Czech Republic my advice would be; visit Prague for a maximum of 2 days, book a daytrip to Bohemian Switzerland for a relaxing hike into fairy tale forests, a boat trip down the Kamenice river and experience all those spectacular viewpoints. After that rent a car for a few days to explore more of central and south Bohemia to visit those stunning castles, and drive through the scenic countryside. And make sure to visit the smaller villages as well, to experience true Czech culture and feast on local bears and typical Czech dishes like Svicková!
Get an impression of this 1 week trip through my picture gallery and let me know what you think:
I hope I was able to convince you that the Czech Republic is one of the most beautiful countries of Eastern Europe, and a definite must visit! What do you think or have you been there already?
Always happy to hear from you in the comments below or find me on social media, where I post daily pics, via the icons at the bottom of this page.