Czech Republic - The Home of Rübezahl
The stories about the myth-enshrowded Giant Mountains and their well-known dweller Rübezahl allure countless travellers to the country of the green forests and high sandstone towers every year. The Golden City of Prague promises history and an exciting nightlife - a travel destination of choice.
Geography - Three historical countries
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe and borders on Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. It can be divided into the three historical countries of Bohemia (west), Moravia (centre) and Czech Silesia (north-east) as well as into 14 regions. The climate is mostly temperate with four seasons. While the summers are pleasantly warm with an average temperature of 20° C, there is a lot of snow in the mountainous regions in winter, which is ideal for going skiing ang tobogganing.
Nature - The Roof of Europe
Spring, summer, autumn and winter - no matter at which time of the year you visit the Czech Republic, the country always blooms with natural beauty. The summer is bright and green, while the vast forests assume shades of red and orange in autumn. Cold winter months offer ideal conditions for snow hikes, especially in the mountains, and spring colours the meadows and pastures pastel. The Giant Mountains with their highest peak, Sněžka (1,602 m), are the ideal travel destination. Other popular tourist locations are the Hrubý Jeseník, the Ore Mountains and the Bohemian Forest. There are many rivers and lakes in the Czech Republic. As the Vltava, Elbe and Oder all flow out of the country, the Czech Republic is also called the "Roof of Europe". About 30 percent of the country's area are forested. Willows and lindens constitute the typical panorama. In addition, you see several real old-growth forests, which are protected now. Wood grouses, lynxes, deer and boars populate the forests and plains. In the sky, you see the characteristic white stork all over the country.
Natural sights - The underworld of the Czech Republic
When you travel to the Czech Republic, you should not miss out on a cable car ride to the top of the Sněžka. The wonderful view from the country's highest mountain is extraordinary. About two percent of the country are covered in natural and national parks. One of the most beautiful parks is the Bohemian Forest (Šumava) with its native peat bogs and scenic glacial lakes. The rocks and rock towns are also characteristic of the country. Gigantic sandstone towers string together and constitute a unique scenery. Broumovské stěny is a bizarre ridge with an oddly shaped peak. A must on everyone's trip to the Czeach Republic is a visit to a limestone cave. The caves near Litovel, the underground Vypustek Cave, Hranice Abyss (the deepest abyss) and the limestone cave Na Pomezí in the karst mountains are only a few examples of the country's vast cave complex. Other destinations are Vltava's river head, the Mumlavský waterfall and the glacial lake of Prášilské jezero.
Culture - The Czechs' pride
The foundation of Prague's university in 1348, Jan Hus' execution at the stake in 1415, the Defenestration of Prague, the Thirty Years' War, the Czech National Revival and the rule of the House of Habsburg over Bohemia - the Czech Republic looks back on an exciting and chequered history. The union of Czechoslovakia after World War I, the Prague Spring and the separation into two independent republics in 1993 did not happen very long ago and are still deeply ingrained in the population's cultural identity. Prague, the "Golden City", was one of the most significant centres of culture and trade in the Middle Ages. The Czechs accomplished a lot in the area of art, architecture, music and literature and have reason to be proud of their country. They are down-to-earth and sociable towards guests but melancholy, national pride and an individual sense of humour go hand in hand here. The best-known and most widely spread phenomena are the legends of the grumpy mountain spirit Rübezahl, who is said to make trouble in the Giant Mountains. Many local places are mentioned in these legends and are visited by travellers of all ages, especially in summer.
Cultural sights - The cultural centre of Prague
A dozen of World Heritage sites of the UNESCO, several invaluable historical cities, hundreds of castles and monasteries - it would take ages to list all cultural treasures of the Czech Republic. There is hardly any other country which has a denser network of castles and ruins with this many myths, stories and legends. The most beautiful castle is probably Hluboká Castle. Of course, the main attraction is the country's capital at the Vltava. Golden City or City of 100 Towers - Prague has many names and faces. It is without doubt one of the most appealing European cities. Its old town, Prague Castle and the famous Charles Bridges are particularly popular with tourists and locals. Other historical cities are Pilsen (Plzeň) with its brewery, Budweis, Brno and Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary).
Experience - Tasting delicacies, relaxing and going out
Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj), Budweiser and Staropramen - Czech beer is known across the country's borders. Besides the beer, there are several great wine-growing areas in the region of Moravia. The local cuisine shares many commonalities with Austria and Germany and the Bohemian cuisine is particularly worth trying. Carp at Christmas, pork, beef and deer for the rest of the year - the Czechs like it hearty. Every visitor should taste knedlíky (a kind of dumpling), the breaded pork cutlet smažený řízek and the sweet pastry trdelník on their trip through the Czech Republic. In the great shopping centres, holidaymakers can buy anything from Bohemian crystal glass to the herbal liqueur Becherovka to the spa wafers from Carlsbad. The Czech Republic has developed into a popular spa destination. The historical spa resorts in the West Bohemian Spa Triangle (Carlsbad, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně) fascinate with wonderful mineral springs and wholesome baths. In addition, the country accommodates some of the best party metropolises in the whole of Europe. Prague's exciting nightlife is intense and offers bars, clubs, discos, pubs and party miles for travellers of all ages and all financial possibilities.
Activities - Hiking and doing winter sports
Swimming, bathing, sailing and wind surfing are possible in and on the great reservoirs in the Czech Republic. There are several very beautiful and clean ones. Fishing at the rivers has a long tradition. Common fish are trout and salmon. You can also go on exciting rafting and canoeing tours along the rivers. Hiking and trekking tourism is particularly popular in the Czech Republic and cycling is in vogue too. The Giant Mountains and the national parks are well-developed and signposted for tourists. The high altitudes come alive in winter. They accommodate over 200 large and smaller skiing regions. The best-known and greatest winter sports centre is located in the Giant Mountains. Harrachov and Špindlerův Mlýn are common starting points for going skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing. You find more beautiful winter sports resorts in the Bohemian Forest and the Orlické Mountains.
The official language in the Czech Republic is Czech but people also understand Russian and English in many parts of the country. In the border area to Germany, the German language is common. Of course, every Czech inhabitant is delighted when travellers know polite phrases in the language of their hosts. The country's infrastructure is well-developed. Tourist destinations can be reached by both train and bus as well as by car.
Wonderful mountainous landscapes and deep forests make the Czech Republic the ideal destination for lovers of nature. Holidaymakers who want to relax are in good hands in one of the spa resorts. The capital of Prague offers parties and big city atmosphere.