When people think of the Czech Republic, their minds may immediately think of Prague. It’s no surprise really, being the Capital city and home to iconic sites such as the Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge, not to mention that it is full to the brim with quaint cobbled streets lined with beautiful colored townhouses.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Prague, I know we did and have again all the times that we’ve visited, but it was when we traveled around the Czech Republic this summer that we truly fell in love with the country as a whole.
Yes, Prague is an amazing city, but our road trip showed us that there is so much more beyond the capital. What’s more is that some of the best places that we visited are still reachable from Prague, so much so that you can organize a day trip from there if you’re staying in the city.
To help you experience the true Czech Republic, we’ve compiled a quick list of the best day trips from Prague whether you opt to do it with a tour or independently. Trust us when we say, it’s worth the venture!
Prague to Bohemian Switzerland
The first day trip from Prague that we have to mention is Bohemian Switzerland. By far our favorite place that we visited in the Czech Republic, this natural beauty is just a mere few hours away from the capital. Whether you’re an avid hiker, an outdoor lover or someone who is partial to gorgeous scenery, Bohemian Switzerland is definitely worth a visit.
Be prepared to witness impressive sandstone towers rising out of dense greenery where you can see canyons and valleys stretching for miles around. Home to farmland landscapes, quaint little villages, and majestic rock formations such as the largest natural stone bridge in Europe, did we mention that this gem is just a few hours outside of the city?
How to get to Bohemian Switzerland
You can take a 90-minute train from Prague to Decin for around $8 and then a bus from here to the village of Hrensko. From here, start hiking. Renting a car is also a good option as it gives you more freedom and only takes 90 minutes total.
With a Tour
We spent 3 amazing days exploring every inch of this national park with Northern Hikes and we don’t regret it one bit. Yes, we could have trekked and wandered this park by ourselves, but we wouldn’t have learned about the history, the culture, and the secrets of this natural wonder.
With extremely passionate guides, Northern Hikes made this part of the trip for us and are probably the main reason (with the exception of the beautiful scenery) that we fell in love with this place. Apart from tours around Bohemian Switzerland, Northern Hikes also have day tours that can take you to see sights across the German border.
Prague to Liberec
A top-notch skiing location, Liberec is considered the overlooked gem of the Czech Republic. Full of sweet slopes (12 tracks to be exact), this jam-packed destination is a popular go-to for travelers who have a love for cross-country skiing. The attractions don’t stop there, however. Just 1 hour North of Prague, Liberec boasts old squares full of colorful houses each one prettier than the next.
If you can venture outside of the beauty of the Old Town, you can find the town hall, a tranquil botanical garden, winding hiking trails, and the impressive Ještěd Tower on top of the mountain where you can eat with a view at the restaurant on the top floor.
The overall atmosphere of the city is young and hip and you can easily tell this just by the number of trendy bistros and cafes that they have sprawled around the city. For a full list of travel recommendations on what to do in Liberec, check out our Czech Republic road trip itinerary.
How to Get to Liberec
The best way to get to Liberec is by bus, it costs 100 CZK ($4) and takes 1 hour. I recommend checking out the student agency buses as they are always very reliable. There are also hourly trains from Prague to Liberec but make sure to check how many stops that they have.
The quickest train is just 2.5 hours. When you get to Liberec, you can take trams or buses to easily get around the city. Alternatively, renting a car is an option.
Prague to Brno
If you’re looking for a great day trip to take from Prague, Brno needs to be on the list of cities that you consider. The Czech Republic’s second largest city, Brno is also known as the ‘student city’ due to its lively atmosphere yet relaxed vibes.
With plenty of things to see and do, you definitely won’t be short of entertainment. Spend the day exploring castles and vineyards, admiring the architecture in one of the 400,000 squares, fine dining in traditional restaurants or hanging out in hipster cafes. When you’re done absorbing Brno’s charm, finish off your trip with a visit to the farmers market of the second largest ossuary in Europe.
