The Czech Republic is full of cities worth visiting. Many cities and towns in this Central European country have charming historic centers, a range of architectural eras represented, picturesque castles and churches, or even underground tunnels! Whether you’ve been to the Czech Republic before or are planning your first visit, you can’t help but be surprised when you incorporate a range of destinations into your itinerary.
What are some of the best cities in the Czech Republic and what should you know about them? Whether you choose to stick to a region of the country or are planning a more robust trip, discover why cities in the Czech Republic are attractive to visitors, either as a quick stop or for a longer stay.
No doubt, Prague is at the top of the list when it comes to best Czech cities for visitors. With an 1,100-year-plus history, its UNESCO-protected historic center is a gem in Central Europe that travelers love to visit again and again.
As the capital city of the Czech Republic, it acts as a good hub for seeing other Czech cities. But you shouldn’t strike out into the countryside before making a good effort to see and do all you can in Prague.
Besides Prague’s amazing architecture, it’s also packed full of museums to cater to a variety of interests and is a hub of culture – you’ll easily find concerts or a festival to participate in while you’re there.
One of the good things about Prague (among many) is that it’s compact enough – and yet rich enough in things to do – that whether you have two days or two weeks in the Czech capital, you’ll be able to create a memorable itinerary.
Prague has so many must-see sights, it would be impossible to list them all! However, if you concentrate on some of the most historic parts of the city, you’ll have the opportunity to discover many in these areas where attractions are densely packed.
Old Town Prague is where most people start their discovery of this Czech city. The Old Town Square, with its Astronomical Clock, is essential to visit. It’s the site of one of the best Czech Christmas markets in December for Prague’s celebration of Czech Christmas. But year-round it draws crowds of people who desire to see the many important and historic landmarks found right on the square.
Prague Castle, which sits on Castle Hill, is another must-see sight. The castle complex has churches, exhibitions, dungeons, gardens, and even medieval houses. Hundreds of years of history have played out here, and it’s still where the Czech crown jewels are kept!
Of course, you can also wander through its Little Quarter, check out Josefov, the Jewish Quarter, follow in the footsteps of Kafka, view Art Nouveau architecture, take a riverboat cruise, or sample Czech food and beer in Prague.
Brno is Czechia’s second-largest city. Due to its association with industry, Brno is sometimes overlooked by visitors. However, just because Brno has often looked towards the future doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best cities in the Czech Republic for visitors. Its historic center is alive and well, but it also has sights from the early part of the 20th century that are significant.
After all, Brno was a royal city and had city rights granted by the king in the 13th century. It was long a cosmopolitan center of Moravia, a historical region of the Czech lands that now occupies the southeastern portion of Czechia.
Region: South Moravia
Distance from Prague: 115.91 mi (186.55 km) southeast
Like many cities in the Czech Republic, Brno has a historic center with many sights, including its Spilberk Castle. First a castle, then a prison, then a barracks, this landmark has seen many uses throughout the centuries.
The Vegetable Market is remarkable for its age – it has stood in the same place before even the official founding of the city. A labyrinth underneath this market, which was used for food storage, is now open to the public.
In the Abbey of Saint Thomas, Gregor Mendel – who was a friar and abbot there – conducted experiments on pea plants that led to the creation of the new science of genetics in the 19th century.
Brno is also home to the second-largest ossuary in Europe. It follows only the on in Paris in scope.
Finally, Villa Tugendhat, an example of modern architecture by Mies van der Rohe, built at the beginning of the 20th century, is one of the Czech Republic’s World Heritage Sites. The building is open to visitors with a purchased tour.
Olomouc is another great city in the Czech Republic for visitors. A former capital of the current Czech region of Moravia, its history dates from Roman times and was a settlement for Slavs in the Middle Ages.
It wasn’t until the 13th century that Olomouc was officially established as a city, however. Until it was conquered by Swedes, it was one of the most powerful centers in the region.
