Americans will be unfamiliar with the concept of a small nation, but people who have enjoyed a stay in vacation homes in the Czech Republic can appreciate the idea. The Czech Republic is small enough that tourists can make their holiday rentals a sort of "home base" from which they explore much of the country during short day trips.
One of the most popular day trips from the large city of Prague is the town of Dub, located north. The road between the two is a large part of the attraction in this case; it winds through beautiful scenery nicknamed the "Czech Paradise." Brief diversions from the main road will take visitors to Kokorin and Houska, two small castles nestled in the forests along the route.
More magnificent still is the castle Bezdes, which is located on top of a hill and provides spectacular vistas of the rural landscape below. Tourists crossing the small bridge in the village of Chudolazy should be sure to honk their horns for good luck just as they are passing the St. Christopher statue; this is believed to bestow good luck on travelers.
Karlstejn, Beroun, and Krivoklat
This day drop from Prague allows visitors to tour Karlstejn, which was once a summer retreat for the royal family. Nearby is the town of Beroun, which captures the ambiance of a small European village stopped at a more picturesque time. Along the same route lies Krivoklat, which contains another castle and features lands protected from development.