Hidden Castles in and near Prague

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If there is a country that could call itself the mecca of castles, it must be the Czech Republic. Over 500 castles, chateaus and ruins all over the country, 20 of them in Prague alone, make a castle lover’s heart beat a tad faster. If you were to think of a Castle in Prague, which one would it be?

Most people would answer with – obviously – Prague Castle or Vyšehrad Castle. But there is more fortresses and chateaus to discover in the city of a hundred spires. Where to find them, their stories, what purpose they serve today and why to go and pay visit, find it out here!


Photo: Vanessa Gautschi


Sure, Prague Castle’s stunning architecture and large area is well worth a visit. But there is many more beautiful castles in Prague to discover that are not just pretty from the outside, but also have interesting tales to share. If you are a castle-holic like us, set out for one of these castles during your stay!

The Prettiest Castles in and near Prague

Castle Hostavice

In the biggest nature reservation area of Prague (Cerny Most-Dolni Pocernice), lies a monument that once was intended to serve nature and humanity alike. When businessman Bat’a bought the 19th century castle located in small Hostavice – with barely more than a meadow, a stream and lots of tranquility – especially the land was supposed to serve a different purpose. Bat’a wanted to create a garden city on Hostavice’s ground.

Unfortunately, his plans of hosting an eco-friendly project were harshly interrupted through political crisis right before World War II broke out and so, his land was used to train the military.

90 years later, Castle Hostavice gets its happy ending, though: The park behind the castle garden is full of meadows, chestnut trees and wild flowers, surrounding a small café where residents can get a cup of coffee as they walk in the small forest and watch their kids playing on the playground. Though not a garden city as of today, the grounds have maintained to be a place where nature and humans can co-exist peacefully.

Hostavice is about 20 minutes away from the city center and s quick tram and bus ride will get you to this pretty castle with a mission. Though the indoors are not open for the public, it is well-worth visiting Hostavice and its beautiful exterior with park garden – especially so in autumn.


Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Location: Pilská 9, Prague 14
Highlights: Castle Park
Public Transport: Bus 110 to ‘Hostavice

Hloubetin Castle

The pretty facade of Hloubetin Castles has seen a lot of changes in the world and in itself. Once a stronghold up on Hloubetin’s hill, only through being burned down by the Swedes in 1648, the estate got its shiny new look. It was reconstructed and turned into a fortress.

In the 17th century, the stunning stone building was bought by a lawyer and reconstructed into a neo-gothic family estate. But somehow, it didn’t feel like home to the lawyer and he soon sold the estate to František Sedláček, who turned his dream of making the estate a castle into reality. 

Before World War II, the picturesque, Neo-Gothic castle that looks like it’s straight out of Walt Disney’s movies, belonged to the Jewish Community. It was in this dark period of history, when the estate was taken from the community and only in 1945 – after serving as a storage – it was turned into the pioneer house of the Village theater. Only much later, in 1990, the grounds were given back to the Jewish community and it is nowadays used as a sanitarium, hosting the first Baby Box in the Czech Republic.

The surroundings of Hloubetin Castle make for a marvelous walk through the forest down to the ‘Kyjski’ pond. Either opt out for a short, 20 minutes walk down to the pond and to the Church of St. Bartholomew or follow the educational trail from Hloubetin Castle to Rajska Zahrada, which surpasses Hostavice and its castle, too.

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Location: Hloubětínská 3, Prague 14
Highlights: Castle Facade, Lehove Forest, Kyjski Pond
Public Transport: Tram 16 to ‘Hloubetin’

Jenštejn Castle

Castle Jenstejn is nestled in the beautiful Vinor/Jenstejn area just off Prague 20. Easily accessible by bus and a short (or if you prefer, longer) hike, you will not only get to marvel at picturesque sandstone formations, jumping carp in the nearby pond, but also a tower of Jenstejn’s former glorious castle. The tower is by now the only indicator that once a pretty castle stood at its side, which can be climbed during weekends.

Castle Jenstejn is a protected cultural monument in Middle Age architecture. Its roots reach back to the 14th century, when archbishop Jan von Jenstejn established the fortress. Especially well-known for its fertile lands, Jenstejn was an important region all throughout its history. Even up until today, when you walk through the thick forest and pass apple and pear trees full of fat fruit hanging from them, it is easy to see that the Elbe grounds feed the area optimally.

