A road trip to the Czech Republic is highly underestimated. Currently, travel in Europe slowly moving from Spain and Italy to destinations such as Albania (and for a good reason!). However, the Czech Republic is also a country that should be on your bucket list to further explore. While Prague is a popular destination for a city trip, other areas in the country are still slightly underrated. Therefore, I’ll show you the beauty of the country including a 12-day Czech Republic itinerary, including the full travel route we followed during our road trip.
The easiest way to get around the Czech Republic is by car or rental car. Even though the main cities are connected by train, a car allows you to further explore beautiful locations such as Bohemian Paradise, Bohemian Switzerland or the wine region Moravia. We booked our car through www.rentalcars.com for €330 for a week. Alternatively, you can optimize this travel route for public transport by focusing on the main 4 cities: Prague, Karlovy Vary, Cesky Krumlov and Brno. However, bear in mind that total travel costs will also be around ~€100 per person while traveling takes longer.
If you are looking to visit the Czech Republic, I would recommend visiting in the summer months. Personally, I would advise visiting in May, June or September to avoid the high-season crowds while still experiencing longer and warmer days.
My Czech Republic Travel Map shows the full overview of our visit to the Czech Republic, covering the high-level travel route including the best places to see, the best bars and restaurants and the best places to stay during your 12-day Czech Republic Itinerary.
We chose an itinerary that would include a decent amount of kilometres, stretching half of the country. On top of that, we wanted to combine the best-known and beautiful cities and villages with national parks to explore for example the Parchov Rock formations. If you would like to skip one of the cities and replace it with more nature or different experiences, I would advise you to skip Brno and add a night in Moravia or add the rock formations in Adrspach.
In case you are looking for a 10-day Czech Republic itinerary, you can skip the night in Loket and cut either Karlovy Vary, Cesky Krumlov or Brno short with 1 night.
In total, we spent 3 nights in Prague, which allowed us to explore the capital city of the Czech Republic for 2 days. During our first day in Prague, we focused on exploring the old town and new town (Stari Mesto and Novi Mesto). Moreover, during the second day in Prague, we focused on visiting Prague Castle and Mala Strana, while following a walking route provided by Time to Momo.
Prague is home to many bars and restaurants you can’t miss during your visit. Firstly, head to Bokovka for a glass of wine, visit U Kunstatu for the best craft beer or enjoy a riverside drink in the sun at Capadlo. Also, you can find a local beer experience at U Zlateho Tygra. Furthermore, you should not miss out on Kavarna Novy Svet for a cup of coffee during your visit to Prague Castle. Lastly, Parlor Cafe is amazing for brunch, while Nase Maso serves the most amazing meat sandwiches.
Check out the full travel guide including the best places to visit, bars and restaurants in Prague here.
After our third night in Prague and a lovely breakfast at Parlor Cafe, we grabbed an Uber to the airport to pick up Waking up after your 3rd night in Prague, pick up the rental car. Afterwards, we drove to Velka Amerika, approximately 35 minutes away (we arrived at 13:30). After a walk around Velka Amerika, we continued our journey.
Subsequently, we visited Hrad Karlstejn. Even though these two locations weren’t in the direction of our final destination of the day, we still decided to make the detour. Eventually, we arrived at the parking lot and Hrad Karlstejn around 15:00. Next, we walked up to the castle and admired the beautiful exterior. After our visit, we enjoyed a beer in town before starting the drive to Bohemian Paradise, our place to stay for the night.
Curious about the most beautiful castles to visit in the Czech Republic? Check out my full guide here.
Even though we spent two nights in Bohemian Paradise, we only took one day to explore the highlights. Since we arrived later in the evening, we woke up early to get the most out of our day and beat the crowds. Therefore, we arrived slightly before 8 a.m. at the parking lot of the Parchov Rocks.
Firstly, we enjoyed hiking the green route in the national park, covering 3kms. Due to our early arrival, we arrived back at our car at about 10 a.m. Afterwards, we continued our day in Bohemian Paradise with a visit to Hruba Skala. Meanwhile, we did some research on the best hike around Hruba Skala, which brought us to enjoy more rock views and rewarded us with a visit to Hrad Veldstejn. Additionally, I wrote a complete guide on how to best spend 1 day in Bohemian Paradise
Thereafter, we decided it was time for a decent lunch at Pod Sikmou. Following our lunch, we drove back to our accommodation for a dip in the pool and some beers on the terrace of the great place we stayed.
