Exploring the Czech Republic: Day Trips From Prague

Prague Castle, Prague photos

There are a thousand and one reasons to visit Prague.

The first place that comes to mind for most people when discussing the Czech Republic is Prague. Which is no surprise, really. Prague is iconic, grandiose, and gorgeous. We lived in Prague for nine incredible months, and we are counting down the days until we are lucky enough to do so again.

As amazing as the city is, many people visiting Prague never really leave its center, and spend a majority of their time in Old Town. That’s perfectly understandable as Old Town Prague is basically Disneyland for adults. Yet, there is far more to see in the Czech Republic than just its magnificent capital. Thankfully, reaching many of these destinations is quite simple, making them ideal for day trips from Prague.

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Some of the places we mention below can be seen in a couple of hours, but most of the towns listed deserve at least a day, and possibly more. So, if you have the time to stay longer you should definitely do so. If your time while in Prague is rather limited, try to visit at least one of the places below. You’ll leave with a much greater appreciation and understanding of the Czech Republic. We promise!

Day Trips from Prague – Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov, day trips from Prague

Cesky Krumlov won us over before we ever set foot in it. I mean look at the above picture! How can you not want to stroll through this living fairy tale? After seeing a few photos we certainly did, and Cesky Krumlov did NOT dissapoint.

We had the good fortune of spending a few days in Cesky Krumlov in the fall, and the views all around town were an incredible melange of color. So if you are in around in the fall, we highly recommend you go then. However, you can pretty much visit Cesky Krumlov year round. If you go in winter you have a small possibility of encountering snow, and the huge bonus of encountering 50% less tourists.

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Regardless of when you go, the fact remains that you must take a day trip from Prague to visit Cesky Krumlov. You can make it a single day affair, as the travel time is about three hours each way, but we highly recommend staying at least one night to get the most out of your experience.

So, as far as day trips from Prague go, Cesky Krumlov is a no-brainer.

For more on Cesky Krumlov, including additional pictures of the town draped in glorious fall foliage, go here!

Cesky Krumlov, day trips from Prague

How to Get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague

We recommend taking a Student Agency Bus from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. Tickets are under $10.00 each way and the bus ride is 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Buses to Cesky Krumlov from Prague depart from the Na Knížecí station, which is easy to get to via public transportation. The bus station in Cesky Krumlov is located a 10-15 minute walk from the town center.

Day Trips from Prague – Vysočina

day trips from prague - zdar in vysocina

The rolling hills of Vysočina, which means highlands in Czech, are dotted with forests and ponds; peppered with charming towns and verdant fields of grass and wheat.

Scattered into the rustic and rolling landscape of Vysočina lay relics of the past. Countless castles, churches, walled towns, and towers have withstood the tests of time, and serve as reminder of centuries long gone. Much of Vysočina’s past is either preserved or restored, and stands proudly on display amid the trappings of modern society.

Vysočina is home to three UNESCO Heritage Sites. From the historic and tragic Jewish Quarter in Třebíč, to the star shaped pilgrimage church in Zdar, to the sprawling old town center of Telč, these Heritage Sites are a time capsules into various points of the past.

trips from Prague - Telc in Vysocina

The best way to explore the the history and beauty of the region is to chart a course combing three destinations. The cities of Telč, Třebíč, and Žďár all make excellent day trips from Prague, and can be melded into an epic road trip if you rent a car and plan your day out efficiently.

Since there aren’t very many place in the world where you can visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites in one day so you should probably (definitely) take advantage of that while you are visiting the Czech Republic. We, of course, recommend you spend as much time as you can in each location, but if all you have is a single day in your itinerary to explore the region, do it anyway.

For more on the region and its UNESCO sites check out our article on Vysocina.

Day Trips from Prague – Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary, day trips from Prague

This beautiful town has long been renown in Eastern and Central Europe for its hot springs and thermal baths. The secret is getting out to the rest of the world, however, and Karlovy Vary is seeing a steady increase of international tourism.

Come for Karlovy Vary’s hot springs, and stay for the incredible architecture and serene environment. Once you have walked all around town soaking in the ambiance, head up into the hills around town for some gentle hiking and some sweet views. Afterwards finish your day with a relaxing soak.

To get the most out of your visit we recommend at least one day in Karlovy Vary. If you can stay over night, even better! On your second day visit the Moser Glassworks museum to see fine glass made right in front of you. Afterwards take a 25 minute bus ride to the tiny medieval town of Loket to marvel at its impressive castle.

