Day Trip from Prague: Experience Pardubice

Pardubice Town Square - Day Trip from Prague

Day trips from popular tourist destinations are difficult to find. Let alone even know about them especially when traveling overseas from the States. For example, most people only know of the central tourist city of the Czech Republic – Prague. Prague is a beautiful town to visit but, there is more to the Czech Republic besides Prague. Did you know that there are six separate regions to the Czech Republic for you to explore? Each one has its own flavor to tempt you away from one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Are they up to the challenge of a fantastic day trip from Prague? I certainly think so! One particular town that I thoroughly enjoyed exploring is Pardubice (pronounced PAR-doo-bits-uh). Here is everything you need to know on how to enjoy visiting Pardubice on your day trip from Prague.

How to Get To and From Pardubice

Assuming you have already flown over and landed in Prague, it is a quick hop (33 min) on the Airport Express to the central train station, Praha Hlavni Nadrazi. You can buy tickets from the driver directly or purchase ahead online. This is the most economical and recommended way to get to the train station. Or if you are already in the city, head over to the main train station.

Business Class on Regiojet

Enjoying the perks of Business Class on Regiojet

Once at the Prague central train station, it can be a little overwhelming with the multiple floors and crowds of people going in every direction. You can always ask someone (they do speak English) at the help desks if you are unsure of where your platform is. Although there are signs overhead that should match your ticket. Speaking of your train ticket, this can be purchased online or at the station. I traveled mostly on RegioJet, but there are other choices for carriers such as Leo Express & Czech Railways. Tickets are very affordable (ranging from 2.80-10.70€) and on average there are 80 different trains going from Prague to Pardubice (total travel time=1 hour) and several going back all day to Prague. This short train ride makes a day trip from Prague very doable. 

 

Pardubice train station

Once you arrive in Pardubice, you have many choices for transportation. The bus station is found directly across from the train station entrance. And of course, there are taxis, and there is even a bike share facility by the station. If you’re full of energy after your short train ride, the town square is only a short 20-minute walk from the train station.

Pardubice History

Pardubice lies on the river Elbe which helped it originate as a trade mart in the 13th century and in 1490 the town was bought by the Pernštejn family. In 1845, the railway arrived to lead Pardubice to be called the “city of industry.” The highly skilled workforce living here now work for chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering industries to make Pardubice the industry center of East Bohemia.

Pardubice Gingerbread horse

But, that is not the only thing Pardubice is known for. Pardubice is famous for its gingerbread, steeplechase horse racing, and most of all its magnificent buildings and structures around the city center. 

Vilém of Pernštejn developed the layout and the uniform style of the town, that is still evident and preserved today. Pardubice is unique in that it was developed strategically with one way in and out. Through the Green Gate directly to the fortified Pardubice Chateau by drawbridges were the only ways to traverse the town. As you walk through the city center, you can see the genius in how the city was laid out between those gates all those years ago. 

Pardubice has seen its share of tragedy and destruction over the years as well, especially during the Thirty-Year War after becoming a frequent residence of military garrisons due to its advantageous strategic position. The town was also damaged by being bombed repeatedly by Allies during the Second World War. There are still holes left in the ground today in the forest area of Racecourse Pardubice from the bombings.

Pardubice Horse EmblemPardubice, also, has a rich history with horses. You would think that the horse emblem seen around town and on the gingerbread designs is because of Velka Pardubicka, the Grand National Steeplechase held in October, but it isn’t. The Pardubice emblem is from 1158. At the time, the Bohemians set out to conquer the town of Milan. During an evening horse raid, Milan defenders forced the Bohemians out, and one of the last rider’s horse was cut in half when the portcullis lowered. The story is that the man, Ješek, a squire, rode his horse for a while and then he carried what was left of his faithful horse around his shoulders back to camp. The Bohemian King Vladislav II honored Ješek by making the front half of the horse his coat of arms for his new aristocratic title. The town of Pardubice has adopted this emblem as their own, and it can be seen throughout the city. 

History of Pardubice horse emblem

History of Horse Emblem above the Green Gate

Pernštejn Square

Pardubice Town Square - Day Trip from PragueThe most evident of the Pernštejn family’s influence on the design of the city can be seen in the renaissance style of the buildings in the town square. They built the square on the original marketplace from the 14th century. The unique thing about the town square is that it is not a square, but is rectangular. 

