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10 Best Photo Ops While Studying in the Czech Republic

In the fall of 2012 I studied abroad in Prague with CET Academic Programs and since then, a day hasn’t gone by without me reflecting on how beautiful the Czech Republic is.

With its gothic castles and cathedrals, cobblestone streets, endless rivers and deep caves, the Czech Republic is filled with photo opportunities for city and nature lovers alike. Perhaps what makes the country most unique, is that it’s truly the melting pot of Europe; several wars, the Prague Spring and the Fall of the Iron Wall later, the Czech Republic is the perfect mix of east meets west, and history meets modernity. You’ll just have to capture it for yourself, so be sure to charge your camera!

I was fortunate enough to have studied abroad with a program that facilitated my visits to the majority of the places on this list, but for those of you traveling on your own, here’s a list of the “must sees” in Bohemia and Moravia.

Prague

1. Prague

Nothing screams Prague more than a photo of Charles Bridge, so head there first. Once you’re done snapping some shots of the 14th century bridge’s reflection in the Vltava River, head to the Lennon Wall. Inspired by The Beatles, this wall is filled with colorful lyrics and portraits, which make for the perfect photo-op.

While you’re on that side of the river, be sure to turn your lens on manual to capture close-up images of the of the intricate details on the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral.

Mikulov

2. Mikulov

A small village situated in Moravia, Mikulov is known for its castle, scenic views, previous German occupation and wineries. Explore the terraces of the castle and capture shots of the village from this magnificent view.

If you head diagonally north from the village’s center, you will reach a quaint little church, called "The Way of the Cross on Holy Hill," on the very top of the tallest hill. The church was built in the 1200s, so you’ll want a photo of that as well. My personal favorite view of Mikulov is the site of the village from this hilltop.

Brno

3. Brno

Brno is a few hours outside of Prague and is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. Situated in Moravia, Brno is home to the Czech judiciary system. Take photos outside of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court, knowing that the Czech Republic was only ruled its own separate country in the 1990s.

Kutná Hora

4. Kutná Hora

Once known for its promising silver mines, Kutná Hora, a small town an hour east of Prague, is now most prominently known for its Sedlec Ossuary nearby.

The ossuary is part of a small Roman Catholic chapel that is decorated with chandeliers and coat of arms, quite literally constructed of human bones from 40,000 people. The bones came from the graves inside the Cemetery Church of All Saints, which is adjacent to the chapel.

Plzeň

5. Plzeň

Does “Pilsner Urquell” ring a bell? If so, you might have guessed that Czech’s choice of beverage is brewed here! I mean, if there’s one thing Czechs love, it’s their beer. Pivo, Pivo, Pivo! Come take photos brewing your own beer at Plzeňský Prazdroj.

The city itself is equally as tasteful as its beer, with its Baroque architecture as well as German and Austro-Hungarian influence much like the rest of the Czech Republic.

Karlštejn

6. Karlštejn

Karlštejn is a small village just 40 minutes outside of Prague. Periodically, the village will host its Vinobraní festival, celebrating the rich history of Karlstejn -- which includes its tasty young wine called Burčák.

The highlights of this festival include a parade of people dressed in decorative renaissance attire, small food venues en route to the top of the castle, and of course, copious amounts of this heavenly liquid. I’d recommend renting some medieval clothing for your photo-op!

Punkva Caves

7. Punkva Caves

Located in the Moravian Karst nature reserve, the Punkva Caves are a must-see for nature lovers and explorers! Join a tour group and go into the abyss; there is literally an underground river in the cave that will lead you to the magnificently beautiful Macocha Abyss.

The contrast between the beaming sunlight and luscious greenery outside, and the shadowed mysterious cave, makes for the perfect shot! While you’re inside the cave, be sure to snap some shots of the stalagmites.

Karlovy Vary

8. Karlovy Vary

Everyone deserves at least one day of relaxation during a trip (or study abroad semester) full of adventures and academia! I recommend spending the day at the spa in Karlovy Vary where you can enjoy its public baths, once used by Charles IV and other Czech royalty.

Karlovy Vary is also home to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Steeplechase racetrack and Becherovka, Czech liquor.

Český Krumlov

9. Český Krumlov

Český Krumlov, is small village in Bohemia about two hours outside of Prague, with a picturesque castle at the center of it (fully equipped with rails and guard bears).

Favorite photo-ops include the golden carriage, the theater and the panoramic view of the Český Krumlov from the castle’s courtyard.

Jičín

10. Jičín

Also known as Czech Paradise, Cesky Raj or Bohemian Paradise, Jičín is a must-see national park and especially beautiful in the fall.

Located in Bohemia just about an hour outside of Prague, Jičín is filled with massive sandstones, known as Prachovské Rocks. Through time, these sandstones have formed trails that allow you to walk between narrow passageways and up higher altitudes.

Danielle Ortiz-Geis

Danielle Ortiz-Geis is an avid traveler, writer, and photographer. After her first year of college, she backpacked from Italy to Spain which sparked her love for travel and inspired her to later study abroad in Prague and explore many countries in central and eastern Europe. Knowing that she wanted to make international education a part of career path, she went on to intern at National Geographic, worked as a Student Assistant at American University's study abroad office, and served as the Marketing Coordinator for CET Academic Programs.

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