Not too far from Prague - a bus ride away - and home to some absolutely beautiful spas. Try and go in the winter for a wonderful contrast between the snow and the hot springs. Restaurants and bars are also cheap.
However, anyone travelling with children - be prepared for nudity - many spa-goers strip off completely.
Get out of town and visit Kutna Hora - the Cathedral and the Ossuary are really something else. Or take a trip East to Plzen and visit the brewery - it is surely the best place in the world to drink one of the best beers in the world - fresh as can be, and a pretty town center, too.
The town of Plzen lies 90 km west of Prague and has one major reason for visiting it – the brewery. This is where Pilsner lager was born, and it’s quite a bit different from (and much nicer than) the stuff you drink back home, or even in Germany.
The brewery trip includes a descent to some very chilly underground tunnels where a lot of the brewing was done in the days before industrialisation, and where a large, moustachioed brewer in period costume will draw beer samples from an enormous barrel to offer you.
The town also has a charming central square with a very pretty church in the middle. There’s also a brewing museum, where you can see the history and, of course, try the beer again.
From Prague - E50 motorway; by train from Florenc station; guided tours available in the city centre;
25 kilometres south west of Prague, Karlstejn is a picturesque village worth walking around in itself, but it also boasts its own impressive castle. Built by Charles IV in the 14th century, it sits on top of a hill and rather dominates everything from the streets below, looking suspiciously ‘Disneyesque’ amid the surrounding fir trees. The views from the castle are sufficient reason in themselves to make the climb, though the interiors are interesting enough, if somewhat restricted due to some unfortunate past acts of vandalism.
By train – from Smichov station in Prague (Smichovske nadrazi metro) or take a guided tour, widely available in the city centre
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