At the end of the 19th century, Czechs became interested in discovering their own culture and history. In 1881, the Czech Tourists Club was founded and soon gained thousands of supporters. Together they took hiking trips to the surroundings, and with the development of the railway network tourists could visit even more places. For the Czech community, the countryside was also associated with national identity and interest in folklore and folk architecture. Interest in cottages and chalets developed most after World War II. Young people moved to cities and the rural population was ageing. The farms and houses were often in poor technical condition, but young people wanted a pleasant place to go on holiday with their children. They repaired cottages and chalets to get space for relaxation.
The DIY eraAfter 1948, travel outside Czechoslovakia was limited by the communist regime, so most residents got no vacation choices. They began to build their second homes in cottages and chalets in the countryside. The building owners had to improvise because there was a lack of building materials. But skilled do-it-yourselfers were able to build their dream cottage even out of a railway wagon or a brewery keg. In November 1989, fundamental political changes took place and Czechoslovakia reopened to the world. After the first years of euphoria and interest in holidays abroad, the trend of cottages returned. Today, however, a holiday in the countryside is different than before.
Second homeMany Czechs have rebuilt their cottages and chalets into places not only for relaxation, but also for work thanks to the internet network. After Sweden, the Czech Republic ranks as one of the countries with the densest number of holiday cottages in Europe. 36 percent of the Czech population owns a recreational property. The charm of renovated cottages and chalets also attracts tourists from abroad. You can rent a log cabin in the woods and enjoy a quiet romantic weekend or book a country cottage for the whole family, where you have all the comfort for rest as well as work. You will definitely not be short of tips for hikes, as the Czech Republic has one of the densest networks of hiking trails in the world, connecting more than 40 thousand kilometres for hikers.
Rural traditionCzech cottages and chalets will not only impress with their appearance, but also with their family history. Many owners have adapted their houses to the modern way of life while preserving their rural character. One such example is the Pink Cottage near Šimánky in the village of Rtyně, within the Trutnov region, which was built in 1857. The two-storey house with a decorative façade has a capacity for 24 guests with wooden country furniture inside. There are modern appliances in the kitchen, as well as a heated oven with seating. You can also enjoy a pleasant atmosphere on the porch with a barbecue area. Would you prefer more action? Take a dip on the ground floor of the cottage, which features an indoor pool with heated water from May to September. Be sure to go on a trip to the surroundings. For more experienced tourists there are Adršpach Rocks, and history lovers will certainly be interested in Kuks. This large Baroque complex was built by the visionary Count Špork. At the end of the 17th century he had a spa centre built here, which nobility from all over Europe visited. The Baroque complex is also famous for its beautiful sculptural decoration by the famous Matyáš Bernard Braun, who embodied allegories of virtues and vices.
Action loungingThe wooden log house in Horní Sklenov near Hukvaldy also offers a very pleasant mix of history and a modern way of life. Have your morning coffee at the wooden table and cast a gaze out the country kitchen window over the 1,500 m2 garden. Do you want to stretch a little without exhausting yourself? Then it takes just a hundred-metre walk from the cabin and you arrive at an 18-hole golf course. If you want to stay at home in the cabin, you can enjoy a sauna with a swimming pool. And it's not only adults that will have fun here, but also children, for whom there is a large playroom in the house with lots of toys, and in the garden the owners built a house for them in the treetops. Make sure not to miss a visit to the nearby Hukvaldy Castle, whose construction began in the 13th century. Today, the castle's ruins are open to the public and you can climb the lookout tower and enjoy the view around the town and its surroundings. The most famous native of Hukvaldy was Leoš Janáček, a world-famous composer. There is a permanent exhibition in his birth house, where you can learn more about the nature trail in the area and look at the places that inspired his work, which has fans all around the world.
The family legacy is also honoured by the owners of the cottage in Němčičky in the Břeclav region. They renovated their grandmother's house, where they used to go on vacation, and it will make you feel like you have returned to your childhood times. The cottage has room for 12 people, everyone of which will find their favourite corner, whether it is at the tiled stove, in the yard or in front of the house. There are many interesting places for trips in the area. Rent a bike and set off on one of the many wine trails that line the Pálava Protected Landscape Area. You can enjoy an all-day programme in Mikulov, which is the centre of viticulture. Visit the permanent exhibition in the local château on the history of viticulture and celebrities who have visited this picturesque town, including Emperor Napoleon. You will find another interesting place near the cottage in Němčičky. Descend to the underground archaeological museum in Pavlov and explore what life was like during the Palaeolithic age. You will not only see settlements from 25 to 27 thousand years ago here, but also art objects, tools, ritual graves and bones of mammoths from the vicinity of Pavlov.