Browsed by
Tag: czech republic

Exploring the Czech Republic: the Pardubice Region

Exploring the Czech Republic: the Pardubice Region

Last year, more than 10 million tourists came to the Czech Republic- a number which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of the Czech Republic. Of those 10 million tourists, approximately 70% of them came to the capital city, Prague. While Prague is an absolutely beautiful city full of incredible history, architecture, food, and culture, there are 12 other regions of the country left to be explored, and each offers something incredible for visitors. Pardubice is one of those regions, and its proximity to Prague makes the Pardubice Region an excellent location to explore more of what the Czech Republic has to offer.

Map of Czech Republic

Exploring the Pardubice Region


A trip to the Pardubice Region would logically begin in its capital city, Pardubice. This city dates to the 13th century when it was founded by Arnošt of Pardubice, the first Archbishop of Prague during the reign King Charles IV. Today, the city reflects its medieval history, with a nod to its rise in the 20th century as a central connection point between the country’s major cities: Prague, Brno, and Ostrava.

The first thing that you’ll notice about the city of Pardubice is its stunningly bright and colorful architecture. A stroll through the town’s main square will demonstrate just how beautiful the town’s architecture is. It’s no surprise that the phrase “Shine like Pardubice” was a popular phrase for local Bohemians beginning in the 16th century.

Pardubice Chateau

The city’s development can largely be contributed to the Pernštejn family, and the name Pernštejn can be found in every nook and cranny throughout the region. Most famously, the Pardubice Chateau was reconstructed by the Pernštejn family in the late 15th century into the castle and chateau we see today. The Pardubice Chateau now houses the Museum of East Bohemia.

Kunětická Hora Castle

The Czech Republic is really the ideal country for castle-lovers, and the Pardubice region is no exception. Just outside of the city of Pardubice is the Kunětická Hora Castle, a 14th century castle. The castle sits on one of the only hills in that part of the region, so it’s a truly idyllic spot amongst the farmland. The castle is accessible from Pardubice by public bus, or by taxi which would be reasonably low cost due to a regulation on fares within the city limits that would cap a portion of the fare to the castle.

Kunětická Hora Castle

The Kunětická Hora Castle is now a museum with permanent and temporary exhibitions showcasing the castle’s history, including archeological discoveries. The castle is open from April-October each year, and the visit to the castle is self-guided.

Pardubicky Pivovar (Pardubice Brewery)

A visit to any region in Bohemia would be incomplete without a visit to a local brewery. Pilsner Urquell is amongst the most famous in the Czech Republic, but each region (sometimes each city!) will have its own local brew- often even better than the mass-produced varieties like Pilsner. In Pardubice, this brewery is called the Pardubicky Pivovar (Pardubice Brewery in English), and produces a wide variety of beers whose namesakes nod to the more famous developers of the city and region.

The Pernštejn beer comes in several varieties (light, semi-dark, Vilém 11, Premium, and Granát 13). If you’re at a pub in Pardubice, the light variety is likely to be on tap, and it’s delicious. The pride and joy of the Pardubicky Pivovar, however, is the Porter, which has been brewed with the exact same recipe for over 120 years. This is a dark beer with a thick, creamy foam, and has some sweet notes to it. Even if you typically don’t like dark beer, you’ll probably like this one- it’s very drinkable!

If you’re interested in touring the Pardubicky Pivovar, be sure to call at least 10 days in advance to schedule your tour. Tours are available in Czech, English, Russian, and Swedish. The tour allows you to taste unfiltered and unpasteurized beer straight from the tank, and allows you to visit the brewery’s special microbrewery called Arnošt after the city’s founder.

The National Stud in Kladruby nad Labem

Usually a national stud farm wouldn’t be on a “top places to see in…” list, but the Czech National Stud is truly unique in both its history and architecture. Even non-equestrians will love a stroll through the National Stud to learn of its role in Czech history, its development, and its modern achievements.

National Stud in Kladruby nad Labem

The National Stud in Kladruby nad Labem is one of the oldest stud farms in the world, and is home to the Kladruber horse breed. These horses are used primarily for ceremonial purposes and carriages, and are similar in build, nature, and color to the Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The horses are all either white or black, with some of the foals born black and turning to pure white in adulthood. The Danish king apparently still purchases all of his ceremonial horses from this stud farm, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge currently have a foal in training there!

The land at Kladruby nad Labem was held by the aforementioned Pernštejn family, and was used as a deer and horse park in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. In 1560, the property was acquired by the Austro-Hungarian monarchs, and the stud farm was established in 1563. It was eventually made the official Imperial Court Stud Farm, and was held by the monarchy until its collapse in 1918. After the end of the first World War, the stud farm continued to breed these specialized horses for ceremonial purposes in the new Republic. After the end of the second World War, the stud farm continued to be held in the state’s possession, where it remains today.

The National Stud in Kladruby nad Labem is only about 30 minutes from Pardubice. The easiest way to get there is by private car, but you can also catch a train to Recany nad Labem, and a taxi (3.6 km) from there to the stable.

The stud farm is open from April-October for regular tours, and by appointment outside of this peak season. You have the option of visiting the stables, castle, carriage house/museum, forester’s house, and the lookout tower, or all of the above! If you purchase tickets for the stables, carriage house, and castle, you’ll also be able to visit the forester’s house and lookout tower for no extra charge on the same day.

Tours are provided in Czech, English, and German; if you’d like a tour in English or German, you should plan to book in advance (5 person minimum required). Alternatively, you can join a Czech tour with audio guides or printed text to facilitate your tour if you have less than 5 people with you. Tours leave every hour between 10 am and 4 pm, and if you’re planning to visit all locations, you should begin with a tour at 1 pm in order to see everything before the end of the day!

