Have car – will travel! And travel we did during our time in the Czech Republic, putting many kilometers on our can’t-lose-me-in-a-crowded-parking-lot, neon-green, rented Skoda during the week we had it. As luck would have it, the little city of Kutná Hora, population around 20,000, was only an hour east of Prague and almost dead center in the heart of Bohemia, making it easy to heed the advice of several friends to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The original silver mining settlement of Cuthna Antiqua, Old Kutna, was settled as early as the 10th century but its economic fortunes were tied to the establishment of the first Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, Sedlec Abbey, in the nearby village of Sedlec in 1142.
If European cities were a necklace, Prague would be a diamond among the pearls. – anonymous
I had always wanted to go to Prague. It was mysterious to me. Different from the other European countries that I have been to so many times. But when we decided to make a business trip into a dual purpose trip, I immediately said I wanted to include Prague on the itinerary. My husband didn’t take much convening and Prague became our time to be a family sans business partners.
Before I dive into the trip details, I think it may be helpful for you to know some of the baby items I packed, since we went with our 1-year old.
Ergo 360 carrier
About enough diapers for 10-12 changes per day (diapers can be expensive outside the US, so I opted to bring my own.)
Did I really travel all the way here just to see a column?
It seems as though I did.
I’ve come to the Czech city of Olomouc as part of my World Heritage Journey – the challenge I have set myself to visit every UNESCO World Heritage Site on earth. I probably wouldn’t have stopped here otherwise, but my research told me there is a site here.
You know what? I probably wouldn’t have even heard of Olomouc otherwise. Had you heard of it before you started reading this post and I mentioned it? Possibly not.
It’s a rather unknown city, even by Czech standards. Everyone knows Prague. Most tourists have heard of Cesky Krumlov. Brno is relatively well known by people in this part of Europe. Olomouc… I have never heard anyone mention it before.
Situated across from the Vltava River, Intercontinental Prague is an excellent hotel option when visiting Prague in the Czech Republic. Built in 1974 for visiting dignitaries, it was an ideal location for keeping tabs on the comings and goings of powerful officials during the communist regime.
If you look across the river and up to the Metrodome Clock on the hill, that used to be the location of a giant statue of Joseph Stalin, the former president of the Soviet Union and later, pop musician Michael Jackson has his 32 foot tall statue placed there to promote his HIStory world tour. The California celebrity used the Intercontinental as his hotel during his stay in Prague.
No doubt, there is plenty to see and do in Prague, so three to five days is an ideal amount of time to discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Europe, for most travellers, is synonymous with the cities of London and Paris and the many Alpine resorts of Switzerland. On the flip side, the continent has a vast number of gems that are yet to be uncovered, right from villages illuminated by the Midnight Sun to historic towns that are proud UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Their perpetually favourable weather conditions, despite the almost lack of snow, are the icing on the cake. Given how we have incurred the wrath of the summers, these lesser-known destinations will serve as the ideal respite from the soaring temperatures so book your tickets in order to beat the heat and the crowds at the same time.
A good 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Saariselkä is a Finnish village that emerges straight out of your Christmassy dreams.
The city of Prague in the Czech Republic shot to the top of our travel list when friends casually mentioned that an old coworker of theirs had offered them his family’s apartment in the city and said we were welcome to join them for the month of May. The words, “free accommodations” had us checking flights from Lisbon to Prague and the welcome mat was barely unrolled before we arrived with our suitcases and a long list of things to see and do.
Wenceslas Square was our starting point, a long boulevard which connects the Old Town of Prague (history first mentions Prague in 1091) with the New Town. We guess in Europe “new” might be a bit of a misnomer as this area was founded in 1348, ancient by anyone’s standards.
Eastern Europe is often overlooked for larger cities like Paris, London and Amsterdam, but the region is a budget traveler’s goldmine with sights and experiences that won’t stretch the budget. The Czech capital of Prague is typically a good jumping-off point for exploring the country itself, home to secret gems most travelers to Eastern Europe have never heard of, including the following.
Visiting the former capital of the Morvaia province allows you to leave the crowds of Prague behind. This small center of Baroque architecture is only two hours from Prague by train, but just as rich with culture and nightlife. Start at the Holy Trinity column, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Europe’s largest column.
Sometimes when you’re browsing through the Internet, you’ll come across pictures that truly look unreal. And that’s the same with many different small towns and villages around the world. Many of the photos that you see online look like they can only exist on a postcard, so you don’t ever think you can visit those destinations. However, there are actually some small towns and villages that actually look like their picture counterpart. Many of these picturesque small towns and villages can be found in Europe, so you can admire their beauty first-hand. So brace yourself and be ready to find out about the most picturesque European villages and small towns you can actually visit right now!
1. A real-life fairytale destination, Bled, Slovenia
You may know Prague for its reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, preserving historic castles, bridges, churches, dwellings and cobblestone streets. A UNESCO World Heritage Site that is often called the “City of a Hundred Spires,” it charms and beguiles you with its fairytale loveliness.
But there is far more about Prague’s unique gravitational pull that you don’t see!
From the 12th to the 14th centuries, this city was the alchemical and mystical center of Europe. Situated equidistant between Eastern and Western Europe, situated strategically between Rome, Paris and Constantinople, it was considered the “heart of the continent.” It was here that Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and the king of Bohemia of the new Luxembourg dynasty, made his home, growing it into the third largest city in Europe at the time.
The majority of people visiting Czech Republic focus only on Prague and surroundings and I get that – it is stunning out there (Prague is my all time favorite city anyway). But the country has so much more to offer, with so many interesting little towns that you probably haven’t heard of. One of them is Trebic – located in southern part of Czech Republic it is a home to not one but two (!) UNESCO World Heritage Sites! When I finally managed to visit Trebic it was like a dream coming true!
Short history of Trebic, Czech Republic
Trebic was founded in the year 1101 when the Benedictine monastery was put up here. The town was developing, the incredible St. Procopius Basilica was built and eventually in 1335 Charles IV, then the Moravian Margrave, granted Trebic the city rights.