In the foothills of the Orlické Mountains, on the banks of the Divoká Orlice River, along a nine-kilometer trail, there are six noble manors, châteaux, a castle and a ruin. This is the Czech Loire. The wild river has been flowing from one gem to another for centuries, following their stories, exciting and beautiful, and also far from the end.
The winning châteauxWhen the Destination Company the Orlické Mountains and Foothills was founded in 2009, it initiated cooperation and a dialogue between all the parties involved and it became clear that the vision of sustainable tourism in the Orlické Mountains and its foothills was realistic. The region had been a leader in the effort to make tourism sustainable for many years and it had competed for the title of the European Destination of Excellence. It had been in the finals five times. Until the theme of Unique Cultural Product brought victory and the prestigious title to Châteaux of Orlice.
Six châteaux and castles within reachSustainable development of tourism is reflected in many aspects in the region. For example, environmentally-friendly transport. Considering the unique vicinity of the individual sites, the whole area can be easily hiked – the nine kilometers are easy to manage, even by families with children. Moreover, all six sites are connected with a railway, buses, and you can also get there by boat, which you can rent. There are two cycling trails there and it is also easy to rent a bike.
The area is a part of the protected Orlice Nature Park, through which an educational trail called Mezi Orlicemi passes. The destination Châteaux of Orlice does not only rely on the guided tours of the individual sites. You can enjoy inspirational programs there, adventure trips, accommodation at the châteaux, traditional food tasting, accommodation at farms, and ecological programmes. The regional food and products are certified and tourists are directed towards the individual makers of quality local food, and the same applies to artisans, sheltered workshops, or local breweries or restaurants with excellent cuisine.
A trip through living history
The originally Renaissance, later rebuilt Neo-Gothic Častolovice Château offers tours of the historical interiors with original wooden painted coffered ceilings. The English park includes a game preserve for the white fallow deer and the spotted deer, as well as a mini-zoo called Zámecký zvěřinec, accessible all year round, attended by the current château owner Diana Phipps Sternbergová. The château is wheelchair accessible and they also provide touch tours for the blind. Nový zámek in Kostelec nad Orlicí is a carefully reconstructed and very valuable Empire-style manor of the Kinský Family with an exposition on the Life in Biedermaier and tours, sometimes guided by František Kinský, the owner of the château and the mayor of the town. The château is surrounded by an English park, and there is a very good château café and restaurant there. The charming Renaissance château in Doudleby nad Orlicí with unique sgraffito decoration and rare interiors is also now managed by the descendants of the Bubna of Litice lords. This château is also surrounded by an English park and children can also play with animals there, at Babiččin dvorek. There is a gallery and a museum there. The Baroque Château in Potštejn is also picturesque, you can take a costume guided tour of the historical interiors and see the Holy Trinity Chapel. Children will be delighted, not only by the tours, but also by special expositions for children. There are also unique acted and night tours, and demonstrations of traditional crafts. In the château park, you will find a stone building full of props and game elements where children can let their hair down during a game called the Life of Charles IV. On a hill, rising above the château, the Potštejn Castle shines afar. There is a historical exposition in the fourth entrance gate, and the Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk is also accessible. There is a torture chamber exposition in the castle basement. The last historical site is the medieval castle of King George of Poděbrady in Litice. You will learn about the history of the castle, see the archaeological findings, period engravings and photographs. There is a beautiful view of the Divoká Orlice River from the lookout tower.