Distance from Prague: 130.65 mi (210.26 km) east
Olomouc is the location of one of the Czech Republic’s World Heritage sites, the Holy Trinity Column from the middle of the 18th century. Located on the Upper Square, its was created completely by local artisans, who erected the sculptural group as a celebration of Catholicism and the ending of the plague. Though other cities in the Czech Republic have plague columns, Olomouc’s is the most remarkable.
In addition to many religious structures and houses of worship, Olomouc has retained several Baroque fountains. Its reconstructed astronomical clock is also of interest.
Plzen (Plzeň), or Pilsen, is known best for its connection to Pilsner beer. However, beer isn’t the only thing that this city has to offer – it’s one of the best cities in the Czech Republic for visitors for many reasons!
Plzen dates from the late 13th century, was made a royal city by King Wenceslas II, and was even the seat of King Rudolf II at the very start of the 17th century. It is in this century that it got its significantly Baroque look.
Its connection with beer dates all the way back to the 14th century, when the Dobrow Monastery was recognized for its beer production by Wenceslas IV. However, what we know as Pilsner beer was established in the middle of the 19th century in a brewery that still stands today. A combination of local water and hops contributed to the flavor and color of the beer, which became widely popular.
Distance from Prague: 52.03 mi (83.73 km) southwest
The Pilsner Urquell brewery tour is one of the most popular things to do in Plzen. Learn about the development and history of the beer in this famous brewery from expert guides who can answer all of your Pilsner-related questions and enjoy a taste test.
Other beer-related experiences include a beer spa and a beer museum.
The Plzen underground labyrinth is an unexpected attraction in this Czech city. A guided tour of the 800-meters-long tunnels presents the history of the city.
The Great Synagogue in Pilsen is the third-largest synagogue in the world. Though it was destroyed during WWII, it has been reconstructed.
Kutna Hora is most certainly one of the best cities in the Czech Republic for visitors. It’s often included in lists of day trips from Prague due to its Sedlec Ossuary and other architectural monuments.
Silver was found in the area as early as the 10th century, which led to the establishment of a royal mint.
Region: Central Bohemia
Distance from Prague: 38.83 mi (62.49 km) east
Sedlec Ossuary is undoubtedly the main sight in Kutna Hora. Built from the bones of more than 40,000 plague victims, is it sad and macabre. The bones were arranged in the Gothic church when mass graves were uncovered during its construction. The ossuary even showcases a chandelier made of human bones.
What is known as the Italian Court is a former royal palace and the site of the royal mint of Kutna Hora, which began operating in 1300 under Wenceslas II. Tours of the Italian Court familiarize visitors with the history of the mint and coinage.
The Gothic Stone House is the Museum of Silver and contains 185,000 exhibition objects.
Furthermore, the winding medieval lanes of Kutna Hora offer unforgettable photo opportunities.
Telc (Telč) is an interesting combination of elements, and it should not be overlooked as one of the best cities in the Czech Republic for travelers. Its origin story is a bit muddy, but what remains offers plenty for the traveler who is interested in visiting less-known areas of Europe.
Distance from Prague: 77.67 mi (124.99 km) southeast
The chateau in the town square is one of the best-preserved monuments to Renaissance architecture in the Czech Republic, reflecting its authentic 16th-century appearance, having escaped a trend for restoration or renovation. Take a guided tour of the chateau and then stroll through the gardens to digest what you learned on the tour.
Perhaps the best-known part of Telc is the market square, which is bounded by highly decorative houses of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, including those embellished by the sgraffito technique, connected by a continuous arcade. A plague column and a fountain are focal points of the square.
The historic center of Telc is protected as a World Heritage Site, and visitors to this Czech city will easily understand why.
Cesky Krumlov (Český Krumlov) is one of the best Czech cities for visitors, hands down. This charming Czech town will steal your heart and haunt you with its beauty. Its location on the S-bend of a river, along with its well-preserved Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance architecture, makes it especially picturesque.
