While Prague is one of Europe's most visited cities, the countryside of Bohemia is among its least trodden. Even if you just pop out of Prague for a night or two, you'll be rewarded with lovely rolling woodlands, limestone caves and river valleys, wonderfully preserved medieval towns and a cornucopia of apparently impregnable castles.
Caves and Castles
Koneprusy (40km SW from Prague). Escape from the heat to the cool of the largest system of caves in Bohemia. Only discovered in 1960, 600m worth of tunnels are open to the public: www.caves.cz. Stop off at Karlstejn on your way back (30km from Prague) - a glittering gem-encrusted chapel within a 14th century fairytale castle.
King of the Spas
Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) (130km W from Prague): Very relaxing. A 600-year tradition of natural healing in twelve springs makes this the largest spa in the Republic. Feel your footache and overindulgence float away in waters reputed to soothe muscular and digestive disorders. The city, founded in 1370 by Emperor Charles IV, also has a film festival, glassware outlets and some astonishing monumental architecture. www.karlovyvary.cz
Antonin Dvorak Memorial House (Vysoka u Pribrami, Trebsko 262 71, 60km SW of Prague, near the village of Vysoka). Elegant neo-renaissance house in grounds with lakes, said to have inspired the world-famous Czech composer. Revamped in 1994. Stage scenery and costume exhibitions, spanking new concert hall. www.antonindvorak.cz