Czech castles and chateaux saw a drop of 1 million visitors this year due to COVID-19 pandemic

The sightseeing season started two months late and ended three weeks early, seriously reducing visits and revenues

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 15.10.2020 12:26 (updated on 18.10.2020)

Unsurprisingly, visits to the main tourists sites in the Czech Republic were down significantly in 2020 due to forced closures of cultural venues to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Monuments managed by the National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) were visited by 3.6 million people this year. Compared to last year, the number of visitors decreased by 1 million. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the visitor season started almost two months late and ended three weeks earlier than scheduled.

The traditional castle and chateau Advent events will not take place this year, so with a few possible exceptions the venues will be closed until early 2021.

In the summer months, attendance reached a similar level as in previous successful years, due in large part to promotions for domestic tourism.

In July and August, over 2.5 million people visited castles and chateaux. A significant drop in attendance occurred in September, together with the introduction of the mandatory wearing of face coverings in interiors, when less than half a million visitors came to the monuments.

Hluboká / via NPÚ
Hluboká / via NPÚ

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Last year, from January to the end of September, some 4.6 million people came to monuments, a million more than this year. For the whole of last year, the number of visitors reached almost 5.3 million, thanks to special Advent events.

Lednice, Český Krumlov and Hluboká castles were the most visited locations this year. The composition of the list changed compared to last year, with Bečov and Buchlovice making this year’s ranking, while Konopiště and Křivoklát dropped out.

The largest increase in attendance in 2020 occurred at Opočno, Raduň and Hradec nad Moravicí. Almost 60,000 people visited Opočno, up by 10,000 visitors, while 7,000 more people came to Raduň thad 29,000, up by 7,000, and Hradec nad Moravicí saw 56,000, up by 5,000.

Castle grounds and castle ruins also had a very successful season. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the number of visitors to Rabí, Velhartice, Bítov, Žebrák and Krakovec increased year-on-year.

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Rabí / via NPÚ
Rabí / via NPÚ

Not all tourist locations are overseen by the NPÚ. Prague Castle, for example, is under its own administration and therefore not inlcuded in NPÚ statistics. Overall, the NPÚ manages more than 100 state-owned immovable monuments, most of which are open to the public.

The shortened visitor season caused a drop in revenues. The total decline in own revenues for 2020 in a year-on-year comparison is estimated at almost 190 million CZK. By the end of June, the losses amounted to 139 million CZK. During the first summer holiday month the decline was reduced to 134 million, which was subsequently covered by the Ministry of Culture. The drop in revenues from admission and rentals from October 12 to the end of the year is estimated at 56 million CZK year-on-year.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, restoration work on monuments continued with state and European funds. In the spring, construction work began on the renovation projects at Karlštejn Castle and Telč Castle. In June, an extensive project for the restoration of Slatiňany Castle for 134 million CZK was completed.

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This year, 197 million CZK was raised from state resources for the restoration of the castle hill in Náchod and 55 million crowns for the restoration of the Bellarie summer house in Český Krumlov. The NPÚ also participated in a special investment program for the Ministry of Culture, for which the state released 1 billion CZK to support entities affected by anti-coronavirus measures. The NPÚ will use these funds for 38 monument restoration projects.

Top 10 most visited monuments managed by NPÚ

 Year 2020 to October 12

  • 1.Lednice: 256,000
  • 2.Český Krumlov: 190,800
  • 3.Hluboká: 181,800
  • 4.Valtice: 134,300
  • 5.Karlštejn: 120,100
  • 6.Trosky: 99,800
  • 7.Kroměříž: 79,600
  • 8.Bouzov: 76,800
  • 9.Bečov: 73,800
  • 10.Buchlovice: 71,400

 Year 2019

  • 1.Lednice: 389,000
  • 2.Český Krumlov: 386,000
  • 3.Hluboká: 293,000
  • 4.Valtice: 212,460
  • 5.Karlštejn: 212,410
  • 6.Kroměříž: 178,000
  • 7.Konopiště: 147,000
  • 8.Trosky: 117,000
  • 9.Křivoklát: 111,000
  • 10.Bouzov: 110,000