Czech out Bohemia: 3 gems beyond Prague

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THE SPA TRIANGLE

The Czech Republic has a long and rich tradition of wellness, with its mineral springs having been used for curative purposes for centuries. Over the years the country’s spa towns have been a source of delight and relaxation for kings and queens, dukes and duchesses and other assorted nobility – not to mention historical figures like Mozart, Casanova, Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx.

The best part of the country to experience this is the West Bohemia Spa Triangle – home to a trio of spa towns made up of Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne and Frantiskovy Lazne. These three places have, over time, become symbols of health and wellness. Today, the Czech Republic has more than 35 spa towns, where visitors can unwind from tiredness and stress, as well as treating more serious health concerns.

Set amid breathtaking landscapes, the spa properties feature elegant facades, stunning surrounds, highly skilled spa practitioners and hot spring colonnades. The golfing and spa industry go back a long way together, so you’ll also find golf courses near the West Bohemia Spa Triangle.

THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN

The town of Kromeriz, located on the Morava River in the country’s south-east, is no plain Jane. Back in 1997 it was voted the most beautiful historic town in the Czech Republic, and a year later its Archiepiscopal Chateau became World Heritage listed. Known as the Athens of the Hana region, it’s a cultural town, brimming with art schools and architectural sights, and has often hosted poets, writers, painters, sculptors and musicians.

The Archiepiscopal Chateau, which features the magnificent Flower Garden and Castle Garden, used to belong to the local bishops and archbishops, who used it as their representative seat. Among the features inside the chateau are beautifully decorated salons and lounges with their original furniture, and a picture gallery containing the works of leading European painters from the 15th through to the 18th centuries.

There are plenty of other attractions to check out in Kromeriz too, like the Velke Namesti (Large Square) with its town hall, as well as numerous renaissance houses and historic churches.

A FAIRYTALE ENDING

While Cesky Krumlov is already highly popular with tourists, it should still be on the must-do list for anyone visiting the Czech Republic.

This historic town is located south of Prague and its charming houses and streets are stunning reminders of its medieval grandeur. The World Heritage listed castle with its expansive grounds is one of the town’s key landmarks. It rises majestically from a rocky promontory above the river, and features a historic rarity in the form of a revolving auditorium.

Bike riding is one of the options for exploring the town, or for a different perspective, visitors can go rafting along the Vltava River that winds its way around the town. Cosy inns, taverns, coffee shops and galleries in secluded nooks all add to the appeal of this beautiful town.