No country has burst more colourfully onto the world’s stage since the collapse of the Iron Curtain than the Czech Republic. It’s one of the youngest countries in the world – born as the result of the Velvet Divorce with the Slovak Republic in 1993, which in turn flowed from the Velvet Revolution and freedom from the USSR in 1989.
The star of the Republic’s show is its capital Prague, the resplendent, glorious jewel in its crown. Left largely unscathed by bombing in the Second World War and then hidden behind the Iron Curtain, its architecture is beautifully intact. The Golden City, with its sprawling castle, gargoyle-festooned cathedral and historic Charles Bridge, deserves all its top billing but the Czech Republic has much more waiting in the wings. There is no better place to start than Prague but don’t forget that along with its awesome sights it is also home to cosy pubs and street cafés – perfect places to watch the world go by and taste some of the best beers in the world.
Beyond Prague lies a fairy tale land of castles, forests and picturesque towns such as Ceský Krumlov, embraced by a meander of the Vltava River, and the medieval city of Kutná Hora in the heart of Bohemia. Visit at Christmas time and be enticed with the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread. The great news is that the Czech Republic is also sprinkled with spa towns – the perfect way perhaps to soak away a few too many dumplings!