Czechia is famous for its super cute little towns and geographical location of Prague, enables visitors to see some of the most iconic cities of Czechia within a day. Getting to those places is not a problem as there are daily buses and trains running from Prague’s main train and bus stations. So, without further ado, here are the top seven day trips from Prague recommended by fellow travel bloggers.
Read: my detailed post on where to stay in Prague – best neighborhoods and accommodation
Karlovy Vary, or Carlsbad, is probably the most famous town in Czechia when it comes to taking day trips from Prague. This one of the most beautiful places in Czechia is a popular spa town: its mineral waters have a healing effect. Naturally, the main visitors to Karlovy Vary are patients who go there for treatment.
The city is full of hotels offering different massages and medical services, so, frankly, there are not many tourist attractions. You may ask then why you should go there, and I would tell you that there is a very good reason.
The architecture of the city is amazing! I have never seen so many beautiful and colorful buildings in one place: the entire city looks like it has appeared right from a fairytale. Buy yourself a funny cup, fill it with the mineral water (for free ?) and admire the Park, Mill and Market Colonnades and green areas of Karlovy Vary. Climb up the hills surrounding the city to see it from above and have a nice meal in the restaurant overlooking the city. There are enough things to do to keep you busy the entire day. And the best thing: you can enjoy all the views for free!
In case you go there in summer, try not to miss the film festival that takes place in Karlovy Vary every July. Even if you are not that interested in the industry, it is a perfect opportunity to see (maybe ?) famous actors. Ben Kingsley, Sharon Stone, Willem Defoe, Uma Thurman, Jean Reno, Mel Gibson are just some of them who attended the festival.
And there is one place you should not miss: the Imperial Baths. It is the only place I paid to enter, but it was worth every penny. During the film festival, its magnificent hall serves as the venue, with its imposing marble staircase and huge paintings. For 50 Czech Crowns, it is a good deal.
Getting to Karlovy Vary: Regiojet buses run there and back more than 15 times a day. The price is affordable: it may be less than 15 EUR for both ways. I prefer this company as their buses are super comfortable, have free Wi-Fi and tea/coffee on offer.
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The Sedlec Ossuary nearby Kutna Hora is one of the strangest locations I’ve ever visited. It is definitely a must-see location to add to your day trips from Prague itinerary. Kutna Hora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Apart from the Ossuary, you should also spend some time in the historical center and the late gothic Cathedral of Saint Barbara, dating from 1388.
The Sedlec Ossuary is built on the place of a former monastery. Back in the 13th century, earth from the Holy Land was sprinkled around the courtyard, which turned it into a very popular cemetery. Around 40,000 remains were exhumed here, organized in various designs and sculptures at the end of the 19th century. Even the chandelier and the coat of arms are built from skulls and bones! Quite macabre and bizarre, but unique and worth seeing.
Getting to Kutna Hora: You can easily reach Kutna Hora from Prague by bus or train; there are plenty of options and the journey takes 60-90 minutes. The Ossuary is just about 2.5 km from the city center. There is a regular bus to the chapel or take 30 minutes walk.
The Budweiser Budvar Brewery tour at České Budějovice is another great option to add to your list of day trips from Prague. Budweiser Budvar brews a beer that is similar in name (although not taste) to that popular American beer. In fact, the two companies have been fighting over the Budweiser trademark for years. Any beer coming from České Budějovice is a Budweiser as the German name of the town is Budweis.
Bus full of tourists come from Prague for the brewery tour but sadly too many of them don’t take any time to explore the beautiful old town of České Budějovice. České Budějovice is the capital of the South Bohemian Region and the largest city in the region.
It has a picturesque central square that is not crowded like that of Prague. It is particularly lovely at night when the central fountain, the foundation of Sampson, and the town hall are illuminated. Numerous inexpensive restaurants can be found in the old town which serves traditional Czech cuisine such as svíčková which is a dish with meat and dumplings. I recommend Klika Kitchen & Coffee, Masné krámy, or Modré Dveře.
The old town still has the round shape of its medieval walls. It sits in a bend on the Vltava river surrounded by lovely parks and bike paths. For a relaxing day, you can rent a paddleboat along the river or just sit in one of its parks and drink a cold beer, which in this city, is easy to come by.
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Pilsen, the small industrial town 93 kilometers west of Prague, is best known for beer. So much so that there is a style of beer named after it – Pilsner. It is home to a beer museum and the iconic Pilsner Urquell brewery, both of which are great to tour, beer lover or not. That said, there is much to see and do in Pilsen beyond drinking. Those that make the short 1.5-hour train ride to Pilsen are rewarded with a beautiful old town square, museums, and the tallest church tower in the Czech Republic. Don’t just take my word for it. Pilsen was recognized as the Capital of Culture in 2015.
