One of Europe’s most beautiful and romantic cities, Prague boasts an enchanting riverside location and a skyline dotted with hundreds of golden spires glittering in the sun.
Having largely escaped the architectural purge of the Cold War, the city’s medieval Old Town looks much as it did a thousand years ago, full of cobblestone streets winding around spacious city squares. While it’s tempting to spend an entire holiday exploring Prague’s architectural, musical and culinary delights, day trips offer the adventurous traveler rewarding experiences as well.
Map of day trips from Prague
From fairytale castles and old breweries to sites that serve as witness to the Czech Republic’s war-torn past, day trips from Prague present rare opportunities to experience the extraordinary richness of the country’s culture.
8. Krivoklat Castle[SEE MAP]
For travelers looking for a castle tour that feels like taking a trip back in time, it’s hard to beat a trip to Krivoklat Castle in the Berounka River Valley. Perched atop a forested hill, the castle was built as a royal residence in the 13th century. Its secluded location has helped to preserve the castle’s Gothic interiors, which are filled with paintings, art and more than 50,000 volumes of books.
Used to house political prisoners during the Middle Ages, the castle features some unusual reminders of its darker past, including carvings in the Royal Chapel that depict angels bearing instruments of torture.
Getting to Krivoklat Castle
- As there is no direct transport link between Prague and Krivoklat Castle, you will first need to take a train to Beroun; from there, you can take another train to Krivoklat. Once you arrive, it’s around a ten-minute walk to the castle. All in all, the journey there should only take an hour and a half in total, depending on the train connection.
- It is a lot easier to simply drive to Krivoklat Castle yourself, and this means that after exploring the castle, you could continue on to visit either the Pilsner Urquell Brewery or Karlovy Vary – both of which lie around an hour away. From Prague, head west out of the city and stay on the D6 until exit 25. Here, turn off onto the 236; this will take you all the way to the impressive castle.
7. Pilsner Urquell Brewery[SEE MAP]
Located 100 km (60 km) southwest of Prague in Plzen, the Pilsner Urquell Brewery was the first to produce the pale lager known as Pilsner. The brewery’s history demonstrates how passionate Czechs are about their beer, which they call “pivo.” In 1838, the citizens of Plzen were so disgusted with the quality of the town’s beer that they poured barrels of it in front of the city hall in protest.
The brewers responded by uniting to create Pilsner, which remains the most widely consumed beer in the country today. Tours of the brewery include beer tasting while the nearby Beer Museum displays brewing equipment and beer mugs.
Getting to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery
- By public transport, it takes about an hour and 40 minutes to get to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Just hop on a train to Pilsen from Prague Main Station. Once you alight, you’ll find the brewery is just a five-minute walk away.
- Alternatively, you could take a guided tour to the brewery; this is a great option if you want to learn all about how they produce their delicious brews. After touring the museum, you’ll enjoy a delicious local lunch and Pilsner before seeing how Bohemian glassware is produced. You’ll even have the opportunity to buy some as a memento of a lovely day out.
6. Terezin Concentration Camp[SEE MAP]
Located about an hours drive from Prague stands the Terezin concentration camp, one of the most chilling reminders of the Nazi occupation of World War II. Unlike other camps designed for slave labor and extermination, the former 18th-century military camp was part of an elaborate scam to fool the outside world into thinking that imprisoned Jews were being treated humanely.
Until 1944, Terezin was touted by the Nazis as a model Jewish settlement, but more than 38,000 people interned there died from disease and starvation. The area’s Large Fortress encompasses the ghetto while the Small Fortress across the Ohre River was used for torture and interrogations. Visitors are free to wander through the entire complex.
Getting to Terezin Concentration Camp
- To get to Terezin Concentration Camp from Prague takes about an hour by bus, and there are a number of different lines you can take from the main bus terminal in the capital; these take you to Terezin, and signposts will direct you to the concentration camp.
