As the saying goes, the world is a book, and those who don't travel read only one page. The same applies to visitors who come to the Czech Republic but visit only Prague. Don’t get us wrong: it’s a great page to read, but if you want the whole story, you need to get out of the capital and embrace the adventures beyond.
You can stay overnight or for a whole weekend, but it’s not essential; there’s plenty to do with just a few hours set aside. The UNESCO-listed Kutná Hora is worth a visit, especially to experience the bone church, one of the most memorable, and strangely beautiful, attractions close to Prague. The surrounding town is charming too and offers plenty of options if you do plan an overnight.
There’s more charm to be found in the myriad castles which dot the landscape around Prague. Karlštejn is a typical fairy-tale château atop a mountain; Křivoklát is secluded and quiet; and Konopiště is the hunting lodge of the doomed Archduke Franz Ferdinand. All the castles offer great hiking opportunities, but if hiking is your thing, it’s worth going further afield to the breathtaking Pravčická Brána, or rock bridge, where you can roam through the forest, or take a guided boat ride through gorges. If you want to sample some Czech wine, Mělník has vineyards aplenty. There are more sobering—in every sense—sights around as well, such as Lidice and Terezín, two sites that resonate with the horrors of World War II.
Traveling may not come as easy as in Prague—fewer tourist facilities, fewer English speakers, and fewer nightlife and entertainment options. But the trade-off will be more bang for your buck and a genuine feel for the country and its people, plus a real sense of adventure.