Weekend Summer Trips from Prague 2020
The coronavirus epidemic has put a lot of our lives on hold. Many people have had to completely change their lives around as they manage work, their children, and their social lives (or lack there of). This will become even more evident as the summer rolls around and we start to think about what we can do to get out of Prague and spend a few days or weeks relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family while still respecting the social distancing norms and rules and staying within the borders of the Czech Republic. So we’ve complied a list of places that will fulfill all of the social distancing norms and guidelines as provided by the government and still allow you to see and experience some of the beautiful and lesser-known parts of the Czech Republic.
Get out of Prague for 2, 3 or 4 days with these weekend trips from Prague for summer 2020. See a place you’ve been meaning to see for years now or one that you’ve never heard of before.
If you are lucky enough to have a car then here are some suggestions for you and your family or friend group:
South Moravia: Mikulov/ Valtice /Lednice /Pavlov
If you have never been to South Moravia then you are in for a treat. The summer months mean that the fields are a lush green and everywhere you drive you’ll see grape vines dangling everywhere, whether in fields as far as the eye can see or off the entrances to every house and restaurant in the region. And grape vines can only mean one thing – WINE!
Pack your bikes (or hire upon arrival) and set out for a few days of wine tastings, picnics and incredible landscapes. The Mikulov Castle is a must-see. It was originally built in the late 1200s although the current building is from the early 18th century. From Mikulov you can access some of the 82-kilometer Mikulov Wine Trail as park of your tour through wine country. From this trail, you can access Sedlec and further on Lednice, another historical site most notable for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Zámek Lednice (Lednice Palace). The palace, once the summer home of the Princes of Leichtenstein, is in the Neo-Gothic style, complete with extensive botanical gardens, a stable and a green house with thousands of species of plants from around the world.
If you’re looking for a bit earlier history, there is an incredible archaeological museum in Pavlov called the Archeopark Pavlov. The building itself is a work of art and most of it is actually underground, including parts of digs that have taken place in this very site. In addition, it offers several impressive exhibits about the ancient past of these lands, dating back 30 thousand years. It’s most prized piece is the Venus of Pavlov, a small sculpture of a naked woman found in the surrounding area.
Znojmo, Loucký klášter, and Zelená Hora
Znojmo is a small city in Moravia, where you will get swept away by the incredible beauty of the town. The town is situated on a hill, so all of the roads run from the main square and church down the hill, which makes the church stand out that much more. The Loucký klášter, sits just on the river bank and is an enormous structure which causes any passer-by to stop and stare. The monastery hosts a yearly wine event in the spring, where the halls are packed with wine judges and novices alike.
The next day you can head to the Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk (in Czech: Poutní kostel svatého Jana Nepomuckého) in Zelená Hora, which is found near the borders of Moravia and Bohemia. This architectural wonder was the final work of the Bohemian architect, Jan Santini Aichel, who famously combined Borrominiesque Baroque and Gothic architectural designs, including the use of many complex symbolism and features, uncommon for his era. Built in 1719 (finished in 1727), this unique church was declared a World Heritage Site in 1994. The church itself is in the shape of a 5-pointed star and the walls surrounding the courtyard of the church are formed into a 10-pointed star.
This hidden treasure of a town is perfect for a one or two day trip from Prague, including it as an addition to any trip planned to either České Budějovice or Český Krumlov. One of the best parts about Holašovice is that nothing has to be open for you to enjoy yourselves. The majority of the town is made up of 23 historical buildings, houses and churches which were preserved in time despite the fact that the town was nearly abandoned for over 50 years following World War II. This is part of what has made it such a draw today, as the uniquely styled South Bohemian Folk Baroque or Rural Baroque style houses are found only in this region and those in Holašovice are the best preserved.
If you are looking to make this a day trip only, you can check out this tour.
Whether or not you have a car, get out into nature and explore some of the hills, countryside and forests through the Czech Republic.
1. Český ráj
You’ve probably heard about Český ráj, also know as the Bohemian Paradise. And perhaps you’ve even been there to see the incredible sandstone columns that look like giant sand sculptures. But have you considered spending more than a few hours hiking through this natural preserve? Northern Bohemia has some incredible forests and parks and it deserves a few days to really see it all to the max.
If you take a bus to Jičín, a small city in northern Bohemia about 100 kilometers from Prague, you can start your amazing journey there. It’s a quick 6 or so kilometers to the heart of what most know as Český ráj. From there you can continue on to Turnov, an even smaller city a bit further north. That’s another 24 kilometers, making it a total of 30 from Jičín or just under 10 hours, which is perfect for the first day.
The second day it’s another 22 kilometers or 7 hours to arrive to Jablonec nad Nisou, which is a quaint city situated in the middle of the Jizerské hory mountains. The city has a very unique and newly built glass and jewelry museum which hangs on the side of hill from whence it is built.
This region in particular is known for its glass factories and you can visit one if you are in the area.
A hiking trip does not mean that you cannot enjoy some of the amazing cities and towns in the Czech Republic. In fact many hiking trips, start, end or pass through some incredible Czech towns. Why not start in one incredible spa town and finish in another? Mariánské Lázně and Karlovy Vary are both world class spa towns, both have some incredibly rich and romantic architecture and both, obviously, have some wonderful spas. So you can end your hike with a night of rest and relaxation at one of these bath houses.
The hike between the two is about 46 kilometers and should take 14 hours total. Of course you can try and do it all in one day, which with the summer sunlight, it is possible. Or you can take your time and enjoy the entire hike over 2 days. There are a few small hotels and pensions along the way or bring a tent and pitch it somewhere secluded for a read camping experience.
České Budějovice / Český Krumlov / Lipno
Sure you could take this as a car trip, but you can also hike from České Budějovice to Český Krumlov and later on to Lipno. Starting in České Budějovice, it’s about a 25-30 km hike (depending on the route you decide to take) to Český Krumlov through fairly easy trails, passing from forested hills to small villages and back into nature along flowing rivers, many of which will carry people canoeing and kayaking down the Vltava from Český Krumlov. It’s a full day hike but quite doable and the prize is arriving in Český Krumlov where you can choose to camp out of town where many of those who have been on the water all day are also camping or you can choose to stay in town in something a bit nicer.
The next day it’s another full-day hike (about 30 kms) to Lipno Reservoir, famous for the water sports which are possible due to the fantastic wind conditions across the reservoir.
So where are you inspired to go this summer? Do you have any suggestions? Leave some here so that everyone who is unable to leave the Czech Republic this summer can experience some of the best hiking trips, road trips and weekend trips that there are.