10 Amazing Czech Republic Road Trip Destinations [Guide & Video]
In this article I feature my top-10 favorite Czech Republic road trip destinations, including distances from Prague, as well as hotel, restaurant and activity suggestions. This post is full of links to help your planning, including a road trip map at the bottom.
I have road tripped all over the Czech Republic (aka Czechia) during several visits. I had a tough time narrowing this list to just ten, so I may sneak in a couple of other nearby destinations not to miss.
This central European country is not very large, as a matter of fact, most of these Czech Republic road trip suggestions are just around a 2 hour drive from the capital city of Prague (with exception to Ostrava, which is the furthest at around 3.5 hours).
The Czech Republic is probably most well known for its opulent castles, classical music (and musical history), crystal glass, and its beer scene. Interesting fact; Czechs consume more beer per capital than any other country in the world.
While the Czech Republic is know for the aforementioned, you’ll also find some remarkable lodging options, world-class restaurants, outstanding hiking and outdoor actives, incredible architecture, fantastic festivals, and, you can even find its cultural heritage alive and well in some of the rural parts of the country.
Road Tripping around the Czech Republic is very easy. Generally speaking the roads are good and easy to navigate. I highly recommend renting a car and exploring this wonderful central European country. If you prefer, you could certainly take a train to most of these destination. By the way, in the larger cities, most people will speak and/or understand English, but not in the rural villages.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Prague is the capital city of Czechia and it’s one of the finest cities in Europe, if not the world. As a matter of fact, the city center of Prague is a UNESCO site, along with 13 other such designations across the country.
Prague is one of the only cities in Europe spared from the devastation of WWII, therefore most of its 11th to 18th century buildings and bridges still remain.
The city also boasts an abundance of world-class hotels and restaurants. One of my favorites is the Aria—they have an incredible roof-top restaurant and private access to one of the oldest Baroque gardens in the country.
- Hotel Augustine is one of the finest hotels in Prague and was developed around a 13th-century church and monastery.
- Hotel Aria is a symphony of excellence. The hotel is wrapped around a musical theme and home to one of the oldest Baroque gardens in Czechia. Don’t miss the roof-top terrace for a romantic meal overlooking the city. Oh, and they often have live music performances.
- Two other hotels in great locations within Prague, but a bit more affordable are, Lindner near the Prague Castle. And, the Novotel Hotel, near Wenceslaus Square.
- For a truly unique experience, there is an incredible one-room hotel atop the Žižkov Tower, although as you can imagine, it’s quite pricey.
- The restaurant at the Hotel Augustine offers fantastic fine-dining with both international cuisine along with a few Czech favorites.
- Coda is the restaurant at the Aria, which is also amazing.
- Peklo Restaurant is located in a remarkable setting of a 12th-century grotto (sort of a cave or wine cellar). Delicious local cuisine and exceptional service.
- Plevel Restaurant is a good place for vegan food.
- Oblaca Restaurant atop the Žižkov Tower is not only wonderful, but the view allows you to see all of Prague.
Loučeň and Mcely
Loučeň and Mcely are two neighboring villages with a romantic flare dominated by dueling château’s.
The Loučeň château was originally built as a summer cottage for a Duke, whose disdain for dirty money required his butler to wash and iron his money. His maid’s task was to iron his newspapers in order to remove ink from the pages so that the Duke would not dirty his hands. These are just a couple of the interesting tidbits you’ll learn when touring the castle. The Duke’s eccentric nature didn’t stop with paper products, he was also known as a ladies man bearing 15 children. Rumor was, he was likely related to almost everyone in town.
The grounds at Château Loučeň are fun to explore, with eleven labyrinths and mazes. The largest maze has towers so that a friend or family member can assist in case someone gets lost. Concerts and other events are often held at the Château. There are also accommodations available, but when I visited in 2015 the room I saw was in need of an update. Soccer (football) fans will be interested to know that the oldest field in the country is on the Château grounds—the first match was played in 1889. There is also a medieval pub on site, which is a great place to grab lunch.
Just a few miles away is Mcely, with its namesake Château perched on a hill overlooking the valley below. Staying at Château Mcely is like being inserted into a dreamy fairy-tale. The grounds are palatial, the accommodations are second to none, and the service is impeccable.
They have bikes available, which I recommend taking and exploring the village. You’ll likely stumbled upon an apple orchard as they are bountiful. The hotel has a spa with many places around the grounds to relax, including a natural pool with plenty of chaise lounges. There are water fountains, swings, large lawns manicured like a golf course, and a forest to wader through. Piano Nobile is the on-site restaurant which is one of my favorites in the country. They have both an indoor dining room as well as a lovely patio.