Pardubice Racecourse

If you’re not all done with horses after a visit to the National Stud, Pardubice boasts another famous horse-related activity.

The Pardubice Racecourse is just outside of the city next to the Pardubice airport, and hosts one of the most difficult steeplechase events in Europe, Velká Pardubická. This event has run for more than 140 years with only brief periods of interruption during the country’s most trying historical times. The race includes a total of 31 obstacles, and is 6900 meters (4.29 miles). One of these obstacles, the Taxis Ditch, is one of the most difficult in the world, and is the reason why some rider/horse teams do not finish the race.

The racing season begins in May, and concludes with the Velká Pardubická in mid-October each year. The Velká Pardubická brings out over 20,000 spectators at the stadium, with more than 3,000,000 watching on television.


Set in the Iron Mountains, a beautiful mountain region in central Czech Republic that borders the Pardubice and Vysočina Regions, Seč is a great point to begin your exploration of this landscape.

Seč Dam and the Oheb Castle

The Seč Dam is an artificial reservoir located in the northern tip of the Iron Mountains. In the summer, it offers excellent swimming, boating, and other outdoor activities in its beautiful waters. If you’re into outdoor activities, there are also plenty of campgrounds on the Dam that makes it an excellent get-away in Eastern Bohemia. Be forewarned that swimming in Seč Dam should be done early in the summer, as the dry weather in the region can make the water eventually un-swimmable in late August.Seč Dam at sunset

High above the Seč Dam sits a 14th century castle that’s camouflaged almost perfectly from the water. The Oheb Castle is a gothic castle that overlooks the Dam, and is part of a fantastic hike through the Iron Mountains. From personal experience, I can recommend these medieval ruins as an excellent backdrop for a Pardubice sunset.

Veselý Kopec

One of my favorite sites of the Pardubice Region is Veselý Kopec, an open-air museum of folk architecture southeast of Seč. Unfortunately, this is only realistically accessible by private car, but it’s well worth the rental.

Vesely Kopec Village

The museum at Veselý Kopec is a small village that showcases traditional Bohemian-Moravian Highland cottages which were used even until the 1950’s. Four of the houses in the village are original to that specific location, and the rest were moved from elsewhere in the country to the museum to showcase the full breadth of this architecture. More importantly, this village does an exemplary job of demonstrating the way of life of the inhabitants of these cottages. It’s amazing to walk through all of the structures, seeing authentic furnishings and decorations, and imagining how life was lived by the average villager in the Czech Republic for more than 100 years.

Veselý Kopec is open from late-April until the end of October each year, except for a few special events during the winter.

Spa and Wellness in the Forest

If you’re so inclined to take a break during your exploration of the Pardubice Region, you may consider stopping off at a local spa. Czechs are very invested in the idea of wellness for vacation- your doctor can actually prescribe you a visit to a spa in this country! This may be one of my favorite things about Czech culture, as I tend to indulge in spa visits when on vacation myself. In Pardubice, I visited the spa at Hotel Jezerka, a hotel located in the middle of the forest not far from the Seč Dam.

The hotel itself caters largely to conferences throughout the year, and families in the public areas in the summer, but the spa and wellness areas are adult-only. The spa at Hotel Jezerka is the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen. There is 800 square meters of spa space, with 11 different saunas/steam rooms/etc., plus several pools and whirlpools of various temperatures. As is typical in this country, the spa is bathing suit-free, but you can rent a spa robe if you don’t bring one yourself- just be prepared for this cultural experience!

Hotel Jezerka Spa

The spa has an entrance fee of 290 CZK which you can pay at the spa reception desk, and is well worth the 90-minute visit. The spa also has 4 massage rooms, and offers a variety of treatments.


In my opinion, Litomyšl is one of the most underrated cities in the Czech Republic. The birthplace of the Czech composer Smetana, this town has the air of inspiration with just a quick peak at its architecture.

Litomyšl Castle

Your likely starting point in Litomyšl will be the castle hill, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The Litomyšl castle which dominates this hill is one of the only castles north of the Alps that has a 3-sided open portico in the Italian Renaissance style. The envelope etchings on the sides of the castle are all completely unique, and lavishly decorate all exteriors of the castle. The castle itself boasts rooms decorated to perfection, as well as an 18th century Baroque theatre preserved with all of its original scenery and equipment.

The castle is open from April-October each year, with two different tour options. Tours in English are available with a group reservation of 15 people or more; otherwise, English speakers can join the Czech tour with printed information.

Interested in staying at the Litomyšl Castle? Check out these apartments within the Castle complex!

Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross

Just outside the gates of the Litomyšl Castle towers the Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross, which is also on the UNESCO world heritage list. This church was abandoned after 1968, and was reconstructed with some modern touches between 2011-2015. Now, this church is a central site of Litomyšl, opening its doors for worship as well as public cultural events as it was historically used.

Church in Litomysl

This is an incredibly unique church in the Czech Republic, as it maintains many of its historic features with modern instillations that recognize and remember its struggle to survive the late 20th century. Entrance to the church is free, but it’s well worth purchasing a ticket to climb into the bell tower for stunning views over the town of Litomyšl, as well as to admire the unique details of the church from above.

Birthplace of Smetana

It’s no wonder that a town such as Litomyšl is home to such an incredible composer; anyone would be inspired after spending a few hours in the town. Bedřich Smetana was born within the castle complex because his father was the brewmaster. The Birthplace of Smetana is located just opposite the entrance to Litomyšl Castle. The museum is within the rooms of the former residence, and demonstrate how Smetana would have lived, as well as provide information about his life and work. It’s well worth a visit, especially if you’ll already be visiting the Castle.

The museum is open from April-October.

