10 last-minute trip ideas for autumn break in the Czech Republic

Explore Plzeň's beer-brewing history on the cheap, take advantage of lesser-known spas in wine country, and bid farewell to castle season.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.10.2021 08:31:00 (updated on 27.10.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

October 28 marks a national holiday, Independent Czechoslovak State Day. Falling this year on a Thursday, many people take an extra day off on Friday and make a long weekend of it, while some schools let out for "Podzimní prázdniny" from October 27.

Hotels in the capital are reporting record bookings as holidaymakers look to enjoy a staycation in the midst of rising Covid numbers. The demand for accommodation is exceeding pre-pandemic levels, perhaps driven by fears of new Covid restrictions as the winter approaches.

With that in mind, a day trip or easy overnight outside of Prague could be just the thing. We've put together some ideas that invite travelers to celebrate the national holiday by exploring the Czech Republic in all its autumn glory.

Raise a glass to Czech tradition

Plzeň historical underground is a labyrinth of passageways and cellars / photo via prazdrojvisit.cz
Plzeň historical underground is a labyrinth of passageways and cellars / photo via prazdrojvisit.cz

At the Brewery Museum in Plzeň, celebrations for the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic include a special discounted price of CZK 28, to reflect the date of the holiday. The museum will be among forty tourist attractions participating in the celebration.

At the Brewery Museum, visitors will have the chance to visit the PIVO exhibition commemorating the 179th anniversary of the founding of the Municipal Brewery in the town.

From the museum, you can also enter the mysterious Plzeň historical underground, a winding labyrinth of corridors and cellars used since the 14th century for food storage, beer production, and as a defense system for the town.

Book a spa stay in wine country

The gardens at Chateau Buchlovice / photo via zamek-buchlovice.cz
The gardens at Chateau Buchlovice / photo via zamek-buchlovice.cz

In addition to boasting the country's best wine, Moravia has some of the Czech Republic’s finest spas, in locations that are especially picturesque during the autumn months. East Moravia in particular has a good concentration of spas; the sulfur baths of Buchlovice were established in 1805 for the purposes of rest as well as a medical treatment for rheumatism and neurological, orthopedic, and skin problems.

The spa baths disappeared over the years to make way for tourism-related enterprises linked to the Buchlov Castle, Buchlovice Chateau, and the nearby natural areas. The spas were restored in recent years, and visitors can now enjoy a combination of restorative treatment and historical experiences.

Throughout Moravia, spa stays can be combined with trips to sites of historical interest. In Vlachovice, the villa of Josef Bratmann in Valašské Klobouky features the first examples of the Art Nouveau style in the Czech lands, makes the ideal day trip during a spa retreat. Other possibilities for spa stays include the beer spa at Slavičín, or the cutting-edge resorts of Velké Karlovice.

Stays at spas in the Czech Republic will offer particularly high value until the end of the year thanks to a government discount scheme for week-long stays for people over the age of 18. State contributions for those with a permanent residence in an EU or EEA country are €150 per person. Read more here.

Explore a new zoo

The October 28 holiday falls conveniently close to Halloween for anyone who wants to tie the two occasions together. Dvůr Králové is home to one of the Czech Republic’s finest zoos, and for the whole of this week, it is running a special “Ghost Week” program celebrating all things spooky.

Guests can make their own Halloween pumpkins all week at the zoo (although you’ll have to bring along your own knife and spoon). Hollowed-out pumpkins can then be placed with a candle inside anywhere in the zoo’s public areas. On October 30, a Haunted Trail will bring the zoo’s garden to life with terrifying ghosts and ghouls. And from October 27 to 30, a guided tour of the garden lit with atmospheric torches will take place just before the zoo closes.

Catch the tail end of castle season

The last tours of Trosky Castle this year are taking place this week / photo via hrad-trosky.cz
The last tours of Trosky Castle this year are taking place this week / photo via hrad-trosky.cz

A number of Czech castles, particularly ruins, wind up tours around this time of year making it a good time to pay a visit to some of the countries most treasured monuments. Křivoklát and Český Šternberk castle have special events and tours planned to mark the holiday while a "spooky" candlelit evening tour of Bouzov runs until October 30.

Visitors can also bid farewell to Trosky castle ruin for the season. Featuring two towers set atop precipitous rocks in Bohemia, this 14th-century Gothic castle is one of the Czech Republic’s most-visited sights.

Its unique location made it an unconquerable military stronghold, even holding out against Hussite attempts to capture it. The castle was abandoned relatively quickly, though, in the late 15th century, and later fell into ruin. Now, it is one of the country’s most romantic and impressive historical landmarks.

From October 27 to 31, the last tours of the ruins this year will run, from 09:00 to 16:00.

A lesser-known location marking national independence day with a special tour is Kynžvart Castle, the summer palace of Chancellor Metternich of the Austrian Empire, which features a rich collection of artworks, weapons, priceless books and manuscripts, historical artifacts, and personal curiosities previously owned by its residents.

Kynžvart Castle is designed in the style of Viennese Classicism / photo via zamek-kynzvart.cz
Kynžvart Castle is designed in the style of Viennese Classicism / photo via zamek-kynzvart.cz

The castle was originally erected on the site in the 13th century, but during the time of Metternich, it was reconstructed in a Viennese classicist style. It's located in the westernmost part of the Czech Republic, close to the border with Germany and perfect for combination with trips to other locations such as Plzeň or famous spa town Karlovy Vary.

Kynžvart Castle is offering combined tours taking in castle interiors, the local museum, and a Cabinet of Curiosities on Thursday at 13:00 and 15:00.

Read more about castle tours and visits on Oct. 28 here.

Hit the Czech Republic's newest hiking trail

Dobrá Voda na Novohradsku, photo via Kudy z Nudy
Dobrá Voda na Novohradsku, photo via Kudy z Nudy

This major new walking route, named the Footpath of Gunther, has just opened connecting the Plzeň region with Lower Bavaria in Germany. The 162-kilometer route comprises nine one-day stages between locations connected with the life of a medieval Bavarian hermit and diplomat Gunther, who is venerated as a saint in the area despite never having been canonized.

Maps, a mobile app, educational program and comic strip have all been made to support the opening of the route. There is also a new exhibition of Gunther in the Simon Adler Museum in Dobrá Voda. The route is an ideal way to learn more about Bohemia’s history while taking in beautiful scenery and getting some fresh air while some lingering warmth remains!

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