Beautiful castles to visit in Central Bohemia, Czech Republic

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Rolling hills, rushing rivers, and towering castles – these are just a few ways to describe the stunning area in the Czech Republic called Central Bohemia. Central Bohemia is situated in the middle of the country and is known for its vast countryside and tranquil rivers. This stunning area is also known especially for its castles. These magnificent structures not only have amazing views, but are packed with history. If you’re interested in learning more about some of the best castles to visit while in Central Bohemia, you’ll find some helpful information below about where the top stops are.

The Best Castles to Visit in Central Bohemia

Mělník Chateau

Mělník Chateau - Castles to visit in Central Bohemia
Mělník Chateau

The Mělník Chateau sits high on a hill looking down over a nearby river. Its charming Renaissance architecture will surely catch your eye as you walk around the town below it. The castle has a rich history as it was once home to over 23 Czech princesses and queens. You can walk around inside it with one of the many tours available throughout the day that will tell you more about this castle’s interesting history. The tour will also take you through hallways, bedrooms, libraries, and many other important sections of the castle so you can learn more about it. There’s even a concert hall inside that features hand-carved wooden panels as well as a trophy display that shows the collection of racing trophies of former Czech politician and racing aficionado George Christian Lobkowicz.

During a tour, you’ll also be able to see an art collection inside that includes many historic paintings. You can gaze at Baroque paintings by Karel Skreta as well as the famous painting Christ and Veronica by Paolo Veronese.

This castle is also well-known for its love of wine. Below the castle are three floors of wine cellars which store various types of wine. You can try the castle’s wine selection during a special tasting or stop by during one of the castle’s many festivals that celebrate this divine drink. If you opt for a wine tasting tour, you’ll be able to explore these cellars yourself and discover how the castle puts its own unique touch on this drink by sipping on some Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Lobkowicz’s St. Laurent to name a few.

wine tasting in Mělník Chateau

How to get to the Mělník Chateau from Prague

By bus: You can take a bus from the Nádraží Holešovice and Ládví stations in Prague that will take you to the Mělník Bus Station. The journey takes around 40 minutes depending on traffic. The Mělník Chateau is 1.5 km away from the bus station (2o minutes on foot).

By train: You can take the train from Prague. It needs around 1 hour to reach the Mělník Train Station. The Mělník Chateau is 1.6 km away from the bus station (25 minutes on foot).

By car: You can rent a car and drive to Mělník which is only 30 km away from Prague.

For more information about the castle and the tours offered check here.

Please note that photography is not allowed inside the castle.

Křivoklát Castle

Křivoklát Castle - castles to visit in Central Bohemia

Křivoklát Castle hides deep within a forest, but you can see the top of it peeking through the treetops beckoning you to come and explore it. First created in the 12th century as a luxurious hunting lodge, it was eventually turned into a castle so it could be the home to many Czech kings. Because of this, it’s considered to be one of the most important castles in the Czech Republic.

When you walk around inside, you’ll be able to see many historic artifacts, like hunting tools, Gothic paintings, and even some unique books in its library. In fact, the castle boasts over 52,000 books!

Křivoklát Castle also offers tours. If you decide to take one, your guide will probably point out the many important events that once took place in its walls, like feasts and world-changing political talks. You’ll also be able to see the castle’s Gothic chapel as well as its Royal Hall which is known for its stunning star vaulting designs. Besides its beautiful architecture, the hall is also known for being the second largest hall in all of the Czech Republic.

After walking around these cheerful areas, you can stop by some of the darker spots in the castle. The castle suffered many problems throughout the years, such as being destroyed by fire a few times. Because of all these misfortunes, the significance of this castle began to dwindle which caused it to be turned into a prison. During a tour you can explore some of these eerie areas, like the former torture chamber.

Besides an interesting history and stunning architecture, the castle is also home to many festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular being a woodcarving event that takes place on the castle’s grounds during the summer. The festival will allow you to see woodworkers hard at work creating traditional Czech art pieces you can buy.

Křivoklát Castle - castles to visit in the Czech Republic

How to get to the Křivoklát Castle from Prague

By car: Located just 50 km away from Prague, the easiest way to reach Křivoklát Castle is by car.

By train: You can get a train from Prague to the town of Beroun (40 minutes). In Beroun you need to change the train to Křivoklát. The castle is only 10 minutes on foot away from the train station.

For more information about the castle and the tours offered you can check here.

