During our 4 day Central Bohemia trip we visited a few enchanting castles which are swoon-worthy as the surrounding landscapes of the charming towns where they are located. Our itinerary took us to discover staggering landscapes, where there was plenty of castle-hopping, sipping delightful Czech wine and learning all about Czech Republic’s rich cultural traditions.
The Central Bohemia region is the largest in Czech Republic, surrounding the country’s capital Prague — it is divided into 12 districts. The region’s lowest point is located on the banks of Elbe River. Central Bohemia is closely located to Prague and there are numerous transportation options available from the capital, making it a popular day trip destination from Prague. If you do however want to experience more of the region and to delve deeper into its fascinating history, then a 4 day Central Bohemia itinerary is exactly what you need.
I visited the region in the end of July together with seven other awesome travel bloggers as part of a FAM Trip organized by Visit Czech Republic and TBEX. Read on about our unforgettable experience and the memories which we made.
How to Spend 4 days in Central Bohemia: The Castles of Czechia
4-day Central Bohemia itinerary: Day 1
Arrival to Prague morning
We arrived to Prague from Ostrava in a comfortable RegioJet train (Business Class) at around 10 am and we had approximately two hours for a short walking tour, visiting some of the city’s landmarks such as the Lucerna Passage which is located in the new town and is found under the Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace.
Here you can see the famous upside down version of St. Wenceslas and his horse, created by David Cerny which is found hanging from the atrium.
We then stopped for a brief breakfast break at the famous Ovocný Svetozor confectionery which sells a rich selection of freshly baked fruitcakes and pastries as well as open sandwiches. Check out the Instagram Roundup Prague post by my friend Ajay for more inspiration on the best photograph spots in Prague.
We then made our way past the Old Town Square and the Pařížská Street which is lined with high-end boutiques.
Lunch at Farm Table
We drove from Prague to Klecany town which is located approximately 30 minutes north of Prague where we had lunch at the Farm Table, a cute restaurant that serves international dishes prepared using freshly sourced ingredients from the farm.
Here we enjoyed delicious grilled pork tenderloin with pea puree.
Afternoon arrival in Melnik and wine tasting at Mělník Chateau
After lunch we made our way to the first town of our 4 day trip — which was Melnik where we checked-in to our hotel Olympionik Hotel, featuring modern Congress and Sports facilities. Some of us stayed at Hotel Ludmila.
After settling in we continued our program with an afternoon of wine tasting at the Mělník Chateau which belongs to the noble family of the Princes of Lobkowicz since 1753.
The 11th century wine cellar spans over 1500 meters of space across three floors. The property was nationalised during communism and eventually returned to the Lobkowicz family. As our guide Eva explained earlier, traces of wine making in the region date back to as early as the 9th century. According to a legend, Ludmila who was the daughter of a ruler of the pagan tribe of Psyovians had planted the first vines in the 10th century, in order to produce altar wine.
The vineyard is situated on a slope right beneath the chateau occupying an area of 1.8 hectares. As our sommelier explained the harvest is done manually and the grapes are then delivered to the courtyard where it is then processed through a machine.
There are a total of 14 grape varieties and somewhat 50,000 bottles are produced annually. The wine is only sold in selected stores and restaurants in Czech Republic. Some of the barrels found here are over 200 years old. The Pinot Noir is produced from 50 year old vines which are the oldest at the vineyard.
We sampled a selection of 6 wines paired with a variety of cheeses. We tried the Saint Laurent and Pinot Noir red wines as well as the renowned light and refreshing Ludmila.
After our wonderful wine-tasting tour at Melnik Chateau we enjoyed a traditional Czech dinner at the Restaurace Šalanda U Císaře located a few steps from the chateau.
4-day Central Bohemia itinerary: Day 2
After breakfast we joined Eva and Kristina on a guided tour of the Melnik town.
Graciously lying above the confluence of Labe and Vltava rivers, Melnik has existed for over 740 years. The town gained importance in the year 1000 when silver denarius coins were made for the Duchess Emma, the wife of Boleslav II. In the following centuries the duchesses and queens who lived here contributed to the development of Melnik which is evident in its beautiful structures.
