Have you seen lots of Prague already? it is time to take a break from it then and head outside of the city. Explore a little bit of the countryside and beautiful nature that the Czech Republic has to offer. This country has an excellent public transportation so taking a train is the most convenient way to do this. No need to rent a car and get stuck in traffic…because you would. The Karlstejn Castle is only 45 minutes away from Prague by train which goes every 30 minutes! Take one from the Central station (Hlavni Nadrazi) to Karlstejn for about 100CZK (return ticket).
The Czech Republic is full of castles, seriously, they are everywhere and it feels as if they all look the same, at least to me. But if you only have time for a one day trip, this is the one to see. It was built in 1348, a fun fact – more than 100 years before America was discovered, by the king Charles IV. You know, the Charles Bridge, Charles Square, the statue of king Charles at the top of the Wenceslas Square, Charles University….Very important person in our history. The Castle is nicknamed the country’s jewel for its importance to the king, and because the crown jewels were kept there for a very long time.
It is a castle which means it’s on a hill and requires a bit of hiking to reach. It’s only about a 25 minute walk though. You have a chance to walk around the castle, which is surrounded by green fields and woods or you can join a tour for 330CZK to see the inside of the castle as well. That you can book online or on location (I would recommend to book online on the weekend). To the castle is attached a chapel filled with beautiful mural art, including a collection of 129 board paintings which is the largest of its kind in the world.
Even though the castles is somewhat on a hill, there are taller hills surrounding it which makes it really picturesque and easy to get nice photos of the entire castle peaking from the greenery. To make a full day of exploring of it, only about another 25 minutes of walking and you reach a complex of these small natural canyons. Two of the best known are called “Big America” and “Little America”. It’s no Grand Canyon but it offers some nice views, time spent in nature and it is a to go spot for the locals on a day off.
There are trains going back to Prague every 30 – 60 minutes, until midnight, so there is plenty of time to get lost on the trail and still make it back to Prague for dinner :-).