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Czech Republic: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Telc and Karlovy Vary

Czech Republic: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Telc and Karlovy Vary

Old Aug 14th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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Czech Republic: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Telc and Karlovy Vary

We just returned from a fabulous vacation to the Czech Republic. We were gone from Aug 1 to Aug 13. There were 4 of us, me, my husband, Ed, and our two daughters, Courtney and Ashley. Ashley studied in Prague 6 years ago and we visited her at that time but Courtney was unable to join us. Since then, we have wanted to return to Prague so that Courtney could see where her sister studied and we also wanted to visit other parts of Czech Republic. Many posters on this forum helped me plan our trip so I hope my trip report will be interesting and will help others as well. I hope it is not too long but I got so excited remembering and writing about our vacation.

First, this was our itinerary:

Prague – 4 nights plus 2 additional nights later on
Cesky Krumlov – 2 nights
Telc – 1 night
Karlovy Vary – 2 nights

Three of us left Boston’s Logan Airport on American Airlines on a 10PM flight. Our daughter Courtney flew to London from North Carolina, where we met up with her.

We arrived at London’s Heathrow Terminal 3 and had to transfer to Terminal 5. We only had 90 minutes to transfer but Courtney had about 4 hours to transfer. I was initially very worried that we wouldn’t have time to make the transfer because of horror stories I hear about Heathrow but thankfully, the transfer went very smoothly. We followed the Flight Connections signs which brought us to our bus (the walk took about 10 minutes). The bus ride to T5 was 10 minutes. Then we followed Flight Connections signs for international travelers. We had to go through passport control & they entered our baggage check numbers into the computer to make sure our bags were routed to Prague. This is important because for some reason they never asked Courtney for her baggage check numbers when she went through and her suitcase didn’t make it to Prague with our flight. It was later delivered to our pension (the only glitch in our travels.) Then we took an escalator to security and the lines were huge!!! This was probably the only somewhat chaotic part. We could see Courtney waving to us on the other side. All in all, it took about 50 minutes to make the complete transfer from T3 to T5 and we got to our gate about 5 minutes before they started boarding.

LODGING IN PRAGUE: PENSION DIENTZENHOFER, Nosticova 2 – www.dientzenhofer.cz, email: [email protected]. We have stayed here before and really like it because it is located in Mala Strana which is quieter than Old Town. The owner and staff are wonderful, efficient and friendly. We had a 2-bedroom suite which costs about $200 including the breakfast buffet, which consists of hard boiled eggs, platter of cold meats and cheeses, cereals, pastries and yogurt.

A driver from the pension picked us up at the Prague airport and we arrived at our pension about 4PM. We walked across Charles Bridge to Old Town and had some drinks at Old Town Square. Then we walked back across the bridge and got caught in a rain storm. We ate dinner at a restaurant called OLD BOHEMIAN RESTAURANT in Mala Strana. It is located on a side street to the right of the bridge. Three of us had potato dumplings with pork and cabbage and I had the beef goulash special. We also had salads with Balkan cheese, which is served everywhere. I really like the salads – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and chunks of Balkan cheese and some herbs. They aren’t served with salad dressings but there is oil & vinegar on the table but I never used it. The salads are fresh and a nice compliment or diversion from having sauerkraut or cabbage all the time. We were afflicted with Jet lag, so we went to bed early.


We walked slowly up Nerudova Street, enjoying the views along the way, especially near Strahov monastery. At Prague Castle, we purchased audio guides for the castle tour, which is the best way to see it, in my opinion. Also, you don’t have to wait in the long lines if you purchase the audio guides. There is an entrance on the right at St. Vitus Cathedral for people with audio guides. The entrance lines for people without the audio guides was so long I couldn’t see the end of it!!! We toured St. Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace, St. George’s Basicilia & Golden Lane. We saw all this when we were in Prague in 2003 but it is still beautiful & interesting the 2nd time around. We also went to the torture chamber at the Daliborka Tower & I was sure I was going to have nightmares that night!!! I can’t believe what they did to their prisoners. There was a “body suit” to put the prisoner in (no way to escape) & then lower the person into a well!!! At the Golden Lane, there was a chair made with iron spikes on the seat, arms and back with chains for the feet and a wheel used to break the feet. SCREAM!!!!

Then we walked through the gardens next to the castle (Garden of Paradise and Garden on the Ramparts), which we missed for some reason on our last trip. The views of Prague from here are even more beautiful and spectacular!!!. I think Prague is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. Everywhere you look is a Kodak picture moment. We did tons of walking & spent the whole day in the vicinity of the castle & in Mala Strana. We had lunch at a pizzeria near the castle. The pizza was good but the beer was very overpriced – about $6 a glass!!! After this experience, we chose our restaurants based on the price of their beer. Everywhere else, the beer was reasonable, about $1.50 per glass.

