Two large rivers, the Lužnice and the Otava, flow through the beautiful countryside in the south of the Czech Republic like blue ribbons. Set out to get to know the harmonious landscape where log cabins and enchanting manor houses with decorated gables alternate with medieval royal cities. This region, which lies in the imaginary shade of the Šumava hills, is the ideal place for rambling through the countryside, discovering the stories of the castles and chateaux here and getting to know the folk traditions which are still alive even after so many centuries.
Although the harsh region in the foothills of Šumava has never been one of the most fertile, history has left its mark here, giving it a unique character. During your travels through the region, make sure to visit Strakonice. You can learn all there is to know about traditions linked to the most popular musical instrument here in the museum which is housed in the rooms of the monumental medieval castle. We are talking about the bagpipes, in honour of which the International Bagpipe Festival is held in the city every year, this being one of the most important folklore festivals in the world.
The Deer Bridge and enchanting gables
Would you like to walk over one of the oldest bridges in Central Europe? Then set out on a trip to Písek. The locals sometimes also call it the “Deer Bridge” according to a legend which tells that the bridge was supposed to be named after the first person to walk across it. But something which nobody expected happened. A deer jumped out of the forest, ran across the bridge and thus gave it this name. Have you ever heard of the so-called Rural Baroque? If not, then you can see the most beautiful example of it in Holašovice. This is to say that this small village boasts beautiful farm buildings with enchantingly decorated gables, which have even put it onto the UNESCO list.
Castles and chateaux every step of the way
Are you also tempted by the mysterious environment of medieval castles and chateaux? Then you will feel like you are in paradise on earth in the countryside between the Lužnice and the Otava. You can for example visit the Orlík Chateau, which proudly sits above the waters of a large reservoir or the Blatná Chateau, with its magical half-timbered tower. You will see the perfect harmony of architecture and landscape at Zvíkov Castle, standing on a high promontory above the confluence of the Otava and the Vltava. You can discover a true Renaissance gem in the magnificent Kratochvíle Chateau. If you prefer mysterious places with a unique atmosphere, set out for Rábí Castle. Its ruins are the largest in the Czech Republic. The castle in Velhartice also exudes the romance of the age of knights, where you can take a pleasant walk over its beautiful stone bridge with four broken arches joining both parts of the castle.
Where else to set out for?
If you are staying in the region for at least a few days, you should also visit other interesting places in the surrounding area. You can set out in search of a wonderful Baroque square and superb beer to České Budějovice. Not far from here, you can also visit one of the most beautiful Czech chateaux, Hluboká, conspicuously reminiscent of the English Windsor Castle. Make sure to also visit medieval Tábor, a city inherently linked with the Hussite movement, which had an important impact on the history of the Czech lands.