Read about our visit for more things to do in Karlovy Vary.

day trips from Prague, Loket and Loket Castle Czech Republic

How to Get to Karlovy Vary from Prague

We recommend taking a RegioJet (formerly Student Agency) bus. Tickets are under $7.00 each way and the bus ride is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Student Agency is our preferred bus company in this region of Europe because they have big comfy seats, personal entertainment systems (movies, shows, games, and music), and complimentary hot drinks.

 Day Trips From Prague – Bohemian Switzerland

Pravcicka Brana, Bohemian Switzerland, day trips form Prague

It would be a real shame to visit the Czech Republic and not get to see any of its natural beauty. Thankfully Bohemian Switzerland is just a couple of hours outside of Prague, and crams a ton of gorgeous scenery and great hiking into a relatively small region.

Home to verdant gulches, towering sandstone cliffs, peaceful swaths of farmland, quaint little villages, and majestic rock formations Bohemian Switzerland is a delight for all outdoor enthusiasts. Among the many highlights of the region is the Pravcicka Brana (Pravcicka Gate), pictured above, which is the largest sandstone arch formation in Europe. It is a towering monument to the beauty and organic creativity of mother nature, and is not to be missed when visiting Bohemian Switzerland.

So if you are a lover of the outdoors, take some time to get out of the city when visiting Prague, and give Bohemian Switzerland a shot. Check out our photo tour of Bohemian Switzerland for some extra motivation and inspiration!

Bohemian Switzerland, day trips form Prague

How to Get to Bohemian Switzerland from Prague

Bohemian Switzerland isn’t the easiest destination to reach by public transportation, so this is one of those rare instances where we recommend you either rent a car or take a tour. Luckily, we have the perfect tour company to recommend.

We spent two days exploring and hiking around Bohemian Switzerland with the guys at Northern Hikes, and we can honestly say that we had a great time. These guys are from the area, and clearly love their home region. They showed us more than we thought was possible in a relatively short amount of time, but it never felt overwhelming. Thus, if you want to explore the beauty of Bohemian Switzerland, or simply just want to hike for a day while visiting Prague, contact Northern Hikes.

It is worth noting that we have no obligation, nor did we receive financial compensation, for recommending North Hikes. These guys are just cool, and we think they will help you have a great time exploring this under-exposed region.

Day Trips from Prague – Pilsen

Pilsner brewery, day trips from Prague

Do you LOVE beer? Are you visiting Prague soon?

If you answered yes to both those questions you should do yourself a massive favor and consider a day trip from Prague to Pilsen. Pilsen, or Plzen in Czech, is the home and birthplace of the iconic Pilsner Urquell brewery. As such it’s also the birthplace of 70% of all the beer crafted and consumed on our planet.

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Touring the Pilsner Urquell brewery is a MUST DO activity for anyone with even the slightest interest in the history, creation, storage, and consumption of beer. Plus the tour ends with a beer pour, fresh from the massive barrels storing the freshest Pilsner you will ever taste. Yummy!

Beer isn’t the only thing to do in Pilsen. See our article on things to do in Pilsen for more ideas of how to get the most out of your visit.

Plezn town square, day trips from Prague

Getting to Pilsen from Prague

Trains leaving Prague’s main train station depart for Pilsen every hour or so, and costs $5 USD one way. You can find train schedules here.

RegioJet runs buses out of Prague as well. They depart once per hour starting at 6 am, and take about 70 minutes to arrive, and cost $5 each way.

Day Trips from Prague – Karlštejn Castle

Day Trips from Prague Karlstejn Castle
Hrad Karlstejn, Bohemia, Czech Republic” by Erin Brierley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Karlštejn Castle, a mere 40 minute train ride from the capital city, is one of the easiest day trips from Prague.

Likely due to its proximity to Prague, and its fairy tale beauty, the castle is the second most visited destination in the Czech Republic. While we do recommend you pay the castle a visit, prepare yourself for crowds of tourists, souvenir shops, and overpriced restaurants near the castle. Despite that, the landscape and nature surrounding Karlštejn is stunning, lush, and peaceful.

Karlštejn Castle was built by Charles IV between 1348 and 1365 to house royal treasures and the crown jewels. Over time the castle has been through a number of reconstructions with the most recent occurring in the 19th century. The updates were led by Josef Mocker with the intention of returning it to the original style, however a great deal of controversy exists around his updates as his imagination, rather than any historic references, were his only guide. Despite that, the resulting updates are likely the only reason the castle still exists in its pristine state.

The interior of Karlštejn Castle is only accessible through guided tours which must be arranged in advance. We recommend the 100 minute tour which includes entrance to The Chapel of the Holy Cross, a gold encrusted and precious jewel decorated chapel where the Crown Jewels were stored for nearly 200 years.

How to get to Karlštejn Castle from Prague

Karlštejn Castle is a direct, 40 minute train ride from Prague. You can find train schedules and buy tickets here. Ticket prices start at about $2.00.

