Prague: fairy-tale charm, amazing architecture

The Czech Republic is an amazingly diverse country. It has numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, lovely parks, historic towns, castle that look like they just stepped out of a fairy tale, bustling night life and beer. And, we’re not going to downplay the importance of beer. The Czech Republic has one of the oldest beer cultures in history. Beer is actually cheaper than water here. It’s a food group. But even if you don’t drink beer, the Czech Republic and its capital, Prague, are a fabulous vacation spot. If the Czech Republic is one of your upcoming vacation spots, GetAway Travel is ready to help plan your adventure. 

Fun facts, beer and wine 

 Landlocked with Austria to the South, Germany to the West, Poland to the Northeast and Slovakia to the Southeast, the Czech Republic has some of the cleanest air in Europe! It is considered one of the most livable cities in Europe. It is one of the most visited cities in Europe because of its cultural and historical sites. The country has a bewildering mix of architectural styles including: romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque, classicist, art nouveau, cubism and functionalism. 

St Vitus Cathedral – Prague

With all that splendid architecture, the second ugliest building in the world is located in Prague. The 700-foot high Žižkov Television Tower can’t be missed when you look at the city skyline. A holdover from the communist reign in the city, there’s an observation platform at 300 feet which offers great views of the city. Artist David Cerny created 10 faceless fiberglass infants which can be seen climbing the tower. 

Žižkov Television Tower – Prague

There are unique and interesting parks in Europe, but none fit that bill better than Bohemian Paradise in the north of Czech Republic. It has sandstone rock labyrinths, hiking trails, castle ruins and the Bozkov dolomite caves where you can see Czechia’s largest underground lakes. 

Bohemian Paradise Park

The Czech Republic produces more than 20 million liters of beer each year. Germany is the only other country that has more breweries than the Czech Republic. But, Czechs drink more beer per capita than any other country. The first pilsner (a lager beer with strong hop flavor) in the world was produced in the Czech Republic and is still sold under the brand Pilsner Urquell. 

Original Czech Pilsner – still the best

There are lively beer gardens all over the city with live music and many offer beer flights so you can taste a few beers and decide which you like. You can also try beer spas, beer shampoo and even beer cosmetics. 

Bernard Beer Spa – promotional image

Even though it’s known as beer country, there are some fine wines produced in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic. The warm climate in that area coupled with lots of sun creates lush vineyards and flowery, earthy wines. Znojmo, is a little more than two hours from Prague as is Mikulov. They both have an impressive number of wine-tasting cellars. 

Architectural wonders and oddities 

Schönborn Palace in Prague was built by Maria Theresa for her husband, Francis II after he became emperor of Austria-Hungary in 1765. The palace has beautiful rooms with fabulous artwork including paintings by Ruben and VanDyk. 

Troja Palace

 Prague Castle is in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest castle. The castle and property is more than 753,000 square feet. There are lovely winding streets and buildings that are architectural delights. The “palace” is actually multiple sections including the old Royal Palace and St. Vitus Cathedral. The cathedral is the most important church in the Czech Republic. It is a classic example of gothic architecture. With its quirky gargoyles, soaring stained glass windows, gilded statues inside and the crowned jewels, its a must-see. 

Prague Castle complex with St Vitus Cathedral

Charles University is one of Europe’s oldest academic establishments. It was founded in 1348 and it is in Prague’s Old Town. The Old Town area has a fascinating, eclectic mix of architectural styles. Look up as you walk around because most of the building has some sort of ornamentation up top. There’s carvings, gargoyles, wandering minstrels and a 7-foot statue of Sigmund Freud. 

Charles Bridge

Prague is home to at least 70 museums. Some of them showcase the usual historic artifacts and great artwork, but there are some unusual offerings, too. You can visit the Museum of Communism, the Alchemy Museum, the Sex Machine Museum, the Franz Kafka Museum as well as the Apple Museum, the Lego Museum and the Giant Railway Museum. 

Prague’s National Museum

Speaking of unusual, Kutna Hora, a UNESCO site just outside of Prague, is a former silver mining town. In it is the Sedlec Ossuary, a Roman Catholic chapel decorated with 40 to 70,000 human bones. 

Stunning stained glass in St Vitus

The Lennon Wall, located in Lesser Town in Prague, is dedicated to the musician who was a pacifist. He is a folk hero in the Czech Republic. His wall is decorated with a fascinating mixture of colorful political messages. 

The John Lennon wall – Prague

You can find the Dancing House in New Town. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, it is a salute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It contains office space, a restaurant, art gallery and rooftop terrace. If you purchase tickets to the gallery, you can access the rooftop. 

The Dancing House – Prague

The Astronomical Clock of Prague or Prague Orloj, is near city hall. It is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still operating. 

Astronomical Clock in Prague – first installed in 1410

The medieval stone arch Charles Bridge in Prague is said to be haunted. The first stone for the bridge was actually set by King Charles IV. He was fascinated by numerology and he set the stone on July 9, 1357, at 5:31 a.m. because the date and time reads the same forwards and backwards. Legend says 27 noblemen who plotted to overthrow the king were executed in Old Town and 12 of their heads were displayed on the bridge. The 12 supposedly march across the bridge to Old Town Square each year. 

View from the Charles Bridge

 If the charm and architecturally wonders of Prague and the Czech Republic interest you, GetAway Travel can help plan your trip. Contact a travel advisor at (262) 538-2140, e-mail: or 

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