Castles, Chateaux, Historic towns...
1. Karlštejn Castle /a half day trip by car, 18 miles SW of Prague/
Most popular destination in the Czech Republic after Prague, this tour is a easy half day trip
for thouse interested in getting out of the city. The castle was founded by Charles IV as a country
retreat, a secure treasury for the imperial crown jewels and a symbolic expression of his divine
right to rule the Holy Roman Empire. It stands on a limestone crag above the River Berounka.
As you approach the castle, little can prepare you for your first view: a spectacular, Disney - like
castle perched high on a hill surrounded by lush forest and vineyards and meadows. A venerable legend
says, that, women were not allowed to stay in the castle overnight. On the way up to the castle you
will be surprised with a number of bright choice of souvenir stands selling Bohemian Crystal, hand made
craftmanships, marionettes etc. As cars are not allowed to accces to the castle, there is the option
of using a horsedrawn carriage or a taxi to the hilltop of the castle.
2. Křivoklát Castle /a half day trip by car, 27 miles W of Prague/
Less crowded, and much less touristy than its neigbour upstream at Karlštejn. Křivoklát is
the perfekt destination for thouse of you, who like see romantic czech countryside and relaxing
drive through the Protected Landscape Area Křivoklátsko covered by woods and meadows. Křivoklát was
originally a hunting lodge beloing to the early Přemyslid princes and the seat of the royal master
of hounds. Charles IV spent some of his childhood here.
The royal palace is on the eastern side of the roughly triangular castle and is dominated by the
Great Tower, 42 m (130 ft) high. On the first floor thre is a vaulted Gothic hall, reminiccent
of the Vladislav (jousting) Hall in the Royal Palace at the Prague Castle. Also of interest is the
chapel, which has a fine Gothic altar carving. On the second floor is a beatifull castle library
with many family portraits and nice funiture. The Habsburgs converted castle into a state prison, in
the castle prison called dungeon is a grim assortment of instruments of torture. This tour give you
a pleasant combination of relax and knowledge.
3. Chateau Konopiště /a half day trip by car, 30 miles S of Prague/
From our own long experience this tour is one of most popular half day trips outside of Prague.
The Konopiště Chateau is really one of most beautiful and graceful Czech Chateaux surrounded by lovely
preserve and lake. Though it dates back to the 13th century, this moated castle is essentially a late
19th century creation. In 1887 Konopiště was bought by Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who later became heir
to the Austrian throne.It was his assassination in 1914 in Sarajevo that triggered of World War I.
His Czech wife, Countess Sophie Chotek was assassinated with him. To escape the Habsburg court’s
snobbish disapproval of his wife, Ferdinand spent much time at Konopiště. He amassed fine collection
of arms, armour and Meissen porcelain, all on display in richly furnished interiors. The main hall is
a testament to the Archduke, who reportedly bagged some 300 000 animals - that translates to an
incredible 20 animals a day, every day for 40 years! Only 1% of this total hunting collection is on
display at the castle, and it still ranks as one of the largest hunting collections in Europe. Most
interesting is the third route takes you through Ferdinand’s private rooms where you can learn a story
of tragedy of one family... On the way to Prague we drive across a very romantic countryside and you
will see a valey of Vltava river.
4. Kutná Hora - UNESCO listed town /duration cca 5 houres by car -
45 miles E from Prague/
On this trip you will see one of our most picturesque historical towns that graw fantastically
from the silver deposits beneath. The town originated as a small mining community in the second
half of the 13th century. When rich deposits of silver were discovered, the king took over the
licensing of the mines and Kutná Hora became second most important town in Bohemia. In 14th century
5 to 6 tonnes of pure silver were extracted here yeach year making the king the richest ruler in Central
Europe. The Prague groschen, a silver coin that circulated all over Europe, was minted here in Italien
Court, strongly fortified was also the ruler’s seat when he visited the town. The town’s main attraction
is the enormous St. Barbara’s Cathedral, begun in 1380 by the workshop of Peter Parler, also the
architekt of St Vitus‘s Cathedral. Cathedral of St Barbara with its three massive and tentshaped spires
rising above a forest of flying buttresses, is a wonderfull example of Bohemian Gothic. Walking through
the little streets of this town you will feel like as you stopped in time, in time of its "silver elation"...
Howewer, a visit to Kutná Hora isn’t complete withhout a short stop to Kostnice, "the Bone Church".
The church’s interior is decorated by bones came from victims of 14th - century plague and 15 - century
Hussite wars, here you will see crosses of bone, columns of bone, chalices of bone, and even a chandelier,
which incorporate every bone in the human body.
Also, a guided visit to the top floor (30 m) of the original 500 m deep mine from 15th century is
worth the trip.
5. Český Krumlov - UNESCO listed town /whole day trip - 117 miles
S of Prague/
If you will have time on your visit to the Czech Republic for one excursion only, seriously consider
making Český Krumlov. One of Bohemia’s prettiest towns, Krumlov is a living gallery of elegant
Renaissance - era buildings housing charming cafes, pubs, restaurants, shops, and galleries.
This town is becoming more and more goal of tens of thousands of visitors from home and abroad.
This is no wonder since it has preserved the character of an ancient mediaeval town once seen, is
never forgotten. And it is its uniqueness which caused it to be declared a protected urban reservation
in 1963. Český Krumlov importance as an exceptional historical monument was emphasided also in 1992
when the town was entered in the UNESCO register of monuments of world signifikance, deserving
extraordinary care, attention and support. The name was derived from the old German "krumben ouwe"
meaning a place on a crooked - shaped meadow. From its foundation in the mid 13th century until 1302
Český Krumlov, with its castle was held by the noble family of Vítkovci; thereafterit passed to
Rožmberks, under whom the old fortified castle became a magnificent Renaissance palace; from 1622 it
belonged to a German noble family, the Eggenbergs; and after their line became extinct it passed to the
Princess Schwarzenberg. The main dominant of this town, Chateaux Český Krumlov with some 300 rooms laid
out round four courtyards, is lavishly furnished with furniture, tapestries pictures and porcelain.
During our tour we will walk across the whole historical centre and we’re sure, after this trip the
romantic beauty of this small town in South Bohemia will keep in your mind still long time after your
departure... On the journey back to Prague is possible stop in České Budějovice, known as a Budweis
under the Habsburgs and famous home town of the original Budweiser brand beer. We can have a look on
charming renaissance square, the square contains the ornate Fountain of Sampson, an 18 - century water
well that was once the town’s principal water supply. In spite the drive to Prague takes 2,5 houres,
you will see many nice villages and lovely countryside of Southern Bohemia.
/9 houres trip, we can arrange as a two days trip two/