České Budějovice

České Budějovice is the largest city in Southern Bohemia, but it’s more of a transportation hub and not nearly as charming as the neighboring towns. Still, a couple of interesting spots ensure that you won’t be bored if you have a stopover, and you probably will. Schedule a couple of extra hours for a wander through the Old Town and a lunch break, and pause to sip the locally brewed Budvar.

The major attraction is the enormously proportioned main square named after King Přemysl Otakar II and lined with arcaded houses. It boasts a stunning Old Town Hall from the 16th century. Designed by an Italian, it has bells in the tower that chime old South Bohemian tunes at the top of every hour. Another attraction is the central fountain from the 18th century. Be sure to look for the "magic stone," the lone cobblestone in the brick-covered square. Legend has it that if you step on this stone after 10 pm, you’ll become lost. But the town's real claim to fame is its beer—the slightly sweetish Budvar, which can be found across the country and around the world (you may know it as Czechvar, as it's branded in the U.S.) The brewery offers tours and a multimedia exhibition. The beer is also easily found at pubs around town—simply look for the "Budvar" sign.

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