For couples looking for a romantic get-away, Loučeň and Mcely are a must. I have an epic bucket list of lodging from places I’ve stayed around the world, Château Mcely made the list, along with a couple other Czech Republic hotels.
Distance From Prague: 44 miles. 1 hour drive time
Due north from Prague, along the southern boarder of Germany, is Bohemian Switzerland. Despite its name, this outdoor recreational haven is in fact located in the Czech Republic. The landscape and rock formations are truly unique and may look familiar to some as this was a filming location for Disney’s Chronicles of Narnia movies.
If you want to be one with nature and you enjoy hiking, this is the place for you. If you visit, I highly recommend the folks at Northern Hikes, an environmentally responsible tour operator that will show you some hidden gems, along with some of the highlights within the Bohemian Switzerland National Park. They also offer some unique excursions, like a hike to a spectacular overlook where gourmet coffee and snacks are waiting your arrival.
- Lipa Resort in Krásná Lípa – This is more of a series of individual apartments, but a very nice place to stay while in Bohemian Switzerland.
- Restaurace U Forta – After a long hike in the park, this is a wonderful respite.
- Hotel U Zeleneho Stomu is a cute place with great local food and entertainment.
- Usedlost Na Stodolci serves some wonderful farm-to-table dishes.
- Pivovar Falkenštejn is also in Krásná Lípa and has good pub food & beer, as well as some hotel rooms.
- I just drove through and didn’t have a chance to spend any time in Decin, but it looks like a cool place. If you go, be sure to stop by Karls, I had a great lunch there.
- If you are a coffee lover like I am, you absolutely have to check out the Bohemian Coffee House.
Distance from Prague: 80 miles. 1:45 hour drive time.
KARLOVY VARY (also known as Carlsbad)
After some some physical activity and adventure in Bohemian Switzerland, you may be interested in some spa time.
Rising from a forested valley of western Bohemia, Karlovy Vary is known for its healing thermal springs and opulent 19th century architecture. This spa town has impressive colonnades and riverside walkways. There are a number of drinking fountains to sip on the sulfurous waters containing healthy restorative properties.
The Grandiose Architecture of Karlovy Vary is really something to marvel, which is a mix of Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance styles. Just beyond the city limits are slew of trails to explore.
- Tusculum is a great little bistro.
- If you like RAW vegan, check out Villa Ritter.
Distance from Prague: 80 mile. 1:50 hours drive.
Loket is considered the historical gem of Bohemia. Dominating the town’s panorama is Loket Castle, which was built on a rock near the Ohře river in the 12th century. Strolling the streets feels like walking through a storybook, or a movie set. As a matter of fact, parts of the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale, were filmed here.
Loket is really a day-trip from Karlovy Vary or Mariánské Lázně, which is also a thermal spa town and is really worth a stop as well. I would recommend staying in Karlovy Vary or Mariánské Lázně and then exploring the region from there, including a day trip to Loket.
Distance from Prague: 88 miles. 2 hour drive.
Český Krumlov is an outstanding example of a small, central European, medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries. It’s a place that is easy to fall in love with. The town is situated on the banks of the Vltava river and its fortified castle built with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, is the focal point of town.
No cars are allowed into the city center, so pedestrians can have a field day getting lost within the labyrinth of narrow streets leading to some fascinating discoveries, including museums, art galleries, cute shops and wonderful restaurants. No visit to Cesky Krumlov would be complete without a tour if its castle.
Unique Place to Eat and Drink:
- Old Hotel Inn is a fantastic place to try a Medieval feast in the unique underground setting (the hotel/inn however is pretty rudimentary for lodging).
Nearby Road Trips:
- Holašovice – A small village not far from Český Krumlov an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional central European village. It has a large number of outstanding 18th and 19th century vernacular buildings in a style known as ‘South Bohemian folk Baroque’, and preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages.
- Tábor – You will drive past on your way to Cesky Krumlov or when you leave. This is a lovely place with an outstanding boutique hotel and restaurant called Goldie. I recommend going to Tabor just for the Hotel Nautilus experience alone.
- Distance from Prague: 108 miles. 2:10 hour drive.
The village of Lednice is in the heart of the Czech Republic’s wine-region in South Moravia. It’s famous for the fairy-tale chateau with expansive gardens and green house.
This is one of the most beautiful English Neo-Gothic style Chateau’s in Europe. The Chateau is surrounded by extensive parks and ponds with a number of other impressive nearby structures to explore.
