The Alluring Castles of South Bohemia

Text by Patti Morrow

South Bohemia, a region in the Czech Republic, has some of the most stunning castles and “Instagrammable” spots in Europe.

Hluboká nad Vltavou Castle

With a fairytale façade, graceful spiral staircases, and the gorgeous flower-strewn grounds, it’s no wonder that Hluboká Castle is considered to be one of the most beautiful and romantic castles in the Czech Republic.

In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built on site by Bohemian kings as a guardian fortress. Over the centuries, the castle underwent several expansions and major renovations, taking on the styles of Renaissance and Baroque.

The current neo-Gothic transformation took place during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg, one of the most well-known families of Czech nobility, ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the style of England’s Windsor Castle.

The Schwarzenbergs also created the expansive park, meticulously landscaped with colorful flowers that enhance the castle experience. Although you can enter the main arch and wander around the inner courtyard, you can only see the 140 rooms and 11 towers in the interior as part of a guided tour. Visitors can take one of a variety of tours, including the representation rooms, ceremonial halls, private apartments, kitchen and tower. Some of the lavish interior items are the exquisite crystal chandeliers, rich tapestries, carved wood paneling, pristine period furniture, and collection of paintings.

Best Hluboká Instagram Spots
  1. There’s a long dirt path in front of the castle. This is the best place for a vertical photo with the castle in the background.
  2. If you follow the dirt path away from the castle, past the hedges and flower beds, you’ll see steps leading up to the top of a hill. At the summit is an aerial view of the castle for great photos
Český Krumlov Castle

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov has the distinction of being the second biggest castle complex in the world, and one of the most beautiful sites in Europe. Located about three hours south of Prague, this enchanting town is nestled in the hills and countryside of South Bohemia.

The Vltava River twists, turns and bisects the town forming a natural moat around part the castle. Český Krumlov is immersed in the intricate and tortuous history of several high-ranking noble families, each of which had control over the castle and town during different eras. The castle was built in the 13th-century by the Vítkovci

family; from the 14th to 16th century it was held by the Rosenberg family, who ran the city from this perch for three centuries until sold in the 17th century. From the early 18th century until its nationalization in 1947 the castle was owned by the House of Schwarzenberg – the same noble family that owned Hluboká. After World War II, the castle was returned to Czechoslovakia.

The castle itself is pure medieval magic. The prominent feature is the vibrantly-colored round tower, which can be seen from anywhere in old town. Inside the castle grounds is the Gothic-style Church of St. Vitus, dating back to the 15th century, with frescoes from the same period. The castle grounds include extensive gardens and concerts are held in inside the castle’s 17th century Baroque theater.

Best Český Krumlov Instagram Spots

The Castle complex is so large and expansive that it’s not possible to get an allen compassing photo of the entire castle and grounds. However, there are two places to capture some incredible shots:

  1. Go through the Red Gate in old town and enter the castle complex. Cross the wooden bridge, pass the peepholes, and look for the door on the left which leads to an open-air terrace. Here, you can capture the iconic painted tower as well as the charming old town, and the twisting Vltava River filled with kayakers and rafters. Note: it will likely be crowded, but I found other tourists to be extremely polite in allowing everyone their chance to get next to the edge for their selfies.
  2. Head across the river for the best views with the castle complex and red roofs of the village in the background. In the old town, there’s a bridge that crosses the Vltava River. After crossing the bridge, take the second left (it’s an uphill, cobbled street). Continue uphill until you reach the main road and bear left until you reach a large cement patio that looks down and across to the castle. This is that iconic shot that you see in glossy travel brochures. Note, there are far less people if you go early in the morning.
Patti Morrow

Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of Luggage and Lipstick – an award-winning travel blog for Baby Boomer adventurers. She was named by TripAdvisor as one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.” Patti is the Author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Woman Travelling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 publications, including The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, International Living Magazine, Travel Girl, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled to six continents, more than 65 countries, islands, and territories abroad, and most of the U.S., frequently in search of the World’s Best Beach and the World’s Best Margarita!

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