We saw the Best of Mozart selections concert at night at the Estates Theater, where Mozart first performed Don Giovanni & where scenes from Amadeus were filmed. The theater is beautiful and the concert was nice, with 3 musicians and 2 singers who added some humor to the show. The concert lasted about one hour and 15 minutes. I bought the tickets online before we left; they were probably over priced but we really wanted to see a show at the Estates Theater.

We had a late night Czech meal at CERVENA SEDMA on Kampa Island, not far from our pension. As you walk across Charles Bridge towards Mala Strana, take the stairs on the left. You will see 2 restaurants; Cervena Sedma is the second one on the right. We loved our meal – one of the best. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down everything we had. Their potato and mushroom soup is tasty, hearty and served in a bread bowl. I know we had different kinds of dumplings, potato pancakes, sausages, etc. My husband had the Old Bohemian Plate, with different kinds of meats. We also had Becherovka, straight up!!! It has a nice cinnamon/clove flavor!!!

We walked across the Charles Bridge at night & honestly, one of the most
spectacular sights is that of the castle and Mala Strana lit up at night. JUST GORGEOUS!!!


Today we spent the morninig at Vysehrad Park and Citadel, the section of Prague where Ashley attended classes. It is on a hill overlooking the Vlatava River & is where Prague was born. We love this part of Prague and might not have visited it if our daughter didn’t have classes here. My guidebook doesn’t write too much about it but it is one of our favorite spots. We visited the beautiful twin-towered church there, Bazilika Sv. Petra & Pavla (Sts. Peter and Paul) & the beautiful national cemetery where many famous Czechs are buried, including Mucha, Smetana and Dvorak. There is a wall with beautiful mosaics, beautiful tombs etc. There are also remains of the 1000-year old fortress at Vysehrade and we walked along the remains of the fortress wall, which provides beautiful wide-angle views of Prague.

After leaving Vysehrade, we had a huge lunch at a non-touristy Czech restaurant just below Vysehrad – HOSTINEC U KROKA – WWW.UKROKA.VOKPOK.CZ. My husband had pigs knuckles, and we all had the most delicious Russian BORSCHT!!! For dessert we shared a HUGE helping of warm blueberry dumplings with whipped cream & chocolate sauce. There seemed to be only locals at this restaurant. It is definitely one of our favorites. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down every meal we had.

Then we walked around Wenceslas Square, did some shopping there & went to the Communist Museum, which comically is located next to the McDonald’s and a casino. The museum is interesting and only takes about an hour. I really enjoyed the informative film they show. Address is: Na Prikope 10 – www.museumofcommunism.com

Tonight we decided at the last minute to attend a Marionette show that was
terrific!! The show was Don Giovanni & the marionettes were quite large. The
puppeteers were great & came out afterwards. There was humor in the play, too,
which made it more enjoyable. The Mozart puppet was quite funny, as he was created with Mozart’s eccentricities in mind. I loved the beautiful Don Giovanni soundtrack, and we enjoyed this show even more than the concert last night. The National Marionette Theater is considered the best puppet theater in Prague – located at Zatecka Str. 1 in Old Town.

We had a late night light dinner because we were still stuffed from our
HUGE LUNCH!!!! We ate at a restaurant on a side street in Mala Strana, not far from our pension. I don’t remember the name. We had pizzas and salads. The food was ok.


We had another amazing day in Prague. First we went back to Wenceslas to shop because I needed to buy orthotics for my sneakers. I have “fallen arches” and left my removable orthotics at home – HOW DUMB!!! My feet felt like they were going to fall off after all the walking we have been doing so I desperately needed orthotics. We went into several shoe stores and drug stores before I found some.

Then we toured the Jewish Quarter which we didn't get to in 2003. We saw 3 synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery. The Pinkas Synagogue is the second oldest Jewish house of worship in Prague. The names of more than 77,000 Czech Jews who died in concentration camps are written on the Pinkas’ walls. From here you pass into the Ceremonial Hall, where the drawings of the children who were held at Terezin concentration camp are displayed. These drawings are simple and painful and heartbreaking. I read that these children were forced to put on a play for the Red Cross so the international community would believe they were being treated well. We also visited the Maisel synagogue and the Spanish Synagogue, which is beautiful. The Jewish Cemetery, one of the most crowded cemeteries in the world, dates back to the 1400's when Jews were allowed to bury their dead only in this cemetery. So they buried them vertically and put the dead on top of each other so the end result is layers of bodies. It is estimated there are 20,000 graves in this cemetery – a one block area.