How to get to Brno
The easiest way to get from Prague to Brno is by train as they depart several times a day; it can cost around $4-15 but it will take you 2.5-3 hours. Brno isn’t the biggest city so you can easily walk around it when you get there. Alternatively, you can rent a car as it takes just under 2 hours to drive.
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Prague to Špindlerův Mlýn
A beautifully quaint town, nestled in the Krkonoše (the Giant Mountains) range in the very North of the Czech Republic, Špindlerův Mlýn is a great day trip option, especially for avid skiers. As one of the most frequented mountain and ski resorts in the whole country, you can be sure that this town is fully equipped for skiing adventures.
Full of history as the town is located in the Bohemia region near the border of Poland, you will find many interesting things here such as a majestic castle, hiking and mountain biking trails, and wild water canoeing.
How to get to Špindlerův Mlýn
It can be difficult to get to Špindlerův Mlýn using public transport and it will take time but it is doable. You will have to take two trains or a train and then a bus or a direct bus. Each method costs on average around $10-20 but it will take approximately 4.5-6 hours. Driving from Prague center is easy and will only take you 2 hours and 15 minutes so our best recommendation is to rent a car and drive yourself.
Prague to Karlstejn Castle
One of the quickest and easiest Prague day trips is a visit to Karlstejn Castle. As the second most visited castle and destination in the Czech Republic, this is a great day trip to take, especially if you love 14th-century history and fairytale landscapes.
Standing tall atop a mountain, the beauty of this castle of nothing short of magical. Truly a sight to behold, the castle is surrounded by rugged nature and hidden treasures such as The Chapel of the Holy Cross lurk within its interior.
How to get to Karlstejn Castle
It takes just 40 minutes to get from Prague to the castle by train and it can cost as low as $2. Trains are half hourly with the last train returning at 11:41 pm. It is worth noting, however, that you can not do a self-guided tour of the castle. You will have to hop on a guided tour when you are there.
With a Tour
There are so many half-day Karlstejn Castle tours to choose from that leave from Prague and these include transportation to and from the castle as well as a 5-hour guided tour. There are a variety of tours around Karlstejn Castle including scenic bike tours and more.
Prague to Český Krumlov
The beautiful UNESCO-listed city of Český Krumlov is one of the most popular day trips that you can take from Prague. With picture-perfect postcard views, you can effortlessly spend a day here admiring sights such as the 13th-century Český Krumlov Castle, an impressive fortress sat atop a rocky outcrop offering sweeping views of the red-roofed town and the Vltava River.
As well as the castle, this stunning location offers many things to see from the historic train station and medieval old town to the sacred Chruch of St. Vitus and charming Baroque Theater.
How to get to Český Krumlov
Buses are the recommended form of transport from Prague as tickets are $5-10 each way and the ride only takes just under 3 hours. RegioJet is a popular company to go with and buses leave hourly from Na Knížecí bus station. Alternatively, you can take the train which also takes 3 hours and costs upwards of $10 or you can rent a car and drive 2 hours 20 minutes.
With a Tour
If you want to opt for a tour as it is less hassle, tour operators leave daily from Prague and the cost includes transport both ways and admission to Český Krumlov Castle (April-October).
Prague to Karlovy Vary
If you just want to relax, a trip to Karlovy Vary is just what you need. While the rest of your group is off exploring, you can book yourself a spa day where you can take it easy among the curative mineral waters in Bohemia’s most famous spa town.
If pampering yourself is not on the agenda, take a visit to one of the towns 12 hot springs or thermal baths, explore the cute old town, and admire the architecture. If you’re lucky to visit in the Summer, you will see the International Film Festival as Karlovy Vary is a favorite European filming destination (think Casino Royale!).
How to get to Karlovy Vary
Take a bus from Prague to Karlovy Vary. They depart hourly with companies such as RegioJet where the trip takes about 2 hours 15 minutes and it will only cost you around $7 each way.
With a Tour
There are loads of bus tours from Prague to Karlovy Vary so do your research and find the one that works for you. Most tours include transport, lunch, drinks, a guided tour, and entrance fees.
