Czech Republic- Sarah
There is so much more to the Czech Republic than what is normally discussed. Yes, the beer here is exceptional. However, there are tons of hidden gems that I discovered during my time living there that should have more of a spotlight. From spas to unique elevators to caving adventures, the Czech Republic is truly fascinating. If you’re visiting, I highly recommend prioritizing a few of the following experiences.
1. REVOLUTIONARY AND MODERN ARCHITECTURE
When you think of the Czech Republic, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t modern architecture. However, beautiful modern designs have been popping up all over the country in recent years. Among them are the iconic Dancing House and Quadrio in Prague. These two pieces alone are worth visiting on your next trip.
2. THE CAFÉ PHENOMENON
I’ve been traveling the world since January 2017, and no country I’ve been to has matched the Czech Republic in its exceptional coffee scene. The reality is that in some ways cafes are becoming as popular as the beer scene. In Prague and Brno, I visited a different trendy, hip, rustic, or gourmet cafe every single day. A few of my favorites are listed below.
Styl & Interiér - Rustic garden cafe - stylainterier.cz
La Boheme Cafe - Possibly one of the cutest cafes i've ever been in! - labohemecafe.eu
Daruma - tea, hookah and games - daruma-tea.cz
Ema Espresso Bar - One of the best coffees - emaespressobar.cz
Kočkafé Freya - Cat cafe - kocicikavarnapraha.cz
SKØG Urban Hub - Hipster spot with local and home-made coffee and beer - www.skog.c
V Melounovém Cukru - Lovely sweets
Café TUNGSRAM - unique, antique atmosphere
Košilka - Homey atmosphere with great coffee and sweets
3. SPAS & WELLNESS
The Czech Republic has an incredible spa and wellness scene. It’s one of the most diverse in the world. Here visitors can experience everything from a Beer spa (yes, you read that right) to a scenic outdoor wellness spa. I recommend The Beer Spa in Prague and Infinit Maximus in Brno.
Speaking of Brno, let’s discuss how this is a city that should be added to every visitors agenda. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic and 2.5 hours from Prague. For those that like to experience the local scene, Brno is the ideal city. Simply because there are almost no tourists, yet the restaurants, bars, and breweries are equal quality to Czech’s most famous city. There is also outdoor adventure due to the city’s proximity to mountains, rivers, and caves.
5. THE USE-IT GUIDE
This hidden gem was a lifesaver during the month I spent traveling throughout the Czech Republic. The USE-IT guide is a free guide offered in several Czech cities that is created by locals. It is a map that is made by locals with suggestions on eating, shopping, drinking, going out, chilling, and seeing. There are also useful tips to get around, such as, public transportation advice, how to act like a local, and useful Czech vocabulary. You should get this your first day and keep it in your pocket while you explore.
6. GASTRONOMY & CULINARY CULTURE
Throughout the Czech Republic, there are thousands of restaurants and culinary shops waiting to be discovered. Czech cuisine is hearty: the perfect food for cold weather or to pair with a beer. The culinary options here are endless and include tasty options, such as, chlebicky (open-faced sandwiches), Czech maso (meat), savory Old Bohemian soup, svickova (Czech dumplings with braised beef in a creamy sauce topped with cranberries), and much more. The best way to get a grasp on the food scene is to book a tour.
7. UNIQUE ELEVATORS
Nowhere else on earth have I experienced such unique elevators than in the Czech Republic. There seems to be something spectacular in the air that causes Czech architects to think differently and create modern ways to climb stories. Two stand out elevators are the Post Office elevator in Brno & Cable Car elevator in NH hotel. The post office elevator has no doors and doesn’t stop moving, which means visitors have to hop in it when it lines up with the floor. The cable car elevator in Prague’s NH hotel looks like a normal elevator from the outside but moves diagonally up a hill to a restaurant on top of a park.
8. SPEAKEASY STYLE COCKTAIL BARS
If we’re discussing hidden things, there is no better thing to mention than secret bars. As a cocktail lover, I normally have a hard time finding places that serve exceptional cocktails, especially those that are in a speakeasy setting. However, in the Czech Republic I discovered three world class speakeasy style craft cocktail bars that were extremely memorable. Below are my favorite bars in Brno and Prague. These made the list because they offer multidimensional drinks and have a themed atmosphere that is found in few other places on earth.
Bar That Does Not Exist - Great Gatsby themed bar that has epic cocktails - www.barkteryneexistuje.cz
Super Panda Circus - Secret bar with unique presentation of cocktails - www.superpandacircus.cz
AnonymouS Bar - Excellent cocktails, has a V for Vendetta vibe - anonymousbar.cz
9. PUNKVA CAVES
In the Moravian Karst region, you’ll discover the Punkva Caves where visitors can travel by boat along the longest underground river in the country. This otherworldly atmosphere has a cavernous cathedral of stalagmites and stalactites. It’s truly an amazing experience and if you’re interested in going make sure to book your trip at least a month in advance because river trips can get sold out.
10. ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK IN BRNO
Sometimes referred to as the cock clock because of its appearance (LOL!). Arrive at 11am to listen to the chimes and see a glass ball (with a city flag in it) drop from inside. If you want to catch the ball you need to get there early, as there are only four hand openings inside the clock (only one person gets the ball each day!) and it is normally packed an hour before. This is truly an authentic Brno experience!
There you have it! The top ten hidden gems in the Czech Republic. If you’re visiting soon, I recommend visiting czechtourism.com to learn more about everything there is to do in the country, and using my interactive maps for Brno and Prague. These maps covers the best of the best. I recommend you view the Google map on your phone while you explore the city. It will make it easier to see everything you can while you’re in town.