Podebrady is a town in the Czech Republic.
The small and pleasant spa town of Podebrady is an hour or two to the northeast of Prague.
King George of Podebrady (Jiří z Poděbrad), a contemporary of Jan Zizka and the only Hussite king to sit on the Czech throne, gets his name from this city (He also gave his name to a Prague metro stop - Jiriho z Podebrad - and is an important nationalist figure in Czech history, as someone who stood up against the status quo for his people and their religious freedom. See section on the Hussites).
Take a fast train (rychlík) from Prague (station Praha hl.n. or Praha-Vysočany) with destination Hradec Králové every hour during daytime. Travel time to Poděbrady is approx. 1 hour, basic fare 78 Kč single, 140 Kč return (March 2010).
There is a large equestrian statue of King George in the town square, a medieval castle which now houses both a hotel school and the Charles University Czech for foreigners summer program, and the spa itself.
- Libice nad Cidlinou, the birthplace of St. Adalbert, is located 4 km south. Not much to be seen there, though - just marked fundaments of a fortress that was destroyed on 28 September 995 when the ruling Přemyslides murdered the whole Slavník family which resided there and competed for power over Bohemia. (St Adalbert survived by being away and was killed two years later by pagans in East Prussia.) Take a walk on a marked path, or one stop by a local train with a destination of Kolín (fast trains do not stop there). Train travel time 5 mins, distance 4 km, basic fare 14 Kč.
- Karlova Koruna in Chlumec nad Cidlinou, a famous baroque castle now in private hands. Sightseeing April to October. To get there, take a fast train (rychlík) with destination Hradec Králové and get of at the next stop (Chlumec nad Cidlinou); then walk about 1 km to the suburb of the city. Official web [dead link]. Train travel time about 30 min, distance 25 km, basic fare 34 Kč.
"Taking the waters"
"Take the waters" by bringing your own container to fill at one of the fountains around town. Becherovka gets its name from the mugs ("Becher", in German) traditionally used at these fountains, and for the most part, tastes much better than the mildly radioactive, heavy-mineral-content water! The water here is supposed to be good for heart conditions, hence the heart-shaped flowerbeds and statues. Podebrady is much less commercial than other spa towns in the Czech Republic and therefore a better representation of Central European spa culture.
Bohemian crystal manufacturing
Bohemia has long been known for producing excellent crystal, as the shop windows in Prague's Old Town attest. At the end of the flower-lined alley which spa-goers are meant to stroll along, very near the train station, is a factory-direct crystal store with prices a fraction of what they would be in Prague. Tours of the factory are occasionally available, but in the store there are also pictures of how the crystal is cut and shaped. Podebrady is worth half a day's trip from Prague if only to buy bargain Becherovka and crystal.
- Kutná Hora, UNESCO world heritage city with many monuments. Take a train to Kolín, then transfer (and after arrival at Kutná Hora hl.n., try to catch another local train to Kutná Hora-Sedlec or Kutná Hora město as the main station is relatively far from the historical center). 29 km, travel time 35 - 60 min, basic fare (make sure to buy ticket to Kutná Hora město to be flexible after arrival at the main station) 44 Kč.