Land of Good King Wenceslas, missing vowels and medieval defenstrations, the Czech Republic is a romantic and intriguing destination that packs a cultural punch. Home to eminent classical composers, breathtaking Baroque architecture, resistance movements and world-class brewing, it is an alluring blend of high culture (jazz, theatre) and lower brow pleasures (star beers and liqueurs).
The capital Prague boasts the largest castle in the world, an endless array of excellent (and cheap) concerts, Gothic spires, cobbled alleys, a Jewish quarter and the much-trodden Charles Bridge over the Vltava river. Hot spot seekers relish the contemporary art scene and the happening nightlife. Families appreciate the street entertainers, boat trips and the relative safety. Historic yet vibrant, with proud but friendly locals, Unesco-listed Prague is a must-see European city.
But don't write off the countryside of Bohemia and Moravia. Within an hour or two of Prague you'll discover brooding forests, misty lakes, immaculate medieval towns (Kutna Hora is a jewel, Cesky Krumlov has a fabulous summer festival) - and more castles than you can shake a scimitar at. There's excellent birdwatching in spring, mushroom hunting in autumn, mountain biking and hiking at any time of year, even rafting in summer and hunting in winter.