Prague, one of the most beautiful Capital Cities in the world has long been a popular tourist destination with Europeans and it isn’t hard to see why. I recently travelled with my friend on a golf trip to Czech Republic but before heading off to the golf courses in the Bohemian countryside we spent a couple of days sightseeing in the Romantic Medieval Capital.
Our visit began with a riverboat tour on the Vltava. It was a beautiful Autumn day, the sun was shining, just perfect for a relaxing cruise on the river. The tour lasted an hour and passed many of the city’s famous landmarks such as the medieval Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Tiers of pastel coloured gothic and modern architecture overlooking the majestic river. Old and new in perfect harmony.
The following morning we set off early making our way across the Charles Bridge and up the hill to Prague Castle, turning every now and then to take in the spectacular scene below. Although it was early there were a lot tourists who obviously had the same idea.
Situated within the Castle complex is St.Vitas Cathedral the largest and most important in Prague. Back in the Old Town square people were gathering at the astronomical clock waiting to see the parade of the twelve apostles. The hourly show is a popular tourist attraction, and is worth seeing. All round the square the cafe bars were buzzing with people eating or drinking beer and wine while soaking up the wonderful atmosphere. As we wandered round the we stopped to listen to the fantastic street musicians. I could have stayed in that same spot and listened a while longer but there were more places to see! Prague is so easy to explore on foot, we strolled for hours trying to capture as much as we could on our short visit.
There is no shortage of accommodation this great city, depending on your taste or budget, you can’t go wrong. We stayed at The Pentahotel a modern minimalist style hotel, not too far from the centre.
Prague is a foodies delight, including vegetarians. We discovered some fabulous restaurants, the Kolkovna Celnice a typical Czech pub style restaurant just a few minutes from the Old Town Square. Typical dishes on the menu include goulash, wild boar, duck, ribs and fish. The food was superb and reasonably priced. Kolkovna Celnice is one of only pub restaurants in the city to sell tank Pilsner Urquell beer. The friendly staff informed us that the beer is delivered directly from the brewery unpasteurised in huge temperature controlled airtight tanks, to ensure the freshest beer for customers.
The Mlýnec restaurant close to Charles Bridge and the river is a popular venue for special occasions and parties. The menu offered every type of food you could think of from traditional Czech cuisine to Asian, French and Japanese. Most diners were having Czech beer with their food, I ordered some Moravian wine from the restaurant’s extensive wine list, which was fabulous.
Another exceptional restaurant I can highly recommend is The Artisan at Prague Marriott Hotel. The Marriott is ideally located within the historic centre of Prague close to all the main tourist attractions. Produce used by chefs is seasonal and all ingredients are sourced within a 200 kilometres radius of Prague. The Artisan was a gourmet experience from start to finish.
Prague is one of the most fascinating cities I have ever visited, my advice is book a guided tour, take a cruise, enjoy.
After an amazing two day break in the Capital we were off to explore the some of the top golf courses in Czech Republic.
The first course we played was Albatross, located just 40 minutes from the city. Albatross Golf Club course opened in 2009 and is ranked as one of the top courses in Czech Republic. The club has hosted many major tournaments including European Tour and LET events.
Albatross resort is situated on a hillside which borders the Czech Karst Nature reserve. The course is laid out over moderately hilly terrain, there are seven lakes, plenty of bunkers, it’s not easy, but it wasn’t meant to be. Keith Preston designed a wonderful 18 hole course to be challenging for the amateur player as well as professional.
The fabulous clubhouse and practice facilities are just what you would expect to find on a resort such as Albatross. After 18 holes and a delightful meal in the clubhouse restaurant we sat on the terrace chilling over a few cold Czech beers while watching golfers putt out on the 18th green.
Next on the tour was Panorama Golf Course near the small town of Kacov in the Central Bohemian Region.
Less than one hour form Prague is Panorama, a relatively new course, which opened in 2017. The course is made up of three unique nine-hole loops, Meadows, Forest and River. The River nine runs along the beautiful River Sazava. Meadows is laid out over open meadow landscape and Forest is situated in the midst of beautiful forested countryside. Three different style layouts which offers a most enjoyable and testing round of golf.
