There is no shortage of beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In fact, the Czech Republic has around 2000 castles & chateaus, so there is plenty of history and beauty to explore.
Every Czech castle tells a story and offers a glimpse into the history and culture of this country. When I first visited the Czech Republic, I was impressed by their number, their state of preservation and the stunning surrounding landscape.
You can see fascinating historical structures, climb towers with sweeping views, wander in perfectly groomed gardens and more.
But with so many castles on offer and only a limited time, it might be confusing to know where to start or which Czech castles to prioritize.
In this guide, I've compiled a selection of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic with local tips.
Just one thing to keep in mind is that many of them are closed in winter, with a few exceptions (outlined below).
Location: 145 km south of Prague
Surroundings: The Aleš South Bohemian Gallery, České Budějovice, Český Krumlov, Holašovice village - UNESCO monument
Open to visitors: year-round (only select days in shoulder season)
I'll start this list with my favourite and perhaps one of the most famous Czech castles: Hluboká Castle. It's in Hluboká nad Vltavou in the Southern Bohemia region, about 1h and 45 mins by car from Prague.
This dreamy white chateau of Hluboka with 11 towers is surrounded by a large, Baroque-style park. The natural park is a masterpiece in itself, whose design was inspired by the Versailles Gardens in France. It features long alleys of trees, courtyards, statues and large fishponds.
The Hluboka Castle grounds also include a former riding school converted into Ales South Bohemian Gallery, showcasing a permanent art exhibition and seasonal displays.
The interior is equally as impressive. The castle has 140 luxuriously furnished rooms, rare woodcarvings, and massive art collections. The library is one of the largest spaces in the chateau. It contains twelve thousand volumes of books in several languages, including a priceless first edition of Diderot's Encyclopedia.
Tip: After your castle visit, enjoy some Czech craft beer at Pivovar Hluboka, a local brewery.
Location: 39 km south-west of Prague
Surroundings: the extensive cavern complex known as Konepruské jeskyne (Koneprusy caves), the largest in Bohemia, Quarry Great America hike
Special Events: annual medieval tournament and royal procession, Karlstejn Vintage - the medieval-themed wine harvest festival
Open to visitors: year-round (only select days in shoulder season)
One of the best-preserved Gothic-style castles in the Czech Republic is Karlštejn Castle, located in the beautiful Český Kras Nature Reserve on the banks of the River Berounka. It's an impressive monument, surrounded on three sides by high forested slopes with beautiful natural scenery.
The castle was built in 1348 by the Roman emperor and Bohemian king Charles IV. to protect the Bohemian crown jewels and holy relics.
Inside, you'll find the striking Chapel of the Holy Cross, covered in glass disks to create the illusion of a starry sky.
Visiting the castle will give you a better understanding of life in medieval times and the development of historic trades.
Every year at the end of May, the costumed Royal Procession sets off with the coronation jewels from Prague to Karlštejn Castle. You can join the procession generally starting on Friday and dress up in a historical costume. This historical celebration concludes with a tournament for the title of Bohemian Knight and other festivities.
Tip: If you don't wish to climb the steep hill leading to the castle, take a horse-drawn carriage from the village below the castle.
Tip 2: To make the most of your trip, take a guided tour which includes transportation from Prague, a visit to the Karlstejn castle and Koneprusy caves.
Location: 222 km from Prague
Surroundings: Javoricko caves, hiking in nature reserve Špraněk, Olomouc
Open to Visitors: from March to November
Bouzov is a perfect example of a medieval castle with a 64m observation tower. From the top, you can enjoy the scenic view of the beautiful forests of the Drahanské Highlands and the whole castle area.
It has a romantic medieval atmosphere and many movies and fairy tales were filmed here.
The rooms inside the castle are also stunning and well-preserved. You can admire the furnishings in the chambers, the secret passageways and the arms of the Teutonic Knights who lived here in the past.
Tip: Take a guided tour from Prague of Bouzov castle combined with Javoricko caves. A Czech guide showing you around can be super helpful, considering all the signs are only in Czech, including the tours.
