Castles of the Czech Countryside

Castles of the Czech Countryside

On the road from Prague to Český Krumlov we saw two amazing castles. Their names are Zvíkov and Hluboká, and they are almost completely different… aside from one thing, they are both spectacular in their own ways.

Zvíkov was at the point where the Otava river fed into the Vltava river. Its remote location on a freshwater peninsula is only accessible by boat or a narrow walking path. Zvíkov was also home to lots of unique wildlife, including brightly colored bugs (like the firebug) and birds (like the pied wagtail). Zvíkov was mostly ruins of a medieval castle, but some of this made it even more enjoyable. I personally like castle ruins a lot because it teaches you about the history of the castle, including that castle ruins are usually the sign of a strong castle because they are still functional in their current state without being rebuilt. It also teaches you a lot about what potentially happened to the castle because different weapons and natural dangers leave different marks on the castle in the same way that a mountain lion and a stork leave different footprints. Zvíkov, Prague, and Český Krumlov all made the the Vltava river the best river in the entire Czech Republic (in my opinion).

Zvíkov Castle
The Spectacular Vltava River
Song Thrush
Pied Wagtail

Hluboká was mostly incredible because of its grounds, including an amazing flower garden with clusters of neon flowers exploding from every place that you’d expect them and more. Another great part of the grounds were the woods just outside of the castle, housing large amounts of lesser bluethroats (spectacular mahogany birds with amazing blue/grey throat feathers) and the Eurasian nuthatch (a small yellow/red/grey bird that is usually seen on or around trees). The view from the castle over the town was incredible (if you manage to get to the top of the tallest tower that would be a totally epic panorama). All around the main courtyard of the castle, we saw tons of old hunting trophies positioned all over the walls like gargoyles with real horns. The atmosphere of the castle was amazing, aside from one thing: a hotel that is a fake castle replica halfway up the hill to the actual castle (built way after the real castle was made) that looks, in my opinion, like it should be in Las Vegas!!! Hluboká also had an archery tryout station a short distance from the main building complex. The building itself reminded me a lot of Trakošćan (click this link to see my photos and experience at Trakošćan: My Trakošćan post). These were only some of the very memorable experiences on the way to Český Krumlov. In my opinion, these two castles are must visits for anyone driving from Prague to Český Krumlov (or the other way around).

Hluboká Castle
Eurasian Nuthatch
Lesser Bluethroat