Day Trips – Cheb

Trips from Prague – Cheb

Of all the towns in West Bohemia I know Cheb the best because my in-laws live there so I’ve had regular trips to see them and the town which in German is known as “Eger”. There’s a lot of history here but I would struggle to commit a whole day. Instead, if you are going to visit the nearby spa town called Frantiskovy Lazne or if you are driving to Karlovy Vary then consider Cheb as a place to spend some time. It’s two hours by car or three by train from Prague.

main town square in cheb
The main town square in Cheb

Going Way Back

Recorded history tells us that there was a fortified Slavic settlement here in the 11th Century but that it was under German control in the 13th Century. This “is it German or is it Czech?” question would roll on throughout the history of Cheb.

cheb castle and black tower
Cheb Castle and Black Tower

Even though by the 14th Century it was considered part of Bohemia, the Catholic Diocese of Regensberg in Germany claimed the town as well despite the German inhabitants leaning towards the more protestant “Hussite/Utraquist” faith. The historic part of town still retains a Bavarian feel. The Castle and Black Tower date back to the 13th Century.

Albrecht and the Museum

jaroslav sculpture david and goliath in cheb
Jaroslav Rona – David and Goliath in Cheb

The next really famous thing to happen wasn’t until 1634 when the Commander of Catholic forces during the Thirty Years War, Albrecht Wallenstein, was murdered in Pachelbel’s House (Number 3 on the square) which is now the Cheb Museum. Only 13 years earlier the Emperor had gifted land in Prague to Albrecht which would become today’s Wallenstein Palace and Gardens but apparently he became a political threat and was assassinated. Opposite that house is an orange building and on the corner is a piece of art by Jaroslav Rona called David and Goliath (pictured).

World War Two

In the 1930s the residents of Cheb were largely 90% ethnic German and with the downturn in the local economy caused by the US Banking crash of 1931 (the US had provided many loans to Germany for servicing war debt) they were screaming for autonomy and separation from Czechoslovakia so they could join Germany. You’ll often hear the name “Sudetenland” associated with the German speaking parts that wanted independence. The September 1938 signing of the Munich Agreement allowed this to happen with the resulting ejection of many thousands of ethnic Czechs.

spalicek buildings in cheb where adolf hitler gave 1938 speech
Spalicek Buildings on Cheb Town Square

On a visit to Cheb on October 3rd 1938 (3 days after the Munich Agreement was signed) Adolf Hitler stood in the upper balcony window of the orange building pictured above and gave a speech to the crowd. To cut a long story short, when Germany lost the war the Czechs came back and kicked out all the Germans, nationwide more than 2 million ethnic Germans would be exiled.

Why Visit Cheb

There’s a balance of historic things to see, nice riverside walks and some things to do for example.

The main square has several restaurants, bars and cafes often frequented by German tourists coming to Cheb to fill up on cheaper fuel and have a meal while they are here. In December it’s the site of a Christmas Market.

cheb castle gardens by the river
The Cheb fort gardens by the river

The Fort Gardens (it’s a collective name for several smaller gardens by the river) is a 1km stretch of park land bordering the river which has been divided into a childrens play area, an amphitheatre, formal gardens and two cafes. You can cross the river either by road, dam or by one of two footbridges.

The Garden of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Cheb
The Garden of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Cheb

The garden of the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is a wonderfully peaceful place to sit. But walk to the rear of the garden and you’ll find statues that were in prominent places during the communist period including Lenin, Julius Fucik (Czech Communist journalist whose likeness was captured on the Prague Stalin Statue) and a military border guard.

plaque showing the synagogue and its location in hradebni street before its destruction in 1938
The location of the synagogue in Hradebni Street

If you think that “Krystalnacht” only affected German Jews then you might be interested to go to the junction of Hradebni and Obrnene Brigady where you’ll find a plaque which shows what the synagogue looked like before it was burned down on November 9th 1938.

birds eye view of the centre of cheb from the st nicholas church tower
The View from the ST Nicholas Tower in Cheb

If you want a bird’s-eye view of the city then visit the tower of ST Nicholas Church. You’ll need a CZK20 coin at the time of writing and there are a lot of steps. The building interior is monitored by cameras.

On the other side of the river you’ll find a public area for BBQs, and athletic track and on the hill behind is a rope climbing centre (adults CZK200, kids CZK120). You can find more details on the Lanove Centrum website.

Something Related or a Few Minutes Away

Day Trips – Frantiskovy Lazne Spa Town

Day Trips – Karlovy Vary Spa Town

Day Trips – Getting to Plzen

Day Trips – Zbiroh Castle

Art and Culture – Jaroslav Rona Sculptures

Some Random Things to Do and See in Prague