Karlstejn Castle, one of the Czech Republic’s most famous castles, was built by King Charles IV in the 1300's to guard his royal treasures. Located just half an hour away via a scenic train ride, it is the perfect easy day trip from Prague.
It sits on a peak above the Berounka River and commands striking views of the surrounding hills. The castle is reached by a winding path lined by shops, restaurants, and stands selling traditional Czech snacks, making the trip up to the castle half the fun.
Cycle to Castle Karlstejn
You can also cycle from Prague through beautiful Bohemian countryside to reach Karlstejn Castle. You will follow a route along the Berounka River, stopping in a riverside village for a pub lunch.
You will then make your way up into the forested hills above Karlstejn and descend to the medieval castle below.
Terezin Concentration Camp
Theresienstadt concentration camp is one of the many camps the Nazis created during WW2. An interesting day trip from Prague, Terezin served as a transit camp for many Czech Jews whom the Nazis later deported to other death camps, such as Auschwitz in Poland.
It is most famous for the Nazi created model “Jewish Town”, which was intended to fool the Red Cross and other observers into thinking that the Jews in Europe were being treated humanely. While the ruse worked, the reality of course was that almost all of the Jews located in Terezin were killed, either in Terezin or later in Auschwitz.
Today, you can tour the ghetto museum and barracks, where there are exhibitions of music, art works, literature, and a theater. You can also visit the historic neighbouring town of Litomerice, which was the site of an underground forced labor facility connected to Terezin.
Located one hour from Prague by train lies the ancient, medieval silver mining town of Kutna Hora. A popular day trip from Prague, this interesting town was once the second most important town in the Kingdom of Bohemia after Prague.
Its nearby silver mines made Kutna Hora rich during the Middle Ages, and its past wealth is reflected by the beautiful churches and residences built during this period. Visit the historical centre, part of the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Gothic Church of St. Barbara, the Royal Mint and the most famous “Bone Church”.
Decorated with the bones of thousands of victims of plague and war, the spooky yet fascinating Sedlec Ossuary is not to be missed.
Known for its healing waters and thermal spas, the elegant town of Karlovy Vary (or Carlsbad in English) is one of the most famous spa towns in the world. Located in Western Bohemia, Karlovy Vary is increasingly popular with day-trippers from Prague, with a one-way journey time of about 2 hours.
Follow in the footsteps of many celebrities and royalty who have been visiting this small spa town for centuries. The town stretches along a riverside promenade and its Art Nouveau style buildings are a riot of color and panache. As you stroll around this charming town, keep an open eye for one of the many hot springs located throughout the city in grand colonnades where you can sample the water for yourself.
Other sights of interest include the Baroque church of St Mary Magdalene and the hottest of all of the springs, the Vridlo, with an incredible temperature of 720 degrees celsius! You may also be interested in visiting the world famous Moser glassworks factory or taking a short funicular ride to Diana Tower, one of Karlovy Vary’s famous lookout spots.
Bohemian Switzerland National Park
Home to impressive sandstone formations, ancient forests, and mystical streams, the Bohemian Switzerland National Park is the ultimate fairy-tale landscape. Ideal for those interested in hiking, rock climbing and photography, Bohemian Switzerland (also known as Czech Switzerland) is an easy guided day-trip from Prague.
Take a steady uphill hike to the park’s most famous sight, Pravcicka Brana, Europe’s largest sandstone rock arch. From here you can enjoy spectacular viewpoints and admire the fascinating sandstone formations. Then descend into the enchanted Gorges of Kamenice and explore the narrow passages by boat. You may also wish to cross over the border into Germany, where “Bohemian Switzerland” becomes “Saxon Switzerland”. There you can visit the famous mountain “Bastei Bridge”.
Discover one of the Czech Republic’s most impressive parks with a short half-day guided trip to Pruhonice Park. As one of the largest European landscaped parks, this UNESCO World Heritage listed park lies only 8 miles from the historical centre of Prague and is easily reached by metro and bus.
On this easy half day hike, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the grounds, taking time to enjoy the natural beauty and the fairytale like atmosphere. Totalling an area over 250 hectares, there is plenty for you to explore, including picturesque lakes, forests, formal gardens, and a varied botanical collection of exotic plants and trees.
You may also wish to visit the Neo-Renaissance chateau located within the grounds of Pruhonice Park. While its interior is not open for tours, the exterior of the chateau is very beautiful and a breathtaking view of the park can be enjoyed from its elegant terrace.
The Czech Republic is home to hundreds of castles, but of all of the castles close to Prague, Krivoklat Castle is one of the lesser visited. Located 20 miles west of Prague, the dramatic castle of Krivoklat rises above a forested stream valley.
Once the seat of Bohemian Kings and the protector of the crown jewels, you will tour the courtyards, towers, and hallways which were once home to knights, princesses, and other nobility.
Take a hike to Krivoklat
If you are in the mood for something a little more adventurous, you can also take a pleasant day hike to Krivoklat Castle. Take a train ride through the Czech countryside along a scenic river. After touring the castle, take off on foot for a hike through the ancient forest, which was once the King’s private game reserve.
The Konopiště chateau is the spectacular estate of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Habsburg throne whose assassination in 1914 led to the outbreak of World War I. Situated on a hill overlooking a lake and surrounded by gardens, parkland, and forest, even the setting of Konopiště is fantastic.
When you add in the fairy tale romanticism of the architecture, the sumptuous decorations of the interiors, and the impressive collections of art, hunting trophies, and medieval armor and weaponry, a trip to Konopiště is memorable to say the very least.