It is because of its natural beauty that Jenstejn was mentioned by many wanderers and writers throughout the centuries – always honed because of its beauty. The valley itself has been inhabited since the early Stone Age, but cultivated only in 1330.

The castle, however, seemed to bring bad luck to whoever owned it. Ownership often changed throughout the centuries and when the Communist Regime had laid its iron fists around the Czech Republic, they just et it deteriorate, until stone after stone tumbled and only the black tower remained.

Luckily, the castle tower is well-preserved nowadays and open for visitors on weekends. Combined with a hike through Jenstejn’s forest, it makes for the perfect off the beaten path experience. The view from Jenstejn is absolutely breathtaking and well worth the climb up.

Location: Jenstejn
Highlights: View over Jenstejn and Prague, exceptional flora and fauna, sandstone rock formations
Public Transport: Metro C to Letnany, Bus 378 to ‘Jenštejn, Hradní’
Entrance Fee:
CZK 40.00

Okoř Castle

Okoř is one of our favourite castles to venture out to. Whether you want to give your hike a glorious fin or just want to marvel at the pretty ruin Northwest of Prague: Okor is the perfect Saturday afternoon place to go to.

Upon your arrival, it is hard to miss the ruins of the early Gothic church as well as the torso of Okor’s tower. Getting into the castle is as cheap as CZK 50.00 and you can explore the grounds by yourself or with a guide. The half round bastion in late Gothic style with keyholes from the 15th century are absolutely magnificent and if you climb up the walls of this beautiful Gothic castle, you will realize how well situated it has been.

East of the castle lies a hill, which could have become a potential risk and disadvantage, since the holder of the fortress would never be able to spot potential attackers creeping closer. And so, they had to build a second bastion in front, which would overlook the hills and ditches in the area.

First erected in the 13th century, Okor’s face was changed often – mainly because of security reasons. An important defense was the huge pond that used to pitter patter and surround the castle on three sides. Unfortunately, the Thirty Years War did a lot of damage to the picturesque fortress North of Prague. Nonetheless, the ruins itself give us a good idea of just how pretty of a place in the midst of nature this must have once been.

It is no big surprise that Okor is stage for many fencing shows, epic reenactments of battles from the past, but also festival and events.

The castle is surrounded by a marvelous forest and will lead you all the way to the viaduct (railway bridge), which is a masterwork of architecture and especially pretty to see in fall.


Okor Castle

Okor Castle

Location: Pražská 142, Velké Přílepy
Highlights: Castle Ruins, Viaduct
Public Transport: Metro A to Dejvicka, Bus 350 to ‘Okor’

Troja Chateau

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Up north lies a castle that never fails to amaze us: Troja Chateau. Built for the influential Sternberk-Family in 1679, the architectural pearl is nowadays owned by the city of Prague and hosts the 19th century art collection of the City Gallery.

Especially beautiful is their orange garden (Oranžerie) and the castle gardens (which by the way are just marvelous to walk through) on the left hand side of the building.

The eye-catcher? The wentletrap with stunning carved figures that were made by the hands of Dresden located sculptors Johann Georg and Paul Heermann. The statues symbolize the fight between gods and the giants (a Greek myth). Passing by the stairs and following the neatly cut bushes to the upper terrace, Terracotta vases made by Bombelli can be marveled at.

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

The green ‘labyrinth’ further down in the gardens is a must-see, especially in Summer. Get lost in the Castle Garden – but don’t fall down a rabbit hole. Towering over one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic, is the Botanical Garden of Prague, complete with a little chapel guarding the vineyards of Troja.

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Location: U Trojského zámku 1, Prague 7
Highlights: Chateau, Staircase to Entrance, Orangery, Castle Garden, Botanical Garden
Public Transport: Metro C to ‘Nádraží Holešovice’ then change for Bus 112 to ‘Zoologicka Zahrada’

Průhonice

250 hectares, 1 historic landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage stamp: Průhonice with its castle and park complex is an absolute gem to visit during your stay in Prague. Easy to access (within a short 15 minutes long bus ride), the lime tree alleys, the stunning architecture of the upper castle and its magnificent park with ponds, waddling ducks and blossoming flora will suck you in its ban from the very first foot you set on its grounds.