Nové Hrady

Just about 15 minutes from Litomyšl is yet another stunning Czech chateau. This chateau, Nové Hrady, is an amazing and rare example of Rococo architecture. This castle is still inhabited by private owners, but a visit to the castle allows you to stroll through the castle gardens, which are vast. This is the ideal place for a trip outside of Litomyšl to enjoy the grounds of the castle and the stunning architecture for a couple of hours.

The Pardubice Region in the Czech Republic is absolutely idyllic. With its capital city only a 1 hour train ride away from Prague, the Pardubice Region is the perfect spot for a day or weekend away from the city. Prague is certainly an important city in the Czech Republic, not to mention beautiful, but it’s also not totally representative of the rest of the Czech Republic, its history, its architecture, or its culture.

The Czech Republic offers many beautiful destinations outside of Prague, Czech Republic. Take a trip to the Pardubice Region, either as a day trip from Prague or a weekend trip while you're in the Czech Republic. Pardubice offers history, art, culture, and adventure that you won't find anywhere else traveling in Europe! #travel #czechrepublic

Thank you to Czech Tourism for inviting me on my trip to the Pardubice Region. As always, all opinions are my own.

Interested in visiting the Pardubice Region, but don’t know where to start? Book a travel consultation with me, and I’ll help you plan your trip from beginning to end!

Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book using the link on my website, I’ll be paid a percentage of your booking fee at absolutely no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog by using these links! As always, all opinions are my own, and all recommendations are based on my own personal experience.

Like this post? Remember to follow on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter to see all of my latest content!

Prague Airport: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Prague Airport: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

How often do we travel through airports without really considering what goes on behind the scenes? I never really consider these inner-workings unless I’m endlessly frustrated by a lost bag or seemingly useless flight delay. Well, thanks to the kindness of the communications team at Prague Airport, I was able to see exactly what it takes to fly me to my favorite destinations. As a Prague inhabitant, I fly out of Prague Airport quite often, so I was thrilled to explore this particular airport- it’s almost like a second home!

Arriving to Prague? Check out my guides to Hotels and Restaurants in Prague!

The Start of Your Journey at Prague Airport

When you first arrive to Prague Airport, the first logical step is checking in and dropping off your bags. If you’re departing from Terminal 2, which is the terminal for all Schengen area flights, you have the benefit of adding Private Check-In to your airport experience. In almost all cases, this is the kind of thing I would recommend skipping, but what Prague Airport offers is well worth the 999 CZK in value. With this service, you will drop your bags and travel documents at the VIP check-in desk and proceed to the Raiffeisen Bank lounge. There, you’ll have access to typical lounge amenities including drinks and snacks. While you wait, your travel documents, boarding pass, and checked-in baggage tag will be delivered to you in time for you to go through a private security screening just before your flight boards.

I have access to this lounge as a Raiffeisen Bank customer, so I was already familiar with its services even prior to this tour of Prague Airport; the lounge and amenities it offers are fantastic, especially the private security screening. Seriously, I loath having to go through “regular” security screenings at all now that I’ve lived in the lap of luxury at Prague Airport.

60% of Prague Airport’s flights department from Terminal 2, so it’s likely you’ll have the chance to use this service. If not, unfortunately there is no similar service in Terminal 1, although there is still a Raifeissen Lounge after immigration control that you can utilize.

After Check-In

While you’re lounging away at the Raiffeisen Lounge, or in the departures area, there is loads happening to get you from Prague to your destination on time and with all of your baggage. First, your baggage moves through an absolutely massive baggage sorting area to go through a security check and to be loaded onto the correct plane. Honestly, this is one piece of Prague Airport that I had never really thought about before, but I was stunned to see just how large this sorting and processing area was. Think Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but with no chocolate and loads of suitcases. It was just never-ending belts, scanners, and x-ray machines with the occasional airport staff member moving things along.

While your baggage is moving right along, there is still the aircraft to consider. Prague Airport is a Coordinated Airport that uses the A-CDM (Airport Coordinated Decision Making) method of airport coordination. This means that all flights are scheduled into very specific time slots, and all processes regarding the arrival, turn-around, pre-departure, and take-off of flights are highly predictable based on sequencing processes. This all sounds very complicated, but in fact, it’s very logical, and it explains why a small delay can turn into a much bigger delay if a flight misses its window for take-off. Currently, Prague Airport uses one runway for all major take offs and landings, so it is crucial that all aircraft maintain tight schedules. The Command Operations Center is carefully controlling this while you stroll through the airport sipping your second cappuccino to ensure that all flights take off and land safely and efficiently.

Prague Airport does technically operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, but because of noise restrictions, its overnight flights are very limited which leads to even tighter controls of flight times during the day. One small delay can really uproot the entire system, so the room for error is limited.

In Case of Emergency

Prague Airport is well-prepared to handle any type of emergency that may occur on or off the runway. After 2001, security in the airport increased tenfold, like it did internationally. Fortunately, Prague Airport’s security is incredibly efficient, even if you’re not using the private security screening. In Terminal 1, security takes place as you enter your gate, which means each gate has its own security checkpoint. Once you pass the immigration desks, you’re free to roam security checkpoint-free until your gate opens! In Terminal 2, there is a more traditional centralized security, but the lines move at impressive speed. I still prefer my Raifeissen personal screening, because who needs to rush when you can be the only person at security?

Security concerns are not the only types of potential emergencies that airports face. Another which is less-often considered, but still vital for staff to consider, is the potential of fire somewhere at the airport, on a plane, or on a runway. Prague Airport has invested heavily into its fire brigade, and now owns 4 Panther vehicles, which are quite easily the coolest emergency vehicles I’ve ever seen. I’m a former EMT, so I’ve seen my fair share of emergency vehicles, but these really top the cake. Imagine a firetruck that needs only one person to operate the entire thing including the water and foam hoses? These vehicles (worth more than $1 million each) do just that. In fact, the Prague Airport Fire Brigade is well known to be the best fire company in the entire country, and is sometimes called to the nearby highway for large-scale emergencies- who knew!