After an early rise in Bohemian Paradise, we continued our 12-day Czech Republic itinerary towards Bohemian Switzerland, where we arrived at the parking lot at 10 a.m. Next, we hiked to the Pravcice Gate, the main highlight of Bohemian Switzerland. Subsequently, we continued our walk to Mezni Louka and the Edmund Gorge. Surprisingly, the Edmund Gorge was our main highlight of Bohemian Switzerland and way more impressive than the gate.
Unfortunately, the Gorge is currently closed due to landslides (2023). Certainly, check out my complete Bohemian Switzerland guide if you want to learn more.
Finally, we drove to our accommodation of the day, glamping! Initially, our play was to stay 2 nights, however, the weather turned bad. Therefore, we decided to leave the next morning.
Next up is the spa capital of the Czech Republic: Karlovy Vary. Generally, I have to admit I was slightly underwhelmed by Karlovy Vary, however, I would still add it to your itinerary. Overall, I mainly appreciated the more luxurious vibe, the beautiful colonnades and the experience of drinking healing water from the hot springs. Furthermore, I love to alternate nature and city destinations during a road trip. Curious to learn about the best places to visit and the best bars and restaurants in Karlovy Vary? Check out my complete city guide here.
We visited Loket before our stay in Karlovy Vary, due to the bad weather in Bohemian Switzerland. However, if you follow this itinerary, I would advise you to do it after Karlovy Vary due to the location. Furthermore, if you need to cut your visit to the Czech Republic short, this could be a location to skip. Nevertheless, Loket is worth a short stop.
Loket is a beautiful small town, used as the set for one of the James Bond movies. While there aren’t many main sights to be found, strolling around is a pleasure. Next to that, there are plenty of nice restaurants to be found. On top of that, there is a brewery with a nice terrace and some local bars.
Curious if Loket is something for you?! Don’t forget to check out my short city guide to Loket.
Firstly, the beautiful castle Hluboka can be found on the way from Loket or Karlovy Vary to Cesky Krumlov. In my humble opinion, Hluboka is worth a visit and was, together with Karlstejn, my favourite castle in the Czech Republic. After our visit, we continued our journey to the famous town of Cesky Krumlov.
Since the town is very popular and can be found in many guidebooks, I was pretty excited to finally pay a visit. Because of the popularity, we decided to stay in Cesky Krumlov for 2 nights. Specifically, because that meant we could explore the town in the early mornings and beat the 1-day-visitors in the evenings. Although the town can easily be explored in a single day, we have gladly enjoyed the numerous bars and restaurants.
Also, I have a full travel guide on Cesky Krumlov available.
After a lovely breakfast in Cesky Krumlov at Kolektiv, we continued our 12-day Czech Republic itinerary to Brno. Fortunately, I did a bit more research on places not to miss in the south of Czech and learned about the wonderful wine region Moravia. Obviously, this was a great reason to add a wine stop to our road trip. Alternatively, you can also stay for a night in Mikulov to explore even more of the region. When doing this, you could cut your time in Brno short, depending on the number of hotels you want to add to your trip.
While in Moravia, we started at Lahofer before continuing to Mikulov. Afterwards, we drove to Sonberk, where you can sip your wine with the most beautiful views. Undeniably, adding Moravia to our Czech travel route was the best decision of the trip! In my travel guide about Moravia, you can find more details and an overview of the best wineries in Moravia.
And with that, it is time for the final destination of our 12-day Czech Republic road trip: Brno. This lovely city is known as a student city and its lively atmosphere. Even though we found there is not too much to do and see, there are plenty of great places to relax and indulge in some great food and drinks. Specifically, the speakeasy Super Panda Circus is worth a visit. Also, all the beach chairs on the main squares, such as the cabbage markets, give a lovely vibe to this wonderful town. Generally, the city can be explored in a single day, however, we decided not to rush.
Expectedly, there is also a complete city guide to Brno available.