Czech Republic Magazine

The best places to visit in western Bohemia

karlovy-vary

Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic is home to all sorts of cultural attractions. Known for its delicious beers, stunning architecture, and emblematic spas, Western Bohemia is a paradise for locals and visitors alike.  

Take a trip to western Bohemia

The Czech Republic may be a small country compared to its neighbors, but it is so much more than Prague. While the capital city has all sorts of wonderful attractions to see, the Czech Republic has so many more iconic locations to explore and experience.  

The region of Western Bohemia alone has much to offer both local residents and tourists. It is known for being the Paris of the previous century, where eccentric artists and philosophers congregated. Among these were Ludwig Beethoven and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who both went to western Bohemia to soak up the Central European beauty in both town and countryside.

Much has changed since those famous figures walked through these streets, however, the region retains a timeless charm.

Below are a few of the many locations western Bohemia has to offer. 

Pilsen

In 2015, to celebrate the birthplace of the pils beer, the city of Pilsen was named the cultural capital of Europe. Today, tourists and locals come to Pilsen to bask in the city’s history, often frequenting the Pilsner Urquell brewery and museum, where visitors can enjoy unfiltered pilsner beers as they learn about the city’s influential figure, Joseph Groll, who reinvented the recipe for beer in the mid-1800s.

By simplifying the recipe to three ingredients; Pilsner soft water, Pilsner malt and Saaz hops, he had created a legacy for the city of Pilsen that the rest of the world would soon follow for brewing. The city also features some of the country’s most breathtaking gothic, baroque, and art nouveau architecture, especially in the Old Town. Among the most popular sites to see in Pilsen include St. Bartholomew Cathedral, the Great Synagogue, and the Museum of West Bohemia. 

Rozvadov

Off the beaten path, the border town of Rozvadov may not seem like much, but has a variety of things to see and do. History buffs can marvel at the artefacts in the Iron Curtain Museum, which shows viewers the life of people living on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. Although the museum focuses on the history of Soviet Rozvadov, it provides excellent context on wider 20th century European history.

Meanwhile, casino fans might enjoy playing in the King’s Casino, home to Europe’s largest poker room. Lots of players head over to the casino’s numerous roulette tables, which offer both American and European roulette wheels.Due to its popularity, many players have developed various strategies for roulette. The most popular one that people practice is the Martingale system, which was created by John Henry Martindale in the 19th century to act as a bankroll management strategy.

On the other hand, people that enjoy rural, open-air experiences might prefer Chateau Diana, which is a stunning manor house built in the Baroque period. Named after the Greek goddess of hunting, the house belonged to a string of lords and was traditionally used as a hunting lodge for high society, but is now open to the public for overnight stays.

Karlovy Vary

Known for its natural thermal spas, Karlovy Vary grew in popularity during the 19th century, when aristocrats often frequented the city to enjoy the sights and resorts. Due to the aristocratic presence in the city, much of the city’s colorful, elegant architecture reflects this time period.

Compared to the other sites, Karlovy Vary is also considered the most friendly to pedestrians. With loads of small, quaint parks, bridges to cross over the Tepla river, and well-designed roads, it’s easy to simply walk around town soaking in the ambiance.

The city is also home to several important buildings, including Peter and Paul Cathedral, Market Colonnade, and Mill Colonnade. Currently, the it’s also home to one of Europe’s oldest film festivals, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which commonly takes place in the first half of July.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.