Time for Take Off!

As I mentioned, there is just one runway for all commercial take offs and landings at Prague Airport. There is also a smaller runway for Terminal 3 where the fancy planes (ie. private charters) take off, but us regulars don’t tend to use that one too often! This runway is carefully managed, however, to prevent any kind of back-up so there really aren’t too many lines of planes waiting around to take off or circling around waiting to land.

Right now, the largest type of plane servicing Prague Airport is the Airbus A380, with Emirates Airlines running flights to and from Dubai daily. These big planes are a bit few and far between, however. You’re more likely to see standard-sized planes used to shuttle passengers from Prague Airport to transfer hubs in Europe. Every once in a while, you’ll catch a smaller charter flight- ranging from private jets to the Cessna 206 I got to take a spin in from Terminal 3!

Prague Airport is such an incredible organizational achievement. I fly internationally quite regularly almost always out of Prague Airport, and I’ve never been disappointed by the level of service provided by all staff members. Everything always seems to run very smoothly, and I find it’s one of the few airports I fly from where I have no pre-flight stress from security lines, long check-in lines, or flight delays that threaten my travel plans.

If you’re interested in seeing a back-stage look at Prague Airport, check out these guided tours! Not all stops I’ve mentioned are included in the public tour (like the Command Ops, for example), but these tours will still be an excellent way for any aviation fan to get an inside-look into one of Europe’s fastest growing airports.

This tour of Prague Airport was provided to me free of charge. As always, all opinions are honest and based on my own experiences.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Prague Airport, the largest airport in the Czech Republic. Prague is the largest and most beautiful city in the Czech Republic, with loads of architecture, history, and culture to explore! #prague #czechrepublic #pragueairport


Interested in visiting Prague, but don’t know where to start? Book a travel consultation with me, and I’ll help you to plan your perfect trip from A to Z!

Like this post? Remember to follow on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter to see all of my latest content!

A Local’s Guide to Hotels & Hostels in Prague

A Local’s Guide to Hotels & Hostels in Prague

With more than 3,000 hotels in Prague listed on, it’s no wonder why one of my most frequently asked questions is for hotel recommendations. In a city as popular as Prague, there is no shortage of accommodation options. Some travelers prefer the privacy of an Airbnb apartment, but depending on the time of year, this may not be the best option. After several years of living in Prague, I’ve had experiences with several hotels of varying price-points, and certainly now have a few to recommend. I’ve categorized my hotel recommendations by hotel category: High-End Luxury, Mid-Range Extravagance, and Hostel Charm.

Looking for good places to eat while you’re in Prague? Check out my Expat’s Guide to Restaurants in Prague!

Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book using the link on my website, I’ll be paid a percentage of your booking fee at absolutely no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog by using these links! As always, all opinions are my own, and all recommendations are based on my own personal experience. This post was not sponsored by any hotel or hotel group.

High-End Luxury

There are many high-end hotels throughout the city of Prague, and fortunately, many don’t carry the price tags of luxury hotels in other European capitals. If you’d like to treat yourself to an indulgent hotel stay, Prague is an excellent city to visit!

BoHo Hotel Prague

The BoHo Hotel is situated right in down town Prague, only minutes away from both Náměstí Republiky and Vaclavské Náměstí (Wenceslas Square). Tucked on to a side street and unassuming from the sidewalk, I was amazed at how large and elegant the hotel is once inside. When guests arrive, they are greeted with a welcome drink at the beautiful lobby bar while their rooms are prepared. Once in their rooms, each guest is given a photo book of Prague created especially for the hotel- and guests are even provided with a city tour to learn more about the artist and photos, which decorate all of the rooms!

Hotel in Prague

After a long day of exploring Prague, guests can participate in a daily Moravian wine tasting in the stunning restaurant/breakfast room, or unwind in the library. This hotel even offers a spa with a beautiful jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna for guests to use.

Hotel in Prague

I was so impressed by the attention to detail throughout all of the rooms and common spaces in this hotel. It’s truly a spot to pamper yourself while enjoying a visit to Prague.

Price range:

  • Off-season- €240/night in a standard room, breakfast included
  • High season- €300/night in a standard room, breakfast included

Carlo IV, The Dedica Anthology Hotel

The Carlo IV Hotel is located just a few minutes from the main train station (hlavní nádraží) and Wenceslas Square in the city center of Prague. Part of the Dedica Anthology of Italian-owned hotels, it’s no surprise that this hotel drips in opulence. The lobby is outfitted with gorgeous chandeliers, and the rooms are beautiful, comfortable, and charming. The best part of this hotel, however, is its spa located in the basement of the hotel. Guests have access to a large pool with lounge areas, a steam room and sauna, and a wide range of lovely spa treatments to choose from.

Price range:

  • Off-season- €150/night in a standard room, breakfast included
  • High season- €185/night in a standard room, breakfast included

Mid-Range Extravagance

If luxury hotels in Prague are overwhelming to choose from, mid-range options are even more vast. It’s hard to know which hotels will provide you with what you need, with just that little bit of extra comfort, without having visited before.

Miss Sophie’s

Miss Sophie’s is located in Prague 2 in between I.P. Pavlova and Karlovo Náměstí. It’s just a short tram ride (5 minutes) away from the historic city center of Prague, and is in one of the most popular residential neighborhoods of the city. Miss Sophie’s is a small, boutique hotel that is just oozing with charm.

