Czech Republic

 

Czech Republic

 

The Czech Republic: Western-Style Living for Less

 

Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the Czech Republic has rapidly approached Western living standards. However, costs are substantially lower than in the country’s western neighbors, Germany and Austria.

Tourists rediscovered its capital, Prague—which was compared to Paris in the 1920s—cheap and arty, with its history, culture, and architecture. Prices rose, of course, as the world’s writers, artists, tourists, and investors came in greater numbers. But few ventured outside the capital, and, even today, the Czech countryside remains somewhat undiscovered.

Prague the Golden, the City of a Hundred Spires—what Goethe called the “prettiest gem in the stone crown of the world.” No doubt about it, Prague (Praha to its citizens) is one of Europe’s most wonderfully atmospheric cities.

The Old Town is a bedazzlement of gilded statuary, Gothic spires, pastel-colored houses with russet roofs, and baroque palaces adorned with cherubs. Cross the Vltava River over Charles Bridge—lined with watchtowers and ornate statues turned to blackened stone—and you’re in the equally historic Castle district.

The Czech Republic divides into the regions of Bohemia and Moravia. Blessed with hot summers and Christmas-card winters, Bohemia is a spellbinding mosaic of romantic castles and towns straight from sword-and-sorcery tales.

Frescoed houses and Rapunzel-style turrets are fairly common throughout Central Europe—and Bohemia has its share.

The countryside is studded with wildflower meadows…dense forests of silver birch and spruce…and ponds full of fat, lazy carp. You’ll also see fields planted with hops, enough to meet the Czech thirst for beer.

 

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Fast Facts About Czech Republic

Czech Republic
  • Population: 10,627,448
  • Capital City: Prague
  • Climate: Temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
  • Time Zone: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
  • Language: Czech
  • Country Code: 420
  • Coastline: Landlocked
  • Location: Central Europe, between Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria

Archives

Live in a Heritage City Behind the Old Iron Curtain

For decades the Iron Curtain divided Europe in two. Folks in the U.S. and Western Europe were afforded only glimpses of life in the Eastern Bloc. The political situation severely restricted travel. And half of Europe became an uncharted and unknown land. Then the Berlin Wall fell and a dozen or so nations opened up, embracing new freedoms. Visitors were welcomed and discovered a history going back thousands of years, regions of untouched natural beauty, and a seriously low cost of living.

Wild Boar, Scotch And Puppets Ablaze

Wild Boar, Scotch and Puppets Ablaze

In the Kisama Heritage Village in Nagaland, northeast India, the Hornbill Festival is a huge celebration of the indigenous warrior tribes of the region. Taking place between December 1 and 7, the festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, a large and colorful forest bird. You’ll need a government permit to visit, but it’s worth it to experience the beauty contest, archery, wrestling, and lots of singing and dancing.

Explore The Royal And Sacred Gardens Of Prague

Explore the Royal and Sacred Gardens of Prague

Wrought-iron spires pierce the sky and ghastly gargoyles gaze down on the tourist throngs. The Czech capital, Prague, is one of the world’s most visited cities, home to historic palaces, theaters, and stately houses.

Suchi Rundra lives a  streamlined, low-maintenance, low-cost lifestyle as a nomadic freelance writer.

“Working the Latitudes” as a Freelance Writer

I wake up and glance over at my wall calendar—no deadlines for the rest of the week. Time for the beach! Or maybe I could work on my novel. But it’s such good weather, what about another day trip? Welcome to the life of a freelance writer where every day is wide open, and every day is yours.

prague-czech-republic

A Free Trip to the Czech Republic

It’s a Tuesday morning in the Czech Republic and I’m sitting up in the light and airy third floor cafe above one of Prague’s most renowned theaters, trying out their special red espresso alongside a warm slice of juicy, black currant tart. From the long wall of windows to my right, I can see the sparkling Vltava River with its parade of long green, white and red boats.

The Allure Of Czech Small-Town Life

The Allure of Czech Small-Town Life

My hands stained purple with blueberry juice, I stop to watch a group of older Czech women. All bent double, they’re picking berries and singing Wallachian folk songs, imperfect voices made perfect by easy happiness.

Prague’s Best “Village” Neighborhood

Prague’s Best “Village” Neighborhood

Hidden cafés on cobblestone lanes, window sills bursting with flowers, medieval castle views at sunset…. I find the neighborhood where I live near the center of the Czech capital of Prague every bit as enchanting today as it was four years ago, when I first moved here.

European Castles from $64 a Night

European Castles from $64 a Night

If you love House Hunters International, you’ll love this idea: In the Czech Republic they remodel castles.

Prague: Fairy-Tale Europe’s Baroque Gem

Prague: Fairy-Tale Europe’s Baroque Gem

In this issue of the Lifetime Society Communiqué, we stroll the cobbled streets of one of Europe’s most atmospheric and beautifully preserved cities. History hangs on every corner. You can see it in the decorative art of the churches and cathedrals, and even feel it in your feet on the old town’s cobbled streets. This is Prague. A concentrated blob of pure baroque unscathed by the Second World War. It’s a glorious place where beer is still brewed by monks and the stories of mad kings, tragic queens and foul monsters are still told.

Look Like a Czech model for $3,054

Look Like a Czech model for $3,054

A new nose in Prague…a facelift in Thailand…a curvier chest in Mexico…cosmetic surgery used to be for the rich-and-famous only. But these days, it’s so affordable overseas, the middle-class masses are picking up their passports to seek a better-looking physique oceans from home.

The Travel Press Talks: October 2009

The Travel Press Talks: October 2009

In the buildup to the 2012 Olympics, London is turning into the world’s most tourist-friendly city. Long gone are the gray days of an unhealthy city with bad food, high prices, and serious-looking people.

Prague's summertime top ten list for kids

Prague’s summertime top ten list for kids

If you have kids and are in Europe this summer, the best fun to be had is in Prague. Don’t wait any longer to enjoy the last few weeks of summer, especially as many of these activities are low-cost, offer discounts for kids, or are even free-and the Czech Republic is still an economical place […]

Taking the Cure

Taking the Cure

Spas are now undoubtedly a necessary component of the five star luxury resort experience. And in order to stay ahead of the game, savvy hoteliers are plotting ever more absurd levels to which they will take the pampering spa concept.

City of a Hundred Spires-the (maturing) property market in Golden Prague

After checking into the Europa Hotel in downtown Wenceslas Square (at $62 a night), I went straight back into the cold to check out Monday evening in Prague. It was wintertime, so most Czechs were tucked up in bed. All I could hear were American, British, and Irish voices. Following a ban by the authorities […]

Prague: The Maturing Property Market In The City Of A Hundred Spires

Prague: The Maturing Property Market In The City Of A Hundred Spires

With low-cost airlines such as the new Czech Smart Wings offering discount travel, a large beer costing $1.50, plenty of “girly bars,” and a McDonalds on (nearly) every corner, Prague has certainly changed over the years. Still, downtown Prague seems to have been largely unassaulted by the times; the modern buildings fit in with the old, and the city is still among the most beautiful in the world. A maturing property market makes Prague the…

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