Practice facilities are excellent, there are tennis courts, a wellness centre and conference rooms.The spectacular clubhouse won 2017 building of the year of the Central Bohemian Region. Panorama’s popular club restaurant focuses Czech cuisine using locally sourced ingredients and organic products from their own farm.
The Resort has so much to offer, an ideal golf and leisure destination for family, golfing groups or couples.
Our next round of golf was Oaks P.G.A. National Course.
Oaks Prague was voted Europe’s Best Course in 2020 and just after the official opening
was named Czech Republic’s Best Golf Course 2020.
The course was designed by renowned architect Kyle Phillips who also designed Kingsbarns, The Grove and Yas Links. Oaks is operated by Troon Privé, part of Troon Golf.
Oaks was in superb condition, majestic tall oak trees flank the wide fairways, the deep bunkers, thick rough and water hazards will test the skill of the very best players. From the 13th the views over the mountain and Prague skyline are stunning.
Facilities include a driving range and short game practice areas. The beautiful Chateau which will eventually become the Clubhouse is currently undergoing renovations, until it opens later this year golfers are offered refreshments in Oaks Pavillion.
It’s amazing how this course has matured in such a short time. It would be lovely to visit in a years time to see the difference in the development, especially the Chateau.
From Prague to the world renowned Spa town of Karlovy Vary in the West Bohemia region.
Legend has it that Karlovy Vary was founded by the Czech king and holy Roman emperor Charles IV in the 14th century. It is said that the ruler discovered a unique spring while out hunting deer. Over the centuries a Spa town developed and welcomed such figures as Goethe, Beethoven, Gogol, Paganini, Casanova, and Mozart, along with dozens of heads of state, while in recent times it has hosted many famous movie stars.
One of the most famous hotels in Czech Republic is the iconic five star Grandhotel Pupp. The hotel is located in the centre of the town minutes from the Spa Colanade. Rooms at the Grandhotel are just that, Grand, beautiful crystal chandeliers, ceiling frescos pure luxury. All rooms are equipped with flat-screen TV, the essential wifi, some with have balcony’s with views of the Tepla River and the Colonnade. The Spa features wellness facilities, a pool, a meditation spa, a dry and steam sauna, salt cave and gym.
The elegant neoclassical – style Grandrestaurant Pupp specialises in Czech cuisine with many international dishes on the menu.
The unique atmosphere of the Grandhotel Pupp has attracted filmmakers since filmmaking began. The famous Bond movie Casino Royale was filmed and Last Holiday were just two of the many movies filmed at Grandhotel Pupp.
Just five Km. from Karlovy Vary situated in beautiful forested countryside of the Krušné Mountains is Karlovy Vary Golf Club, one of the oldest golf courses in Central Europe.
The original course which was just nine holes was built is in 1904. In 1933 an 18 hole course was designed and built by course architect Carol Noskowski. The 18 hole parkland course is located a bit further out of the town than the original 9 hole. Sadly the war halted the opening and it wasn’t until 1949 when some former members took on the task of completing the project.
Karlovy Vary is said to have one of the largest memberships in Czech Republic and is popular with visitors. The course is laid out over hilly terrain, every fairway is lined with magnificent trees. Some of the fairways are tight, and some you are playing blind but that is part of the beauty of this course.
Golf, Spas, fairytale castles, a world famous hotel and one hour from Prague!
Our final course to play was Greensgate Golf Resort, formally known as Golf Park Plzen. The Christoph Stadler – designed course opened in 2004 and is set out in a lovely wooded valley in the beautiful hills of the Czech countryside. Many of holes are laid out around Lake Ejpovice and the Klabava river, holes 2 to 5 are on the flood plain of the river. I found the course both interesting and challenging, especially 11 the island green. Lost a couple of balls on that hole.
There is an excellent academy with putting and chipping greens. Greensgate has hosted many major events including the Ladies European Tour and Faldo Series Czech Championships.
There are excellent stay and play packages, although the restaurant specialises in Czech cuisine there is also a range of European dishes on the menu.
Greensgate is a fabulous course, one I would definitely want to play again.
Czech Republic is one of the best Golf Destinations in Europe and combining Golf with a City break to the Historic Capital could not be easier or more fabulous. But, two days isn’t enough, three would be better and maybe four days golfing in the beautiful Bohemian Countryside. Yes that would be absolutely fabulous!