Double Room at Miss Sophie's in Prague

At Miss Sophie’s, guests are treated to simple, elegantly decorated rooms with loads of natural light. Each room is stylish and inviting, and each is slightly different which gives the hotel a very unique atmosphere. There is a lovely garden just behind reception that is available for guests to use, and the hotel has recently installed a small spa for its guests. Breakfast is served across the street at Sophie’s Hostel, which offers 24-hour reception and bar, and a lovely hot or cold breakfast selection.

Hotels in Prague

Miss Sophie’s gives every impression of being a high-end hotel without the staggering price point. You’ll be treated to every comfort and convenience during your stay, I can’t imagine a better place from which to explore Prague.

Price range:

  • Off-season- €80/night in a standard double room (breakfast for an additional €7)
  • High season- €120/night in a standard double room (breakfast for an additional €7)

Hostel Charm

There is nothing like the experience of staying in a hostel, and Prague has an absolute wealth of hostel choices available with some of the lowest prices for a capital city in Europe. So, how do you know which one will give you bed bugs, and which one will allow you to meet the best traveling friends you could imagine? As a traveler who was stayed in many hostels over the years, I like to think that I’ve gained a knack for picking decent hostels, but it’s so hard to choose when you’ve never visited a city before.

Sophie’s Hostel

A sister property of the aforementioned Miss Sophie’s, Sophie’s Hostel is easily the most beautiful hostel I’ve ever seen. With apartments, private rooms, and dorm rooms available, Sophie’s Hostel offers everything that any type of traveler could possibly want. The private rooms and apartments are separated from the shared dormitory spaces, giving those rooms the essence of a true hotel- you really wouldn’t know that you were even in a hostel (except for the price)!

Hotels in Prague

The dormitory rooms, on the other hand, are clean, safe, and well-kept with beautiful common facilities. Each bed has its own reading light, small locker near the bed, and outlet (!), as well as a larger rolling locker under the bed. Bring your own locks, and you will never need to worry about your things going missing here. Sheets are included at no additional cost- you don’t even need to unmake your bed at the end of your stay!

Dorm Room in Sophie's Hostel in Prague

Breakfast for both Miss Sophie’s and Sophie’s Hostel is served in the lobby of the hostel, with both hot and cold buffet options available depending on your preferences and budget. Sophie’s Hostel guests also have access to a common kitchen, in case they would prefer to prepare their own meals.

The prices in the private rooms and apartments in high season are comparable to the double standard rooms in Miss Sophie’s in off season, so staying at Sophie’s Hostel is a great option if you’re on a budget when visiting Prague in the summer months.

Price range:

  • Off-season- €10-20/night in a dorm room, depending on the size of the dorm (breakfast for an additional €7)
  • High season- €20-30/night in a dorm room, depending on the size of the dorm (breakfast for an additional €7)

Sophie’s Hostel is admittedly not the cheapest hostel option in Prague. Fortunately, the same hotel group that runs Sophie’s Hostel to such a high standard has a few other properties in the city! For lower budget options, check out the Czech Inn Hostel or Sir Toby’s Hostel.

If you’re planning to visit Prague and need some help planning your trip, book a travel consultation with me! I’ll be happy to plan out your itinerary to ensure that you get the most out of this beautiful city.

Like this post? Remember to follow on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter to see all of my latest content!

A Local's Guide to Hotels and Hostels in Prague. Plan your next European vacation to travel in the Czech Republic and find the best accommodation. Prague is a beautiful city with amazing architecture and history in the middle of Europe. Prague is the best city from which to explore Europe. #travel #Prague #CzechRepublic

Day Trip from Prague: The Český Šternberk Castle

Day Trip from Prague: The Český Šternberk Castle

With nearly 3 million visitors per year to its capital city alone, the Czech Republic certainly doesn’t disappoint with many beautiful places to visit. Day trips from Prague, the Czech Republic’s capital, are a common enterprise for tourists who are lucky enough to have several days to spare. Fortunately, there are a ton of incredible places to see near the city, but few rank as highly as the stunning castles dotting the countryside. The Czech Republic has one of the highest numbers of castles in Europe, and they range from medieval ruins to gorgeous country chateaus (Zámek). The Český Šternberk Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in the country, with a remarkable history that makes it a great day trip from Prague!

The Český Šternberk Castle

The Český Šternberk Castle (or Sternberg Castle in its original German name) is located about 45-60 minutes east of Prague in the direction of Brno. Founded in 1241, the Český Šternberk Castle was named in German based on the owner’s coat of arms (a star- Stern) and its location (a mountain- Berg). The Sternberg Castle has been held by the same family since its founding, which means that it’s now held by the 20th generation of the Sternberg family!

Cesky Sternberk Castle

To visit the interiors of the castle, you’ll need to book on to a tour. Tours are available in Czech, English, German, Russian, and French, and written material can be provided in several other languages should your language not be included in this list. The tour brings you to the 2nd floor of the castle, which is situated above the living quarters of the Sternberg family. Zdeněk Sternberg, the current owner of the castle and descendent of the same Sternberg family that has owned the castle since the 13th century, still resides on the first floor. As the property is privately owned, the cost of maintaining the castle is subsidized by tourist visits to some of the historic rooms which still maintain their historic furnishings, art, and architecture.

Cesky Sternberk castle tour

The guides employed by the castle are excellent, and will do a good job of walking you through the rooms of the castle and explaining the history of the Sternberg family, as well as the historic context of the castle. The grand hall of the castle, the first room on the tour, speaks to the absolute regal-ness of the Sternberg family and its legacy. The Sternberg family was one of the most prominent aristocratic families in Czech history, and the remnants of their heritage can be found throughout the country. In Prague, only steps away from Prague Castle is the Šternberk Palace, which was once owned by the family but is now one of the many buildings of Prague’s national gallery. The Sternbergs were responsible for the creation of both the Czech National Museum and National Gallery, so we have much to thank them for in terms of the cultural heritage of Central Europe.

