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Last updated : Nov 2009
Bohemia - TravelPuppy.com
The north is a popular destination with Czech and German tourists. Much of the region's interest lies in the sandstone ‘rock-cities’ (spectacular mini-canyons and steep bluffs of volcanic rocks in a forested area) of the Cesky Svycarsko (Bohemian Switzerland) around Tisa, the Cesky raj (Bohemian paradise) between Turnov and Jicin and the area around Broumov.

The Krkonoše (Giant) Mountains National Park in northeast Bohemia offers beautiful scenery, excellent hiking, many downhill and cross-country ski and snowboarding facilities; Spindleruv Mlyn, on the banks of River Labe, is the most visited town in the park.

Southwest of Prague is Plzen, the second largest city in Bohemia, boasting eclectic architecture from the Gothic to Art Nouveau, museums and galleries like the Brewery Museum and the Západoceské Galérie (said to be one of the best art galleries outside Prague).

The world famous Pilsner beer which the town has given its name has been brewed since the town’s foundation in 1295 but it was only in 1842 that the Pilsner style was established. Guided tours of the Plzensky Prazdroj brewery are available.

The Trebonsko area in southern Bohemia is made up of peat bogs and marshes, with fish-farming ponds dating from the 15th century; carp is the traditional Christmas Day dish in the Czech lands and fish farming still dominates this region. Trebon is a perfect medieval spa town surrounded by fish ponds.

The enormous Zamek (Castle) was built by Peter Vok. He was the last Rozmberk heir and was fond of alchemy, sex and drugs.Its large ‘English park’ is a walking area for the spa patients.

Southern Bohemia, with its woods and lakes, has for a long time been a favourite holiday place for families, since it has many recreation facilities and historic points of interest. The country is also famous for its caves: the rock formation of the mountain ranges form underground rivers and chambers lined above and below with stalactites and stalagmites.

Ceske Budejovice (Budweis) whose wealth was made on silver mines and the salt route from Linz to Prague is home to one of Europe’s largest town squares. However, it is the famous local beer, Budvar (Budweiser) which is the town’s main claim to fame.

The medieval town of Cesky Krumlov (a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site) has its huge castle perched on a ridge above the River Vltava, and the region to the border is lined with castles, monasteries and churches.

The Sumava/Bohemian Forest towards the German border region is the country’s largest National Park, and with the Bavarian Forest across the border forms the biggest forest complex in Europe. The park includes glacial lakes, virgin forest and important historic monuments. Good winter sports centres include Zelezna Ruda, Zadov, Spicak, Churanov and Kramolin. The northern shore of Lake Lipno has many small summer resorts and is a good location for exploring the Sumava.

In western Bohemia, the health and spa resorts remain one of the country’s primary attractions, with their springs, graceful colonnades and parks, spectacular houses and hotels. By the 19th century, the combination of their cures made them the focal point of central Europe. Beethoven, Edward VII, Wagner and Goethe all admired the resort of Marianske Lazne (Marienbad), whilst the town of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), the king of the spas, has brought the crowned heads of Europe to bathe in its sulphurous waters. Frantiskovy Lazne is the most typical spa town, laid out in perfect symmetry with parks and 24 springs used to cure heart disease and infertility. There is also a nature reserve nearby.