Karlštejn Castle

Karlštejn Castle - castles to visit in Central Bohemia Czech Republic
Karlštejn Castle

This majestic castle was built in 1348 and towers on a hillside over the nearby town. The castle is packed with many things to do and see which makes it one stop you’ll definitely want to consider making. Inside the castle, you’ll be able to see the rooms where Charles IV once roamed and kept his royal treasures, like the crown jewels. The castle basically served as a fortress to help protect the many jewels and other priceless items hidden away inside the castle from theft.

Since it was built, the castle has gone through many renovations which is evident in its mixture of architecture. One can tour the castle to see this unique blend as well as other rooms in this amazingstructure. You can stop by rooms like the Chapel of the Holy Cross which is one of the largest in the world. You can even stop by the castle’s portrait gallery which is home to paintings of the kings of Bohemia.

You’ll find that the castle offers many different tours that will take you around to various areas in it. If you’re looking to get panoramic views of the castle’s grounds you can take The Great Tower View tour where you can climb up its steep staircase to get to the highest point in the castle. There’s also a tour of its famous chapel where you will be guided through a brief history of the room and learn more about the stunning artwork inside it. Keep in mind that the tours require tickets so it’s best to buy them ahead of time before your visit.

How to get to the Karlštejn Castle from Prague

By car: Karlštejn Castle is just 40 km away from Prague.

By train: You can take a train from Prague or the town of Beroun to Karlštejn and then walk to the castle.

For more information about the castle and the tours offered you can check here.

Český Šternberk Castle

Šternberk Castle - best castles in central Bohemia
Šternberk Castle

The Český Šternberk Castle sits high on a hill overlooking the peaceful Sázava River. It is believed to have been built around 1241 and features Gothic architecture. You can sign up to take a tour of this castle so you can see its impressive rooms, like the Knights’ Hall or the Hunters’ Hall which houses many hunting accessories. The castle is also home to many historical pieces of furniture which will help you to better imagine what living in the castle was once like. There’s even a cozy library packed with books and a window inside it that looks down over the grounds. You can walk around the 15 rooms open to the public to learn more about the castle’s intriguing history.

In addition to these rooms, the castle is also well-known for its 545 etchings from the Thirty Years’ War which are some of the largest in Europe.There are even frescos adorning the ceilings of the castle, many of which are sure to take your breath away. When you’re done touring the structure, you can take a stroll around the grounds where you can see the magnificent scope of the castle for yourself as well as view some native plants. You might even find a few statues peeking out from the surrounding trees and bushes.

The castle also is home to a special falconry event during the summer which will take you back in time to the castle’s days as an important hunting spot. You can stop by the event to watch falcons take off through the sky to demonstrate their importance as a hunting bird. In fact, the falconry events are so historic that they are part of the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage Sites.

the view from Šternberk Castle - central Bohemia
the view from Šternberk Castle

If you’re interested in taking a tour, keep in mind you need to buy a ticket. Prices vary depending on your age and the castle offers tours in many different languages, such as Czech, Russian, German, English, and French. There are even night tours you can sign up for which will provide a distinctive ambiance you can’t get during a daytime tour.

How to get to the Šternberk Castle from Prague

By car: The easiest way to get to Šternberk Castle from Prague is by car. It is a short 45 minute drive from there (50 km).

By train: You have to take the train from Prague either towards Benešov or towards České Budějovice. You then have to change trains in Čerčany. From there you take the train towards Světlá nad Sázavou and get off at the Český Šternberk stop. From there the castle is 10 minutes on foot.  The total journey time is around 2 hours.

By bus: The bus departs from the Praha–Roztyly bus station (Metro C – red line). From there you can take either the line Praha – Benešov – Český Šternberk or Praha – Vlašim – Český Šternberk . From the Český Šternberk bus stop it takes only 5 minutes on foot to get to the castle. The total journey time is again around 2 hours.

For more information about the castle and the tours offered you can check here.

While these castles are some of the main highlights in the area, Central Bohemia is home to many other ones as well. There’s Kost Castle, which is one of the best preserved Gothic castles in the country and is known for its fishponds. If you’re interested in art, you might want to check out Orlík Castle which boasts an incredible collection of historical paintings. If you’re looking for some ruins to explore, you can explore Rabí Castle which is one of the largest castle ruins in Central Bohemia. It also has a pretty spectacular panoramic view which will allow you to gaze out over most of the Central Bohemian area.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable trip to take, definitely consider venturing to Central Bohemia. It’s rich in culture and has beautiful landscapes dotted with rivers, vineyards, and castles. It surely will be a place you’ll never forget.

You might be interested in: What to do in Prague in 3 days.

Travel Passionate was a guest of Czech Tourism and the Central Bohemia Tourism Board on this trip, but as always opinions are my own.

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