- It also takes about an hour to get there if you decide to drive to the concentration camp yourself. This does, however, mean that you could combine your visit to Terezin with a stop at any of the picturesque little villages or scenic bits of countryside that you come across on the way. From Prague, head north out of the city and hop on Route 8. Turn off once you see signs for Terezin, then you should see the car park for the concentration camp ahead of you.
- If you want to learn more about the sad and moving history of Terezin Concentration Camp, it is well worth taking a guided tour. With a professional guide on hand, you’ll learn about the lives of the prisoners and the tragic events that took place here, before visiting the Terezin Memorial to pay your respects.
5. Konopiste Castle[SEE MAP]
South of Prague lies the 17th-century Konopiste castle that Archduke Franz Ferdinand turned into his personal hunting lodge in 1887. The heir to the Habsburg throne used the lodge extensively until his assassination in 1914, assembling what is today the largest collection of mounted animals in Europe.
Hunting trophies fill the castle and include wild boars, birds of prey and hundreds of antlers. The lodge boasts a fine collection of Meissen porcelain as well. The castle moat is home to two live bears, and peacocks and other fowl roam the estates beautifully manicured gardens.
Getting to Konopiste Castle
- From Prague, it takes just over an hour to get to Konopiste Castle by public transport. You first need to take a 45-minute train ride to Benesov u Prahy. These depart regularly, and once you arrive, you can either walk half-an-hour through a lovely park or take a taxi there.
- Driving there yourself is another option; this is very simple to do and only takes 45 minutes. Just head south out of the city on Route 1, then turn off once you come to Route 3; this will take you to Benesov. From here, you’ll see signs pointing you to the castle. After exploring the castle, you could opt to drive on to visit the medieval town of Kutna Hora, which lies about an hour away to the east.
- Yet another option is to take a guided tour to the castle. This is not a bad idea if you’re interested in learning more about its history and amazing artistic treasures. Located in a beautiful setting, the castle is fascinating to explore, and its glorious rose garden is just as wonderful to relax in.
4. Karlovy Vary[SEE MAP]
Karlovy Vary, named after Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, who founded the city in 1370. It is famous for its hot springs and its colorful and whimsical architecture. A series of natural disasters have destroyed most of the buildings that existed before the heyday of Karlovy Vary in the 18th and 19th centuries but the town is still quite grand and picturesque, and the spa is still open over six centuries later. It also still claims miracle cures for dozens to hundreds of ailments.
Getting to Karlovy Vary
- The quickest and cheapest way to get to Karlovy Vary is by bus, and these depart every hour from Praha Florenc – the main bus terminal in the capital. The journey takes just over two hours, and once you arrive, you’ll find all the town’s main sights are within walking distance.
- It is slightly quicker to drive to Karlovy Vary yourself, and this means that you could make a slight detour and stop off at Krivoklat Castle on the way back to Prague. To get to Karlovy Vary, head west out of the city center and pick up Route 6, which will take you directly there. While this route does involve tolls, it should get you there in less than two hours.
- Many visitors to Prague who also want to check out Karlovy Vary opt to take a guided tour; this is one of the best ways to see the town and not have to worry about getting there and back. As well as taking you around the beautiful spa town, the tour also enables you to see how glassblowers work and sample the town’s legendary liquor, so you can get a taste for local life.
3. Castle Karlstejn[SEE MAP]
Once the summer residence for Charles IV, Karlstejn castle is an easy day trip from Prague, which makes it a convenient and popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. The trek up to the hilltop fortress offer gorgeous views of its towers and turrets as well as the pretty town below.
Inside, the castle’s star attraction is the Chapel of the Holy Cross where the king’s jewels were housed. Although the castle has been completely restored to its original medieval state, most rooms are off limits to the general public. The castle’s storybook façade, however, makes Karlstejn well worth a visit.
Getting to Castle Karlstejn
- Lying just to the southwest of Prague, Castle Karlstejn is quite easy to get to by public transport, although you will have to walk for 20 to 30 minutes once you arrive at Karlstejn train station. From Prague Main Station, it takes 50 minutes to get to Karlstejn, and the scenic journey takes you along the banks of the Berounka River. Trains depart every half-an-hour, and once you alight, you can either follow signs to the castle on foot or hop in a taxi to avoid the walk.
