| 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
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
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
(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.