Czech castles invite merry makers to holiday markets and other festive events

This holiday season, several historical sites will have special decorations, tours, events, and live Nativity scenes.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 08.12.2022 14:30:00 (updated on 08.12.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

Several Czech castles and chateaux are open during Advent and have special holiday decorations and non-traditional tours. You can find several operated by the National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) across the country. Some privately owned castles are also having events.

By visiting them this time of the year, you can see what the Christmas table looked like and what gifts awaited the castle lords or their servants, and you can taste delicacies from the castle kitchen. There will also be holiday stories and entertainment for people who have some Czech language skills.

Central Bohemia

Hear J.J. Ryba's "Česká mše Vánoční" on Dec. 11 at Karlštejn or take special Advent tours every Friday through Sunday until Dec. 18.

Křivoklát will host an advent market on Dec. 10–11 with fencing demonstrations, period music, and theater. There will be a daily royal procession as well.

Hradec Králové region

The Karlova Koruna chateau, owned by a branch of the noble Kinsky family, offers tours on Dec. 11 and 18 with explanations (in Czech) of local holiday traditions during the First Republic. There will also be refreshments and game products from the castle kitchen and a chance to buy gift packages from the Dary z lesű brand and Italian manufacturers.

Karlovy Vary region

Loket has a Christmas market on Dec. 10 and 11 that will feature music and theater, People can buy handmade gifts, decorate gingerbread houses, and eat traditional cuisine, and drink mulled wine.

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South Bohemia

Třebon is enlivened by Advent tours of the festively decorated castle on select days until Jan. 1. This year’s theme is the spirit of the First Republic. In addition, on the weekend of Dec. 17–18, the private Schwarzenberg apartments will come to life with tours called “The Last Princely Christmas.” which will take you to 1922.

The Červená Lhota castle will also open its gates for thematic tours on Dec. 10, 11, 17, 18, 28, 29, and 30 complemented by an exhibition of Nativity scenes. Tours will take place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and evening tours at 7 p.m. The castle’s Holy Trinity Chapel will also be accessible throughout the Christmas tours. For religious reasons, it will be decorated for Christmas only from Dec. 24 and Jan. 2.

Nové Hrady castle will embrace the Christmas atmosphere of the beginning of the 20th century at the Nové Hrady castle during tours of the festively decorated apartment of the estate manager. Tours take place several times a day on Dec.10–11 and Dec. 17–18.

Christmas gifts and inspiration for decorating gingerbread and making decorations can be found at a Christmas Fair hosted by the Dačice castle and museum. On Sunday, Dec. 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., you can look forward to demonstrations of traditional handicrafts and the sale of small Christmas gifts, ornaments, gingerbread and decorations. Creative and art workshops will be prepared for children.

Interior of Hluboká Castle decorated for the holidays. Photo: Facebook.
Interior of Hluboká Castle decorated for the holidays. Photo: Facebook.

Winter tours at Hluboká Castle have been attracting visitors for several years. In addition, on the weekend of Dec. 17–18, the route that includes the private rooms of the last Schwarzenbergs will be extended by the spaces of a unique kitchen. Here, people can taste goodies baked directly in the castle oven. The castle will be open daily except Mondays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until Dec. 18. During Advent, visitors will be able to admire a new figure in the castle’s Nativity scene in the courtyard – a Baby Jesus made by the South Bohemian woodcarver Roman Galek.

In Český Krumlov on Dec. 23, you can see a live Nativity scene in the second courtyard of the castle. The living tableaux will be accompanied by the singing of Christmas carols at 4:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The three Krumlov bears – Maria Theresia, Polyxena, and Vilém – will celebrate Christmas on Dec. 24. The music group Kapka music group will perform and sing well-known Christmas carols at 10 a.m.

Plzeň region

Old Bohemian Christmas customs and traditions can be seen in the U Matoušů farmhouse in Plzeň-Bolevec. Guided tours will tell you what happened in a village during Advent, how people predicted the future, and what widowed women did on St. Andrew's Day (Nov. 30). Tours take place until Dec. 23 from Tuesday to Friday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m..

Evening tours will be held at Rabí Castle on Dec. 10. People can learn about Advent and Christmas customs and traditions. The Christmas mood will be underlined by medieval music and carols performed by the group Gutta. The castle will be open from 3:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m..

Rabí Castle in winter. Photo: Facebook.
Rabí Castle in winter. Photo: Facebook.

How the count's family and their subjects celebrated Christmas at Manětín Castle over 100 years ago will be told in a Christmas play called “Koleda pro Štědruška.” It will take place on Saturday 17 Dec. 17 from 5 p.m. in the castle orangery. There will also be Christmas traditions, carols, a fairy tale atmosphere, and Christmas cookies.

Traditional Christmas concerts in the monastery church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Kladruby will take place with Michal Hrůza on Dec. 16 and the early music ensemble Cavall on Dec. 18. Both concerts start at 6 p.m.

The fairy tale film “Three Nuts for Cinderella” (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) was partly filmed at Švihov Castle. A screening of the film takes place at the castle on Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. Tours of the castle including an exhibit on the film take place on Dec. 10 and 17. You can also go to Švihov between Dec. 27 and 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Tři oříšky pro Popelku / Three Nuts for Cinderella is a beloved Czech Christmas fairy tale.
'Tři oříšky pro Popelku' (Three Nuts for Cinderella) was shot at Švihov Castle. Photo: National Film Archives.

A Christmas market takes place at Horšovský Týn on Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A live Nativity scene will take place at 5 p.m. in the courtyard.

You can admire historical and contemporary paper Nativity scenes until Jan. 6 at Kozel Castle. The exhibition in the riding hall will be complemented by demonstrations of Christmas customs and a display of various ways of decorating Christmas trees.

Vysočina region

A Christmas fair organized by the local primary school in cooperation with the town of Lipnice nad Sázavou will take place in the courtyard of Lipnice Castle on Dec, 10. You can sing Christmas carols here with the Lipnice Choir on Dec 23.

The castle at Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou on Dec. 10 and 11 has a fair in the castle courtyard that will also feature performances by jugglers as well as theater for children. There will be guided tours of the castle with a Christmas theme.

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