Not all castles and chateaux go into hibernation for the winter! Here’s some tips on where to go outside the main season.
For some years now, the grand Prague Castle, Gothic Karlštejn Castle and the Neo-Gothic Hluboká Chateau have not worried about whether it’s winter or not, and welcome visitors all year round. Several other places, maybe not as well known, but just as interesting, are open year-round, too. Here’s some tips on where to find them!
Dignified and monumental: the royal castles
Visit, for example, the former royal hunting-lodge of Křivoklát. You can take tour of the interiors of the Gothic palace, the outer wards, battlements and tower. The castle also hosts many cultural events, for example at Advent.
Year-round fun and education is offered at the mediaeval Loket Castle near Karlovy Vary, where visitors can view collections of Czech porcelain, a dungeon with an exhibition on torture and period interiors, as well as get a bird’s eye view of the castle and the picturesque town beneath it from the castle tower, finally sampling some old Czech specialties in the castle restaurant.
Romance and fun: chateaux and gardens
The marvellous Neo-Gothic Sychrov Chateau, former residence of the French Rohan family, is open all year round – every day except Mondays, in fact. Tours will introduce you to the lives of this wealthy noble family in its rural residence in the second half of the 19th century. Sychrov hosts a number of cultural events: night-time tours and concerts, demonstrations of falconry and the popular Scottish Games.
The private apartment and representative interiors of Děčín Chateau are also open daily, apart from Monday. Amongst the most interesting parts of the chateau is the Blue Hall, with its preserved frescos, and the Tower Cabinet with its exquisite view over the Elbe valley. Tours also include the refurbished chateau chapel of St. George, and visitors can also take a stroll through the Rose Garden with its Baroque sala terrena and gallery of Baroque statues.
Another chateau that doesn’t pause for a break is Loučeň Chateau, only an hour’s journey from Prague, where you can go on a tour of the castle with a prince or princess, member of the castle staff or even with the Lady in White herself! Enjoy yourself in the wonderful English gardens, which, with their eleven mazes and labyrinths, are a true rarity in Europe. While there you can combine relaxation in the park with a picnic – order in advance for a picnic hamper and blanket from the chateau kitchen.
Learning and inspiration: castle and chateau museums
Don’t forget the castles and chateaux that host various museum exhibitions. These include, for example, Žďár nad Sázavou Chateau, home to a gallery and Book Museum, with an exhibition on the development of the book, printing and book culture. Seven permanent exhibitions on the history of the Moravian capital, art and architecture can be viewed at Špilberk Castle in Brno. The castle’s major attraction are the subterranean casemates, which include an exhibition on prisons. Find out about the history of Ostrava on a tour of Silesian Ostrava Castle. You’ll also like the collection of exotic plants in the Neo-Gothic greenhouse of Lednice Chateau; and in the winter you can go on a cruise of the Lednice-Valtice Complex in a heated cruise boat!