I like to think of the Czech Republic as the gateway to Eastern Europe. It borders Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia, and is the western-most of the former Eastern Bloc countries (well, with the exception of parts of Germany that were under USSR control). The small country has a unique blend of eastern and western European influences and makes for a perfect place to visit, especially if you want to get your feet wet in eastern Europe for the first time! They don't use the Euro and their currency has a very favorable exchange rate. That could change soon as they are bound to join the Eurozone and switch over to the Euro, so head there before that happens for the best deals! Anywho, here is a great itinerary for a week in beautiful Czech!
Day 1 - Arrive in Prague
Assuming you have flown overnight from the US, you will be landing pretty jet lagged. You'll have to push through and head to Pilzen (not far) for your first night. For dinner, head to a small restaurant to sample the local fare. We recommend you try the goulash! And make sure you order a (super cheap) Pilsner Urquell. The beer is brewed locally and is touted as the first (appropiately named) pilsner beer. Today, it's one of the most widely drank beer types in the world, and it all started in small Pilzen.
Head to bed a little early to help yourself adjust to the time change and be ready for the next day!
Day 2 - Tour the Pilsner Urquell Brewery
Just steps away from the old city center is the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Here you get to see the historic, and modern, brewing operations, and where the beer was historically aged underground (take a jacket!). The highlight of the tour comes when you get a sample of the open-top fermented lager. Since it's open top, the yeast that converts the sugar to alcohol is largely uncontrolled resulting in an incredibly unique taste. It's also unfiltered, so it's cloudier than the bottled version. After the tour, grab another hearty lunch and a pub to fuel up for the underground walking tour in the afternoon!
For the afternoon, head over to Brewery Museum, where the group meets for the Underground Tour. On the tour, you'll get to see ancient tunnels carved out under the city (and you'll wonder how the city doesn't collapse!), and hear about their role throughout the ages. If you like caves and tunnels, you'll love this tour!
Spend the night in Pilzen, heading out to a local bar or club if you're feeling adventurous!
Day 3 - Bathe in Beer in Chodová Planá
The most unique experiences we had in Czech was bathing in beer. Yes, you read that right, bathing...in beer. There are lots of places throughout the country where you can try this, but we like the beer spa Chodovar in the small town of Chodová Planá. It's not too far from Pilzen, but a car will definitely help you get there. If you opt to not rent a car (driving in the Czech Republic is perfectly safe - they have modern highways and roads are generally in good condition), check out other places in Czech where you can have this experience.
You're on a vacation after all, so take the day to relax. The prices are so cheap that you should definitely opt for a package that includes the beer bath and at least a massage. You can also opt to take advantage of their full offering of wellness activities from a Finnish sauna to a Kneipp pool.
One warning, when we visited, the common language we spoke with most people was German. Just be aware that their English isn't that good, but you don't really need to speak a whole lot.
That evening, eat dinner in their cave restaurant and sample all their brews!
Day 4 - Drive to Český Krumlov and Make a Pit Stop at the Original Budweiser Brewery
Take the scenic route to get from Chodová Planá to Český Krumlov if you're driving and enjoy the beautiful Bohemian countryside. Stop in at the original Budweiser brewery in Budvar for a tour (can you tell we love a good brewery tour?!) before finishing your day up in Český Krumlov
Day 5 - Explore Český Krumlov
Since you didn't a chance to explore the medieval town yesterday, take today to explore it properly. This entire town is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You have all day, so if it's full of day trippers from Prague, just wait a bit and let the crowds clear out.
Day 6 and 7 - Prague
The drive should be about two hours, but Prague has so much to do, we suggest getting up early so you have most of the day once you arrive. Some of our favorite things we did in Prague were the castle, a walking tour, and visiting a communist-era bunker. We also loved strolling through the old town and taking in the unique architecture and food. There are a lot of sights to see in the capital, so we suggest going on a free walking tour to see them all in a short amount of time, while also getting a little bit of context to go along with them.
If you're looking something that is definitely more off the beaten path, check out the old cistern tour. It's possible to get there with public transit, and it's quite ways outside the main part of the city, but it's pretty cool! If you're an engineer or have an appreciation for industrial history, you'll definitely enjoy this tour.
There is so much to do in Prague that you can easily spend 4 or 5 days here. If you're looking for a place to extend your trip, do it here. There are gardens, museums, tons of different walking tours, countless historical sites, and more. If you want a day trip, you could visit Theresienstadt concentration camp. I know it may sound morbid, but I believe that we, as a human race, need to remember the horrors of the Holocaust to ensure it never happens again. In some way, it also feels like you are paying your respects to those who were murdered. Check out this post to better understand why we think it's important to see these places.
Another day trip idea would be to head to the sleepy town of Kunta Hora and visit the bone chapel out there, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's only an hour from Prague and it's quite easy to find tour companies operating day trips if you don't have a car.
Day 8 - Depart
By now, you'll probably have come to love this country - the food, the beer, the people - and are sad to leave. I know we were!