The Czech Republic is known for its amazing gothic fairy-tale castles, but which ones are the best, and how can you choose between them when deciding which ones to visit?
We’ve put together our list of the top five castles to visit in the Czech Republic, sorted by region, to make your research on your next trip to this beautiful country as simple as possible.
Prague and surrounding areas
Prague Castle dates from the 9th century, and now serves as the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. It has served as a seat of power for many important historical figures, including the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and many presidents. It is also the home to the Bohemia Crown Jewels, which are kept inside a secret hidden room.
Prague Castle has made the Guinness World Book of Records as the largest ancient castle in the world, with the complex covering an area of over 70,000 square meters. So there’s lots to explore here! It receives over 1.8 million visitors annually, who flock to the castle to see its exquisite Gothic and Romanesque architecture, its beautiful walled gardens, its eerie monastery, and the several museums situated inside.
2. Křivoklát Castle
Křivoklát is slightly to the west of the city of Prague, originating from the 12th century and considered to be one of the most important castles in the country for Czech royalty. Křivoklát is an amazing castle destination for those who are fascinated with how people of power from the past lived during their lifetimes.
At Křivoklát, you can tour the Gothic Castle Chapel, the Royal Knight’s Hall (which is home to a stunning collection of Renaissance art), a library with 52,000 volumes of ancient books, the Great Tower (complete with hunting tool collections), and the Huderka Tower with a black kitchen and gallery where you can look out onto the surrounding countryside.
You can visit the stunning historical city of Prague, its beautiful surrounding countryside, and the magnificent castles within it on any of these Albatross Tours:
Kačina is a stunning palace that is divided into three parts: the central building with exquisite halls, which was once home to the families who lived there; the lower wings where the guest rooms are located; and the pavilions housing the chapel, theatre and stunning library.
The palace is surrounded by a vast amount of parkland and countryside that was planned by the famous Viennese botanist Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin – so this location is a must for any gardening and horticulture enthusiasts!
The Špilberk Castle sits at the top of a beautiful hillside in the Brno region of the Czech Republic. It originates from the 13th century, having been completed by King Ottokar II of Bohemia.
One for the history buffs among us, the castle was transformed into a huge baroque citadel considered to be the harshest prison in the Austro-Hungarian empire, and then was turned into barracks by the German Army and Gestapo during World War II. It was redeveloped in the spirit of romantic historicism that was favoured by the Third Reich. As such, as it is a must-visit for those interested in its deep, rich and dark history.
The Český Krumlov Castle is located in the city of the same name in the Czech Republic. It was built by the Witigonen family in 1240, and is currently one of the largest tourist attractions in the Czech Republic.
The entire area surrounding the castle (as well as the castle itself) has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, meaning it is a place of utmost beauty and cultural importance. The castle houses a Baroque Theatre containing the original theatre building, auditorium, orchestra pit, stage, stage curtains and costumes.
So, if you love the theatre and want to see one of the Czech Republic’s most famous and beautiful castles, then Český Krumlov is for you!
It can be visited as part of either of this Albatross Tour: