The South Bohemian Region in The Czech Republic is described as “A landscape of forests and fishponds with beautiful countryside, fairytale chateaux and rural farms” on the country’s official website .I would just pick up the word “fairytale” as the word that describes the region! Travellers would usually do day trips to some highlight places in this region, however, the fairytale comes alive only when you spend a few days immersing into the endless possibilities of exploring natural beauty, historic marvels as well as food and culture. This is also the region where some of the best beers are made, each town in South Bohemia has its own beer brewery and brand which is sold only in that town!
We were there in October with the autumn leaves in full display so a relaxed roadtrip into the countryside was ideal. Here’s what we did, picked up a car from Prague and set off southwards towards Český Krumlov. On route is the town České Budějovice (pronounced chesky bood-yo-vit-zah or simply ‘Budweis’) is the provincial capital of southern Bohemia. This town has one of the most beautiful town squares with typical Bohemian colourful buildings.
This town is also home to the world’s most famous beer Budweiser taken from its name! The Budweiser we get all over the world is American and not the original they claim and the Czech company and the American Budweiser have been fighting Trademark lawsuits since 1907! Their logo’s are different ofcourse and I may be biased but the “Original Budweiser” is definitely the one to go for – unfortunately its available only within the country!
Next stop – walled city set within the curves of the river Vltava – Český Krumlov, our base for the next few days. We stayed in Pension Hotel Garni Mysi Dira – a perfectly located place to explore the town on foot along with a car parking! Beautiful winding streets, walkways by the Vltava, street art, quaint little restaurants & cafe’s and interesting shops selling art and more is what this town is like.
A few must do’s while you are in Český Krumlov:
- A visit to the Castle Complex – A UNESCO World Heritage site – Getting to the castle is an uphill task, but definitely worth it – its a treat for architecture lovers and offer the best 360 degree views of the town.Castle gardens are next door and worth a visit as well.
Eat at Krcma Satlava – Its dark, hidden,has an amazing medieval feel to it and serves the best fresh meat grills. I almost felt like I was sitting in a Game of Thrones set! I’m a vegetarian and had to do with a very tasty Onion Soup, while my friend sat and ate some serious meat cuts! A must visit for sure.
- Go on a cycling trip on one of the many cycling trails or take a canoe/rafting ride on the Vltava – these are two things we couldn’t do because of the weather but are on my list incase I’m back in this dreamy town
Our next stop – the sleepy little fairytale town of Telč. This Unesco-protected is on the border of Bohemia and Moravia. It showcases Czech Republic’s best-preserved historic town square. The main attraction is the beauty of the square itself, lined by Renaissance and baroque houses, with their brightly coloured yellow, pink and green facades. We spent two nights in this little town. The best of the town is visible once the bus tours leave. Stay overnight at least to experience the calm and quiet of this pretty town with a Renaissance Chateau as well as manmade ponds surrounding it. Have a drink in local bars and explore the local market of this town and feel like you have been transported to another world!
On the way back to Prague we stopped by at Kutná Hora, again a historical town with many attractions like the Czech Museum of Silver, Church of St Barbara and more, the highlight of this town is the Bone Church (Ossuary). Its one of the churches in Europe which celebrates the dead! The entire church is lined with bones and skulls, the decor of the church – from Chandeliers to pillar decor is all made of bones – its quite a sight for sure!
This is the official literature about the church and its history for those interested.
This amazing ~500 kms roadtrip was a real treat for anyone who loves to see different sides of a country, experience local life and just soak it all in! It was a treat o all senses, eyes couldn’t take enough of the beautiful colourful towns and autumn leaves laden roads,the sound of the peace, calm and nature relaxing the soul, the food made with such love that even a vegetarian fell in love with it!
I don’t think there is any etymological connect between Bohemia and the term Bohemian however its definition is exactly what this trip to South Bohemia inspired me to be like!
“Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.”