The main square Namesti Miru is surrounded by original Gothic houses which during the 19th century were reconstructed in the style of Renaissance, baroque and historicism. The square is crowned by the historic town hall and an impressive fountain with a sculpture depicting Grave Harvest.
After walking around the Namesti Miru square we traversed through the Prague Gate which proudly stands between the two main squares. This tower was used for protection and also served as a prison. The top of the tower is a great photo spot.
We returned back to the Mělník Chateau for a guided tour of the premises. Unfortunately photos are not allowed inside the chateau. The residence was completed in a Renaissance style in the mid-16th century and today you can see the traces which are resembled in the three chimneys which decorate its roof. In the 17th century a baroque reconstruction was imposed on the chateau which has been preserved since this day. On one of the exterior walls you can see the writing which is a motto of the Lobkowicz family which reads ‘Popel jsem a popel budu’ — I am ashes and I will be ashes.
Inside the chateau there is an impressive family tree room, which outlines all the generations and ancestors.
If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of Melnik and its surroundings you can do so by climbing up the Saints Peter and Paul church which has an observatory tower. The church is one of the oldest in Bohemia and Frantisek Palacky.
One of the highlights of the church is the Baroque onion-domed cupola which is covered with shingle. Myself, my friend Chrysoula and Mihaela (World Travel Bug) decided to climb the 180 steps to witness the view.
Lunch in Melnik
After our morning tour of Melnik we enjoyed a hearty lunch at the Restaurace Na Hradbách which is located right in the heart of the Namesti Miru square.
There is a cozy courtyard as well as indoor dining room. We had a fantastic sweet potato puree soup, with parsnip pesto, topped with crips of Parma ham and for the second course I opted for a mushroom barley risotto served with rocket leaves and parmesan flakes.
Afternoon in Křivoklát Castle
After approximately an hour’s drive in our comfortable mini-van we reached the Křivoklát Castle which is one of the most important castles in Czech Republic dating back to the 12th century.
Over the centuries the castle was damaged by fire on several occasions. It was also used as a harsh prison and you can actually visit the torture rooms.
Inside the castle you can see collections of hunting weapons, Gothic paintings and over 52,000 books.
There are a few apartments available on the premises of the castle where you can actually spend the night.
After our visit to the Křivoklát Castle we headed to Beroun town which is located about 30 kilometres from Prague. After checking in at the Hotel Grand Litava Beroun which has spacious rooms, we headed out to dinner.
A royal Bohemian town, Beroun received its name in the 13th century. Among some of the things to see in Beroun are the Prague Gate which is located opposite the river, it was built to protect the city, the gate was damaged in 1421 and rebuilt later on. Today it is used as an exhibition hall. Beroun is a town of mysteries and stories — one of them is about the weeping White Lady who holds a bunch of keys in her hands and wonders around one of the oldest houses. She weeps because supposedly the two children she was watching drowned in a well and she was cursed ever since. Today the building houses the Museum of Czech Karst.
We briefly walked thought the main square which is home to the St. Jacob’s Church completed in Gothic style before reaching the Black Dog Bar & Grill Restaurant where we enjoyed fantastic burgers. The same restaurant can also be found in Prague.
4-day Central Bohemia itinerary: Day 3
Visit to the Karlštejn Castle
In the morning we started our day with a visit to the Karlštejn Castle which one of the most famous castle in Czech Republic.
This imposing Gothic castle was founded in 1348 CE by Charles IV, King of Bohemia and was used to keep the jewels and holy relics of Bohemia.
On the lower level you can admire the beautiful and well preserved wall paintings of angels.
The castle is divided into three sections and took 17 years to be completed, the highest point which is the Grand Tower — 60 meters tall opens up to spectacular views of the surroundings.
The picturesque town surrounding the Karlštejn Castle is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. After our visit to the castle we strolled towards the Restaurace Pod Dračí skálou where enjoyed a traditional Czech lunch which consisted of a chicken soup, salad and pork with fries.