We had lunch at the FRANZ KAFKA CAFÉ, which was disappointing. The food was ok but the service was terrible. It looked like there were only two people working there, the chef and one waiter.

My daughters love to shop (what do you expect, they are in their 20’s) so we went jewelry shopping & bought amber and garnet jewelry. According to my guidebook, fake garnets are common, so we shopped at the stores recommended by Frommers – Cesky Granat and Granat, both located in Old Town.

After shopping, we strolled around Old Town Square and briefly visited the Municipal House, a very ornate Art Nouveau building!!!

Before dinner, my daughters and I had feet & body massages at a Thai place in Mala Strana, near Kampa Island. They were one hour long & worth every penny. I don’t think I could have continued walking without my foot massage!!! We noticed quite a few Thai massage parlors which we don’t remember seeing in 2003.

We celebrated our last full day in Prague with an expensive meal at U MODRE KACHNICKY in Mala Strana. This restaurant has several small rooms with beautiful interiors and cozy décor – including antique furniture, hand painted wall paper, etc. Its specialty is duck. I had a savory duck with delicious Brussels sprouts in cream and wrapped with a potato pancake. Courtney had a sweeter duck dish with honey and ginger. Both duck dishes were moist. Ashley had wild boar which was also very tasty, tender and moist. My husband was the only one who was disappointed in his meal, pheasant, which unfortunately was very dry. We shared two delicious desserts - baked apple stuffed with raspberries & then white & chocolate mousse with orange sauce & pieces of chocolate. DELICIOUS!!!

Address: Nebovidska 6, Praha I
Email: [email protected]


We had our rental car delivered to us at the pension, which was very convenient. It may have cost a little more but was well worth it. We found the GPS indispensable for getting in and out of the cities, and we also had a map of Czech Republic which was nice to follow where we were going. But I highly recommend using a GPS for driving. All in all, we found driving throughout the CR very easy.

The drive to Cesky Krumlov should only take about 2 ½ hours, but it took us all day because we stopped at the Chatueau Hluboka nad Vltavou, which Joseph, the owner of our pension in Prague recommended and I have to thank him profusely because it wasn’t in my guidebook and is absolutely breathtaking. It is a 19th century castle that looks like it came from a fairy tale. We had a guided tour, and the rooms are opulent and lavish, and the grounds are beautiful as well.

We also had lunch in the town, which is so cute and charming. We ate at the ZAHRADNI RESTAURACE. We all had potato pancakes with ham and sauerkraut and goulash soup. The portions are HUGE!!! I am also drinking so much beer so I know I will look like a whale. We have noticed that lunch menus are frequently the same as dinner menus, so beware, lunches are huge. A lighter alternative would be to only order soup and salads.

LODGING IN CESKY KRUMLOV – HOTEL ZLATY ANDEL – Namesti Svornosti 10-11 – www.hotelzlatyandel.cz – located right on the square. We had a two-room suite, with one of the nicer bathrooms on our trip. The toilet was in one room, and the tub, shower and sink were in a different room. Both bedrooms were good sizes. The hot and cold breakfast buffet was one of our favorites – several different egg dishes, bacon and sausages, cold meats, cheese, great pastries, cereals, yogurt, coffee, tea & juices.

We arrived in Cesky Krumlov about 6PM. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and is spectacular with breathtaking views. It is a smaller version of Prague but quieter. By this point of our trip, we were tiring of heavy meats, dumplings and sauerkraut/cabbage, so we decided to have Chinese food. My husband is Chinese and was dying for Chinese food by now. So we ate at the PEKING RESTAURANT on a side street behind our hotel. The Chinese food was very good and we sat outside in a nice patio area.

After dinner, we strolled over the bridge to see the castle lit up at night, a spectacular and memorable sight.


We walked to the castle in the morning and bought tickets for an 11AM English tour so it’s not necessary to reserve tickets in advance. We had an hour before the tour so we walked to the top of the castle tower and the views are just AMAZING!!! Then we had the guided tour of the castle and the rooms are so opulent. The Carnival Hall is a masterpiece. The castle was built in the 13th century but was updated in the 16th century. Our English language tour comprised mostly of Asians. I assume that the majority of Asians also know English but they wouldn’t know Czech. We decided not to take a tour of the baroque theater because there were other things we wanted to do, and we like to do some stuff on our own, not with guides.

After the castle tour, we had lunch at a riverside restaurant, the BABYLON. The girls and I had salmon with spinach and they shared a salad. My husband was still full from our huge breakfast so didn’t eat anything but had a beer. He was tired from all the walking (and the beer I’m sure) so he took a nap and the girls and I wandered around Old town ourselves. With every corner you turn there are amazing views and scenery.

