10 Undiscovered Castles and Châteaux

10 Undiscovered Castles and Châteaux

Tips on where to go when you want to avoid the crowds

Prague Castle and Karlštejn are beautiful buildings. No doubt about that. But if you have visited the Czech Republic, it is quite likely that you have already seen them. Or, maybe you are planning your trip but prefer a bit more privacy on your travels and do not want to go where everyone else is going. So, the question is: Where next? We would like to introduce ten castles and châteaux in the Czech Republic that tourists have not yet discovered. Some are beautiful, others have not been finished in centuries, while others are at unique locations. Let’s be inspired by undiscovered destinations and set off to explore across the Czech Republic.

Jemniště Château

The Baroque château in Jemniště can be found south of Prague in Central Bohemia. It takes less than an hour to get there by car. The château exposition presents nine halls and St. Joseph’s Chapel to visitors. The guide will take you to interiors furnished with period furniture and collections of the noble Sternberg family who, by the way, still live there. There are also night tours organised at the château from time to time. Enjoy the château café while waiting for your tour to start, or take advantage of the opportunity to be accommodated in one of the beautiful suites. The specialty of Jemniště Château is that you can order a picnic basket, at least two days in advance, and they will prepare everything so that you can enjoy a true picnic on the château garden lawn with your friends or loved one!

Mnichovo Hradiště Château

The unique Baroque château in Mnichovo Hradiště is situated on the boundary of Central and North Bohemia. You can’t miss the town when you drive from Prague north to the Jizerské Mountains. The tour of the château will take you to the château theatre with original Baroque sceneries, to the library that was managed by the famous seducer Giacomo Casanova, or to the tomb of the famous warrior in the Thirty Years’ War, Albrecht von Wallenstein. The château interiors hail from the 18th century and you can soak in the atmosphere of past times there. The château picture gallery is very valuable from a historical art aspect. If you decide to visit, it is better to purchase your tickets on-line via the château’s website.

Jezeří Château

Jezeří Château was once known as the pearl of the Krušné Mountains. Is it still true today? That is up to you to decide. The château had a lot of different owners during the turbulent 20th century, who mostly left it to dilapidate. The open lignite mine that begins almost at the entrance to the château was the final nail in its coffin. Jezeří Château is the first Czech site that is registered on the list of the seven most endangered sites in Europe, published by Europa Nostra, a cultural heritage organisation. Let’s hope that the worst of times for the château are over and that it will only flourish from hereon. There are regular tours of the château interior. Come check out the château, as well as the mine. It is an interesting combination that you will not find anywhere else. And be warned! The mine will be gone in about thirty years, and the château will then tower above one of the largest lakes in the Czech Republic. So, hurry up!

Grabštejn Castle

Grabštejn Castle, soaring high on a rocky hill near Liberec in North Bohemia, has a long history. It was first mentioned in sources from the 13th century. In the end, it was rebuilt into a beautiful Renaissance estate and you can still see it like that today. The castle offers two interesting tours. And when to visit? At the beginning of July! It is when the traditional summer Grabštejn garden festival takes place. You can look forward to a good helping of music, dance, fencing, the mischief of the local hangman, tour guides in costumes, demonstrations of firearms and other weapons, tasty refreshments in the castle taproom, and craftsmen and stall-keepers who offer traditional meals and other products and souvenirs. Come enjoy history with all your senses!

Zákupy Château

Zákupy Château in the Bohemian Paradise offers unique tour of imperial drawing room collections from the mid-19th century. You will see wallpapers, chandeliers, cornices, curtains and furniture with original upholstery, all of which is almost 200 years old. But what makes this palace interesting? It used to host kings and emperors. Zákupy Château was a popular summer destination of Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria and King of Bohemia. He loved staying there, and the tour guides will definitely tell you all about it. You can walk through the empress’ and emperor’s suite, including their joint bedroom. It was not common to share a bedroom in those days and it shows how unusual the love of the imperial couple was.

Kámen Castle

In the region where South Bohemia meets Vysočina, you will find the romantic Kámen Castle. The originally Gothic castle was built in mid-13th century on a large rock, from which it got its name. And why visit? If you like the smell of petrol and your heart is beating for single-track vehicles, then you simply must go there! The castle is home to the Museum of Historic Motorcycles. At present, the collection mostly includes Jawa and ČZ motorcycles from the pre-war and post-war production periods. But there are also other motorcycle makes in the exposition collection including a unique exhibit featuring a pacing motorcycle from 1910 that was completely hand-built, and also a 1913 two-cylinder Walter. And if some of your family are not interested in motorcycles, you can send them on a tour of the castle. There is also an exposition of living and lifestyle at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries at an estate with examples of room interiors, and a historical exposition in the Old Palace.

Slavkov u Brna Château

In South Moravia, not far from Brno, is a place that anyone interested in military history knows about. It is where the famous Napoleonic Battle of Austerlitz took place. However, today, we will not recommend visiting the Cairn of Peace, but Slavkov Château. It is one of the oldest mansions in Moravia. The original castle was gradually transformed into a château with a large and beautiful château park. The tour of the château will also take you to the oval Historical Hall where the truce between Austria and France was signed during the Napoleonic Wars.

Lysice Château

Lysice Château is a forgotten gem in Moravia, north of Brno. This Baroque building in the place of a Renaissance water fortress was modified at the beginning of the 19th century. Its greatest pride is found in the original, abundantly furnished interiors. They present the life and style of a leading Moravian earl’s family. There is also a reconstructed historical armoury, one of the largest in Moravia, with 2,000 arms. There are all kinds of arms from the Gothic period to the 19th century. Some of the rarities include a sword made from the prolongation of the head of a common sawfish, or original Japanese samurai swords.

Čechy pod Kosířem Château and Museum of Historic Coaches

The name of Čechy (Bohemia in Czech) might refer to a different part of the Czech Republic, but the château is situated in Moravia, near Olomouc. The château has recently opened to the public and it is surrounded with a valuable park on an area of 21 hectares. There are several tours you can take. Another attraction that might get you to visit Čechy pod Kosířem is the local Museum of Historic Coaches. It is the largest museum of historic coaches in the Czech Republic (and one of the largest in Central Europe), where they also restore coaches. The unique collection includes 38 coaches from 1750 to 1920. The most precious exhibit is the Golden Coach made in France in 1750.

Plumlov

Another forgotten gem near Olomouc in Moravia can be found above the water reservoir in the village of Plumlov. The construction of the château started in the 17th century and it was supposed to have three storeys and several wings. However, it was never finished. It has never been inhabited and only four rooms were furnished in haste. In the 19th century, the building was used by the district court and the revenue office, other rooms were transformed into apartments for the clerks. Since 2001, the château has undergone a full reconstruction. Today, you can go on a château tour that will take you from the basement to the attic (yes, you can also see the attic by appointment). There are several events planned for the 2020 summer season including, for example, Conquering Plumlov Castle, and the Fencing Weekend, which is the most popular seasonal event in the area.