Location: 253 km from Prague
Surroundings: South Moravian wineries, Mikulov castle, Valtice castle
Special events: regular musical concerts, Feste Teatrale Baroque Festival at Valtice, annual balls
Open to visitors: February to mid-December
Lednice Castle is part of a UNESCO-protected area of Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape. This picturesque castle underwent many renovations during the six centuries of Liechtenstein family ownership, starting in 1249 and ending with the Second World War.
The Liechtensteins used the castle as a summer residence for gatherings, celebrations and balls for the European aristocratic families.
Today Lednice Castle is a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic that stands as a stunning example of the neo-gothic style.
You can easily spend all day just wandering around the castle. It has a gorgeous French garden with a unique greenhouse, many uncommon trees, ponds, and a range of interesting small structures, such as a 60m Turkish minaret, a lookout point called the Temple of the Sun God Apollo and an artificial ruin called John's Castle.
I'd recommend a guided tour of the representative rooms to get a peek inside the castle.
Unfortunately, the guided tours are only available in Czech. Nonetheless, you can still admire the amazing Gothic-revival-style interior. Plus, you'll get a booklet in English that you can read along if you want to learn more about the history of this place.
Tip: Bring some Czech crowns for the parking at the castle.
Location: 170 km from Prague
Surroundings: Hluboká castle, Monastery Zlatá Koruna, the historical center of Český Krumlov town, Treetop Walkway in Lipno nad Vltavou, Rožmberk Castle
Special events: Baroque nights, International Music Festival
Open to visitors: Český Krumlov Castle Museum and Tower is open year-round, castle interiors are closed to visitors from November to March
One of the most outstanding castles in the Czech Republic is in Cesky Krumlov.
This enormous castle complex is the second largest castle in the Czech Republic, right after Prague Castle. It dates back to 1253 and was designed in the Baroque and Renaissance styles.
Its prime days were in the 16th century under the ownership of Vilém of Rožmberk (Rosenberg), who rebuilt the castle into a beautiful residential chateau. He took inspiration from the spirit of Renaissance Italy.
The highlight of the guided tour is the famous Masquerade Hall, featuring paintings, mirrors and optical illusions. It served as a vibrant carnival hall for lavish balls with Rococo ladies, their gallant gentlemen and servants.
Another notable structure is the Baroque castle theater. It has a beautiful historical interior and a six-story Renaissance tower. From the top, you can enjoy an unbeatable view of Cesky Krumlov, one of Europe's most beautiful historical towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The castle gardens are also worth exploring with a stone fountain from the 18th century.
After your castle visit, you can stroll the picturesque streets of Cesky Krumlov along the winding Vltava River.
Tip: Enjoy a bite to eat at Drunken Coffee Cafe, with beautiful outdoor seating overlooking the river. After your lunch/coffee break, you can hop on a wooden raft Vltava River cruise.
Tip 2: Take a step back in time at Museum Fotoatelier Seidel and have a vintage photo shooting.
Location: 81 km from Prague
Surroundings: boat ride to Zvikov Castle, open-air museum Vysoký Chlumec, Písek Stone Bridge
Open to Visitors: from April to October (only limited days in shoulder season)
Orlik castle was built in the 13th century overlooking the Vltava River. Initially, it was a wooden structure but later remodeled into a Gothic stone castle.
It's enveloped by the Vltava River and a large English-style park from the 19th century, which add to the special charm of the castle.
It's located only about 40 minutes by car south of Prague, so it's a great location for a pleasant day trip.
The current owner is Karel Schwarzenberg, a famous Czech politician. He was a Czech candidate for president, senator and minister of foreign affairs.
Inside the castle, you'll find a fine collection of furniture, weapons, military uniforms and other historical artifacts.
Tip: Take a scenic boat ride from Orlík Castle to Zvikov Castle. It takes 45 minutes one way.
Surroundings: Charles Bridge, Golden Lane, Waldstein Garden, Kampa Park, St Vitus Cathedral, Lennon Wall, Old Town
Open to Visitors: year-round
This list of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic wouldn't be complete without an iconic Prague castle.