- By car, it only takes half-an-hour to get to Castle Karlstejn from the capital, depending on traffic. Head out of Prague on Route 4 and turn off onto the E50 to Zbuzany. At exit 19, turn off again and continue along Route 10121, after which, you simply need to follow the signs directing you to the castle. After seeing Karlstejn, you could drive a bit further to see Krivoklat Castle, which doesn’t lie too far away.
- If you want to learn more about Castle Karlstejn’s fascinating history, it is well worth joining a guided tour that takes you around the fortress. With an expert guide on hand, you’ll explore the fabulous Imperial Palace, Well Tower, and Chapel of the Holy Cross. Everywhere you go, you’ll get a close-up view of all the fantastic frescoes, paintings, and treasures that adorn the castle’s lavish halls and chambers.
2. Kutna Hora[SEE MAP]
The medieval town of Kutna Hora 80 km (50 miles) east of Prague is home to the famous “Bone Church,” Sedlec Ossuary. Located beneath the Church of All Saints, the interior of the small Roman Catholic chapel is decorated with human bones from an estimated 70,000 people killed by plagues and wars, and includes a chandelier that contains as least one of every bone in the human body.
With its vaulted ceiling and ornate frescoes, the 14th-century Cathedral of St. Barbara is worth seeing too. Other sights in this ancient silver mining town include the Italian Court where coins were once minted and Hradek castle, which features a tour of a 15th-century mine shaft.
Getting to Kutna Hora
- From Prague, it takes just an hour by train to get to Kutna Hora main station, and when you arrive, the famous ‘Bone Church’ lies just a ten-minute walk away. As the center of Kutna Hora is located around half-an-hour away by foot, after visiting the church, you may want to take the S28 bus to the city center, where you’ll find all the rest of its amazing sights on show.
- Driving to Kutna Hora yourself takes just over an hour. The easiest way to get there is to take Route 1 heading southeast out of the capital and turn off at exit 10. This will take you to Route 2, which you simply need to stay on all the way to Kutna Hora. Going by car means you can spend as long as you like in the town without having to worry about getting public transport there and back.
- A lovely way to see all the main sights in Kutna Hora is to sign up for a guided tour that takes you around the magnificent medieval center. Among the many highlights you’ll see are the chilling Bone Church and the majestic St. Barbara’s Cathedral, while free time allows you to explore the center at your leisure.
1. Cesky Krumlov[SEE MAP]
The medieval castle town of Cesky Krumlov 170 km (105 miles) south of Prague is situated at a crossing in the Vltava River, which made it an important city for trade from the 14th to 17th centuries. Most of the town’s original architecture is still intact. Standing on a hill overlooking the winding loops of the Vltava River, the massive Cesky Krumlov castle dominates the town.
In addition to the castle’s exquisite interiors, the grounds feature a large Rococo-style garden with a recently restored elaborate fountain. With its original stage machinery, props and scenery, the castle’s Baroque theatre is notable as well.
Getting to Cesky Krumlov
- From Prague Main Station, it takes just under three hours to get to Cesky Krumlov by train, and on the way, you pass through some lovely countryside. There is, however, only one direct train there and back each day at 8 AM and 2 PM respectively. Another alternative is first to take a train to Ceske Budejovice and then change to Cesky Krumlov if neither of those times suits your schedule. Once you arrive, everything in the picturesque town is within walking distance.
- By car, it only takes two hours to drive to Cesky Krumlov, and the directions couldn’t be easier. Simply head southeast out of Prague on the D3, then transfer onto Route 3, which will take you all the way. After exploring the town to your heart’s content, you could visit Konopiste Castle or Castle Karlstejn, which both lie on the way back to Prague.
- Another option for visiting Cesky Krumlov is to join a guided tour that takes you all around the magnificent town. With a guide on hand to tell you all about the amazing sights you come across, wandering around its narrow, winding streets is like stepping back in time. The undoubted highlight is the stunning Cesky Krumlov Castle, which looks out majestically over the town.