Castles & Chateaus

by Female Abroad

Various Castles and Chateaus that are worth a day trip from Prague.

Karlstejn Castle

If you are wanting to see one of the best castles in the Czech Republic then karlstejn is it. This strong hold was the location to keep many relics (like the Crown Jewels) and other royal treasures. King Charles IV actually had a hand in the decoration and completion of the Imperial Residence which was rare for a King. This castle is one of roughly 90 castles found on the Burgenstrasse (Castle Trail) that runs from Prague to Mannheim, Germany.

Driving Distance from Prague: 1 hour Taking the

Train from Prague: 40 minutes + 2km walk (take a train from Main Railway Station directly)

Reasons to Visit

The Chapel of the Holy Cross; where the crown jewels were stored

Great Tower; walls covered in semi-precious stones

Venetian Glass Lentoids; almost like having a starry night inside

Wine Harvest Festival (last weekend of Sept)

Konopiste Chateau

Originally a 13th century Gothic fortress it was rebuilt in 1887 as a chateau that was bought by Franz Ferdinand who then expanded onto it with running water, electricity, flushing toilets, and an elevator. Him and his wife lived there until he was assassinated in 1914, triggering WWI.

Driving Distance from Prague: 30 minutes

Taking the Train from Prague: 40 minutes + walk 2.5km (take a train from Main Railway Station to Benesov and walk to the castle or take a bus; see below)

Taking the Bus from Prague: 45 minutes (directly from Florenc Bus Station to Benesov and then walk or catch the Benesov to Konopiste bus and get off on the second stop or take the eco-train from the Czech Railways station)

Reasons to Visit

See what life was like before WWI

Visit Museum of St. George to see the remaining art collection of Franz

Tour the Rose Garden & greenhouses for plants that are not grown in Europe

Cesky Sternberk Castle

The Pearl of Posazvi is still owned by the same family that built it and it is open for the public to tour.

Driving Distance from Prague: 40 minutes

Taking the Train from Prague: 2.25 hrs (take a train from Main Railway Station to Cercany and then onto Cesky Sternberk)

Taking the Bus from Prague: about 2 hours (directly from Roztyly or transfer to a bus in Benesov or Vlasim and then onto Cesky Sternberk)

Reasons to Visit

Learn about the oldest still existing Czech family

See how life has changed over the years in different historical periods while exploring the castle

See a variety of hunting trophies and 545 etchings from the time of the Thirty Years War

Falconry demonstrations; in 2010 this was listed on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage

There is also the former monastery in Sazava (12 km away) that was found in 1032 and closed in the 18th century that is worth a visit as it contains the only Madonna in the world disciplining young Jesus.

Krivoklat Castle

This castle was a favorite of many Czech Kings due to the Protected Landscape Area of Krivoklatsko that surrounds it as here they could hunt lots of game. Besides being a fun getaway for the Kings it is also where a lot of political talks and diplomatic negotiations took place.

Driving Distance from Prague: 1 hour

Taking the Train from Prague: 1.5 hrs (take a train from Main Railway Station to Beroun and then onto Krivoklat but request to be let off the train at Krivoklat Castle as trains only stop upon request)

Reasons to Visit

Late Gothic chapel

Royal Hall; second largest in the Czech Republic

Library; over 52,000 books

Torture Chamber

Great Tower; mouth dropping view

Traditional markets; first week of August it hosts the woodcarvers festival and other events throughout the year

Nelahozeves Chateau

Considered one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in the Czech this home also contains a museum and gallery as well as the many frescoes located round the home.

Driving Distance from Prague: 40 minutes

Taking the Train from Prague: 1 hr (take a train from Masarykovo Rail Station (metro Namesti Republiky) to Nelahozeves)

Reasons to Visit

Gallery; exhibition called "Private Spaces: A Noble Family at Home" which shows what life was like for the Lobkowicz family and how they played a major role in the history of Central Europe for over 600 years

Art Gallery; the largest Czech collection of Spanish paintings from the late 16 - early 17 century

Music Festival; Dvorak's Musical Nelahozeves

Nearby is the Veltrusy Cheateau in a very well landscaped park

Melnik Chateau

Home to 23 Czech Queens & Princesses this cheatu is found at the confluence of the Labe (Elbe) and Vltave rivers. This Renaissance Chateau is owned by the Lobowicz family who is featured at Nelahozeves Chateau.

Driving Distance from Prague: 40 minutes

Taking the Train from Prague: 1 hr (take a train from Main Railway Station to Melnik with a transfer in Vsetaty)

Reasons to Visit

Terrace; views of the rivers and Rip Mountain

Try the local wine; Ludmila in the cellar

Great Hall; outstanding collection of European maps from the 17th century

Near the Chateau is the crypt of Church of Sts. Peter & Paul which is the largest ossuary in the Czech Republic with the bones of over 15,000 people. In the centre of town there is also the Melnik Regional Museum which used to be a Capuchin monastery which focuses on winemaking in the area (you get to taste the wine at the end).