Prague Castle has been an important state symbol of the Czech Republic for over a thousand years. Even today, it's the seat of the head of state. It's also home to the Lobkowicz Collection, the oldest and largest privately owned art collection in the Czech Republic.
Whether you enter Prague Castle through the monumental ceremonial gates, just as kings and emperors did back in the day or through the more romantic Old Castle Steps along the castle's terraced South Gardens, you will be impressed by the castle's size and beauty.
The castle complex is a textbook of architecture, with monuments in every style, including the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral rising above the walls. Every stone tells a story, from the Romanesque Old Royal Palace and the Renaissance Queen Anne's Summer Palace (Belvedere) to the Baroque Picture Gallery and the Classicist ceremonial halls. You can also take a peek at the high-tech greenhouse in the gardens designed by Czech world-renowned architect Eva Jiřičná.
Visiting Prague Castle is like watching a 3D film about Czech history and national identity. Needless to say, if you're visiting Prague, exploring Prague Castle is a must.
Fun fact: Prague Castle has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest ancient castle in the world.
Tip: Enjoy a special Prague Castle tour at night and learn about alchemy and its mysteries.
Tip 2: Recharge your batteries with a Czech beer spa at Chateaux Prague, only steps away from Prague Castle.
Location: 187 km from Prague
Surroundings: Mařenčino loubí scenic viewpoint, swimming pool Lysice, state chateau Lysice
Open to Visitors: from April to October
Pernstejn is a castle with splendid architecture built on a rock above deep green forests.
Its name is linked to a famous noble family Pernstejn. The castle has preserved its Gothic-Renaissance appearance, unchanged since its completion in the 16th century.
Because of its location on a high rock, the castle had a reputation for being unconquerable.
If you take a guided tour, you can marvel at spiral staircases and narrow corridors with many authentic medieval inscriptions on castle walls. They're composed of astrological signs and various mysterious symbols.
Keep an eye on a centuries-old yew tree close to the castle's entrance gate. Legend has it that the tree grew from a stick that St Methodius, one of the missionaries, put into the ground. The castle would exist as long as the yew tree remained green.
Another legend says that the ghost of the White Lady of Pernstejn used to appear in the dark passages of the wall system. If she came out in a black garment, it was a sign of bad things to come.
Tip: The best scenic viewpoint for the castle is at Mařenčino loubí lookout.
Location: 163 km from Prague
Surroundings: Portmoneum, Vachalova Street, Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross
Open to visitors: from March to November
This arcaded chateau from the 16th century is one of the most important Renaissance castles in the Czech Republic.
The chateau also has a French garden, an English park and many outbuildings, including its own brewery.
The guided tours include the representative rooms, the Baroque chateau theatre and the aristocratic residential rooms, with the possibility of gazing out from the 55-meter tower and exploring the chateau cellars.
Tip: The town Litomyšl is birthplace to a famous Czech composer Bedřich Smetana.
Every year, an International opera festival Smetana's Litomyšl runs for about 25 days from the end of June till the beginning of July.
Location: 81 km
Surroundings: Trosky Castle, Plakánek National Park, Humprecht Castle
Open to visitors:from April to October
Kost Castle sits in a charming landscape of Bohemian Paradise with lush forests and sandstone rocks. It was built in the 14th century.
The castle is surrounded by ponds whose dams were released in times of danger, turning it into a water fortress.
The legend says that during the religious Hussite wars of the 15th century, the castle held strong against the seemingly invincible Hussite leader Jan Žižka. It is said that he didn't manage to conquer the castle because its walls were as hard as bone (bone is kost in Czech), hence the name Kost Castle.
In the cellar, the castle hides an authentic medieval torture chamber with illustrative examples of interrogation methods that served as a tool for getting a confession.
Tip: A 10 km trail leads from Kost Castle through the picturesque Plakánek Valley to Humprecht Castle near Sobotka.
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Last Updated 26 January 2024