Possibly the best part of a day trip to Pilsen is the fact that you can escape the crowds of Prague and enjoy all of the above unobstructed and at a relaxed pace.
Pilsen is a very budget-friendly city, especially in comparison to the now tourist dominated Prague. An open-ended train ticket to Pilsen will cost you just 300 CZK. A meal for 2 will run you 115 CZK. Cheapest of all (and not surprisingly), a pint of beer will cost you just 27.50 CZK or about $1.20 USD. We can all certainly drink to that!
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Anyone who grew up in Prague will tell you that Cesky Krumlov has been a local attraction for decades. For residents of Prague, it is a fabulous weekend getaway. It’s such a pretty little town that now it attracts visitors from around the world.
Cesky Krumlov is the picture-perfect European town with quaint red-rooftop houses. The town is set in the bend of a meandering river, almost entirely surrounded by the river. The town has very few full-time residents now. But Cesky Krumlov has everything a visitor would need – hotels, restaurants, music, street food, souvenir shops, and photo spots.
Main attractions are:
- Water activities like river rafting, boating, swimming have been popular forever. The elevation change and the dam made of a little bit of fun and safe thrill ride.
- The castle overlooking Cesky Krumlov for stunning aerial views. The castle is across the river, so it’s perfectly positioned to admire the entire town from up above.
- Museum in the castle. During our visit, there was a traveling museum of cast iron statues with thought-provoking questions of the Nazi times.
- Street music, dancing, and food give a fun vacation vibe to the town. Some young groups were visiting Cesky Krumlov during our trip. They made the town come alive.
- Photography opportunities are everywhere, in the narrow streets, little bridges, the town square, clock tower. Everywhere you look is drop-dead gorgeous.
Today Cesky Krumlov has graduated from a little local destination to popular international destination.
Who knew that less than 2 hours from Prague you could do things like see endangered white rhinos on safari or roam colorful European streets all to yourself? Hradec Kralove is another great option if you are looking for day trips from Prague. Buses run between the cities, taking approximately an hour and a half. You could also rent a car, a more convenient option if you want to visit some of the surrounding nature.
Once there, feed your adventurous side by going wakeboarding or mountain biking. A visit to the Dvur Kralove Zoo is a must; it’s the only place where white rhinos have ever been bred. You can go on an off-road safari, spotting not only the rhinos but other “Big 5 animals” like lions and elephants.
Other unique outdoor activities you should try include walking in Adrspach-Teplice Rock Town and climbing the Krkonoše Tree Top Trail. The Rock Town was one of the places featured in the filming of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and includes massive sandstone rock formations. The treetop trail is a manmade, spiraling wooden trail that takes you up 45 meters into the canopies of the trees around you and sends you back down on a tobogán if you chose.
Don’t forget to explore Hradec Kralove’s city center. The buildings are vibrant, colorful and comparable to Europe’s most scenic neighborhoods without the excessive crowds.
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If you are looking for easy day trips from Prague, Pardubice is about the easiest being only an hour by train east. You can purchase train tickets (Regiojet, Leo Express, or Czech Railways) online (ranging from 2.80-10.70€) or at the Prague Central train station. Once you arrive, it is only a short 20-minute walk to the town square or if you prefer there are buses, taxis, or bikes you can rent. There are numerous sights to see and experience in Pardubice.
Pardubice is famous for its gingerbread, steeplechase horse racing, and most of all its magnificent buildings and structures around the city center. Especially the buildings with the Niches set in them with exquisite Fresco paintings. It also has breweries that you can tour, the National Stud Farm at Kladruby and Labem (home of the oldest original Czech breed of Starokladrubský horses), and a couple of castles (Pardubice Chateau and Hrad Kunětická hora).
There is even a Gingerbread Cottage below Kunětická hora. Some great restaurants for you to try are the Hotel 100/ Ristorante da Pepa (makes incredible Italian meals) and Na Staré Rybárně (grill/restaurant with a view). Prices here are very inexpensive compared to the western world so, your USD or Euro will go very far in Pardubice.
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Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Czechia travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
– Book affordable flights on Kiwi.com, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
– Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Czechia, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
– Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda, or find a cool apartment on Airbnb and get $34 off on your first stay (my invite expires in 30 days after you sign up!
– Pre-book a private transfer from Prague Airport to your hotel
– Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road
– Book in advance some of the best city walks, cultural experiences, and day tours to maximize your stay and experience here
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