In September 2016, we took a 3-week road trip around the Czech Republic. Our itinerary focused on UNESCO world heritage sites and was designed with help from the national tourist bureau.
We left the country with thousands of photos from those 22 days. This article features our favorites, following along with our itinerary. Each has a story to tell, so join Dan as he takes you on a tour photo essay tour around the Czech Republic.
Travel photography is interesting because there are so many things that capture your eye, from a small child playing with a plastic bag to items displayed in windows. The variety is never ending. So here are 22 favorites from 22 different Czech towns, and the reasons I like them. Please let me know what you think.
ⓘ TIP: Rick Steves has an excellent travel guide that covers Prague and the Czech Republic. LEARN MORE HERE.
1. Kutna Hora
This macabre display at the Bone Church in Sedlec, near Kutna Hora, is one of the most creative ways to honor the dead that I’ve seen. It actually warmed my heart for a sentimental reason: It was a reminder of my late son, who could have named every bone on display.
Doors and windows are always a popular subject, and we get both here in Litomysl. I like the how the building’s worn door and walls vividly contrast with the blue sky that is reflected in the windows.
The sun warms the fall air along this beautiful cobbled street winding through Olomouc.
A warm smile of a warm heart – This waitress took special care of us while we had lunch at Cerny Orel in Kromeriz. She spent a lot of time in the back room explaining the details of their chocolate-making to Linda. (Why the big smile? I told her I would put her face on the internet and make her famous.)
We passed through this town on our drive from Kromeriz to Brno. A captivating view of Czech countryside from a vantage point in Boskovice as the warm fall colors lit up the overcast day.
Brno, the country’s second-largest city. We stayed at Zelny Trh (“Cabbage Market Square”), which once was its historical center. This photo shows that, just as vendors have been doing since the 13th century, farmers truck in their produce early in the morning, fresh from the fields. This woman has finished setting up and is ready for her first customer.
7. Moravian Karst
We visited the Moravian Karst near Brno, a beautiful spot for hiking and caving. Here, the stillness of the water matched the silence of Punkva Cave.
Mikulov Castle at sunset. The white building takes on a pastel glow in the golden hour.
The Dukes of Liechtenstein owned two adjacent chateaux in southern Moravia, and the one in Lednice has a staircase that had been hand-carved from a single oak tree. I thought the blue walls make a stunning contrast to the warm wood tones.
The dukes’ chateau in the neighboring town of Valtice is one of Central Europe’s most impressive Baroque residences. The Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape is a UNESCO site, and the region is well known for its excellent wine. I like the red roofs and pastel hue walls of the “commoners'” houses.
Telc was awarded UNESCO heritage status because its historic center hasn’t changed since the 13th century. The surrounding ponds reflect Telc Castle beautifully.
The preserved Jewish Quarter of Třebíč, pressed against the mountain, bears silent witness that it was once a center of Jewish culture in Moravia. This grave stone depicts the age-old Jewish custom of placing God’s name on the people.
Třeboň is a tourist area, known for its excellent fish and ornate buildings. The mirror on the right allowed me to stand in a dangerous traffic location while creating this shot.
They call it ‘South Bohemian folk Baroque,’ and that’s what earned it UNESCO status. Light blue and wood contrast in the exceptional display of an 18th and 19th century central European village.
15. Ceske Budejovice
Ceske Budejovice was founded in 1256 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia, and the central town square was named in his honor. Here it is, framed by one of the arches that surround the square.
16. Cesky Krumlov
Outdone only by Prague, Cesky Krumlov is the second-most-popular tourist destination in all of the Czech Republic. And deservedly so. Here, sunset illuminates the castle tower. Consider it a tip-off to the color that can be found throughout this picturesque town.
Plzen (Pilsen) is famous for its beer, so we “just had to” visit the Pilsner Urquell brewery! Where better to try the much-copied style than in the town where pilsner began?
18. Marianske Lazne
Mariánské Lázně is a spa town in West Bohemia that was once popular with many celebrities and top European rulers. Looking from the Colonnades, the flow and curve of the grass match the clouds, leading to the building where the town’s healing waters can be found.
19. Karlovy Vary
Known as Carlsbad in German, the thermal springs of Karlovy Vary have made it a popular resort. Fall is beginning here, and the trees strike a harmony with the town’s colorful buildings.
This castle town was featured in the recent James Bond movie, Casino Royale. I just loved these whimsical characters peeking from a window at Loket.
21. Bohemian Switzerland
We spent hours hiking to this wonderful treasure in Bohemian Switzerland, a national forest north of Prague, up near the German border. It was overcast all day, but the sun broke through just as the overlook was closing for the night. We begged for five more minutes and the caretaker graciously waited. I think I used up an entire battery in those few minutes.
Another sunset photo, this one taken of the entire span of Charles Bridge. I captured this image while standing at the edge of the Vltava River, which flows through the center of Prague.
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