Today I have the great pleasure of brining you a guest post from lovely sunkissed Cynthia, an American blogger - expat like myself - living in Czech Republic - very close to Poland, as you can see I like to single out and follow people who have similar stories like myself :) I know you will surely enjoy her writing if you like what I have presented you until now about Poland. More or less she does the same for the Czech Republic and her blog posts only make me wish I had more time and money to go and follow her footsteps. Both her and her significant other half live in české budějovice since January 2013! I truly believe and repeat this all the time: Home is where your heart is, and if your heart is in a million places that means that Home is actually the whole wide world!
Ahoj, Ladybug readers! I'm Cynthia, an American living in the Czech Republic, blogging over at Adventurings about life abroad and travel here in Central Europe. Today, Anda's asked me to come tell you about the wonders about the little country west of Poland that I currently call home. Perhaps you've heard of or even already visited Prague as it's now the fifth most visited European city, but what about the rest of the country?
As I don't live in Prague, but rather the southwest region of the country (called South Bohemia), I spend a lot of time traveling outside of Prague trying to see as many of the most interesting and beautiful spots in the country as I can, especially since I never know how long I'll be living here. Gotta make the most of it!
So before or after your visit to Prague, here are some delightful destinations in the country that are sure to give you more of a taste of what the Czech Republic has to offer as well as earn you some Czech street-cred.
A beautiful, little medieval town about three hours south of Prague (not far from the border of Austria) situated on an "s" bend of the Vltava river, Krumlov is absolutely worth a visit if you're looking for the most picturesque of smalltown Czech Republic. The countryside around is absolutely stunning with its rolling green hills, castles, farmlands, and wild flowers. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, for sure! Český Krumlov may be heavily visited as it is well on the tourist track (and for good reason!), but after those daytrippers have gone away, you can enjoy the certain peace and solitude of this beautiful place! I recommend a horseback ride, a segway tour, or even a visit to the worldfamous revolving theater if you can manage. (more ideas here)
If the Czech Republic had a "hollywood", Karlovy Vary in the northwestern region would be it! As I'm there every summer, I often forget I'm in the Czech Republic and want to start looking for a beach! Beautiful architecture, lush forests and landscapes, but mixed with a bit of glamour and palm trees, it is also renowned for its many spas and mineral water, which you can sample at many of the public water spouts.
Český ráj (Czech Paradise)
The “Czech Paradise” national park or Český ráj is only about an hour and a half from Prague and boasts interesting natural rock formations and enchanting castles and castle ruins. this is a perfect "get away from it all" sort of spot where you can go on long hikes or simply just relax in the beautiful natural settings that North Bohemia affords. The towns of Turnov and Malá Skála (or nearby environs) make a good base to see the area, which is well connected by public transport. See what I got up to...
If you're visiting Prague but don't have much time to see another part of the country, the beautiful town of Kutná Hora (about an hour east by train) is for you! The town itself is nice enough to visit, but you won't want to miss the famous Sedlec Ossuary (better known as the “Bone Church”, shown in the photo) in nearby Sedlec, which has an interior made entirely of human bones, built after the plague when there was no place to bury them in the cemeteries! The Sv. Barbora cathedral in Kutná Hora town has one of the most stunning exteriors of almost any cathedral I've ever visited, and certainly looks like it belongs near Hogwarts. (Notre Dame, look out!)
This town is pure South Bohemia – like Český Krumlov without the tourists – and gives you not only a great taste of the typical South Bohemia farming village life but boats a charming city center and is known as the fishing capital of the country! The biggest ponds, built hundreds of years ago for fish harvest, are located here, which means that Třeboň is truly the best place to try South Bohemian cuisine (fresh “sweetwater” pond fish), especially the carp if you want to impress a local. Before lunch, you can have a long walk or bike ride around the lovely Svět pond.
South Moravian Wine Country photo source
This region, the warmest and sunniest in the country near the border of eastern Austria, is well-known for its abundance of wineries, vineyards, and cellars – a winelover's dream! I have to admit it is the only place on the list I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting, but it is a wellknown destination for Czechs to get away from it all and enjoy the simple pleasures of life (ie, wine & cycling). The land is great for bike trips as it's flat and there are many paths. In the autumn is the most popular time, with many wine festivals in September and October to visit.
Šumava National Park
The most famous forest in the country is Šumava, in the southwestern corner right up against Austria and shared with Germany (who call it the Bayerisher Wald). It's the perfect place to plan a big hiking trip thanks to the deep, primeval forests (some of the oldest and largest in Europe!), mysterious dark glacial lakes, historical architecture (like this chapel at Stožec) and proximity to the Lipno LakeResevoir, beloved for beach holidays and water sports. There are even singleusecamp spots along the trails so you can camp as you go.
I hope one of these trip possibilities has sparked your interest! Stop by Adventurings for more and to keep up with my life abroad and travels. Čau!
I realy hope that you will drop by Cynthia's blog at least as often as I do. I really like how she writes and the pictures she takes. Somehow sometimes I wish I could join her in her adventures as it seems a lot of fun! If you are on Instagram make sure you follow her there as well, as she surely paints a colorful and fun life to see :) makes one smile wide - so smile wide with us! :)
The Twisted Red LadyBug that follows Cynthia in her travels :)