Traveling Around: Castles and Chateaus to Visit in Czechia This Winter
The majority of Czech castles and chateaus close their gates for the winter season. But there are some historical pearls that welcome visitors all year round, even without any prior booking.
They include palaces in city centres or chateaus and castles in small villages. We have some tips for the most interesting sights across the country.
Majestic Karlštejn Castle near Prague was built by Emperor Charles IV as a dignified seat for the placement of the Czech crown jewels, collections of holy relics and for receiving noble guests. In winter (from Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), you can visit the private and representative rooms of Emperor Charles IV.
Mníšek pod Brdy Chateau
The classicist chateau in Central Bohemian Mníšek pod Brdy was a mansion occupied until mid-20th century. And that is the period atmosphere that you can enjoy at the chateau. The tours will take you through the representative halls and private rooms of the last owners. When to visit? It is open on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Northeast of Prague, in a region called Bohemian Paradise, you can visit the baroque chateau of Dětenice. It is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and the chateau offers fairy-tale tours for children. Apart from the chateau, you can also visit the popular medieval tavern that will take you from the 21st century to the Middle Ages, and you can also spend a night in a medievally-styled hotel. The historical building of the brewery near the chateau has been reconstructed and beer is brewed there.
You can visit the Central Bohemian baroque chateau of Loučeň all year round. The chateau is surrounded by a large landscaped park, a maze area and many more points of interest. The chateau is related to the noble family of Thurn-Taxis, famous for organising postal and personal transport. It was visited by many notable guests in the past – the Austrian emperor Francis I, American writer Mark Twain or Czech national composer Bedřich Smetana. Visit the chateau to find out why taxis are called taxis and how the most difficult obstacle in the Velká pardubická horserace got its name.
The Zbiroh chateau hotel between Prague and Plzeň offers the Chateau Tour in winter except for January. The tour will take you through the chateau history, the Masonic lounge, or the hall where Alfons Mucha painted the famous Slav Epic. You will learn about the history of the Order of Knights Templars and see some truly unique exhibits. The tours are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
The gothic castle of Loket in West Bohemia near Karlovy Vary is one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. It was built on a rocky point of land surrounded by the Ohře River on three sides. Emperor Charles IV used to stay there quite often. He was there for the first time at the age of 3, when he was imprisoned there. The castle exposition includes a vast porcelain collection and a collection of antique firearms. There is also a meteorite there; it fell on Loket in 1422. It is open daily until 4 p.m. in winter.
Hluboká nad Vltavou Chateau
The romantic South Bohemian chateau in Hluboká nad Vltavou is one of the most beautiful chateaus in the Czech Republic. The winter tours will take you through the private rooms of the last four generations of the Schwarzenberg family, including the hunter’s dining room, the servery or the flat of the last owner of the chateau, Dr. Adolf Schwarzenberg. There is a technical curiosity there: a personal and service lift. Hluboká is open daily in winter, except for Mondays (from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
The neo-gothic Sychrov Chateau near Liberec in North Bohemia used to be the residence of the French Rohan family. The chateau rooms are furnished with original furniture, paintings and other accessories; most rooms are notable for their rich wood-carving decoration. One of the best-known personalities who stayed at Sychrov was the famous Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. Many films have been made there. The chateau is open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in winter.
The South Moravian chateau in Lednice is one of the most visited sights in the Czech Republic. It used to be the representative summer house of the Lichtenstein family. The chateau is a part of the Lednice – Valtice Landscape Area, recorded in the UNESCO World Heritage list. In winter, it is open on the weekend ( from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), except in January. What can you see during the winter tours?
A château, a stud farm, where horses are bred at a UNESCO Heritage Site, an English park, forests with a wealth of potential for sports, a nature reserve with deer and mouflons, avenues of cherry trees and edible chestnuts and, last but not least, one of the world’s largest equestrian collections. You won’t find many other places with such an amazing range of attractions spread across just a few hectares! Tours are available from Thursday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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