1. Prague region
Prague is the capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic, but it is also the smallest independent region. Despite its size, Prague is the second most populated region in the Czech Republic. It is divided into 22 administrative districts (Prague 1-22), which differ significantly both in appearance and population density: while some of them are downright big-city, others resemble small towns within a metropolis. The region is also blessed with impressive nature, for example the Divoká Šárka nature reserve, the Prokop and Dalej Valley or the Klánovice forest. The city is a political, academic, economic, and cultural center, and also the largest regional labor market in the Czech Republic. However, several disadvantages arise from the opportunities offered by the metropolis, such as poor air quality or insufficient capacity of some facilities, such as kindergartens. According to the Numbeo server, Prague is the most expensive city to live in throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
2. Central Bohemian region
The Central Bohemian region is the largest region in the Czech Republic, both in size and population. The number of inhabitants is still increasing due to the good accessibility of the capital city, where many locals commute for work. This has led to the creation of many satellite housing units, which significantly influenced the region’s appearance in the past years. The relief is mostly flat, which plays an important role in agricultural and industrial production: wheat, barley, sugar beet, fruit, vegetables, and flowers are grown here. Key industries are engineering, chemistry and food. The region is home to, among others, the ŠKODA AUTO and TMMCZ car factories. In the district of Kladno, there are deposits of black coal near which smelters and steel plants were built; in the vicinity of Beroun there are cement plants; chemical plants are located near large rivers. The Central Bohemian region is also rich in valuable historical monuments. The town of Kutná Hora (known for the church of St. Barbara, Italian Court, the museum Hrádek with silver mines, the ossuary and the cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist in Sedlec) was included in the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage sites. The most famous castles in the region are Karlštejn, Křivoklát, Český Šternberk and Kokořín.
3. South Bohemian region
The South Bohemian region is characterized by picturesque towns and villages and beautiful nature. Still, it is the region with the lowest population density. More than a third of the area is occupied by forests, including the Gratzen Mountains, the Blanský forest and Šumava. There are also many ponds and other waterbodies. The beauty of local nature makes the South Bohemian region a popular tourist destination while it also affects the local agricultural and industrial situation. The agricultural sector is thriving in the region, employing about a quarter of the local population. South Bohemia is known for its traditional pond farming, and in the fields, cereals, oilseeds and potatoes are grown. Livestock production is mainly oriented towards the breeding of cattle, pigs, and milk production. Contrastingly, the industry here is the least developed of all regions. Food industry and woodworking industry predominates, associated for example with the production of furniture or the famous Koh–i–noor pencils. The Temelín nuclear power plant is located near České Budějovice, the regional capital. Since the region is not as industrial, its climate and environment count among the best in the country.
4. Plzeň Region
The Plzeň region is the third largest in the Czech Republic (by area). It has a prospering industry: several important engineering companies operate here (e.g. Škoda Transportation), as well as producers of alcoholic beverages (Bohemia Sekt Starý Plzenec, Stock Plzeň, Plzeňský Prazdroj), ceramic production, and energy businesses (Plzeňská teplárenská, Plzeňská energetika). As for agriculture, rapeseed production and cattle breeding are the most prominent in the area. Despite the fact that it is an industrially developed region, it also offers a large number of historical monuments and charming nature. The Šumava national park extends into the region, as well as Brdy, Křivoklátsko forest park, and Slavkov Forest. The environment of the region is among the cleanest in the country due to the lower population density. However, the center of the region, the city of Plzeň, somewhat deviates from this characteristic – the population is much denser here and Plzeň is also an important railway hub.