We had dinner at a cellar restaurant called PIVNA KATAKOMBY, which was recommended by a Fodor’s traveler, Maitaitom, (I think) and I have to thank him for his recommendation. It is on the square, located next to a Chinese restaurant (not the one we ate at.) We loved all our dishes. I had English style pork with artichokes and mushrooms; my husband had trout; Courtney had the Krumburger, a mix of pork and beef; and Ashley had lemon chicken. We had interesting and tasty appetizers such as crisp bacon and onion, marinated raw salmon and pork ribs with baby gherkins. The bill was very reasonable. We’ve noticed prices are much lower than in Prague. This was definitely one of our favorite restaurants!!!

Then we went on a raft tour at 8:30pm and it was beautiful and hilarious. The
castle and other buildings were lit up so that was gorgeous but the raft ride reminded us of a Disney ride. The wooden raft is old, the boatmen lit torches, and they used long wooden poles and rang a bell. We went down 2 water chutes (in order to avoid small rapids) and got wet on the second one and everyone was laughing themselves silly. People were on the bridges watching us and applauding and taking our photos. Maybe we will end up on the next brochures!!!! The boatmen dropped us off in a dark area on the castle side of the river, with rough terrain and didn’t even tell us how to get back to the center of the city but we figured it out.

Earlier in the day, we were watching people on the river in cayaks and small rubber rafts. Many of them were capsizing but came prepared in bathing suits. This seems to be a favorite pastime. We didn’t want to get wet so I was happy when I found the wooden rafts. You can purchase tickets and board the rafts across from the National Theater and near or next to the Pension Barbakan. I think the address is Rooseveltova 28 – www.ceskykrumlov-info.cz

We ended this perfect day by having dessert and coffee at the Hotel Dvorak overlooking the river and the castle tower lit up. We shared apple strudel with ice cream and whipped cream, crepes with ice cream & whipped cream, honey cake and chocolate cake!!!! You can’t ask for anything better than that!!!!


We drove to Telc, a small city in the Moravian region of CR; it’s about a 3 hour drive from Cesky Krumlov and we arrived in Telc around 1:00PM. Telc is a small town with a BEAUTIFUL town square that is also a UNESCO site. Telc looks like a storybook town with the facades in lovely pastel colors - blues, greens, pinks, reds, yellows & creams - it is just too cute!!!!

LODGINGS IN TELC – HOTEL CELERIN – Namesti Zachariase z Hradce 43 – www.hotelcelerin.cz = [email protected] - located right on the square. We had one large room for the 4 of us – Room #4 – plain room but with a great view of the square. The desk clerk, Victor, is very nice and helpful. Our room was roomy enough for the 4 of us – but if we stayed longer than one night, my daughters might have rebelled. They enjoy having their own bedroom.

Instead of exploring Telc right away, after checking into our hotel, we drove one hour to Znojmo (near the Austrian border). Ashley had gone to a wine festival there when she studied in Prague & wanted to return. Znojmo is noted for its wine and wine cellars. Also, Joseph, the owner of our pension in Prague, called his friend who owns a wine cellar & told him we would be visiting. So we felt obligated to go & we are glad we did. His friend, Marek, is so warm and friendly and an excellent host. He knows fairly good English. A Czech family joined us for the wine tasting & they were very friendly, & one
of the daughters speaks good English. So we all had a blast tasting 10 different wines. We ended up buying quite a bit of wine!!! Name of winery – SPALEK FAMILY WINERY – Novy Saldorf 143, Znojmo – email: [email protected]

We returned to Telc around 7PM and had dinner at an outdoor restaurant on the
Square – SVEJK RESTAURANT. Between the 4 of us, we had sirloin with mushrooms & cheese, chicken with peaches and cheese, beef with peppers and mushrooms and a vegetarian dish – broccoli and cheese sauce. There was a music festival going on and some visitors were also jamming so it was a very festive evening.


We woke up early and walked around the two ponds that surround both sides of the Old Town. It was very peaceful and the reflections of the castle in the ponds made for great photo opportunities.

We had an 11AM tour of the castle, and we were the only ones on this English
speaking tour. Telc's castle is one of our favorites!!! The rooms and ceilings are so LAVISH!!! One part of the castle is gothic and porticoes connect the gothic sections with the Renaissance sections. Highlights include the Africa Hall, with rhino heads, tiger skins and other exotic animals, and another room has unusual sgrafiti, which apparently is not very common on inside walls.

