Last Updated on June 11, 2022 by Nellie Huang
This Czech Republic itinerary takes you on a 1-week road trip around country, from the capital Prague to the castles of Český Krumlov and wineries of Southern Moravia.
Located in the very center of Europe, the Czech Republic is a hodgepodge of castles, chateaux, and Gothic churches. This fairytale land is steeped in history and brimming with amazing sights: from medieval towers to Bohemian castles, wineries to beer breweries. What’s more, it’s cheap to travel in (think $1 beer!) and easy to get around.
The Czech Republic covers a little over 30,000 square miles (77,000 square kilometers) and is far more compact than neighboring countries like Germany and Poland — making it a real delight to explore on a road trip! Most travelers tend to visit Prague only, but as we discovered on our road trip through Czech Republic, there’s so much more to the country than its capital.
We have put together the perfect Czech Republic itinerary for those interested in exploring beyond Prague and delving deep into Czechia’s beer heritage, bohemian culture, and history on an epic road trip.
My Czech Republic Road Trip Itinerary
How to Get to the Czech Republic
This Czech Republic road trip starts and ends in Prague. The Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG) is the international gateway most travelers from Europe, the US and beyond use to access the country. The airport is around 10 miles from the city center and the national carrier is Czech Airlines.
You can find cheap flights to Prague from most major European cities like London, Madrid, and Paris, for less than $200 return. These flights from London to Prague are only US$50 roundtrip!
From New York to Prague, you can also get fairly cheap flights for US$500 roundtrip. You can also get pretty good deals from Los Angeles to Prague for about US$550 roundtrip if you book in advance.
How to Get Around the Czech Republic
By Car Rental
The best way to get around Czech Republic is by car hire. The great news is that car hire in Prague is very affordable. We rented a car from Prague Airport and found it very convenient and affordable.
An economy rental car in the Czech Republic averages just $200 for a whole week, which is less than $25 a day. We always use DiscoverCars.com as they’ve consistently given us the best prices and customer service.
My top tips for hiring a car include taking out a credit card that includes car rental insurance. You may also like to also check manual and automatic prices, as stick shift vehicles are often cheaper to rent. A compact car will generally use less gas and can be easier to drive.
Driving in Czech Republic
In Czechia they drive on the right, so unless you’re from countries like the UK, Australia, Japan, India, Thailand or South Africa where cars are left-hand drive, this will be familiar to you.
One thing to know about driving in the Czech Republic is that about 90% of all roads are toll roads! Since 2021 you need a digital toll vignette to use these toll roads. I recommend ordering your vignette online to avoid any trouble. A 10-day vignette costs €19.95 (US$21.26); and a 1-month vignette costs €24.95 (US$26.59).
Another point to note is that a zero tolerance policy applies to drinking and driving here, so go easy on those Czech beers the night before taking to the road!
Best Time for a Czech Republic Road Trip
The Czech Republic has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cold winters. Winter runs from December to February and these are the chilliest months with overnight frosts and some snow. The glittering Christmas markets held in December make it worth braving the temperatures for sure!
The best time for a Czech Republic road trip is in spring and fall, as temperatures are milder. Even at night, temperatures tend to be in the range of 35℉ (or 2℃) and higher. It’s also less crowded. I would suggest avoiding summer as Prague gets ridiculously crowded and summer highs can be around 75℉ (or 24℃).
1-Week Czech Republic Itinerary
With 1 week in Czech Republic, you’ll barely scratch the surface of this whimsical fairytale country. But you will still be able to experience the best of Czech Republic, from the Bohemia valley to the wine region.
After spending a few days in the spectacular capital city Prague, you’ll head west to Pilsen to explore Czechia’s beer heritage before going south to visit Český Krumlov, the archetypal Bohemian village. After that the focus turns to Třebíč, a fascinating place with a UNESCO listed basilica and Jewish quarter.
Towards the end of your trip you’ll take in Mikulov at the center of the Southern Moravian wine region before heading back to Prague. Here you’ll learn that drinking in the Czech Republic isn’t only about Pilsner!
Summary of this Czech Republic Road Trip
- Days 1 & 2: Prague
- Day 3: Pilsen
- Day 4: Český Krumlov
- Day 5: Třebíč
- Day 6: Mikulov
- Day 7: Moravian wine region
- Mcely and Loučeň
- Lednice and Valtice
- Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad)
Czech Republic Itinerary Day 1: Prague
Explore the Old Town
Get your bearings by starting out at Staré Mesto – the Old Town Square. This is positioned in the heart of the Old Town, between Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square.
The cobbled square is packed with appealing sights, including the Old Town Hall’s medieval clock, the gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn and the baroque St Nicholas church. While in the area you can climb the Old Town Hall tower if you want to for sweeping views over the city.
