Winter castle walk: More Czech castles and chateaux to stay open year round

The number of castles and national monuments that are open year round has expanded. Here's where to enjoy a scenic winter daytrip.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 07.01.2022 15:50 (updated on 10.01.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Castles in the Czech Republic typically offer advent festivities and then close for the winter season, reopening around Easter just in time for scenic spring visits.

Following a holiday break, The National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) has announced that it will expand its list of monuments that operate year-round, inviting people to enjoy a winter walk in some of the country's most-visited strongholds, gardens, and aristocratic residences.

This year a number of castles that are normally open year-round were also shuttered for a Christmas break due to Covid surges and, in some cases, for technical reasons, the NPÚ recently announced on Facebook.

Many of these selected sights began operating for the winter season this week, and more will reopen this weekend and next.

Among them, Křivoklát and Mníšek pod Brdy open on Saturday, Jan. 8, and Valeč Chateau and Brno's Vila Stiassni open on Friday, Jan. 14.

A few lesser-known sites that will now remain open all year include Vimperk Castle, and Třeboň, Sychrov, Zákupy, and the Slatiňany chateaus, the latter of which underwent extensive renovation last year and is now offering a new tour of its kitchens and the summer residences of the Auersperg princes.

Some of the Czech Republic’s most popular attractions, Karlštejn, Hluboká nad Vltavou chateau, Český Krumlov castle and chateau, and the gardens in Kroměříž will also remain open through winter.

Karlštejn’s basic tour is available Friday to Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm until the end of February. Hours will expand after that. The chapel tour covering the most historically valuable sections doesn’t restart until the end of April and the tower viewing deck opens May 1. The basic tour includes the Knight’s Hall, Banquet Hall, bedroom, treasury, courthouse, and prison. A copy of the Czech St. Wenceslas Crown is also on display on this route.

The winter circuit is open at Hluboká nad Vltavou on Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm until March 31. The circuit has a strong hunting theme, with trophies and photographs. People can also see formerly private suites from four generations of residents. Several more extensive tours start June 1.

At Český Krumlov, two tours are available on Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm. One features Renaissance and Baroque apartments, and the other includes the castle museum and castle tower. On Saturdays and Sundays, the stables are open as well. Two more tours become available at the start of May and June.

The flower garden at Kroměříž is open daily from 10 am to 3 pm for individual visits, but guided tours are not available until June. The garden is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Křivoklát Castle will offer just one of the six possible tours. The basic palace tour takes place Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2 pm. Other tours should open from April. The basic tour includes the prisons, chapel, Knight’s Hall, library, picture gallery, and courtyard.

Visitors should check the current opening hours online before visiting, and also be aware of the latest Covid restrictions which frequently change.

Photo via www.npu.cz
Photo via www.npu.cz

Currently, respirators must be worn indoors. Guided tours with over 20 people must provide vaccination or recovery proof, with some exceptions.

Those under 18 who are not vaccinated and those who cannot be vaccinated must show a PCR test no more than 72 hours old. Full details can be found on the NPÚ website.

The NPÚ, which manages close to a hundred buildings, mostly former aristocratic residences, maintains up-to-date pages for all of the historic sites it oversees. It also offers online tickets.

See the complete list of Czech castles and chateaux with newly extended winter opening hours here.

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