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Many travelers think the Czech Republic ends at the outskirts of Prague. But while the capital is truly magnificent, with its gigantic castle, Art Nouveau trimmings and exuberant hospodas (beer halls), there's much more to see in the countryside of Moravia and the aptly named Bohemia. Moravia contains the uncrowded city of Olomouc — a vivacious university town wrapped around a stunning old town square — and a compact stretch of wine country speckled with pretty chateaus. Bohemia has the spectacular sandstone labyrinth of the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks and the hiking wonderland of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park. By contrast, ...

Many travelers think the Czech Republic ends at the outskirts of Prague. But while the capital is truly magnificent, with its gigantic castle, Art Nouveau trimmings and exuberant hospodas (beer halls), there's much more to see in the countryside of Moravia and the aptly named Bohemia. Moravia contains the uncrowded city of Olomouc — a vivacious university town wrapped around a stunning old town square — and a compact stretch of wine country speckled with pretty chateaus. Bohemia has the spectacular sandstone labyrinth of the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks and the hiking wonderland of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park. By contrast, the notorious WWII prison of Terezín is the gloomiest of sights. Czechs can seem stubbornly mild-mannered at times, but certainly not where a few glasses of the country's world-famous pivo (beer) are involved. Such occasions reveal an inner excitability that helps explain how Czechs created some of the world's best literature (Kafka), music (Dvořák) and design (Mucha).

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe and is bordered by Poland to the north, Germany to the west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east.
  • Language: Czech
  • Currency: Czech koruna
  • Research: Czech Republic | Wikitravel