A castle, with a Renaissance tower, and a town make this day trip from Prague extremely attractive. You can easily spend several days here taking in the fairy-tale atmosphere, popping into shops for Czech souvenirs, or dining in one of its cozy restaurants.
Cesky Krumlov is also a top destination for seeing fall colors.
Region: South Bohemia
Distance from Prague: 88.36 mi (142.21 km) south
The castle complex and the town, which maintains its medieval layout, have been recognized by UNESCO for decades.
Both are worthwhile seeing and spending time in. Climbing to the top of the Renaissance tower of the castle will provide stunning views. You can also take a variety of tours of the castle, during which you’ll get the benefit of seeing the interiors and learning about the history of this incredible structure.
If you like 20th century art, the Egon Schiele museum may be up your alley. Visit the Egon Schiele Art Centrum to view works by Schiele himself as well as by other artists.
Situated on hot springs, Karlovy Vary is a premier spa town in the Czech Republic. It was named after its founder, Charles IV, and now enjoys status as a UNESCO site and the biggest complex of spas in Europe.
Its springs were discovered in the early 14th century, and later that century it was granted town rights. Its development for spas began in the 19th century due to promotion by physicians about the water’s healing powers.
If you can, you may want to stay at one of its resorts, which offer health and wellness treatments as well as other amenities.
Region: Karlovy Vary
Distance from Prague: 69.30 mi (111.52 km) west
Even if you don’t visit a spa while you’re in Karlovy Vary, its spa architecture should be on view. Its colonnades signal access to spring water, sometimes from free taps that allow visitors to take advantage of the properties of the water.
Among other sights are a glass museum, which offers a tour to watch glass being blown by skilled artists, and the nearby Loket Castle. It’s an excellent opportunity to take home a prized souvenir of your visit to the spa town.
If you like movie filming locations, take note of Grandhotel Pupp, which served to represent many of the interiors for the hotel in Grand Budapest Hotel.
Ceske Budejovice (České Budějovice) dates from the 13th century, and though it is sometimes overlooked for other cities in the region, it has its fair share of offerings for the visitor. Its beautiful main square gets the limelight with its Baroque town hall and statue of Samson.
It also has a pretty riverfront with its Dominican Monastery reflecting in the water as well as remnants of the town’s early fortification structures.
Ceske Budejovice is on the way to Cesky Krumlov from Prague, making it a convenient stop on your tour around the Czech Republic.
Region: South Bohemia
Distance from Prague: 77.29 mi (124.39 km) south
Climb the Black Tower on the square to get a bird’s eye view of the historic center. Your social media followers will envy your photos! After all, the central square, like many of the cities on this list of best Czech cities, has a concentration of attractive sights.
Tour the Budvar Brewery to learn more about this Czech beer brand and enjoy a beer tasting.
Tabor (Tábor) is a town surprisingly rich in sights and attractions, many from the 16th century, when the town’s development increased significantly.
Due to Tabor’s need to protect itself during military incursions, it developed a strategic layout, with walls and towers as well as narrow streets that increased the difficulty invading forces would face in getting to its center. Remnants of that time still exist, which is only one of the reasons Tabor is one of the best cities in the Czech Republic for visitors.
You can include this beautiful city in the Czech Republic on your way to visit Cesky Krumlov.
Region: South Bohemia
Distance from Prague: 47.76 mi (76.86 km) south.
Unsurprisingly, the main square, called Zizka Square, is a good place to start in your exploration of this Czech city. Its Gothic town hall is now the Hussite Museum and bears viewing both inside and out. The square is surrounded by historic houses, some with sgraffito work, and in the center is a Renaissance fountain.
Tunnels underneath the city, which are open to the public with a ticket, used to provide shelter and act as storage. Explore several hundred meters of these tunnels when you visit Tabor.
Also be sure to check out Kotnov Tower and Bechyne Gate, part of the city’s old fortifications.