We had lunch at SENK POD VEZI, and then after lunch, we drove to Kutna
Hora and Sedlec. It was only about a 1 ½ hour drive.

We saw the bone church in Sedlec; it is a small gothic church that is decorated inside with human bones!!! The chandelier, candelabras, etc are all made from bones. There were over 40,000 bodies buried in the cemetery so many years ago someone removed many of them and decorated the church with the bones. These people died from the plague and during the Hussite wars.

Then we visited St. Barbara's church in Kutna Hora, which is a huge gothic church that took 200 years to build. The statue lined street is pretty amazing, too.

We arrived back in Prague this evening & had a delicious and filling Czech meal
at RESTAURANT U CIZKU in New Town. The food was delicious and very
reasonable. We had cabbage soup with sausage & mushrooms & my husband had tripe soup but he liked our cabbage soup better. For appetizers, we had venison, baked pickled Brie and mushroom pancakes. For main courses, we had goulash with potato dumplings, a fish platter, piquancy goulash of filet of beef, and Old Bohemian Platter (very popular dish in CR).
Address: Karlovo namesti 34 – www.restaurantucizku.cz

We spent this night back at the Pension Dientzenhofer because my daughter Courtney had to return to the U.S. on Monday (Aug 10). The 3 of us extended our stay for an additional 3 nights.


We arrived in Karlovy Vary around 1PM. What an amazing town!!! It is situated
in the mountains and is very different from the other cities/towns we
visited. The architecture is primarily art nouveau, the buildings are taller than Cesky Krumlov and Telc so we can't see what is behind them and the streets go up the mountains and are curvy. Because the buildings are taller and so tight together, it can give a somewhat claustrophobic effect. Also, KV doesn’t have a large open main square like the other cities.

LODGINGS IN KARLOVY VARY – HOTEL ROMANCE PUSKIN – excellent central location – one of the best hotels we stayed in. We had a 2-bedroom suite, with the only bathroom on our vacation that had a shower curtain. The hot and cold breakfast buffet was the best of our trip – different kinds of hot eggs dishes, hot meats, cold meats, many different cheeses, fruits, yogurt, cereals, nuts, salads, herring, marinated salmon, a third fish (don’t remember what it is) & great pastries. The best coffee on our trip, too. Address: Trziste37, www.hotelromance.cz

People buy cups (all different sizes & shapes) with built-in straws & fill them with mineral water from faucets/springs. That is what we've been doing all day!! The water is different temperatures and tastes different from each spring; some are sweet & some are almost salty. We basically spent the afternoon walking around, acclimating ourselves, and drinking mineral water!!!

The town was primarily Russian during the communist rule & even now Russians
come here regularly for the spa treatments. We have heard primarily Russian on
the streets and all signs are in Russian. We haven't heard any English speaking tourists yet.

DINNER – We ate dinner at the RESTAURACE PARLIMENT – Unfortunately, I didn’t write down the address; however, we enjoyed our meal. We had delicious cream of spinach soup, filled with spinach and the cream was light – not heavy. I had gnocchi with bacon and sauerkraut, Ashley had pasta with chicken, spinach and cream sauce, and my husband had pasta with duck liver, pepper and tomato sauce.


We had another TERRIFIC day as usual!! The spa was great!! I've never done
anything like this before. The spa is beautiful, all done in marble and with
marble columns, and it was spotless. We spent 3 hours there. We each had a
massage and then inhalation therapy. Eddie & I had a water therapy treatment,
where we alternated between a hot water foot bath and cold water footbath
(supposed to be good for blood circulation). Ashley had a mineral water skin
treatment. We also divided our time between the WARM mineral water pool, Japanese accupressure bath for your feet and a shower with numerous shower heads
spraying water on you. It was a wonderful & relaxing afternoon.

Karlovy Vary is also known for its crystal and porcelain. The porcelain is
beautiful but would be too difficult & heavy to transport home. We bought 6
wine goblets for ourselves at a good price. We hoped to match the set of
champagne glasses that Ashley bought us 6 years ago but couldn't. We bought a
set that we think will compliment the champagne glasses. Ashley picked out wine glasses for herself and we bought some for Courtney, too. The crystal prices are reasonable.

We had a delicious and contemporary Czech meal (lighter than traditional Czech
foods) at a hotel restaurant – EMBASSY HOTEL RESTAURANT. We chose this restaurant because they have outdoor dining on a footbridge over the Teplar River that runs through KV. The foot bridge is paved in cobblestones and wide enough for tables, with beautiful views of the city and mountains. The food was very good and reasonable. The chef also served a complimentary appetizer and complimentary iced Becherova, the national Czech liquer – a very classy place. Then I had an Algerian coffee on our hotel patio before we returned to our room.