The extensive castle complex consists of a Little Castle – which was added to a former brewery adjacent to a church.

The Romanesque style facades on the northern front welcomes visitors, leading them through the arch into what seems to be a distant wonderland: A pond, a majestic park with plentiful of flowers, bushes and fruit trees and the pretty face of the southern front in Neo-Renaissance style. The central gable in spiral-look bears a clock, to give you at least a little hold onto the real world.

That is only what is considered to be the ‘Little Castle’, though. The ‘Greater Castle’ was built on the structure of Průhonice’s old fort. It was horsehoe-shaped, as to give the inhabitants a better view of the pretty lake. The face of the Greater Castle has not been touched much ever since it was built. However, additions like the Knights Hall followed.

The big cellars of the castle were carved into a rock beneath the surface and partly renovated. They are full of Frescos by Schwaiger.

Exploring both the castle and Průhonice’s beautiful park is a perfect way to spend a sunny Autumn afternoon a little out of Prague’s busy center and yet not miss out on the castle-action.


Pruh

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Location: Zámek 2, Průhonice
Highlights: Castle complex, Castle Garden, Cellars
Public Transport: Metro C to ‘Opatov’, Bus 363/385 to ‘Průhonice’

Komořany Castle

Once upon a time on this hill, looming over the Vltava river, a fortress stood in the place of the gorgeous manor we see today. The former fort hosts a courtyard in an U shaped and was once used by Zbraslav’s abbots as a summer residence. The beautiful manor looks just like a castle straight out of a fairy tale – be that because of its iconic tower or the two complexes on the lands of Komořany. One of them was used as a Monastery. During the Hussite Wars in 1420, the both courts were burned down. The court of Zbraslav was not rebuilt, the Monastery seized.

Today this marvelous building serves the Hydrometeorological Insitute of Prague as a home, providing royal research grounds and a marvelous sights for visitors. Though the inside of the castle is not open for public, marveling at the pretty structure and then hopping on a bus to Zbraslav’s Monastery make for a perfect day of castle hunting.

Location: Na Šabatce, Prague 12
Highlights: Tower, Courts, Monastery
Public Transport: Metro line C to ‘Kacerov’, Bus 139 to ‘Komorany’

Rangherka

This nowadays Neo-Renaissance building – which is a state-protected monument –  from the 18th century, is anything but a everyday castle. It was once a silk factory! The name Rangherka the building got from his former owner: Giuseppe Rangheri. The story of Vršovice’s castle finds its beginning in Italy. Salesman and mulberry farmer Giuseppe Rangheri, decided to take on the farming of the trees in Prague and so journeyed from his home to Czech Republic. Quickly, his son, Henry Rangheri, was burning for his father’s project and took over the re-establishment of silk production in Prague.

1842, he bought two buildings near St. Nicholas Church, which were solemnly used to breed the silkworms that would spin the precious threads that the company needed. After Henry’s death, however, the mulberry trees and silkworms disappeared. The heirs of Henry had no passion for the silk production their ancestors had created. Instead, they sold the area and Heroldovy Sady was laid out. The building had several uses throughout the years: a girl’s school, a guesthouse for citysick Praguees, government premises, ministry and even the office of the ONV during the communistic era.

Today, the former residence of Rangheri is used as a retirement home and nothing reminds of the glory silk days in Prague 10 – except a moth fluttering by here and there

Curious to explore the district of Rangherka Castle? Dive into Vrsovice with us in this article!

Photo: V. Gautschi

Location: Moskevská 21, Prague 10
Highlights: View over Vrsovice, Castle Terrace
Public Transport: Tram 22 to ‘Vrsovicke Namesti’

Vinoř Castle

Castles Vinoř was built in Baroque style between 1719 and 1723, after a fortress had said its last goodbye to Prague’s lands. The architect František Maxmilián Kaňka built this masterpiece in shape of a square and endowed it with three vaulted entrances leading to the ‘Salla Terrena’. On the first floor, visitors will find a courtyard, which is lit up by polygonal lights from the tower.

