The French Charm of Castles on the Orlice River

The French Charm of Castles on the Orlice River

The Orlice River can boast an exceptional number of castles and chateaus… It's no wonder that Orlice is called the Czech Loire.

The tourist region in Eastern Bohemia, which is joined by the ridge of the Orlice Mountains, is still an undiscovered paradise for nature, winter sport and cycling enthusiasts. There are also historical monuments and cultural adventures. The phenomenon of Podorlicko includes castles and chateaux. You can find six historical settlements within a radius of nine kilometres, so it is no wonder that the wild Orlice River is similarly as charming as the French Loire. Moreover, there are still chateaux here that remain in the hands of ancient aristocratic families and, as such, it is not exceptional to meet their aristocratic owners. The destination has also been awarded at the European level. At the end of 2017, the chateaux were awarded the title of “Excellent European Destination” in the EDEN competition, which is organised by the European committee.

A tour with the owner

Four chateaux and two castles – Častolovice, Doudleby, Potštejn and New Chateau in Kostelec nad Orlicí, Castle Potštejn and Litice Castle – these are the chateaus on the Orlice River. After restitution, these settlements underwent extensive renovation and were opened to the public. For the most part, all of the chateaux are in the hands of historic aristocratic families or private owners, who also live there and maintain them. The chateaux thereby have a completely unique atmosphere. Their offer has no competition, but they rather complement each other. They convey a very diverse cultural enrichment in terms of history, architectonic styles and experience. František Kinský, the owner of the empirical New Chateau in Kostelec nad Orlicí, will take you on a tour of the chateau several times a year. The renaissance Častolovice Chateau is home to Diana Phipps Sternbergová. The baroque Castle Potštejn is in the private ownership of the Nováček family, and the Doudleby nad Orlicí Manor has long been owned by the Buben family.

Ideal family trips

Taking trips to the local chateaux is perfect for families with children. The newly renovated Chateau Potštejn offers original performance tours in baroque costumes, which will teach you about the lives of the local aristocrats from the middle of the 18th century, and Countess Anna Marie Harbuval Chamaré gives guided tours of the chateau's chambers. The tour of the castle's Bubákov cellars is also unique. You will learn the tale of Potštejn's past, which is full of mysterious ghosts of historical figures. The Charles IV maze is dedicated to children's games and is located in the chateau park. This maze is full of stages and game elements related to the life of the Czech king. You will find a blacksmith's workshop with a coin stamping area at Potštejn Castle. Doudleby Manor has a Grandmother's courtyard with farm animals and the chateau park in Častolovice has a hidden menagerie and a field with white deer. The parks of the chateaux in Kostelec nad Orlicí and Častolovice are interconnected by a cycle path. This cycle path is ideal for families with baby carriages and small children.  

A wide range of experience

You can combine guided tours of castles with walks through the chateau parks, bicycle rides along the wild Orlice River or sit in a chateau coffee shop, confectionary or restaurant. Everyone has their own, unique and specific experience from the chateaux. For example, you can try homemade desserts and traditional honey liquor at the Chateau Potštejn confectionary. Tony’s Terrace at the coffee shop and restaurant at New Chateau in Kostelec offers a beautiful view of the park. There are regular farmer’s markets at the Doudleby nad Orlicí Manor premises. If you want to spend a night at a chateau, go to the chateaux in Potštejn, Doudleby nad Orlicí and even Častolovice, following prior arrangements.

If you still long for more history and chateaus, take a trip north to Kolowratský Chateau in Rychnov nad Kněžnou, the historical settlement of Colloredo-Mansfeld in Opočno, or to the Orlice Fort in Letohrad. The Lace Museum in Vamberk, the Craft Museum in Letohrad and the Clock Craft Brewery in Potštejn are all very interesting.