We spent this morning in Karlovy Vary doing some last minute shopping. Then Eddie was MISSING for about an hour!!!! We wanted to go to the Thermal Hotel, an ugly communist era hotel, because my guidebook said it has awesome views of the city from its terrace. Eddie wanted to walk fast because we were leaving shortly after to drive back to Prague, but I was getting tired & wanted to buy some oplatky, flavored thin wafers so Ashley & I could eat them while walking. We planned on meeting him either at the hotel lobby or on the terrace. When we arrived at the lobby, he wasn't there. And it wasn't obvious where the observation terrace was located so we asked an older man who worked there and he said something like "the swimming pool - only hotel guests." So we thought he misunderstood us. We waited in the lobby for awhile, then I asked the young hotel clerk working there, and she told me the terrace is next to the outside pool up on a hill!!! My guidebook didn't say this!!!! So we walked uphill through a wooded area for 5 minutes, found the terrace, but Eddie wasn't there!!! So we went back to the lobby to wait for him. I was starting to panic, thinking that maybe he fell off the wooded path & was lying somewhere. Ashley wanted to walk back to the car in case he was there but I told her we should stick to the plan & wait for Dad in the lobby, but I was getting nervous. Finally, one hour after we separated from him, he came into the lobby exhausted!!!! He asked the same older man about the terrace & this man told him there wasn't a terrace, so Eddie left immediately, thinking he would meet up with us on the street. But the hotel is large & we came in through the back entrance and he left from the front entrance, so I think that is why he didn't bump into us (because I know we weren't that far behind him). He kept walking back & forth up & down the street, & even came into the hotel a few times (but we were probably at the terrace). So he was exhausted when he finally found us. We did take him up to the terrace and he took some photos & was happy with the views. So the motto of the story is: STICK TO YOUR PLAN!!!! He should never have left the hotel lobby!!!! I was beginning to wonder if we should call the Czech police and send out a search party 

We spent our last night in Prague having dinner at a Chinese restaurant near Old Town Square and the Jewish Quarter. The food was ok, not great, but that didn't bother me because I just wanted to see this beautiful area one more time. We strolled through Old Town Square at night, with all the buildings lit up & took more photos. Then we slowly walked back across the Charles Bridge to our pension and saw the castle and Mala Strana lit up. It was our last view of this beautiful city before returning home tomorrow.


We had to wake up at 4:15AM for the taxi that was picking us up at 5:30AM. The Pension Dientzenhofer is great - they called the cab for us and he came about 10 minutes early, as he did for Courtney when she left on Monday. I appreciate promptness. We had an uneventful flight back home and arrived on time. This is the end of a perfect vacation!!!! Prague is the most beautiful city I have seen so far.


Prague was not as crowded as I expected it to be in August. Yes, the narrow streets leading to Old Town Square were very crowded, but beyond that, we didn’t think it was that bad. According to my guidebook, Cesky Krumlov is extremely crowded during the day with tour buses, but honestly, we didn’t think it was that crowded. Perhaps not as many people are traveling because of the economy.

We haven't met or heard too many Americans on this trip. We've heard some
English in Prague, only met 3 small groups of Americans in Cesky Krumlov and
didn't hear any English in Telc, except for our tour guide and desk clerk.

We’ve heard primarily Russian in Karlovy Vary. I did meet a woman from Holland at the Spa. We didn’t hear any English speaking tourists in KV at all.

Prague's prices aren't outrageous but a little higher than 6 years ago. Cesky
Krumlov is cheaper than Prague, and Telc is even cheaper than CK. All the
Czechs have been very friendly & warm, and go out of their way to help you.

For the most part, we’ve had great weather, too. It rained for 2 hours our first night in Prague. Other than that, we’ve had sunny days and temps in the high 70’s and low to mid 80’s. In Karvloy Vary, which is in the mountains, the temps were cooler and we had more overcast days than sunny, with a little bit of drizzle.
Kwoo is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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Your timing is impeccable!! We leave in one week for Prague and Cesky Krumlov.

We are also worried about 2 hours between flights in LHR. Glad to see you made it with only 90 mins.

Thanks for your trip report!!

I will use it as a reference often!
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 12:13 PM
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I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed and can use my trip report. The signs at LHR are very clearly marked. We didn't have any problems at all making the transfer. Are you also transferring from T3 to T5?

Where are you staying in Prague and Cesky Krumlov? How are you getting to Cesky Krumlov?

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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 12:35 PM
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Yes. T3 to T5.

Staying in Prague 3 nights Cesky Krumlov 1.

