Discover the Czech Republic this Winter
For too many visitors, the Czech Republic means Prague and nothing more, but this small country has a wealth of extraordinary locations for the curious traveller to discover. Winter may be a little too nippy to enjoy the fantastic caves and rock formations of Eastern Bohemia but there’s plenty of indoor enjoyment to be had just a short hop from Prague and the Czech public transport system makes even winter time travel surprisingly easy.
This is almost certainly going to be your point of arrival and although it makes a great jumping off point for visiting other parts of the country, you’re going to want to spend some time exploring this wonderful city first. Prague is a compact city and a great way to keep the cold at bay is a brisk walk around the Old Town where you’ll find something of interest around every corner, including the famous Old Town Christmas market. If your interests lie in art and architecture then you’ll be spoilt for choice, for Prague is a veritable treasure chest of art history, however if you just fancy a bit of shopping Prague has a delightful range of small shops selling local arts and crafts and when you need refreshment there’s no shortage of atmospheric bars and cafes. When night falls and the temperature really drops then you’ll probably want to take advantage of Prague’s famous nightlife. The One Club (www.oneclubprague.cz) is the most famous nightclub in the Czech Republic and amongst the most famous in Europe. You can party the night away to its state of the art sound and light shows or if you crave a different kind of excitement head over to the Grandior Hotel (www.hotel-grandior.cz) which is hosting the partypoker World Poker Tournament (partypoker.com) between the 3rd and the 6th of December.
When you’ve exhausted yourself with the pleasures of Prague, enjoy a change of pace and relax at this stunning spa resort (www.karlovy-vary.cz). Popular since the fourteenth century and visited by the likes of Beethoven, Chopin and Goethe, this picturesque town, with its ornate colonnades and brightly coloured, highly decorated houses, is a delight to the eye. You can soak in one of its thirteen springs or enjoy its art galleries and museums.
Just eighty kilometres from Prague is this Unesco World Heritage site, surely one of the Czech Republic’s best kept secrets. It’s a town of spectacular architecture and is unspoilt by droves of tourists. Visit the baroque St Barbara’s Cathedral with its immense mural ‘The Vision of St Ignatius’.
Fifty kilometres south east of Prague, so you could do this as a day trip from the city, is the final home of the ill-fated Archduke Ferdinand. You can see the bullet that killed him and effectively started the First World War. You can also view his 300,00 animal trophies. He certainly was an enthusiastic hunter. zamek-konopiste.cz
All Saints Chapel, or the ‘Bone Church’ as it’s better known, houses the remains of 70, 000 people who died between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. Their remains have been arranged into coats of arms, chandeliers, chalices and bells. Macabre but strangely fascinating. sedlecossuary.com
For more information on the Czec Republic, visit www.czechtourism.com