After our lunch the next destination on our Central Bohemia itinerary was a visit to the Český Šternberk Castle.
Exploring the Český Šternberk Castle
The Český Šternberk castle is situated on a hill overlooking the west side of the River Sazava.
This mid-13th century castle was built by Zdeslav of Divišov who named it after his personal coat of arms featuring an eight pointed star. As the name implies Stern translates as star and Berg is the mountain — which is understandable once you explore the magnificent interiors of this charming castle.
Until this day the castle is privately owned by the same family for almost 800 years. Initially the castle was constructed in Gothic style and later on during the 16th century extensive Baroque features were added to its design.
There are a total of 15 rooms inside the castle all decorated with unique furnishings, chandeliers and beautiful carpeting.
There is an exquisite art collection inside the castle as well as the Šternberk collection of copper engravings from the Thirty Years’ War — one of the largest monothematic collections of engravings in Europe. The views opening up from the gorgeous rose garden are truly scenic.
After our visit to the Český Šternberk Castle we headed to our hotel Samechov located in a village carrying the same name.
The hotel is located right on the river where we spent a memorable evening after our dinner watching the stars. There is an outdoor restaurant area serving a selection of international and Czech dishes.
4-day Central Bohemia itinerary: Day 4
After breakfast we checked-out from hotel Samechov and ventured towards the final town of our 4 day All About the Castles trip — saving the best for last we arrived in Kutna Hora. Dubbed as the Pearl in the UNESCO Necklace — this town is one of its kind. In fact the whole town is a UNESCO World Heritage site — mostly known for its four main highlights, the Historical Center of Kutna Hora, St. Barbara’s Cathedral, the Cathedral of Assumption of our Lady and the St. John the Baptist in Sedlec.
What to see in Kutna Hora
During the Medieval times, the prominent silver mining industry and the royal mint had turned Kutna Hora into the second most important royal town after Prague.
Traces of the first mining activity in the area date back to around 1280. At the end of the 13th century the settlements were gradually transformed into a town and a new united currency for the kingdom of Bohemia was established.
St. Barbara’s Cathedral
The crown jewel of Kutna Hora which welcomes you with its grandness upon arrival was built in the 1300 for the miners of the area.
It was named St. Barbara after the patron of artillery and mining. The ceiling of the church is over 30 meters high and is divided by 20 tall pillars and 50 large windows which illuminate the church.
The windows are absolutely magical — each one decorated with painted glass designed by the painter František Urban — which were completed in the 20th century —each depicting a series of Christian motifs as well as important events of his lifetime.
The main altar which is decorated with a five wing arc was completed in Neo-Gothic style to portray the Last Supper.
Gallery of Baroque statues and the Church of St. James
A cobblestone alley leading all the way from St. Barbara’s Cathedral into the historical centre of Kutna Hora is lined with remarkable Baroque statues.
Altogether there are 13 sculptural groups depicting saints positioned on the wall, most of which originate from the years 1707 to 1716.
Walking past you can also get a glimpse of the beautiful Gothic Church of St. James which stands 86 meters tall and is a defining landmark of Kutna Hora. It is one of the oldest in town and its interiors combine Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque artefacts.
The Czech Museum of Silver Hradek
The building dates back to 1312 and was acquired by a mining entrepreneur, Jan Smíšek of Vrchoviště who turned it into an impressive patrician palace.
The mining galleries which are found here till this day where created between the 13th and 16th century. Today visitors can actually go on a special tour of the mines to learn about the development of Kutna Hora and to witness the challenges of the mining industry. The Tour 1 — The Town of Silver introduces visitors to the life of silver nobility, developments of Kutna Hora and the history of Hrádek. The Tour 2 — The Way of Silver is the one some of us took actually takes you inside and through the mines.
We were dressed in a mining kirtle with a hood, wore a lamp helmet and made our way through a pitch black 250 meter long gallery where the smallest passageway is approximately 50 cm. To be honest I was a little hesitant at first but if you are not claustrophobic then this tour is definitely one of the unique experience which you can do.