Train from Prague to Vienna, Drive Vienna to Cesky Krumlov (then to Halstatt, Austria).

My wife got excited reading you ate potato dumplings in Prague!! One of her favorites!

I can get around in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking countries. I'm not even sure I know how to say "Hello" in Czech. Did you have any difficulty communicating (or did your daughter speak some Czech?)

Do you think one night in Cesky Krumlov is enough? (I know this question is vague)
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Kwoo, thanks for the report. I have yet to visit the Czech Republic, but hopefully some day. Your report will be very handy for my future trip-planning!
yk is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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There are lots of potato dishes in Czech Repupblic - from roasted potatoes, to potato dumplings to potato pancakes. I ate lots of potato pancakes!!!!

My daughter who studied in Prague 6 years ago does speak some Czech. She was rusty at first but the language came back to her more each day that we were there. So it was helpful having her with us. Many hotel desk clerks and waiters/waitresses speak some English - a few didn't speak any but it didn't seem to matter. Probably the most confusion was when we were at the Thermal Hotel in Karlovy Vary trying to find the obseration terrace.

"Hello" is dobry den. (not sure of spelling.) "Thank you" is deck-we with the accent on the "deck" - again not sure of spelling.

I think one night would be enough in Cesky Krumlov if you get there by mid-day on the first day. Because we stopped at Hluboka for the castle and lunch, we didn't arrive until 6PM and one night would not have been enough in that case. The castle is the highlight and walking around Inner Town (Old Town). I think the raft ride is worth it - we had so much fun - and we bought our tickets the afternoon of the day we went on the raft.

yk, thanks for your kind words. I was hoping I wasn't getting too wordy!
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 01:03 PM
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Kwoo, you make me want to go back today. Thanks.

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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for your report - so much good information! We are in the planning stages of a trip next fall to Prague and Cesky Krumlov. I am bookmarking your report for future reference.
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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Thanks, Kwoo, for your excellent report. We were in Prague and Cesky Krumlov in June and I want to go back already!

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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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"There are lots of potato dishes in Czech Republic"

My wife is now real excited to be visiting Prague! (I can't wait for the beer!!)

Dobre den (just like Russian and Ukranian)

I will reserve the boat ride in Cesky Krumlov when we get there (around noon)

Deck-we!! haha
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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Kwoo what a great report. It just wet my appetite for our upcoming week in the Czech Republic. I'm definately going to print this off and utilize some of your suggestions.

Best Regards,
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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Read your report with interest, I am glad you had a great time and did not find Prague too crowded .
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Where are you going in the Czech Republic?

Thanks for your compliment! I printed out your report about Cesky Krumlov and brought it with me. We ate at the Pivna KataKomby at your suggestion and it was one of our favorite restaurants. I forgot what you ordered for food and when I got back to our hotel, I re-read your report and discovered that we ordered most of the same dishes as you, your wife and friends.

jrjcollins, I read your trip report just before we left. In fact, I asked you about the Cesky Krumlov castle tickets. We were also able to buy ours on the day we wanted to tour the castle, which worked out fine for us. I don't like to pre-book trips too much because we prefer to decide when we arrive at a destination what we are doing that day.

Masterphil, I also forgot about potato soup!!! Every one I had was delicious and often times served in a bread bowl.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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I'm another who appreciates the impeccable timing of your report !

I'm researching a trip to Prague in October during which I will have 2 days in Prague and 2 in Karlovy Vary and I was just looking into accommodations on Priceline and Expedia when I thought to check FODORS and saw your post. (I was torn between KV and Ceszky Krumlov but don't have the time for both so went with KV which seems to have more to do. Agree or not ?)

Glad to hear that you liked the Romance Puskin as I am considering it too, together with the Humboldt. Did you happen to notice the Humboldt and how it might be located in comparison to the Puskin ? The P sounds ideally located though I do appeciate that nothing is too far away, KV being small.

Also, can you explain how you went about choosing your spa treatments and then booking them ? Also, where did you do this and which spa did you choose ? I appears that there are several spas, posing yet more choice. Thank you for all and any info.

I haven't yet decided on Prague accommodations but was thinking along the lines of possibly an apartment rental in the old town, just to get away from hotels of which I will be staying in plenty during the rest of my trip.

Really enjoyed your report - especially the gastronomic part of it (being a fresh food lover myself !)