5. Karlovy Vary region
The westernmost region of the Czech Republic has the smallest population in the country, and it is also the only region without a university. Its nature is wild and rich, with mountains and mining tunnels, including the Ore Mountains and the protected landscape area Slavkov forest. The region is known primarily for its many mineral springs, which is also why spas are very common here – they can be found in the regional capital, Karlovy Vary, and also in Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně, Lázně Kynžvart and Jáchymov. Thanks to the many spas, tourism in the Karlovy Vary Region is one of the most important industries. Tourists are also attracted by the famous Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The region’s industry was influenced by the mining of brown coal in the district of Sokolov, and kaolin in the Karlovy Vary district (which is used by the ceramic industry). Well-known glass producers, such as the Moser brand, also operate in the area. In Cheb, you can find the largest industrial park in the region linked mainly to the automotive industry. The way of life in the region was fundamentally influenced by the so-called central settlement system, which arose in the modern history and caused major depopulation of the rural area.
6. Ústí nad Labem region
The appearance of the Ústí nad Labem Region was greatly influenced by its mineral wealth, especially extensive deposits of brown coal, high-quality glass sands and foundry sands, and stone. This also affects the industry in the area, especially energy, engineering, chemical and glass production. The industrial center of the region is the Ore Mountain basin, i.e., the area around the cities of Chomutov, Most, Teplice and partly Ústí nad Labem, the regional capital. The progressed industry has adversely affected the appearance of local nature and the region is currently attempting its costly reclamation. In Most, for example, we can find a wine territory that was created on land destroyed by brown coal mining. Lake Most also beautified the tired landscape in a similar way. Thanks to the reclamation efforts, the region’s environment has improved significantly. In addition, the area attracts by the Ore Mountains, the Bohemian Central Mountains, the Lusatian Mountains, the rock formations of the Tisá Mountains and the Bohemian-Saxon Switzerland, healing and thermal springs, or the memorable mountain Říp.
7. Liberec region
The Liberec region is located in the north of the republic. It is the second smallest Czech region, but its regional capital Liberec is the fifth largest city in the Czech Republic. The area is popular among Czechs and foreign tourists for its skiing and hiking trails, mountain climbing opportunities, bodies of water (the most famous is Lake Mácha) and historical monuments (for example, Bezděz and Valdštejn castles). There are 5 protected landscape areas including the Jizera Mountains, the Lusatian Mountains, the Central Bohemian Uplands and the Bohemian Paradise. The region has a developed glass, jewellery, and engineering industry. Local agriculture is mainly linked with livestock breeding. The Liberec region therefore represents an interesting combination of charming forested and hilly landscapes with many work and leisure opportunities.
8. Hradec Králové region
This region, the center of which is Hradec Králové, benefits from its location in a similar way to the Central Bohemian region – many residents commute to work in the capital city of Prague. Similar to the Liberec region, it is characterized by a developed industry which coexists with beautiful nature. We can find over twenty national cultural monuments here, for example The Granny’s Valley in Ratibořice, Kost castle, the monastery in Broumov, the Dobrošov fortress, or the castles of Nové Město nad Metují and Humpoprecht. Tourists are also attracted by the rock towns of Prachov Rocks and Adršpach, protected landscape areas of the Broumov district, the Orlické Mountains and Krkonoše (The Giant Mountains). Important industrial plants in the region include metalworking, food, rubber, and textile enterprises, for example in Trutnov and Vrchlabí. The city of Vamberk is famous for the production of hand-made lace. Agricultural production is concentrated in the areas of the Polabská lowland, where wheat, sugar beet and corn are grown. The foothills are then associated with cattle and sheep breeding.
9. Pardubice region
The Pardubice region is full of contrasts. On one hand, there is the Polabí lowland, but there is also Králický Sněžník, sometimes referred to as the roof of Europe. In the capital of the region, Pardubice, the historic center lies just a few meters from the chemical industrial zone. Significant places of the region include the Orlické Mountains and the Iron Mountains, the castles in Litomyšl, Pardubice, Litice nad Orlicí, and Potštejn, the castle Rychmburk, and the National Stud at Kladruby nad Labem, the oldest large stud in the world. Given its diverse nature, the region has a dense network of hiking trails. The engineering, textile, clothing, leather and above all chemical industries are concentrated here. The city of Pardubice is associated with two important traditions – gingerbread production and the annual Velká Pardubická horse race.