For a good orientation of the city, join a free walking tour of Prague old town and see the city from a local’s perspective! I love doing free walking tours and have done them in many cities. These tours are advertised as ‘free’ but a tip is of course expected. The standard is €10 per person.
Visit Wenceslas Square
Getting hungry yet? If the answer is yes, then head over to Wenceslas Square and sample some local street food. There are stalls lining the area and the local fare should give you ample fuel for the afternoon.
While Wenceslas Square is a thriving hub, it isn’t really a square – more of a strip really. There are more pedestrians using it than anywhere else in the country, so expect it to be busy! A key sight here is the Czech National Museum, an imposing neoclassical structure that borders the Old Town and the New.
It’s easy to spend the entire day exploring the Old Town and Wenceslas Square, especially if you climb the tower at the Old Town Hall, drop into the National Museum or stroll around the shops. There are plenty of places to grab a drink and dinner – and to party if you have the energy! Don’t forget to sample some of the beer that Czechia is famous for.
Czech Republic Itinerary Day 2: Prague
Discover Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge is but a short wander away from the Old Town Square and is the best place to start your second day in Prague. The baroque structure is broad, paved with cobblestones and lined with statues, so don’t forget your camera. You can rent a boat here if the idea appeals, and it’s a great way to see the city from another angle.
Alternatively, head up the gothic Old Town Bridge Tower at Charles Bridge. Once you’ve ascended the narrow staircase, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramas over Prague that might just take your breath away. The Tower is significant in Czech history, as it was used during coronation ceremonies.
Music and photography fans won’t want to miss the John Lennon Wall that can be found via the staircase at the end of Charles Bridge. If you’re not sure, just follow the crowds to find the colorful, graffiti-adorned wall!
Head up to Prague Castle
You’ll need the entire afternoon to explore Prague Castle fully, and it’s one of the city’s must-see sights. It can be seen at the top of the hill from Charles Bridge, so you’ll know exactly where you’re headed.
If the uphill slog isn’t for you, you can take a tram to the hilltop site. Catch the tram from the Malostranské Náměstí stop, and get off at Prazsky Hrad. You’ll need to validate your pre-purchased ticket when you board. Walking back down is worth it as the route between the castle and the bridge is a photogenic one.
Prague Castle dates from the 9th century and perhaps surprisingly is the president’s official headquarters. Almost 2 million people visit the castle each year and the Guinness Book of Records states that it’s the biggest ancient castle on the planet.
Really it’s a collection of separate buildings forming a complex, and there are various churches, halls, palaces, towers, gardens and other structures to see. Highlights of this UNESCO-listed site include St George’s Basilica, St Vitus Cathedral and the Royal Palace.
Czech Republic Itinerary Day 3: Pilsen
Delve into Pilsen
Pilsen (or Plzeň) is only around an hour’s drive from Prague. The name hints at much of what this place is all about, but there’s more to this charming city than beer.
The main square has a gothic cathedral and the World War II Patton Memorial Museum. Pilsen is also dotted with pleasant parks, has lots of colorful buildings to capture on camera and there are great places to eat and drink all over the city.
Other sights to look out for include the Great Synagogue, which is the biggest in the country. There is also a ‘Thank You America’ monument with twin columns inscribed in English and Czech. Památník Díky, Ameriko! can be found on America Avenue.
Tour the Pilsner Urquell Brewery
Die-hard beer fans cannot miss the Pilsner Urquell Brewery while in town. In fact anyone with the remotest interest in how this alcoholic beverage is made will find it fascinating, not least committed foodies.
Various tours are offered at this brewery in eastern Pilsen. The brewery prides itself on using a recipe that’s over 175 years old and still uses traditional wooden barrels for maturing its beverages. All ingredients are sourced from within Czechia.
The Classic Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour is a favorite and includes a cellar tasting of the factory’s famous brew.
Czech Republic Itinerary Day 4: Český Krumlov
Investigate Český Krumlov
It takes around two hours and 20 minutes to reach Český Krumlov from Pilsen by, so you’ll be ready to stretch your legs by the time you reach town. Take your time: Český Krumlov can get crowded during peak hours so later afternoon and evening are the perfect time to explore.
Český Krumlov is the quintessential Bohemian village, and people visit mainly to savor its incredible beauty. There are the winding cobblestone lanes of the Old Town, pretty parks, the Vltava river and a fairytale, UNESCO-listed hilltop castle with glorious gardens to top it all off.
Explore Český Krumlov castle
The 13th century castle is Český Krumlov’s crowning glory and was built by the Bohemian Vítkovci family. Like Prague Castle it’s a complex rather than a single building, and there are around 40 structures and palaces at the site.
