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Getting Out (Part 1)

21 December, 2015

A Guide to Exploring Inside the Czech Republic

For students studying with UPCES, the opportunity to explore Prague and the rest of Europe presents itself at your feet. Faced with this new and exciting chance to experience Europe’s most breathtaking cities and sights, many students choose to travel outside of the Czech Republic. While it’s absolutely encouraged to find yourself wandering through the streets of Europe’s capitals and historic towns, some students should consider their options for exploration within the Czech Republic. If you’re wondering what some of your options are inside the gorgeous Czech state, look no further.

Brno

Situated about two hours southeast of Prague, Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic and is the capital of Moravia. This historic city is home to a bustling community and houses many of the Czech Republic’s premiere universities. From Prague, Brno is easily accessible by bus or by train. Once there, you can take in the sights of Brno’s Old Town Hall, which features a seemingly lopsided central tower, the Cabbage Market, which sits in one of the city’s main squares where you can buy fresh vegetables and flowers, or even explore the Capuchin Church and Monastery which houses dozens of mummies in glass sarcophagi. Lastly, you may choose to take in the local cuisine, which is always a must on a visit anywhere in the Czech Republic, and travel up to Spilberk Castle to enjoy the magnificent view of Brno that the castle provides.

 

 Punkva Caves

About one hour north of Brno lays the Punkva Caves. This cave system, which the Punkva River passes through, is one of the most visited attractions in the Moravian Karst. Its gorgeous interior will allow you to explore giant stalagmites and stalactites as well as its eerie and quiet setting. What makes this cave so popular, however, is that visitors are invited on a boat tour through the caves. The tour begins at the entrance to the cave on foot and from there continues down underground where passengers enter the small boat that will guide them through the rest of the cave. While this attraction is widely popular in the Czech Republic, it is a site that is little known to the rest of the world and should not be missed when exploring the country.

 

Karlovy Vary

At the northwest border of the Czech Republic, you can find the historic spa town of Karlovy Vary. By train from Prague, this small but beautiful town is easily reachable in three hours. Established as a spa town because of the hot springs that flow beneath it, Karlovy Vary has reached international fame because of its visitors to the underground springs and its film festival held there annually.  While walking around the town, visitors may see people drinking out of small porcelain cups with built in straws as handles. These small cups can be purchased almost anywhere in the city and can be used  at the many fountains of hot spring water found around the historic section  of the town. The locals claim that the hot spring water has healing powers and many health benefits. Additionally, visitors can ride the funicular up to the Diana Observation Tower that sits high above the city on a hill. At the top, the observation tower provides a 360 degree view of the town and the surrounding forest. You can also explore the famous Grandhotel Pupp which provides accommodations for many celebrities during the film festival season.

 

 Karlštejn Castle

 If our students have a desire to escape the city for a while and connect with the beauty   of the Czech countryside and forests, we recommend that they visit Karlštejn.Founded in 1348 by Charles IV, this castle is situated about 40 minutes by train to the   southwest of Prague. It is easily accessible for anyone wanting to take a day trip away from Prague and also houses an impressive network of hiking trails. Starting in Karlštejn, one can hike all the way to Beroun, a total of nine miles. This scenic hike is heavily marked by trail signs to ensure that even a first timer won’t get lost. The trails near Karlštejn will take you through the streets of small Czech villages and back up through the hills and forests surrounding the area as you make your way. This is definitely a must visit for anyone looking to have an adventure in the Czech forest.

 

Students who study abroad in Prague will get to see a lot of the Czech Republic just from UPCES’ list of excursions including stunning Český Krumlov, dubbed the Czech Republic’s most romantic town, and Kutna Hora, where students can explore the infamous “Bone Church.” Outside of UPCES’ schedule of trips, however, it can be rewarding to explore the lesser visited areas of the country and to fully experience all that the Czech Republic has to offer.