Prague to Bohemian Paradise
Head to the Czech countryside and see for yourself the natural wonders that await you. If you’re using Prague as a base but want to immerse yourself in nature, the UNESCO Bohemian Paradise or Cesky Raj is a stunning location just 1 hour away from the center.
The oldest protected nature reserve in the Czech Republic, this breathtaking place is full to the brim with towering sandstone rock formations, eerie caves, rolling valleys and winding hiking trails, dense forests and refreshing lakes…oh and there’s a medieval stone castle complete with a fairytale landscape. Need we say more?
How to get to Bohemian Paradise
The easiest and quickest way to get from Prague to Bohemian Paradise is to rent a car as you can drive there in 1 hour. Alternatively, trains are frequent and take just under two hours but you will have to change at Turnov city and take another train to Ktova. They cost anywhere upwards of $12 per person.
With a Tour
We recommend a full-day trip to Bohemian Paradise as you will want to see and hike as much as possible. Typically, tours cost around $80, they last 10 hours and include transport to and from the destination, a local hiking guide, lunch, insurance, and any fees.
Prague to České Budějovice
If in search for a fairytale city (trust us, the Czech Republic has plenty), consider taking a day trip to České Budějovice. One of the most visited places near Prague due to its ease of access and sheer beauty, this charming town is quite surreal. This place is real although it doesn’t look it and it contains one of the oldest Baroque Theaters in the world as well as an impressive castle and one of the largest main squares in Europe. Home to the ‘Budvar’ beer (aka Czech ‘Budweiser’), České Budějovice also has a brewery just waiting to be explored and sampled.
How to get to České Budějovice
Trains take around 2.5 hours to get to České Budějovice from Prague (check if the train is direct as some can take up to 4) though they stop at the brewery so you will need to take a bus into the old town if you wish to go there.
With a Tour
A tour to České Budějovice tends to be paired with a visit to Český Krumlov too, so check this before you book. The cost for both is $80 and this includes pick up on request (not drop off), lunch, entrance fees, and a guided tour.
Prague to Pilsen
The Czech Republic equals beer, so a day trip to Pilsen is a must. Home to two major breweries, Pilsen is a destination where many come to enjoy the best of the bunch, much like you wouldn’t visit Dublin without enjoying Guinness. Yes, this place is all about beer (they even have a beer spa!) as it is the birthplace of 70% of all the beer crafted and consumed on our planet but the fun doesn’t stop there.
As well as learning about the history of the Pilsner beer and its production, Pilsen also boasts a beautiful old town full of architectural wonders like the St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral and the Great Synagogue, and fun museums such as the museum of puppets, ghosts and one that is underground.
How to get to Pilsen
Both trains and buses depart from Prague every hour and will cost around $5 each way. The only difference is that buses are faster (just under 2 hours instead of 2.5 hours).
With a Tour
A day trip from Prague will cost around $50 which takes about 7 hours and includes transport, a guided walking tour of Pilsen, and a tour of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery where you can sample the beers.
Prague to Olomouc
Looking for a day trip that’s off the tourist trail? Much like Liberec, Olomouc is a captivating destination that many travelers overlook. A place where you can escape the crowds of Prague, this urban getaway has great attractions from the Upper Square home to the UNESCO-listed Holy Trinity Column to the Olomouc Town Hall which houses one of the two remaining astronomical clocks in the Czech Republic. A charming town located in Central Moravia, Olomouc is one of the best-kept secrets in the Czech Republic.
How to get to Olomouc
There are hourly trains that depart Prague heading to Olomouc and it only takes 2-2.5 hours, costing around $10-15 each way. Booking a tour to Olomouc may be difficult as it is not a tourist destination so ask around the tour booking stores around Prague for advice. Finding a private tour will be easier but more expensive.
So there we go, some of the best day trips from Prague in our opinion anyway! Hopefully, these will help you explore all that the Czech Republic has to offer outside of Prague.
Looking for more advice and inspiration for traveling to Prague? Check out our other articles:
- Czech Republic Itinerary: The Best Road Trip Guide
- Where to Stay in Prague That Will Fit Any Travel Budget
- Czech Republic Travel Tips