In addition to the beautiful interiors of the castle, it’s worth venturing to the Hladomorna, the south-facing bastion of the castle built in the 15th and 16th centuries. It’s now in relative ruins, but a climb to the top will give you a spectacular view over the landscape of the region.

View of Cesky Sternberk

How to visit the Český Šternberk Castle

Český Šternberk is only 57 km (35 miles) from Prague, so it’s an ideal location for a day trip outside of the city. The castle is situated on the bank of the Sazava River surrounded by hills and hiking trails, so the day trip can certainly be turned in to an overnight trip, too!

The easiest way to reach Český Šternberk is by renting a car from Prague. If you’re already in the city, check out the rental counters located at Hlavní nádraží, the main railway station. These are easy to get to from anywhere in the city center without having to trek out to the airport. The drive from Prague to Český Šternberk should take about an hour on the D1 motorway.

If renting a car isn’t feasible for you, you can also take the scenic route with a train from Prague. The way to Český Šternberk routes through Čerčany (only one change), and takes about an hour and 20 minutes. This is by far the cheapest option with train tickets costing about 115 CZK. While a little longer than driving, the train journey to central Bohemia will also give you stunning views of the Czech landscape, so it will definitely be worth it!

Once you arrive, you’ll have about a 20 minute walk along the river from the train station to get to the castle, where you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the castle perched on the hill from which it derives its name. Depending on the time of year, you should either call or e-mail in advance for a tour, or you’ll be able to join one throughout the day. Český Šternberk is both the name of the (small) town and castle, so if you have some time to wait before your tour, you can grab a snack at the on-site restaurant, or wander in to the town to enjoy the views by the river. For more information regarding opening hours and tours, visit the official website of the Český Šternberk Castle.

When visiting Prague, Czech Republic, take a day trip from Prague to a nearby Castle! This Czech castle is only 35 miles from the city and is a beautiful, historic castle. The Cesky Sternberk castle is so worth a day trip from Prague! #travel #castle

Like this post? Remember to follow on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter to see all of my latest content!

A Day Trip from Prague: Karlovy Vary

A Day Trip from Prague: Karlovy Vary

I have lived in Prague for over 2 years, and there are so many places that I always say I want to visit, and somehow never manage to actually visit. I travel a lot for work to cities around the Czech Republic, like Plzen or Cesky Krumlov, but the ones outside of my bubble have so far evaded me. The weather last weekend was meant to be beautiful, and I couldn’t let such a nice Saturday go waste. I decided that it was time to take a day trip I’ve been meaning to take- literally for years!

The town of Karlovy Vary is about 2 hours west of Prague on the Czech/German border. The town is a bit notorious for its Russian influence, and many of my Czech acquaintances mentioned that they didn’t understand why I wanted to go. I had heard, however, that the town was absolutely beautiful, and with it being only 300 CZK for a return ticket from Prague, I had no excuse! I headed out on a Student Agency bus in the morning, and 2 hours later I was standing in Prague’s most famous spa town. The architecture certainly did not disappoint, and I’m so glad I made the trip!

I can certainly understand the reticence that many Czechs have to go to this town given its history and current demographics, but I actually think that the blending of cultures here was really incredible. It was so interesting to see how Czech, German, and Russian cultures all blend in this one small city, offering a multitude of cuisines, languages, and customs. Karlovy Vary offers thermal springs and spas, which I have every intention of going back to visit. This city is also home to the world-famous Czech liquor, Becharovka, which tastes exactly like Christmas.

After this adventure in such a beautiful town so close to Prague, I’m definitely going to make more of an effort in the coming months to get out in the Czech Republic and see everything that this awesome country has to offer. Perhaps I see a vlog series in my future? We’ll see!

Check out the recap of my day trip to Karlovy Vary in my latest vlog:

Like this video? Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay updated with my latest content! Interested in learning more about what to see and do in Karlovy Vary? Check out The Travelling Chili’s post with 11 Unique Things to Do!

My Top 5 Things to do in Prague!

My Top 5 Things to do in Prague!

Prague is an absolutely amazing city that I’ve been lucky enough to call my home for over 2 years. I am constantly amazed by the history and beauty that seems to be around every single corner. It seems, however, that the world has caught on to the charms of this Bohemian city, and tourists certainly do infiltrate every year, particularly in the summer and just before Christmas (Christmas markets, anyone?). I get as frustrated by rogue selfie sticks as the next girl, so I’ve spent my time in Prague looking for the best places to experience the city and Czech culture without being mowed down by a Segway in Old Town Square.

I’m proud to say that after 2 years of dedicated research, I’ve landed on my top 5 favorite places in this magical city. I can understand a traveler’s reluctance to visit such a city that can be overrun by tourists, but Prague is not that city at all! A walk over Charles Bridge at 11 am on a Saturday in June may tell a different story, but take a trip to Riegrovy Sady or Naplavka on any given summer evening, and be prepared to be amazed at the chilled out vibe, local atmosphere, and awesome beverages permeating the area. I’ve grown to love my current “home” city, and I’m excited to share it with you!

I recently made a travel video detailing my 5 favorite off-the-beaten-path spots in Prague on my YouTube Channel, “Czech” it out!

