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The Czech Republic is a favorite destination for those who like older architecture, partially because this small landlocked country went mostly untouched during the world wars, and partially because the area has been owned by many different nations with different architectural influences throughout the last millennium.

Prices are lower for those who like to find the best deal, and the culture is more “authentic”, or unspoiled by tourist demands. The result is a charming step back into a fairytale world of “Real Europe.” Here are some of the best places to travel in the Czech Republic.

7. Olomouc

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In Moravia is the beautiful baroque city of Olomouc which is the sixth largest city in the Czech Republic. It was for centuries one of the most important cities in the country and a residence of the Czech Monarchy. Similar to Prague (mentioned below), the city has an old medieval astronomical clock which is built into the Town Hall. The city is also home to a 32 meter high Holy Trinity Monument which is now recognised as a Unesco Monument. The monument consists of 18 sculptures of saints, 12 light-bearer figures and various other elements. A few other attractions in the city include Saint Wenceslas Cathedral, which has the second highest spire in the Czech Republic at 100.65 meters, as well as Archbishop’s Palace and various museums.

6. Telc

Top 7 travel destinations in Czech Republic
Photo: Flickr

5. Castle Karlstejn

This town in the Moravia region of the South was created as a port town in the 14th Century to facilitate trade between Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria. The town’s historic center boasts easter-egg colors and renaissance architecture, which make it a picturesque place to visit. The local Gothic palace was redone in the 17th century to remake it in Renaissance style. Beautiful churches like the church of the Holy Ghost and the local Jesuit Church make this a lovely place for photographers, architectural and history buffs.

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Photo: AvantgardePrague.com

A towering monument cast in stone to the revered Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, Castle Karlstejn soars above the verdant Czech valleys just south-west of the capital at Prague. It’s a glorious Gothic array of turrets and gatehouses that’s come to be one of the most visited medieval relics in the nation. Travelers who come here are invited to scale the hill and pass under the two-storey port houses and into the central courtyards, where the so-called Big Tower and Chapel of the Holy Cross once held the priceless Royal Jewells and Imperial Regalia of the Czech kings. The views are another matter: rolling out to encompass the undulating hills of Bohemia and forested hinterland of the country on all sides.

4. Karlovy Vary

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Photo: Travelsewhere.com

This hot spring town has been believed for hundreds of years to have healing waters that can clear anything from poor digestion to brain tumors. Like many hot spring regions, the waters were developed into a large spa region. In this case, the transformation happened in the 13th Century, and was commissioned by Charles IV. As spas were the place of nobles, the architecture has always been opulent. However, a series of natural disasters have destroyed most of the buildings that existed before the heyday of Karlovy Vary in the 18th and 19th centuries. The town is still quite grand and picturesque however, and the spa is still open over six centuries later, and still claims miracle cures for dozens to hundreds of ailments.

3. Kutna Hora

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Photo: PragueStay.com

Kutna Hora began as the first Bohemian monastery in 1142. It began to boom and prosper as the town’s mountains were shown to have a large silver deposit in the 12th century. The town was under German control when much of this boom happened, and has created a number of spectacular Gothic buildings. Included in the list of must-see places is the five-naved Cathedral, St Barbaras Church. Also, the royal residence and mint now called the Italian Court, the current museum called the Stone Haus, the Ossuary (bone house), and two more lovely Gothic Churches. For Gothic Architecture lovers, there are few places with as many preserved buildings dating back to the 1300’s.

2. Cesky Krumlov

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Photo: PureVacations.com

Down in Southern Bohemia, lies the fairy tale town of Cesky Krumlov – a town so scenically historic it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Brimming with stunning examples of Renaissance era architecture, the picturesque community wraps around a bend in the Vltava River and boasts the beautiful 13th century castle – a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles – at its core. Beyond its rich history, Český Krumlov also has a thriving cultural life that includes an international art gallery, the Egon Schiele Art Centrum, a vibrant culinary scene and annual festivities including a chamber music festival and a river marathon.

1. Prague

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Photo: EmergingEurope.com

One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Prague was founded in the 9th century and has served over the centuries as the seat of Holy Roman Emperors as well as an important economic, cultural and political center in Central Europe. Playing important roles in the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War, the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia after World War I. Following Czechoslovakia’s 1993 division into two separate governments, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.

Prague’s culture scene is one of Europe’s best. The city is overflowing in art galleries, museums and theaters. Lovers of Kafka can see his home and the cemetery where he was buried. More modern art lovers can see the Giant Metronome, or the Fred and Ginger Dancing House.

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