The castle gardens are a highlight and these are free to enter. There are panoramic views of the city from here and you can also see much of the majestic castle complex from the outside. It’s a good place to relax after exploring the Old Town or castle buildings.
Czech Republic Itinerary Day 5: Třebíč
Wander around Třebíč
Třebíč is the next stop on this Czech Republic road trip and it takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to get here from Český Krumlov by car.
Once you arrive, hit in the ground running as there’s plenty to do in Třebíč. Check out its a fascinating Jewish quarter, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, St Procopius Basilica and a Jewish cemetery. A climb up the basilica gives you great views over town, and is the ideal way to start your day in Třebíč. This is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in town; the Jewish quarter is the other.
See Třebíč Jewish Quarter and Cemetery
Třebíč’s Jewish quarter and cemetery can easily fill the rest of your afternoon. The area is one of the most well preserved in Europe and you can stroll by the river here or delve into little side streets to see what you might discover.
The Jewish cemetery is also a peaceful place, but it’s also much more somber than the Jewish quarter. Many of the graves here date from the Second World War and it’s a sobering reminder of the brutalities of conflict.
Czech Republic Itinerary Day 6: Mikulov
Get your Bearings in Mikulov
Mikulov can be overlooked, but there are several pressing reasons to visit this Czech destination. Firstly, it’s snugly situated among the Pálava Hills in the wine region of Southern Moravia, clearly demonstrating that Czechia isn’t only about beer!
This town in the south of the Czech Republic is also close to the Austrian border, so it has a different feel to it than other places in the country. It’s also ideal for walking around. Mikulov Chateau is at the center of it all, and the gardens surrounding it are one of the biggest sites of this sort in the country.
Look out from Mikulov Viewpoints
Once you’ve had your fill of the town, castle and gardens it’s time to take an uphill walk to one or more of Mikulov’s fine viewpoints. I suggest checking out Goat Tower at the top of Goat Hill, and if the flag is flying you can go up.
Holy Hill is an alternative. It’s one of the Pálava hill peaks, and from here you can see the surrounding vineyards as well as the town. This is one of ancient Czechia’s most revered sites and is home to a cluster of religious structures.
Sample Local Wine
While in Mikulov the best way to spend the evening is to sample some of the fruits of the famous vineyards in Mikulov. Our favorite vineyard is definitely the Family Winery Mikulov, dubbed the best restaurant in Mikulov. We tasted different types of locally produced wine here, and found their food and wine pairing were outstanding! If you just want to taste wine in town, Vinotéka Volařík is an awesome wine bar to go for some lovely local wine.
Czech Republic Itinerary Day 7: Prague
You may need to head back to Prague today, and you can expect the car trip to take around 2.5 hours. As you head north from Mikulov bound for Prague, do take the opportunity of visiting a cellar door or two as you wind your way back to the capital. There are wineries dotted all about this part of the Czech Republic, so check out what will be open before leaving so you can make a pitstop.
More Czech Republic Itinerary Ideas
Loučeň and Mcely
Mcely and Loučeň are only around an hour’s drive from Prague and just a few short miles apart. Château Loučeň is great fun to visit and the complex boasts a medieval pub and a range of mazes complete with towers.
Mcely is a romantic Czech destination and it also has its own fairytale castle, Château Mcely, which you can dine, swim, play and even stay at.
Loket is another great Bohemian destination and takes about two hours to get to by car from Prague. The 12th century castle by the Ohře river is a gem, while the village hosted James Bond himself when it was used as a location during the filming of Casino Royale.
Brno is Czechia’s second city and far less touristy than Prague. It’s also a more affordable place to spend time in. It’s the capital of Moravia and often seen as the gateway to the wine region.
Brno is packed with character, with cobblestone streets and historic sites dating back as far as the 11th century. Plus there are lots of good restaurants to try and festivals and concerts taking place throughout the year.
Lednice and Valtice
Like Mikulov and Brno, Lednice and the smaller settlement of Valtice can be found in the South Moravian wine region. The neo-Gothic castle here is like something from the pages of a kids’ fairytale, and is set among vast, magnificent grounds.
Valtice is worth a mention as here you’ll find the Czech Republic’s 100 best-rated wines. This wine salon can be found at the Baroque castle and is a must for many wine fans.
Also known as Carlsbad or Karlsbad, Karlovy Vary is a destination renowned for its thermal springs. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes from Prague by car, in Western Bohemia towards the German border.
Sights to see in Karlovy Vary include the Pramen Vřídlo geyser and the spa area by the river, which features some neat colonnades.
Enjoy your trip to the Czech Republic!
I hope this Czech Republic itinerary will help you plan your own journey through this magical kingdom. Feel free to bookmark my Czech Republic itinerary or print it out and bring this itinerary with you on your Czech Republic trip. Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions. We’ll be happy to help in any way we can!
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