1-Day Tour of Prague: Instagram Takeover @VisitCZ

1-Day Tour of Prague: Instagram Takeover @VisitCZ

I spent a day taking myself on a one-day tour of Prague while behind the wheel of the official Czech tourism Instagram account: Visit Czech Republic.  I like to go on these adventures in my “home city” every once in a while to remind myself how truly incredible Prague is- and this was a great excuse to do it!  I decided that I wanted to give the followers of the Visit Czech Republic account a 1-day tour of Prague.  Specifically, I wanted to show what I would suggest someone do if they had only one day in this beautiful city, and then show what that day would look like in real time!  So, as a summary of my day exploring Prague, here is my 1-day guide:

I started my day at Narodni divadlo (the National Theater) so that I could take my favorite walk across the Vltava River on my way to breakfast (more on that later!).  I love this area of Prague because the architecture there is incredible in every direction, if not a little obscure with the Nova Scena theatre sitting next to the regal National Theatre.  I also think this bridge gives you one of the most beautiful views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, and with a relatively tourist-free experience.  Walking from the theatre side to the castle side of the river will point you in the direction of Petrin Hill and a beautiful walk in one of Prague’s natural getaways.

After this nice little river walk, I stopped for breakfast at the famous Café Savoy.

Café Savoy is just one of Prague’s many lavish cafés that have historically been meeting places for Prague’s great artists and thinkers.  Today, this café is known for its incredible breakfast selection, and more importantly, for its pastry selection.  While it isn’t the cheapest option in Prague (of which there are quite a few), I certainly think that a breakfast stop here is worth it for anyone looking to experience a little of Prague’s high culture and beautiful architecture to start their day in the city.

Once finished with breakfast, I took a walk along the river through the neighborhood of Kampa.  Famously the home of the Kampa Museum and the David Černý crawling babies statues, I absolutely love strolling through the beautiful park and waterfront nooks in this part of the city.  I never fail to get lost here when I stray from the river’s edge, and that’s one of the things that I love most- no matter how many times you visit, you will always find something new and beautiful.  On that note, sorry to my cousin Ryan, who never actually got to see the John Lennon Wall when he visited Prague because of how miserably lost I get in these windy streets!  In any case, my journey took me to the foot of Charles Bridge, one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in Prague.

I love this view of Charles Bridge and Old Town behind it because along the edge of the water, the city is so peaceful despite the chaos blooming on top of the bridge.  I love sitting on the edge of the river in Kampa and watching the swans and boats float by with Prague’s beautiful skyline behind; it is a serene experience not to be missed!

But of course, a stroll atop Charles Bridge should also be on the agenda for any 1-day tour of Prague.

This bridge connects Old Town (Staromestka) with Mala Strana (Lesser Town), and is a beautiful place to walk- especially in the early morning before the tourists descend upon in such force that you can no longer see the bridge.  Walking from Old Town to Mala Strana will bring you to Malastranské namesti, now a pedestrian square that’s home to some of Prague’s most beautiful rooftops.  I took my walk from Kampa to the top of the bridge, and then through to Mala Strana where I took the 22 tram up to Prazky Hrad (Prague Castle).  For the more enthusiastic among you, you might also walk to Prague Castle- but just be aware that it is quite a hill.  I usually opt for the tram up, walk down route.

My next stop is one of my favorite places in Prague: the South Garden at Prague Castle.  This incredibly beautiful garden sits just below the St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, and the castle rooms, but is far less crowded than those areas tend to be.  Plus, the views from these gardens are spectacular, and they’re free to enter!

I like to pop up here with a book, find a quiet spot, and admire the Bohemian orange rooftops while relaxing in the sun or shade.  Keep in mind that these gardens are open only in the summer, so you’ll have to save you visit for these beautiful, sunny months to enjoy these views.

*Pro tip: If you do visit Prague when these gardens are closed, there is a Starbucks just outside the gates of the castle that has similar views and an outdoor terrace.  While I typically do not encourage visits to Starbucks outside of the USA (especially when there are such great local coffee shops in Prague), I do recommend a visit here just to enjoy the view- and it will only cost you the price of a coffee!

After sunbathing in the castle gardens, I made my way down the hill towards the Vltava River for one of the most “local” things that you might do in Prague: have a beer at Naplavka!  Naplavka, roughly translated to “along the river” is an area below the Vyton tram stop on the Old Town side of the river where you’ll find a farmer’s market, floating bars, swans, bikes, and locals enjoying the local refreshment with their feet dangling above the water.  Naplavka actually runs a bit bigger than this- there’s a Naplavka area on the Prague Castle side of the river, too- but this area below Vyton is usually the most active day & night.  During the day, this is the place to go with some friends and a camera to capture some of the local beauty.  By night, this is a great place to start your night with a group of friends on one of the many boat bars.  The prices are local, the beer is delicious, and the scenery is incredible- who could ask for more?

After an afternoon spent enjoying Naplavka, I began making my way back to my own neighborhood- Zizkov.  Zizkov is known as one of the many up-and-coming neighborhoods in Prague, and as a New Yorker, I like to think of it as the Brooklyn of Prague.  In Zizkov, you’ll find amazing cafés, bars, restaurants, and very unique architecture.  Although many consider it an eyesore, one of my favorite examples of Zizkov architecture is the Zizkov Television Tower located near namesti Jiriho z Podebrad.

I’ve grown fond of this somewhat strange tower that dominates the Prague skyline, as its strange qualities really demonstrate exactly what Zizkov is about.  The great thing about the TV Tower is that it’s now the home of a mini-golf course in the summer and ice skating rink in the winter, both located just below the tower’s entrance.  You might also choose to ride the elevator to the top of the tower for some incredible views of the city beyond.

And finally, a visit to Prague would not be complete without watching the sun set behind the castle from Riegrovy sady.  This park, located between Zizkov and Vinohrady (about 10-minutes’ walk from the TV Tower), is home to two beer gardens and beautiful green space in the middle of the city.  From the hill in Riegrovy sady, you have views over Old Town, Mala Strana, and Prague Castle that not many tourists get the chance to see.  At sunset, these views are even more incredible as the sky changes color and the silhouette of the Prague Castle emerges.

