Hluboká Castle, also known as the state Chateau of Hluboká, is one of the most beautiful castles not only in the Czech Republic but entire Europe. Its fairy tale-like architecture and magnificent English park attract over 200,000 visitors annually, and it's easy to see why.
The castle represents the enormous wealth of the largest mid-nineteenth-century landowners in Bohemia, the Schwarzenberg family. It houses a wide collection of historical furniture, paintings, porcelain, arms and Gothic art and artefacts.
After visiting many European castles, Hluboka is one of my favourites, together with German Neuschwanstein and Slovak Bojnice Castle.
Here's what you need to know before you visit.
Hluboká Castle was built in the 13th century by Bohemian king Přemysl Otakar II as a medieval royal castle on the hill above the Vltava River. Back then, it was known as Froburg Castle.
The beauty of its current appearance is the result of the Schwarzenberg family reconstruction in Neo-Gothic style inspired by the English Windsor Castle.
The family gained possession of the castle in the 17th century and turned it into an awe-inspiring place with 140 luxuriously decorated rooms, 11 white towers, bastions, and a gorgeous garden.
During the Second World War, the Schwarzenbergs fled the castle, fearing the Nazi invasion.
Consequently, the state took possession of the property. Hluboká Castle is now a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.
Hluboká Castle is open to visitors all year round, however, the opening hours vary depending on the season.
The best time to visit the castle is when the roses are in full bloom in late spring and early summer. In the high season (July & August), the castle is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
November - March | 10:00-16:00 (daily except Monday)
April, September, October | 9:00-16:30 (daily except Monday)
May, June | 9:00-17:00 (daily except Monday)
July, August | 9:00-17:00 (daily)
Hluboká Castle offers a wide range of tours depending on your interests. Although most tours are in Czech, other language tours are available too, including English, German, Spanish, French and Russian.
You can purchase a ticket on-site or online. If you'd like an English tour, checking the timings and booking your ticket online in advance might be a good idea. You can filter the booking website by the type of tour and language.
On Tour A, you'll see representative rooms, including the stunning morning salon and library.
Tour B brings you into the private apartments and hunting salon, while Tour C takes place in the castle kitchen.
Tour D takes you to suite rooms, including three apartments and several rooms on the second floor. Schwarzenberg family used these suites as guest rooms in the mid-nineteenth century.
Tour E shows off the tower and chapel.
Outside of the main tourist season, winter tours are available.
The availability of the tours changes throughout the year, so check the Hluboka Castle website for further details.
Although the castle interior, with its ornate wood carvings, crystal chandeliers and elegant furniture, is remarkable, the main wow factor comes from the exterior of Hluboká Castle.
So make sure to allocate some time to explore the castle's grounds with turrets, rose gardens, courtyards and terraces. The park is free to wander in. There is also an on-site cafe/restaurant.
While here, don't forget to check out Aleš South Bohemian Art Gallery. There are plenty of interesting exhibits of Czech and European art.
Thanks to its location near České Budějovice and Český Krumlov in South Bohemia, Hluboká nad Vltavou is a great place for a day trip from Prague.
You can get from Prague to Hluboká nad Vltavou either by train from the Hlavní nádraží train station or by bus from the Florenc station. The journey by public transport takes about 2.5 hours, unless you get one of the local connections that stops in every small town, which takes 3.5 hours.
Both train and bus rides require a transfer in České Budějovice.
The most economical option is taking a bus with RegioJet to České Budějovice. You can buy a bus ticket online. The bus has wifi, AC and a complimentary hot drink, making the trip super convenient.
I recommend staying overnight in the historic town České Budějovice, home of the original Budweiser Budvar beer. You can see Hluboka castle in the morning by hopping on a 10-minute train ride from České Budějovice. Alternatively, there's the Vltava cycling trail that runs from České Budějovice to Hluboká.
Otherwise, the quickest way to get to Hluboká Castle is by car, which takes about an hour and 45 minutes.
The main Hluboká castle car park is next to the Penny Market in Hluboká nad Vltavou on Nad parkovištěm Street. You'll need to walk about 900m from the parking lot to get to the castle via a steep hill, but it's well worth the effort.
You can also find other car parks on Masaryk Street, at the municipal swimming pool or next to the Sports and relaxation area.
Hluboká Castle is definitely one of the must-visit destinations in the Czech Republic but there is a lot more to explore in this region.
Once you've taken in the grandeur of Hluboká Castle, have a pint at Hluboka Pivovar and enjoy the authentic Czech atmosphere.
If you have more extra time, spend another day or two in picturesque Czech town Český Krumlov. Here you can stroll medieval streets along winding Vltava river, as well as numerous cafes and restaurants.
With so much to explore and experience at Hluboká Castle, in Český Krumlov and České Budějovice, South Bohemia is an unmissable destination if you want to get a real taste of the Czech Republic.
Last Updated 4 September 2023