Czech Republic beyond Prague
What is the first place, image or idea that comes to mind when you think of Czech Republic? Is that of castles, of colourful little towns?
Without even doing a survey on that, I can bet that the most two popular answers would be: Prague and beer. If I am wrong, comment below. If you agree, you can still comment and tell me that you agree 😉.
Well…I would have answered exactly the same before July 2018, when I got to see Czech Republic beyond Prague. I was completely mesmerised with this country and would like to thank again to the Czech Tourism Board and the regional tourism offices for this opportunity. And by no means, have I seen everything I needed/wanted to see. So I will definitely be back. By the way, here is also a Prague itinerary for 3 days, as I still would not skip it!
Due to some issue with my foot, I cannot do very strenuous activities like hiking, climbing or other kind of very demanding sports for the moment, so….I “settled” for castles during my visit to Czech Republic. Little did I know what to expect from that! but it sounded great! I mean I knew that there were some beautiful castles in Czech Republic, but I had no idea that there were so many! I knew about the most famous one of course, Cesky Krumlov and I expected that the famous Karlovy Vary would have some. Funnily enough, I visited none of these places though. 😂
For those of you who also don’t know much about Czech Republic, let me briefly explain the geographical areas of country: Czech Republic (or Czechia as it started to be called lately) is divided in 13 regions plus the capital city, Prague. These regions can all be grouped into 3 main “lands” namely: Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia.
I mainly explored Bohemia region with a focus on South and Central Bohemia. In fact, as it turns out, Central Bohemia has the largest number of castles and chateaux in Czech Republic. Again, I did not make it to the Czesky Krumlov (probably the most famous, but also the busiest one) but each of these 8 castles are GORGEOUS and definitely worth seeing. And if my words don’t convince you, I hope my photos will.
But, without further ado… here are
8 of most beautiful Castles in Czech Republic
1. Hluboka nad Vltavou Castle
What fairytales look like!
This is actually my favourite castle from my trip to Czech Republic! It was love at first sight! and the second and third…and during sunset…and during blue hour! I was just sorry I didn’t wake up for the sunrise too!
Yes I got to spend the night there as well. No, not in the castle itself, but at least near it. There is a hotel right on the castle’s grounds and which was build to resemble the castle itself. I’ll take that…for now…
As a result, I was happy I got to witness and photograph the sunset and the blue hour there. I think they looked pretty good, but let me know what you think as well.
Another favourite thing about this castle was how we got there. We arrived by boat (up to a certain point of course), which I steered for a while (I had to somehow sneak this little detail in here as I really loved it).
Hluboka castle was originally a gothic stronghold (in the 13th century), which was later transformed into a renaissance castle and afterwards baroque elements were added.
Today it is considered one of the most significants Romantic monuments, not only in Europe, but also in the world. It is also considered one of the most beautiful castles in Czech Republic, rightfully so!
2. Karlstejn Castle
This was the first castle I have seen in Czech Republic and the first time I saw it (yes I “visited” it twice), was in the most unusual manner: from the sky! By that, I don’t mean that I was flying a drone above it but actually from a plane. No no, not an usual plane either. In fact, Prague airport was so welcoming that they put together a half day tour to show us the airport and all “behind the scenes” activities, including a flight over Prague in a small Cessna plane. And when I say small I mean 6 seats small!
So this was my grand view from the plane! 😍
Being so close to Prague (approx 20Km), it is also one of the most visited castles in Czech Republic. Karlstejn is a gothic style castle, dating back from 1348. It was build by Emperor Charles IV as a repository for all kinds of royal treasures.
The castle is on top of a mountain and it is surrounded by a beautiful national forrest, so for the most active, you can actually hike all the way to the castle. Depending on where you start your hike from, it can be anywhere between 5 and 20km.
If you are not so much into hiking though, the castle can be easily reached by car or even by train and then you have to just hike a bit, but on a paved road.
3. Chateau Radun
Location, location, location 😍
I have visited Chateau Radun as a day trip from Prague and immediately fell in love with it. If you a passionate about photography like I am, this castle is perfect for that. The location, accross a pond with perfectly still water and surrounded by forest could not be better. The Chateau is surrounded by a 14acres English style garden and it has its own orangerie.
The interior is as impressive as the surroundings and it is worthwhile a visit.
The first mention of the initial construction (which seems to have been a fortified house) is from 1475. Since then, the chateau has been renovated a few times going from a Rennaissance to Neo-classical style.
Like I said, it can be visited as a day trip from Prague and it is nearby Opava town (which is also worth a quick visit).
4. Chateau Melnik
This chateau is located in Melnik town, which geographically is part of Central Bohemia.
The town itself is very picturesque and it is well known for its vineyards and traditional grape harvest. On top of that it just sits above the confluence of the two main rivers in Czech Republic: Elbe and Vtalva (which passes also through Prague), making it even more appealing.
Melnik Chateau belongs today to Lobkowicz family and we met a few members as well during our visit. The history of the chateau and its inhabitants is very interesting, but I will let you discover it by yourself when you will visit it.
My favorite part of the chateau though was the wine cellar, where we obviously had some wine tasting. You can also buy the wine, which I would have liked to do, but I had a full suitcase already and still a long way to go through Czech Republic. However, I was very impressed with the quality of the wine there. And I know a little something about wine just so you know 😉.
5. Mitrowicz Chateau
This is one of the “youngest” chateaux from my list, as well as from the region.
You know how we all use the word “fairytale” when it comes to a chateau? I want to use the term “romantic” for this one. Maybe it is due to the fact that it seems more “actual” somehow due to the possibility of renting rooms there? I don’t know, but I am sticking with this term for Mitrowicz!
And talking about renting rooms…have you ever dreamt of having your (dream) wedding at a castle? Well, search no more! They renovated the castle recently (the rooms still smell new, which I really love) in order to cater for this type of “once in a lifetime” events (or twice, or third or…as many as it is needed to find that fairytale….😉 ).
6. Cervena Lhota Chateau
This is one of the few castles that we did not visit inside, as we arrived there too early, in order to beat the crowds. But I was happy even with the outside only as it was such a picturesque place. Have a look and see for yourself.
Cervena Lhota is a renaissance style chateau initially build in the 14th century. Can you guess what “cervena” means in Czech? Interestingly enough, it means “red” as the colour of the castle, however the name of the town where the chateau is located is also called Cervena Lhota!
7. Krivoklat Castle
You can feel the past.
Dating back from the 12th century, Krivolat Castle is one of the oldest and most significant royal castles in the Czech Republic.
What is particular about this castle, is that it has also been a prison in the past. So you can visit the torture chambers and the jail rooms (not my favorite thing to visit in general I must say). The castle is built in a gothic style and my favorite view was just from a hill near the castle
8. Cesky Sternberk Castle
This castle was build in the 13th century by the Sternberk family and it still belongs to the same family. The current owner is part of the 20th generation of the founder.
If you are early for your visit (like we were), you can just take in the view from the little courtyard over the nearby villages and wait for an old train to pass to make the whole picture perfect.
This is the castle where I took most pictures inside. I usually do not do that, but I really liked the interior. Also, I want to let you in a little secret if you promise you don’t tell anybody, ok? They have a magical mirror in one of the rooms. How about that?
Can you tell what is magical about it from the picture below?
Yes that is me, but I am not magical lol! Apparently…the mirror makes you look thinner…No comment there. 😉
And with that little “secret” I finish my article about these 8 amazing castles in Czech Republic.
As you might have noticed, I tried to summarise in a couple of words what I thought was representative for each castle. If you have been to any of these, I would be interested to get your opinion and if you haven’t, I hope this article will help you when you go.
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