It's hard not to fall in love with this small, landlocked country in Central Europe. The architecture alone is enough to stop you in your tracks with Gothic castles, Medieval churches, Baroque châteaus and Renaissance palaces. Travel out of the cities to find the real gems of the country – tiny, rural towns rich in history and romance. And if romance, history and architecture isn't your thing, don't forget that the Czechs are the biggest beer drinkers in the world so you'll never be far from a cold beer.
At the end of the school year the graduating year get a free day off to dress up and collect money from passers by – that they spend on their post-exam party. This is known as Poslední zvonění or 'Last ringing'.
What to see
Known as the 'Golden City of Spires', Prague makes an immediate impression on every traveller. Cross the the famous Charles Bridge, watch the Astronomical Clock strike the hour and don't miss the Prague Dancing House.
Travel three hours south-east from Prague to visit the country's second biggest city. Highlights include the 13th century Špilberk Castle and Tungendat Villa – a classic example of 1920s Bauhaus architecture.
Those with morbid curiosity will be intrigued by Sedlec Ossuary – intricately decorated inside with the bones of around 70,000 people. After your visit to the bone church check out the Gothic magnificence of the Cathedral of St. Barbara.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
North-east of Prague lies a region of forests where gigantic rock formations soar upwards and isolated castles nestle in the landscape. Make your way to the town of Turnov to explore the most castles and rock formations.
Mutenice Wine Region
Go off the beaten track and discover some of the best vineyards in the Czech Republic.
Thermal spa in Karlovy Vary
Take a dip in the outdoor thermal pool and witness the hot springs as they spurt water jets up to 14 metres high.
When to go
Weather and Seasons: There's no best time to visit as the summers are never too hot and the winter is mild. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, especially in Prague and the Sedlec Ossuary, aim for spring or autumn instead of summer.
Important Dates and Festivals: Prague hosts an annual Fringe Festival in June, with Brno following with their International Folklore Festival in August. The Old Town Square in Prague is a hive of activity on 6th December as the locals celebrate the Feast of St. Mikuláš (Santa Claus).
Getting there / around
Flights: You can easily find return tickets for less than £100, even in the summer months. Flights take around two hours from the UK.
Local Transport: The bus is the best way to get between the big cities, as trains are more likely to wind through the smaller villages and take longer. Driving is another option, but to use the well-kept motorways you will need to buy a toll sticker for your car.
Short Trip: Using Prague as your base you can easily pop to the hot springs in Karlovy Vary for the day or Brno for an overnight stay.
Longer Trip (Backpacker Trip): Bordering Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland, the Czech Republic is ideal to stop in as you backpack through Central and Eastern Europe. To visit all the cities and experiences mentioned here you'll need over a week. Spend a few days at each stop to really absorb the Czech way of life.
Cheaper Trip: With flights, food and beer so cheap, you can afford to roam further than the main cities and experience more of the Czech Republic. Buses out of town won't cost too much either.
More Expensive Trip: There are many high-end hotels and gourmet restaurants to choose from in Prague. Add a trip to the National Theatre and some pampering from the Spa at Mandarin Orange to your itinerary.
Czech cuisine is full of hearty soups and stews, especially common are potato soup with forest mushrooms, clear beef soup and thick cabbage soup. A typical side dish is knedlíky – dumplings that come in different varieties. Accompany your meal with a beer, the Czechs are very proud of their beer heritage.
All over the Czech Republic you'll find cosy pubs where you can spend the evening with a glass or two of beer. Head to Prague for clubbing.
Czech koruna (CZK)
British nationals don't need a visa to enter the Czech Republic.
It is recommended that you are vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Polio. Your doctor can advise you.
Safety, FO travel advice
Pickpocketing especially on the metro and trams. Always check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website before you travel.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Czech country representatives can be found
in the UK at26 Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington London,W8 4QY. Tel:- 020 7243 1115.
and in the US at3900 Spring of Freedom St., N.W.20008 Washington. Tel:- 202 274 9100.
There is a tourist board
in the UK at13 Harley Street, London W1G 9QG. Tel:- 020 7631 0427.
For more information visit: www.mzv.cz/london, http://www.czechtourism.com/.
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