If you’re on the hunt for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Trebic (Třebíč) should be a city in the Czech Republic on your list. It has not one, but two, of Czechia’s UNESCO sites.
Trebic grew out of the Benedictine monastery established here at the beginning of the 12th century. Granted rights in the 14th century, the town already had a Jewish population.
Distance from Prague: 88.94 mi (143.13 km) southeast
Though the Jewish population had lived side by side with people of other faiths for centuries, a Jewish ghetto was established in the 18th century on the banks of the Jihlava River. The Jewish Quarter of Trebic maintains more than 100 buildings that are a testament to Jewish culture in the city, including synagogues and a rabbi’s house. A Jewish cemetery is also located here.
St. Procopius’ Basilica, which has its origins in the Benedictine monastery, overlooks the Jewish Quarter from its position on a hill. As a World Heritage Site, it is an example of one of the first Western architectural examples in this part of Europe.
The two sights are very different, but in combination, they are especially intriguing.
Kromeriz (Kroměříž) began as a trade town on the crossroads of the Salt Road and the Amber Road, the latter which was responsible for the trade of Baltic Amber from Northern Europe.
This Czech city had an unsteady history, with raids and wars interrupting its development and causing significant rebuilding to be required over the centuries.
Nevertheless, Kromeriz is an important site for its castle and the gardens there. Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I and Russian Tsar Alexander III met at the castle in 1885.
You may want to include Kromeriz on your visit to either Olomouc or Brno, which are nearby Czech cities worth visiting.
Distance from Prague: 143.60 mi (231.10 km) southeast
The Baroque Kromeriz Castle and gardens are inscribed in the list of World Heritage Sites for Czechia. Influenced by Italian design, the castle and garden remain in a well-preserved state. Be prepared to be wowed by both the architecture and the landscaping – you’ll be transported back in time to a more aristocratic era.
The castle also contains a gallery of European masterpieces, among them paintings by Titian, Cranach, and van Dyck. It’s a great chance to see these works live rather than in the pages of an art history book.
The interior of the castle, the castle gallery, and the grounds can be visited.
Litomysl (Litomyšl) is famous for its castle as well as being the birthplace of the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.
The Renaissance castle is a World Heritage Site.
Distance from Prague: 85.25 mi (137.20 km) east
The castle, one of the largest examples of a Renaissance castle in the Czech Republic, was built in the 16th century. Picturesque and beautifully situated, your memories of visiting this Czech castle are sure to be among your favorite.
In addition to the main castle, with its elegant interiors, the castle also contains a theater. The castle and the theater can be visited via two tours.
Ostrava lies at the confluence of four rivers and is the Czech Republic’s fourth-largest city. Though it no longer produces coal, its coal-mining tradition is important to its history and development.
Region: Moravia Silesia
Distance from Prague: 172.49 mi (277.60 km) east
Masaryk Square is the heart of the city and is where the Old Town Hall is located, which is now the city museum. Positioned in the square is a Baroque column with a sculptural depiction of the Virgin Mary. The square also contains a statue of St. Florian.
Liberec is the fifth-largest Czech city, was along a trade route in the Middle Ages, and was once a center of textile manufacturing. It’s located in the Jizera Mountains in Bohemia.
Distance from Prague: 54.86 mi (88.29 km) northeast
The Ještěd Tower is Liberec’s main claim to fame. This elegant tower, which stands on a mountaintop, allows views of the surrounding Bohemian countryside, Poland, and Germany.
Of course, cities in the Czech Republic that are great for visitors aren’t limited to this list. The Czech Republic has a multitude of beautiful towns and cities with charming central squares, castles, and other points of interest. If you have the freedom of doing a road trip, you may discover underrated examples on your way to more popular destinations.
Many of the cities here can also be visited via a guided tour of the Czech Republic. Understandably, some cities, such as Cesky Krumlov, are more likely than others to appear on a tour itinerary.
Furthermore, a limited number of these cities can be visited as a day trip from Prague, either on your own or with a tour.