Holidays in the Czech Republic

Austria, Germany, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia

The Czech Republic has holidays suited to all interests. Click on the titles and links below to go to the specific pages:

A Painting of Cesky Krumlov by Egon Schiele

The Czech Republic has many fine art galleries, displaying work from the past and the present. Many museums have excellent collections of gothic sculpture and painting, especially worth noting is the Ales Gallery at Hluboka Nad Vltavou in South Bohemia. Under Rudolph II Prague became the cultural heart of the Hapsburg Empire and so attracted artists and craftsmen from all over Europe. The palaces and castles of the nobility such as the lords of Cesky Krumlov were adorbed with high quality artworks, tapestries and other furnishings. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century we see artists like Alfons Mucha using their art to give voice to a new Czech nationalism. In Cesky Krumlov you can visit the Egon Schiele Gallery of Modern Art, which is named after the town's most famous artist, while in Prague and Brno there severale excellent modern art galleries.

Many traditional crafts have survived in the Czech Republic and it is possible not only to view examples in museums, but to meet current craftspeople and buy their work. You can even try your hand at painting traditional Czech Easter Eggs or creating a marionetter. Traditional forms of textile design and production are very much in evidence in Moravia and we offer a special tour for textile lovers. 

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Kutna Hora - St Barbora's Church

We love of architecture and design. It's one of the reasons we love the Czech Republic. Bohemian Gothic architecture feels very different to that you will see in western Europe. The greatest examples of Czech gothic ecclesiastical architecture are perhaps Prague Cathedral and Kutna Hora's St Barbora's Church, but you will find fascinating churches and abbeys elsewhere in the country. Towns like Cesky Krumlov, Telc and Slavonice have survived with their renaissance decorated houses pretty well intact. The Baroque period saw more building of churches and palaces, two of the best examples are in Kromeriz and Olomouc in Moravia. 

The 20th century saw an explosion of fascinating buildings with Secessionist, Art Deco and then Modernism movements all present. Cubist architecture is a uniquely Czech movement and is to be found in Prague, Hradec Kralove and other cities. Most architecture lovers will have heard of Mies van der Rohe's modernist masterpiece, Villa Tugendhat, in Brno, but there dozens of other important modernist buildings in that city alone. We offer small-group (6 people maximum) 20th century architecture tours.

As for design both Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffman were born in Moravia and their influential work can be seen in Plzen, Brno and elsewhere. The Czechs have some excellent design museums. 

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Hussite Warrior at the Tabor Meeting

The history of the Czech Republic goes back to the dawn of time, to the Old Stone Age mammoth hunters whose camps and ceramics have been found in the Palava Hills near Mikulov in South Moravia. The country has a glut of castles (more per square mile than any other country in Europe) and the fortifications of many towns survive at least in part. Some of the best are to be seen at Jindrichuv Hradec, Strakonice, Landstejn, Rabi, Zvikov, and Kost, to say nothing of the two largest - Prague and Cesky Krumlov. For historians of war the story of the Hussite Wars and the Hussite innovations in tactics and weapons make for fascinating study, start with the excellent museum at Tabor, while there is also the site of Napoleon's greatest victory at Austerlitz near Brno to visit, and the fortifications from 1938 and the Cold War are also a must. 

It is hard to go anywhere in the Czech Republic where you will not find something of historical interest. Many towns have well-preserved historic town centres, especially so in South Bohemia. Cesky Krumlov with its UNESCO listing tends to get all the attention, but there are many other interesting towns. Throughout the summer there are historical festivals in towns and cities across the country. The most famous is The Festival of the Five-petalled Rose in Cesky Krumlov and the Tabor Meeting, but there are many others.

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White-tailed Eagle

The Czech Republic has some superb natural history and landscapes - including some internationally important ornithological reserves and nature reserves. The Sumava Forest is an internationally important area. During the Communist era entry was forbidden to large parts of the Forest, which resulted in rare fauna and flora flourishing. Now preserved as a National Park with restricted access to motor vehicles the Forest continues to be a haven for nature. 

During the late Middle Ages and Renaissance an extensive network of lakes serving as fishponds were created in the South Bohemian basin. These lakes are now designated an internationally important biosphere by UNESCO. This is partly due to the large numbers of birds either overwintering or nesting in the area. The area is popular with birdwatchers. 

The geology of the Czech Republic is remarkably varied. In the north (Czech Switzerland and Czech Paradise) are the spectacular sandstone rock towns - collections of weather carved stone pillars. To the south near Tabor and Brno are limestone cave systems, whilst in the Sumava and Cesky Krumlov area the dominant rock is granite. Gemstones (especially garnets) have been gathered and carved in Czech Paradise for centuries, whilst Kutna Hora was built on silver mines. The most remarkable stone is Moldavite which is collected in South Bohemia. This gem was formed when a meteor hit the earth. 

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