Visiting Prague and the Czech Republic has never been easier. Short-term visitors from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the European Union, including the U.K., don't require visas or need to take any particular health or safety precautions. Indeed, the Czech Republic is a member of the "Schengen Zone," the European Union's common customs and border area. That means if you're arriving from another E.U. member state by road or by rail, you won't even have to show a passport at the border.

As far as packing goes, your suitcase or backpack will look pretty much the same as for any U.S. or Continental European destination with four distinct seasons. If you forget anything, rest assured that just like at home, there's likely to be a shopping mall or convenience store down the street where you can find a suitable substitute. Even in midsummer, though, you'll want to pack some warm clothes, like a sweater or jacket for evening. And always prepare for rain at any day, any time.

More challenging than packing might be deciding how to divide your time between Prague and the rest of the country. What you are able to do depends largely on the length of your stay, but first-time visitors will want to focus most of their attention on Prague, the country's undisputed tourist jewel. Plan on at least 2 full days in the capital, and ideally longer if possible. If you don't have much time but would still like to see some of the rest of the country, it's easy to use Prague as a base for day trips. If you're a repeat visitor, no doubt you'll want to get out and see more of the rest of the Czech Republic. Even here, though, Prague makes a convenient base. It's centrally located and usually no more than a few hours by car or train from wherever you might want to go.

Whatever the plan is, don't forget to bring comfortable walking shoes and be ready to use them. Although there's great public transportation everywhere, you're probably going to do a lot more walking than you think.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.