In the summer, you’ll see young people drinking beers, playing guitar, and enjoying the ambiance of this young and vibrant neighborhood.  After the sun sets, you’ll see everyone move to the nearby beer gardens to watch the evening football match, or to simply enjoy some more of Prague’s famous brews.

So, I hope that you enjoyed my one-day visit of Prague, and thank you for following along!  If you’re planning to visit Prague, and would like a longer guide, check out my 3-day Guide to Prague, available for download here.  If you’d like me to plan your perfect Prague or Czech vacation, check out my travel consultation packages– I’d be happy to work with you!

For updates on all of my adventures, check out my Facebook page and Instagram, or sign up for the Study Hard Travel Smart newsletter by dropping your e-mail in the box on the top right side of this page.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Where to stay: Where you stay in Prague really depends on how involved you want to be involved in the local culture versus tourist culture.  If you’re looking for a more local experience, I highly recommend the neighborhoods of Zizkov or Vinohrady (Prague 3 or 2), as they’re full of great pubs and cafes, and there are often markets and festivals in that area.  You’ll be able to find both Airbnb and hostel options in these neighborhoods, it’ll just take some research to determine what’s best for you.  The most important thing when choosing a location is that you be close to a metro station, as the metro is really convenient for helping you to get around the city.  Alternatively, you can look in the Old Town, as this will put you very close to almost all of the tourist sites, and also close to almost all major public transit routes.  I once stayed at Hostel Orange on Wenceslas Square, and despite the fact that this particular square can get a little sketchy at night, I would recommend staying there.  Prague is generally a safe city, so it’s nothing to be afraid of, but because Wenceslas Square is so touristy, it brings out some of the crazy that you’ll find in any city.

Where to eat: Prague is a great city because it certainly has its own authentic flavor, but it also offers options for food from around the world.  In terms of Czech food, my favorite is definitely beef goulash and dumplings- it’s a classic, and almost anywhere you get it it’ll be good.  I absolutely recommend staying far from the city center, and particularly Old Town Square.  Anywhere that advertises “Authentic Czech Food” probably sells over-priced and potentially not actual authentic Czech food.  Instead, head to U Sadu near the Jiriho z Podebrad metro station/TV Tower, and you’ll have a much cheaper and authentic Czech meal.  If you’re looking for something cheap for lunch, go to Kolonial near the Old Synagogue and Jewish Cemetery, and order off the lunch menu (the white papers laying on the tables, not the regular menu).  If they don’t give it to you in English, you can ask for it, but the meals around just over 100 CZK, and they’re quite good!  For a great breakfast, you should definitely try Cafe Louvre near Narodni Trida.  It’s an absolutely stunning building with a fabulous history (both Kafka and Einstein were regulars) and delicious brunch menu items.  You might also try the Bakeshop in the Jewish Quarter for some tasty treats, although it is slightly more touristy than the previously mentioned suggestions.

For more suggestions where to eat, check out my detailed guide to restaurants in Prague!

What to do: Prague offers a multitude of things to see and do for people with many widespread interests.  The one thing that is particularly striking about Prague is its architecture, particularly in the Staromestska and Mala Strana neighborhoods.  I certainly recommend spending an afternoon wandering through these neighborhoods down side streets and such to explore the most beautiful areas of Prague.  Prague has many tour options, so it’s hard to choose which to take, but I have had wonderful experience with Discover Prague Tours free walking tour- they meet quite close to Old Town Square, and offer a wonderful insight into the city.  Of course, a visit to Prague would be incomplete without a stop at Prague Castle, but while you’re up there, you might also consider a visit to the Strahov Monastery, just up the hill from the castle, where you can visit a gorgeous and historic library, as well as a restaurant where they brew their own beers.  Despite how touristy the area is, I also recommend a stop to the Lennon Wall, simply because it’s a cool place to be, but also because the neighborhood is really beautiful and there are some great museums around that really showcase Czech art.  You might also consider getting tickets to see an opera or a ballet, as the tickets can be really inexpensive, particularly for students, and they’re always incredible.  Seeing Don Giovanni at the Estate’s Theatre is a particularly special experience, as this is the theatre where the opera first premiered with Mozart himself conducting.

If you’re visiting Prague in the summer, you should definitely check out the area called Naplavka along the river, where you can buy beer and snack and sit along the water- it’s a gorgeous place to be.  If you’re looking for a great market area, Jiriho z Podebrad Namesti has a beautiful farmer’s market every Wednesday and Saturday, plus special other occasional markets and festivals throughout the week which are definitely worth checking out.  While you’re in that neighborhood, a ride up to the top of the TV Tower will give you a great view of the city.  Near the Namesti Miru metro station, there is a gorgeous park with a chateau and winery which is essentially unvisited by tourists, so if you’re looking for a bit of an escape, certainly check out the Vinicni Altan winery for their tasting schedule.  For great views of Prague, head over to Petrin or Letna parks, or up to Vysehrad, as these are the best places to view all of Prague for free!

There are so many great things to see and do, so I’ve included them all in a vlog!

Overall Opinion: I have really fallen in love with Prague, and truly enjoy living in this gorgeous city.  There is so much to see, do, and explore, that walking around the city never gets old.  One of the best things about Prague is how often special events like markets and festivals are held, so it’s certainly worth doing some Googling to see what’s going on while you’re visiting.  I also love the emphasis that this city places on the arts and culture- there are so many great cultural activities to participate in, whether it be art museums, operas, art galleries, plays, etc., there is always something interesting going on, and almost always something to suit everyone’s taste.  I definitely recommend spending a few days in Prague to explore, and then perhaps getting out of the city to visit places like Cesky Krumlov, Terezin, Pilsen, or Kutna Hora, as these also offer a great insight into Czech history and culture.

Need some more Prague-spiration? Head over to Damon and Melissa’s blog to read about their love of Prague!