As one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the country during the 16th century, their impact on the city led to the creation of the phrase “Shine Like Pardubice.” The majority of these buildings were all built after 1507. This commonly used phrase was said when another town wanted to make magnificent structures and be a showplace by combining Baroque and Renaissance styles like the buildings in Pardubice. The town square is a definite must-see on your day trip from Prague.Pardubice houses

Pardubice Monument in Town Square

Marian Column with balustrade

Pardubice buildings in the town square

House "At Jonah" - Pardubice

Dum U Jonáše / House “At Jonah”

My favorite style is the buildings with Niches on the exterior walls. Niche, in architecture, is a recess set into a wall to display something. The buildings in Pardubice had several of these buildings throughout the town with exquisite frescos paintings in them. I love that this town still preserves them.

Oldest house in Pardubice with Niches

House #11 built in 1507

Pardubice House with Niche

Walking the Streets of Pardubice

There are several more picturesque streets surrounding the town square that you should explore. If you love architecture, colorful pastel buildings, or taking photos of cobbled streets, you will enjoy exploring every street and alley within the city center. Our guide, Petra, from Pardubicko, even pointed out the best coffee shop with the city. It happened to be hidden down a little alley.

Pardubice Coffee Shop

Best Coffee in Pardubice (light green building)

Pardubice alleyWalking along streets in PardubicePardubice is also known for being very bike-friendly, and you could do a bike ride through the city for your day trip from Prague. There are several bike paths around the town and Pardubice Chateau. And as I mentioned earlier, you can rent the bikes outside of the Pardubice train station.Pardubice streetBiking through Pardubice

Accommodations

HOTEL KUNĚTICKÁ HORAGolf & Spa Kunětická Hora roomFor those of you that want to stay overnight or longer, The Golf & Spa Kunětická hora is a great place to stay if you’re going to have a base location in Pardubice. The rooms are a nice size, and they have air conditioning which is much appreciated in Europe during the summer. Or if you want to come to Pardubice for golf for your day trip from Prague, this is the place to be. If you need some golf lessons, Andre is a great teacher who helped us with our swings on the driving range. The hotel also has an excellent outdoor restaurant that grills memorable meals in the evening after you finished the challenging golf course.Restaurant at Golf & Spa Kunětická HoraLessons at Golf & Spa Kunětická HoraGolf & Spa Kunětická Hora golf course

Golf & Spa Kunětická Hora boasts an excellent spa which I can attest is terrific! After spending a couple of hours pampering yourself in here, you will feel so relaxed and ready to go out and explore some more of the town. This hotel is an excellent place for a hen party or a spa day with friends. Golf & Spa Kunětická Hora jacuzzi

Golf & Spa Kunětická Hora relaxing pool

Places to Eat in Pardubice

Hotel 100/ Ristorante da PepaHotel 100

ristorante de pepa gardenHotel 100 opened in 1989 after reconstruction and is located on one of the oldest streets in Pardubice. The Hotel portion holds ten rooms (9 are double rooms) for 1500-2000kc (68-90USD)/night. And Ristorante da Pepa opened eight years ago and makes some incredible Italian meals. I tried the Gnocchi Bolognese and the first of many different types of lemonades (strawberry, raspberry, elderberry, and ginger) while in the Czech Republic. Plus, I had pohár s lesným ovocím for dessert (ice cream and fruit) that is the perfect treat for a hot summer day.Strawberry Lemonade at ristorante da pepapohár s lesným ovocím

Na Staré Rybárne

Na Staré RybárneLake PardubiceNa Staré Rybárně is at the Old Fisheries on Lake Pardubice. This grill/restaurant has a beautiful wooden decor inside with trees and large fish tanks. It also offers patio seating with a view of Lake Pardubice. While I was waiting for the food, I walked around the outside of the restaurant. There are some beautiful trails along the lake that were filled with parents and children. There is a friendly, family atmosphere around the restaurant. The food I had here is one of the best meals I had in Czechia. Na Staré Rybárně should be on your list to eat at on your day trip from Prague.Inside Na Staré RybárněMedallion lunch at Na Staré Rybárně