Day Trips from Prague – Velká Amerika (Big America Quarry)

Velká Amerika (Big America Quarry), day trips from Prague

Velká Amerika, which translates Big America and is also called the Czech Grand Canyon, is an abandoned limestone quarry located 30 kilometers southwest of Prague. The quarry is a popular summer escape location for Pražáci (people who live in Prague), and on warm sunny weekends you’ll find crowds flocking to the location to swim and soak in the sun’s rays.

In addition to Velká Amerika there are a few other quarries in the surrounding area, including Malá Amerika (Little America) and Mexiko (Mexico). All are within a short hike and can be found by following the yellow and white trail markers.

It’s worth noting that the quarry is privately owned and activities like swimming or fishing are forbidden and could result in heavy fines.

How to Get to Velká Amerika from Prague

In Prague take the Metro B  (Yellow) Line to the to the Zličín Station. From there take the 311 Bus to Mořina and walk for approximately one mile, following the yellow and white trail markers, to the quarry. Click here for Google Directions.

Day Trips from Prague – Sedlec Ossuary in Kutná Hora

day trips from prague kutna hora
Sedlec Ossuary” by Milan Boers is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Sedlec Ossuary is one of twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Czech Republic. This small chapel is situated beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in the town of Kutná Hora.

So what makes this place unique? Well, the ossuary contains anywhere from 40,000 to 65,000 human skeletons. Not content to simply house the bones, the chapel is actually fully decorated in human skulls and bones. It’s pretty morbid, and extremely fascinating.

The Sedlec Ossuary is very easy to reach, and its proximity to the capital make it an ideal day trip from Prague. Leave Prague after lunch and be back before dinner (if you can stomach eating after all the bleached human remains you will see). A word of caution – this might not be a trip for the overly squeamish.

 

Getting to Kutná Hora from Prague

Trains for Kutná Hora leave the main train station in Prague every two hours in the morning, and every hour starting in the afternoon. Travel time is about a hour each way. Once you arrive in Kutna you will need to catch a local connecting train and take it one stop to “Kutná Hora-Sedlec”. Make sure to request the stop on the local train, or you might end up in the town center instead.

The trip takes about an hour and costs around $5 each way. You can find train schedules here.

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Best day trips from Prague


12 thoughts on “Exploring the Czech Republic: Day Trips From Prague

  1. Best write up about day trips from Prague, and providing ‘how to get there” instructions a great idea. I’ve been to nearly all, the Bohemian Switzerland and Plzen still to be experienced, and can agree that these are certainly amazing, beautiful, and interesting places to go to.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Tim!
      It sounds like you might love the Czech Republic as much as we do. I hope you get to experience Bohemian Switzerland and Plzen soon and see the beauty each holds for yourself. 🙂

  2. Excellent list guys, I visited most of them last year and agree they are all worth more than a day. Loket particularly felt cosy and quaint, with such a beautiful castle and some interesting folklore. Walking through the woods is excellent too, even saw some deer there. Little disappointed I visited Kutna Hora over Karlstejn, as it felt a little underwhelming (aside from the Ossuary which is very striking). I’ve already decided I need to visit Bohemian Switzerland next time based on your other post. Where’s next after Czech Republic?

    1. Hey David! Yes, we were taken with Loket. What a nice little town. Sounds like you had a great experience there. I understand that Kunta Hora might not be for everyone. To me, the town was worth seeing as well as the Ossuary because it was nice and quiet. I thought the church was pretty and there were some nice views of the countryside. However, you’re right, the Ossuary is the highlight. 🙂

      Thrilled you are planing on visiting Bohemian Switzerland. You won’t be disappointed!

      We left Prague about a week ago to start exploring the Balkans. We’ve are currently in Ljubljana, Slovenia and will head to Croatia next!

  3. Hi
    Thank you for a lot of information. I´ve never heard of Bohemian Switzerland, but because of your recommendation I have booked a trip with Northern Hikes and I can hardly wait to go now. Thank you.

    1. You are most welcome! I’m really happy to hear that you are doing a trip to Bohemian Switzerland with Northern Hikes. They are amazing and you’ll have a fantastic time. Let us know how the trip goes! 🙂

  4. Great post! I’ll be heading to both Prague and Kutná Hora for the first time in a couple of months. Can’t wait! Great pictures. 🙂

  5. Goodness, I was planning a couple of days there but think we would need to spend longer in order to even scratch the surface of what Prague has to offer. Thank you for such a detailed and informative post.

    1. Tania, we love hearing this! And we agree. There is sooooo much to see in Prague and the Czech Republic. We’ve spent over a year here and are still discovering fantastic things. 🙂

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