After our mining adventure we joined the rest of the group for lunch at Restaurace V Ruthardce which is a local Czech Restaurant located in the heart of Kutna Hora, in a historical building which was an Old Deanery. The two storey house was initially completed in Gothic style and in the 18th century it was rebuilt in the Baroque style. Following a fire that damaged the building in 1886 the house was rebuilt in a classicist form.
The two-storey house has a Gothic core (cellars, portal and cellar window), entrance to the garden of Ruthardka is fitted with a framed Gothic portal. In the third quarter of the 18th century it was rebuilt in Baroque style. After the fire in 1886, the house was built in the present classicist form.
We sat in a beautiful garden where we enjoyed freshly grilled trout with baby potatoes and a grilled tomato with cheese hot appetiser. And a mug of Czech beer of course!
Choco Museum Kutna Hora
This small private museum located in the heart of Kutna Hora was opened by a group of chocolate lovers to revive the history of the Koukol & Michera chocolate factory from Kutná Hora, that was considered to be one of the best in the world.
Founded in 1918 it exported its Lidka chocolate to Europe, America Palestine and the British colonies. When the factory was nationalised in 1948 this was when the production declined and the golden era of chocolate production seized to exist.
Today the chocolaterie sells chocolates from the best Czech producers as well as award-winning international producers. The selection is quite divine and so is the taste. If you are a chocolate lover — this museum is definitely for you.
Sedlec is the oldest part of Kutna Hora and is home to some of the most important landmarks — one of which is the Cemetery church of All Saints with the Ossuary, one of the oldest holy fields in Central Europe.
Many wealthy people desired to be buried here after Henry, the abbot of Sedlec had brought soil from Jerusalem here making it a famous place. A plague of the 14th century resulted in the enlargement of the burial grounds. In the 15th century a major part of the cemetery was abolished and relics from the graves (over 40,000 people) where brought inside the church.
A half blind monk started piling the bones into pyramids and as a result the bone decorations have been part of the church’s history.
The message that the church carries is “Remember the death” — a symbol associated with the place and the bone decorations — is in fact clear the equality of people in front of God. In the end of the day we will all be bones and skulls. It is a church like you have never seen before — that’s for sure.
The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995. Established in 1142 as a result of the silver deposits available in the area. The church was completed in 1320 however it was ruined for almost 300 years following an attack from the Hussites.
Abbot Henry Snopek restored it again by hiring young and talented architects who combined the Gothic-Baroque styles in a magnificent way. One of the highlights is the self supporting spiral staircase and the Bohemian Flat Vault.
A late Gothic Fountain constructed as part of the Kutna Hora’s water pipe system in 1459. It is a piece of artwork which also had technical purposes such as being used as a water tank which supplied water to other fountains in town.
Dinner at Factory – Bistro Cafe Bar
In the evening we enjoyed our last dinner at the Factory – Bistro Cafe Bar serving a selection of burgers, pizza and pasta dishes.
For starters we had a refreshing gazpacho and for the main I opted for a chicken and pasta dish.
Where to stay in Kutna Hora?
Hotel Mědínek Old Town
The Hotel Mědínek Old Town enjoys a prime location on Palackého náměstí square right in the heart of the historic centre, a short walking distance from all the main attractions. Accommodation includes standard and superior rooms as well as apartments. Most of the rooms have views of the square.
How to get to Kutna Hora from Prague
The easiest way to get to Kutna Hora from Prague is by train from the Main Station and the ride will take you less than an hour. The Main train station of Kutna Hora is a quite further out from the centre therefore if you want to go downtown buy a ticket to Kutna Hora pesto (downtown). If you do arrive at the Main station there is a yellow train on the first platform that will take you to the downtown of Kutna Hora.
Kutna Hora — An all year round destination
Kutna Hora enjoys a rich cultural calendar at all times of year. There is everything from Music Festivals to Wine Harvest and Christmas fairs and concerts. For the full events program click here.
*Passion for Hospitality was a guest of Visit Czech Republic and Central Bohemia Tourism Board on this FAM Trip, all opinions expressed are always my own.