Time zone: UTC/GMT +01:00
Currency: CZK – Czech koruna
Official language: Czech
If you love happily ever afters or simply want to take a walk through history, Czechiais an ideal holiday destination. Located at the geographic center of Europe, this lovely country contains a vast amount of castles and other architectural treasures, as well as beautiful forests and mountains to match.
The country’s capital and largest city is Praha, better known as Prague. It is one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations, and its beautiful historical core is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Actually, the Czech Republic is home to 12 UNESCO sites, including Kutná Hora and the nearby “bone church,” Sedlec Ossuary.
Be sure to make your way to Brno, the largest city in Moravia, if for no other reason than to tour Villa Tugendhat, a unique house that was the prototype of modern architecture. If you love the outdoors, Bohemian Switzerland offers memorable hiking, then soothe any sore muscles in Karlovy Vary, a traditional spa town in West Bohemia.
Czech are world-famous for their beer, and in fact the first pilsner beers were brewed in the town of Pilsen. The original Pilsner Urquell is available worldwide, as is the original Budweiser, sold as Budvar in Europe and Czechvar in the U.S. The Czech Republic produces excellent red and white wines in southern Moravia, as well as burcak, a delicious young wine that is only available in late September.
Czechs are fond of meat, especially pork, but beef, chicken, and duck dishes are also available. Two Czech classics to try are guláš (sort of thinner and less spicy Hungarian goulash); and svíčková (sliced beef sirloin with creamy gravy, a tablespoon of cranberry sauce, a slice of orange and whipped cream). Many dishes are accompanied by knedlíky, a unique bread dumpling that is found nowhere else.
If you are fond of soups, try bramboračka (potato soup), gulášovka (thick goulash soup), zelňačka (thick and sour cabbage soup) and česnečka (strong garlic soup, very healthy and tasty).
For take-home souvenirs, garnets, glass, crystal, wooden toys or other craft items as Czechs are known for their handicraft skills would do. Extremely popular items with a long tradition in the country is porcelain and for a unique gift, purchase pink porcelain, which is made out of pink clay, not painted or glazed.