The Czech Republic has made great progress economically and otherwise since its emergence from behind the Iron Curtain. And tourism in this country has really blossomed. The Czechs have certainly had a rough century. Originally a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the country merged with the Slovaks to form Czechoslovakia after WWI, only to see itself fall under Soviet control after WWII. At various times, Czechoslovakia attempted to wrest away from the hands of the Eastern Bloc, only to face immediate suppression by Warsaw Pact troops. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 allowed Czechoslovakia to regain its freedom through a peaceful “Velvet Revolution”. And after a divorce with the Slovaks in 1993 and its recent entrance into the European Union, the Czech Republic is finally back into thoughts and minds of travelers abroad. Today, visiting this country, you’ll get to see some great museums, medieval and renaissance architecture, Bohemian landscapes and scenery, and some world-renowned spas.
The Czech Republic is perhaps most known for being at the heart of Bohemia. This region is marked by the mountain ranges of the Ore Mountains, the Šumava, and the Giant Mountains within the Sudeten mountains. It is also coated by the river valleys of the Moldau, Elbe, and Danube. Not surprisingly, Bohemia is a popular destination for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts. It is equally appealing in the summer for those who are into hiking and climb. Hiking is especially appealing – there are actually more than 48,000 kilometers of color-coded trails and paths that crisscross through the countryside.
The Czech Republic is also home to several heritage sites including the Litomyšl Castle, the Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk, and the Český Krumlov. There are also a number of Gothic and Baroque castles that have been well preserved, and the medieval quarters of most of the towns in Bohemia and Moravia are intact. Historic architecture can be appreciated especially in historic towns like Kromeríz, Telc, and Olomouc.
The Czechs are also well-known for their health resorts and spas. Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad is a famous spa town with more than 300 hot springs that draw from the Teplá River. It is a popular destination not only for tourists but for famous international celebrities as well, and is the site of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Other popular destinations in the Czech Republic include the capital, Prague, and other cities like Ostrava, Bojkovice, Brno, České Budějovice, Litomerice, Pardubice, Nachod, Srbsko and Plzen. Both České Budějovice and Plzen are famous for their beers – Budweiser (or Budvar) and Pilsener respectively. And Srbsko is a great place to do some rock-climbing.