10. Vysočina region
The region is located at the border of Bohemia and Moravia and its name (“Highlands”) is derived from the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. There are two protected landscape areas here: Žďárské vrchy and the Iron Mountains. Vysočina has ideal conditions for growing potatoes and rapeseed. There are also many forests, but unfortunately, the region is currently struggling with the bark beetle calamity, which has already deprived the area of a fifth of its conifers. Woodworking, glass, engineering (ŽĎAS), metalworking, energy (Dukovany nuclear power plant), textile, furniture and food industries dominate in Vysočina. The settlement of the region is specific in that there are many small villages, which are mainly concentrated in the vicinity of local smaller towns. The regional capital is Jihlava. Vysočina is also the home to three places included in the UNESCO Heritage Site list – the historical center of Telč, the Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk on Zelená Hora near Žďár nad Sázavou, and the Jewish town and basilica of St. Prokop in Třebíč.
11. South Moravian Region
The South Moravian region offers beautiful nature, wine territories, as well as developed folklore and living traditions. The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, the Lednice-Valtice complex, as well as the traditional male solo dance “verbuňk”, entered the UNESCO list. There are two biosphere reserves – Lower Morava Valley and White Carpathians – as well as one of the four national parks of the Czech Republic, Podyjí. The population of the region is mostly catholic, and also highly educated – perhaps because there are many colleges and universities located in the region, including the famous Masaryk University in Brno, the center of the region and the second largest city of the Czech Republic. Industrially, the area is mainly associated with canneries (in Břeclav and Znojmo), sugar factories, engineering companies (První Brněnská strojírna, Zetor) and electrotechnical companies (Siemens). Although the South Moravian region is primarily known for wine growing, there are also 4 large breweries. In recent years, the number of local companies in the fields of computer technology, telecommunications, software development and hi-tech has been growing, which positively affects the amount of job opportunities.
12. Olomouc region
The environment of the Olomouc region is largely determined by diverse natural conditions. Local nature and monuments – such as the Bouzov and Šternberk castles, or the center of the regional capital Olomouc – attracts tourists, cyclists, and skiers. While the northern part of the region is covered by the protected landscape area of Jeseníky with the highest mountain of Praděd (1491 metres above sea level), the southern part is made up of the flat Haná. While Haná is associated with rich folklore and it is also economically stable, the regions near the mountains are beautiful but due to their lower accessibility and historical changes (the displacement of the German population), they are economically weaker. The region has a tradition of food (Olma, Zubr brewery), engineering (Agrostroj), and woodworking industry, the last of which is mostly found near the mountains.
13. Moravian-Silesian region
Similar to the Ústecký region, the Moravian-Silesian region is also associated with rich industry and current efforts to restructure and revitalize its nature. The Ostrava-Karvina industrial and mining basin was used for its mineral wealth, especially high-quality metallurgical coal. Job opportunities in the region have therefore long been concentrated around industry, especially metallurgy, engineering (Škoda Vagonka, Hyundai, Tatra), mining and food industry (Opavia, Kofola). Current ecological efforts restrict the industrial activities of the region, but at the same time, new businesses and job opportunities continue to arise. The region has a number of universities and colleges, which are mainly concentrated in the regional capital, Ostrava. There are also three protected landscape areas: Beskids, Jeseníky and Poodří.
14. Zlín region
Finally, the last region is the only one located exclusively on the territory of Moravia. It holds the White Carpathian Mountains (listed among the UNESCO monuments) and the Beskids, but also wine territories. Due to the steepness and ruggedness of the terrain, the region attracts cyclists and skiers. Since cultivating the land is difficult, industry certainly prevails over agriculture here – mainly metalworking, woodworking, electrotechnical and textile industry. When one speaks of Zlín, many people immediately think of the well-known entrepreneur Tomáš Baťa and his factory – after all, in the regional capital, we can still find the remains of the functionalist Bata architecture and the Tomáš Bata University. Tourists also visit the region to see its beautiful monuments, including the Gardens and Castle in Kroměříž, which are included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.