Things to Do in Pardubice

National Stud Farm at Kladruby nab Labem

Training horses at National Stud Farm at Kladruby nab LabemThe National Stud Farm at Kladruby nab Labem is one of the oldest stud farms in the world. It is also the home of the oldest original Czech breed of Starokladrubský horses. This breed of horse is dark when born but, as it ages, it turns to white. Most of these horses are sold to the Danish Royal Family and are strong horses for pulling carriages. The white horses are used for celebrations and the Imperial court, and black horses are for church dignitaries. You can purchase tickets for tours of the stables, carriage house, museum, and even an observation tower. The basic tour is 120 CZK (5 USD).National Stud Farm at Kladruby nab Labem stables - Day trip from PragueSTAROKLADRUBSKÝ HORSE The farm is 1200 hectares (2965 acres) large including all the buildings, grass, and fields. There are approximately 100 employees, 250 horses with 60 mares, 12 studs, and five family lines. 77 foals were born in 2018, and currently, all mares are pregnant due starting in February to June 2019. This might be a great time to visit and plan your day trip from Prague if you want to see the babies. Seeing the horses in the stables were okay but, it was even more special to look at the horses running wild in the fields.National Stud Farm at Kladruby nab Labem horse fields

Racecourse Pardubice

Racecourse PardubiceThe Racecourse Pardubice holds one of the most significant steeplechase events on the second Sunday in October. Velká Pardubická is a 4.5-mile marathon with 31 obstacles that lasts only 10 minutes. This infamous race is also known as the most dangerous horse race in the world. Since the competition began in 1874, there has never been a race where all the competitors finished. It is in the fourth jump, Taxis Ditch, that takes most of the horses out with a 1.5-meter tall hedge behind which hid a 2-meter deep, 5 meters long, ditch. More than 30 horses have failed to complete this jump over the years.Taxis Ditch Carriage Ride at Racecourse PardubiceYou can schedule a carriage ride tour that will give you the opportunity to ride on the actual Steeplechase course for 50CZK (2 USD). This is an excellent activity on your day trip from Prague. You will be able to hear all about the history of the Steeplechase and see the jumps up close. A fascinating look at the history of the racecourse is the Grand National Steeplechase results plaques. Each year from 1874 is listed with the winning horse and jockey’s name. What I found interesting is the years where there is no winner listed, whether it was in 1909 where no horse finished or the years when no race was held during the World Wars. The plaques are a testament to the history of the Czech Republic.Grand National Steeplechase results

Pardubice Brewery

Pardubice Brewery tour - day trip from PragueOne of the interesting visits you can make on your day trip from Prague is at the Pardubice Brewery. Tours can be scheduled for an excursion through the brewery with or without tastings. You can see how travel bloggers take trips in the photo above. We are always taking pictures of everything we see and trying out everything. On this tour, we were able to taste several different types of the brews that Pardubice Brewery is famous for including Porter and Pernštejn. Some fun beer facts for you…the Czech Republic is the birthplace of Pilsner and has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. So much so, that in Prague, beer is cheaper than bottled water. If you are a beer connoisseur, the Czech Republic is the place to visit. Even hardcore beer drinkers from Germany come here for great beer!Pardubice Porter Beer

Gingerbread Cottage

Hrad Kunětická at the top of the hillAt the bottom of Kunětická hora, you can find the Gingerbread House. This is a great place to visit for families that want to hear about the history and production of gingerbread. You can also experience Hansel & Gretel’s haunted fairytale forest. The Gingerbread Cottage is open all year long. You can spend at least a half day here on your day trip from Prague by adding a visit to Hrad Kunětická hora as well. There is also a small animal zoo/farm at the bottom of the mountain for you to visit while you are here. You can read more about the castle on the hill here.

Day Trip from Prague

I hope that this list of things to do and see in Pardubice is helpful for you to plan your day trip from Prague. Pardubice is a beautiful city and shouldn’t be missed when you come to visit the Czech Republic. If you are thinking of visiting in the future, you can pin this for future reference.Pardubice pin

Thank You to CzechTourism & East Bohemia for hosting me during my stay in the Czech Republic and putting up with my wandering away to take photos. As always opinions are 100% my own.

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