The grounds are absolutely massive, so I recommend taking a carriage ride to give your feet a rest. You may also want to take a boat ride, which will give you a different perspective of the property.
Nearby is the village of Valtice. Inside the 18th century Baroque castle is the Wine Salon, which houses the nation’s 100 best-rated wines. While the Valtice Chateau is one of the most impressive Baroque residences in Central Europe, it’s the Czech Republic Wine Salon that attracts the most attention. If you are a wine-lover, this is an experience you cannot miss. For complete details, click the hyperlink above.
Nearby Road Trip:
- Bořetice – This is a small village of wine makers—if you can find someone to give you a tour, it’s well worth it (few speak English in these smaller villages). While in the area, check out Pension André, it’s a lovely winery with a small inn and a wonderful restaurant. Interesting fact about Bořetice: This little village near the Austrian border is a self proclaimed sovereign republic (more of a news’ish playful tourist hook I think). The village is quite small, with just 1000 people, however what was extraordinary to learn is that there are over 260 boutique cellars. Wine clearly runs through the veins of its inhabitants.
Distance from Prague: 158 miles. 2:40 hour drive.
Mikulov is an enchanting village in the midst of a stunning countryside in southern Bohemia, which is surrounded by vineyards in all directions. Mikulov is in the heart of wine country and home to one of the largest wine barrels in the world. The dominating Baroque château in the center of town is the focal point, with lush gardens and many places to take in the varying landscapes and stupendous views.
Just on the outskirt of the main square is a butte translated as the Holy Hill. This is a spot that provides some wonderful views of the dominating Baroque château in the center of town, and peaceful landscapes beyond. There are romantic pathways that meandered down the butte through the town’s vineyards where a historic Jewish cemetery and museum reside. This is one of the oldest and largest Jewish cemeteries in the country and dates to the mid 15th century.
Recommended Restaurant: Marcel Ihnacak Restaurant is exceptional, the lodging however is not so great.
Brno is the Czech Republic’s 2nd largest city, and while it’s lesser known than Prague, it’s nearly as impressive. Brno is also the capital of Moravia, which is the gateway to the fertile vineyards of the surrounding areas.
The historic city center of Brno is quite beautiful and is peppered with historic sights that date back to the 11th century. A large number of the buildings are from the Baroque and Renaissance periods.
Brno is a lively city with lots of festivals, live music, top-notch hotels and restaurants, which are all much more affordable than Prague.
Cobblestone streets lead to public art and remarkable architecture. While the city center is certainly walkable, there is a great public transit system if you get tired.
One of the top modern attractions in town is the Villa Tugendhat museum. Built in 1929 by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe this is a one-of-a-kind modernist villa built for the Tugendhat family. It is the only example of modern architecture in the Czech Republic inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. The museum is a wonderful look at early 20th century modern home architecture.
What I found so impressive is that the villa and its furnishings are more than 100 years old, yet it looks like it could be today’s era.
One of the highlights are the massive automated windows that open the house up to the outdoors. Interesting Fact: During WWII a bomb landed nearby and broke one of the large windows. Apparently is was very difficult to replace due to its design and sheer size.
- Hotel Grandezza – Located right in the main square, this is a lovely hotel, walking distance to all of old town.
- Barcelo Brno Palace – Nice hotel in a great location. The rooms are not on par with the rest of the hotel, but the restaurant sure makes up for it.
Nearby Road Trip:
- About an hour east of Brno is Olomouc. If you’re in this area, I highly, highly recommend the Theatre Hotel and their Entree Restaurant, both are quite impressive. Worth going out of your way just to stay in this hotel and eat in their restaurant.
Distance from Prague: 128 miles. 2:15 hour drive.
Ostrava is an up-and-coming city embracing its industrial heritage by brilliantly repurposing old steel mills and other industrial sites into hip and eclectic venues. You’ll find fantastic art installations, wonderful music festivals, cultural events, conference centers and museums paying homage to the industrial workers.
Things to do:
- Go up in the Bolt Tower.
- Tour the Harenda u Barborky, an old coal mine and museum.
- Gong (Plynojem) for events/festivals.
- HogoFogo – Best place I ate at in Ostrava.
- Comedor Mexicano is pretty cool place, but a bit pricey.
Distance from Prague: 231 miles. 3:40 hour drive.
Well that’s a look at my top-10 road trip destinations in the Czech Republic. I hope you enjoyed this article and video from Czechia . If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment, I’m happy to help. If you’d like to see more of my photos from the Czech Republic, click here.