The last owner of the Černín Residence was Otakar Černín, a prominent Czech and Austrian foreign minister. It was probably because of this that Castle Vinor would have influential visitors such as the heir to the throne (Ferdinand d’Este) or even the German Emperor Wilhelm II, along with Archduke Charles, which later became Emperor.

But the family did more than just remodel the castle. They established a castle and game park around the first half of the 18th century, which we can still visit and walk through as of today. The surrounding sandstone rocks we see on the walk are former city walls with beautiful carvings. Follow the educational path if you feel up for a hike – you can even walk to Castle Jenstejn from here.

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Location: Mladoboleslavská 38, Prague-Vinor
Highlights: Castle Complex, Educational Trail, Sandstone Rock Formation
Public Transport: Metro Line C to ‘Letnany’, Bus 375/378 to ‘Vinořský zámek’

Čakovice Castle

Piano tunes and singing greet us as we enter the Castle Grounds of this castle in Čakovice has been the home of the folk art college for almost 40 years now. And this, after having been in the hands of many counts.

This peaceful looking building once used to be a fortress. It was the Thirty Years War that tore the walls of it down and wreck it completely – to the point where reconstruction was no longer an option. A new fortress was erected, only to be turned into a castle by Antonie van Kiebelsberg in 1773.

The castle’s neighbour is the sugar refinery of Čakovice and is connected to it through an English garden. We wonder if the pupils in school sometimes get a whiff of the sweet goodness being produced next door.

The very impressive church of Čakovice lies right across the street of the estate, right next to the beautiful town hall and the gymnasium – all three of them picturesque buildings. Cakovice feels like a small village with shops, cafés and of course a ‘cukrarstvi’ around and is perfect for a Saturday stroll after visiting the castle.

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Location: Cukrovarská 23, Cakovice
Highlights: English Garden and Fruit Garden, Čakovice’s Church
Public Transport: Metro C to Letnany, Bus 136/351/377 to ‘Čakovický zámek’

 

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi

Hlubocepy Castle

Hlubocepy is well-known for its railway viaduct, but holds more than just the picturesque crossing. Once you get off the tram in Hlubocepy, the classical architectonical memorial ‘Hlubocepy’ overlooks the green area of Prague.

It is estimated that the castle (formerly a fortress) has been built in 1571. Only 100 years and many owners later, the fort became a castle and then given to the local Jesuits order.

Nowadays, Castle Hlubocepy is the stage for many weddings, feasts and events in the city and can be booked for your special occasion, too. We recommend passing through when going on a hike to Prokopske Udoli.

Location: Na Zlíchově 18, Prague 5
Highlights: Facade, small castle garden, Prokopske Udoli
Public Transport: Tram 5 to ‘Hlubočepy’

Uhříněves Castle

This beautiful Renaissance castle in Prague 22 has undergone a lot of surgery up until today. It was rebuilt in the 17th century, only to be burned down by Swedish forces in 1639. The owner – the Liechtenstein Family – however, refused, to give up their castle: They rebuilt it from scratch and gave it its looks that remain the same up until today.

The castle is not open to the public, as the institute for animal production houses in the former four walls of the Liechtenstein’s today, but it’s pretty to look at from the outside and nearby Ricanka park makes for a perfect walk to one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic.

Location: Přátelství 685, Prague 22
Highlights: Church, Gold Facade
Public Transport: Metro C to ‘Haje’, Bus 383 to ‘Uhříněves’

Photo: Vanessa Gautschi


Have you been to these marvelous castles and chateaus? Which one is your favourite castle to visit? We want to hear all about it in the comments! Happy Exploring!

 

 

 

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About Author

Vanessa G.

Vanessa has been living in Prague for the better part of a decade. Always on the lookout for another hike, district, nook, or cranny – she’s made it her mission to explore the hidden corners of the Republic. Among Vanessa’s favorite Bohemian based activities are nature walks, venturing off the beaten path, and writing about it all from one of the city's many thriving Cafés. And the best spot to stop and take it all in? Alf & Bet, a coffee house and bakery, tucked just around the corner from Castle Libeň. You might just see the author there sipping a coffee herself.

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