Thank you,

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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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Hi Mathieu,
It's really hard to advise someone which city they should choose - they are all great - and it all depends on what you are looking for. We loved Cesky Krumlov but I think I might be accurate in saying it is more similar to Prague than KV is except that it is smaller. KV is very different looking than Prague or CK so it is a nice change. We stayed at KV for 2 nights and were occupied the whole time with the spa treatment, shopping, and just wandering around. In addition to looking for the Thermal Hotel terrace, we also took the funicular to the Diana Lookout for more views of KV. We also walked through the Grand Hotel Pupp, which is amazing. I think I forgot to mention these 2 things in my report. And it is a lot of fun walking around and trying the different springs. We found KV to be more relaxing - a nice way to end our trip. If you are doing more traveling in addition to Prague, I would recommend KV and the spa treatments for relaxation.

We had our spa treatment at the Zamek Lazne (Castle Spa), which is directly across the street from the HOtel Romance. The hotel booked the appointment for us. I did not see the Humboldt, but I highly recommend the Romance.

I also forgot to mention what we ate at the restaurant on the footbridge in KV. My husband had wild boar and vension & loved it; I had a pork roll stuffed with spinach and wrapped in a light pastry, potatoes and vanilla carrots (thinly sliced carrots with a light vanilla sauce - delicious!!) My daughter had a risotto with mushrooms on top. This was at the Embassy Hotel restaurant on the footbridge - one of our favorite meals.

Just curious - where else are you traveling?
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 11:46 AM
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Hi Kwoo - we are going to spend 3 nights in Cesky Krumlov with a daytrip to Telc/Cesky Budejovice (one day will be travel from Slovenia) and 5 nights in Prague with day trips to Kunta Hora and a castle - either Karlstejn Castle or a combined day trip to Krivoklat and the Koneprusy Caves. It will depend on the bus timetable. We wish we had more time definatley. We were hoping to see Karlovy Vary but I don't think we'll have time - same goes for Trebon. I love the idea of spending the night in Telc as you did...food for thought!

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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 10:41 PM
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Thank you for all the information Kwoo; you've been most helpful. I've taken special note of the Embassy Hotel restaurant on the footbridge - all your menu choices would have been mine too ! Boar, venison, mushrooms, risotto ... I love them all.

Where else am I going ? Well the tentative itinerary at the moment is 5 days in St. Petersberg followed by 4 days in Budapest, 4 in the Czech Rep. and finally 4 days in England before returning home to Toronto. Budapest is one of my favourite cities in Central Europe. I first went there in 2004 and have managed to swing by 2 more times as parts of trips to other places. This will be my 12th or 13th time to London and England.
2 weeks ago I was very keen on visiting Bulgaria and had fully planned to spend my 4 days there instead of in P and KV. However, as my research progressed, it seemed that I'd be making better use of my limited time in terms of ease of connections and activities by visiting Prague and KV. I'm somewhat disappointed as I really did want to see and experience what life in the Soviet era was like (and still is today apparently) in Sofia, but I think that visit will be better served as part of a trip including other nearby countries with a car, and when my time is under less constraint.

Your little anecdote about eating Chinese food in Prague reminded me of a similar experience. I love Chinese food (the real thing, that is) and outside of Hong Kong and Beijing, theres no better place than Toronto to eat it. Its almost comfort food to me. Well I had just completed 2 fantastic weeks exploring Turkey in 2006 and was winding down with 5 relaxing days in Budapest when I was struck by a bug and couldn't keep any food down. For 3 days I survived on gingerale, brandy and crossed fingers, and it was only by the 4th evening, on the way back from a night at the opera, that things took a turn for the better and was suddenly ravenous. I could have eaten anything but no, I was craving Chinese food - but where to find a place in Budapest, at 10.15pm ?
It's a well known fact in Toronto that after a night of clubbing or dancing or just a late night on the town, and hunger pangs are raring at 2.00am, a stroll into Chinatown will always be rewarded with the perfect, most delicious and satisfying soups and noodle dishes. That was just what I was feeling for now. There is no Chinatown in Budapest, leaving me to hot foot it all over the city at that hour until I found a Chinese restaurant. As with you, the food was good but not great, but under the circumstances, and mission having been accomplished, I could have been dining at the Mandarin Palace !
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 05:21 AM
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Did you check your bags "through" from Boston to Prague??

Now that I think about it, you probably did considering it only took you 50 mins to check in to Term 5.

One week til I leave!!!
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 07:11 AM
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Hi Masterphil,
Yes, we did check our bags through from Boston to Prague and my daughter checked her bag through from RDU to Prague. But for some reason, Heathrow needs to enter the baggage check numbers in their computer to insure the bags reach Prague.

Are you planning on posting a travel report when you return? I enjoy reading other people's travel reports, and I'm sure others on the forum would enjoy reading it too.
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Remember to bring a bathing suit for the spa. If you don't, you can buy one there, at least at the Castle Spa that we went to.
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