The real, unfiltered guide to the Czech Republic

From adventures through ancient streets and wild landscapes to traditional recipes and expert tips, we bring you the best in food, drink, culture and travel stories.


Budvar Road trip

Bohemian Rhapsody

Famously beautiful and diverse, South Bohemia is steeped in history, bursting with spectacular scenery and home to some of the best eating and drinking you’ll find in the Czech Republic.

For a true taste of what the region has to offer, follow this 72-hour adventure road trip and you’ll experience it all.

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The man who makes beer

It’s a beautiful morning in the city of České Budějovice – or ‘Budweis’ as its known in English – as Jiří Pekhart, export manager at Budweiser Budvar, walks me over to meet the brewery’s legendary beer sommelier. The South Bohemian sky is powder blue; the iconic red font on the brewery roof bold against it. Resident hawks that have roosted in the old chimney for decades float on thermals above us.

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It’s the scent of wild marjoram, freshly grated horseradish and that exotic tang of paprika rising from the dark depths; the way the beef collapses under the fork, melting into delicious sweet, smoky richness. I’ve had goulash before, but nothing like this. And as he sits down opposite, the smile on chef Luděk Hauser’s face tells me he already knows it’s outstanding. Then again, that’s exactly why I’m here. To learn how to cook this classic Czech dish, it makes sense to ask the best.

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Searching for spring

As soon as we enter the forest, everything feels different. The road narrows, the pines thicken and the greenery deepens. The sun, bright overhead a moment ago, is reduced to streaks through the branches, highlighting misty, mossy avenues of spruce and gnarled tree roots. From the corner of my eye, I’m sure I see a shape bounding off into the undergrowth. Were it not for a wooden sign welcoming us to ‘Šumava National Park’ it would be easy to believe we’d strayed into a Brothers Grimm fairytale.

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Behind the Mask

It’s a little before 6:30am in early February; I’m an hour and a half’s drive southeast of Prague and the land is still cloaked in darkness. In the headlights fir trees crowd the road, but for the first time since leaving the city I can sense the vastness of the rolling Czech countryside beyond. As the car crests a hill, the road dips away to reveal a stunning view: a crescent of moon sits low in the pre-dawn sky. Around it, planets shine in rare alignment; Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury stretch away in a curve towards the horizon.

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