Karlštejn Castle, only two hours by train from Prague, Czech Republic, is a magical place where time seems to have stopped hundreds of years ago. Check these photos and be transported to a fairytale!
The Czech Republic is full of secret spots. Castles from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are real hidden gems in this country that even now, hundreds of years later, stand as proof of the immense power held by Charles IV, King of Bohemia.
One of these magical places, that seem to have been taken from a story like Cinderella or Snow White, is Karlštejn located near a small town full nature, art, and wonderful cuisine. Only two-hours by train from Prague, the Karlštejn Castle, according to the official website, “was founded in 1348 by the Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor as his private residence and a place of safekeeping royal treasures, especially his collections of holy relics and the Imperial Crown Jewels".
And the castle still looks as regal and magnificent as, we imagine, it looked on that day. Once you climb the small slope that leads to the entrance to the castle area, there is a small street market where you can buy wine, food and souvenirs made by the people who live in the surrounding area or in nearby towns.
Photo by @wanderlusterian
Photos can simply do no justice to how breathtaking the view is. The grey of its outside walls paints a sharp contrast with the deep blue of the Czech sky. Once your eyes get used to the beauty and harmony of the castle’s architecture -and you catch your breath after the 20 minute walk uphill- you will enter a magical world straight from a book of fairytales: people dressed as if time had stopped centuries ago, walking the gardens and corridors of the castle.
Photo by Anton Scherbakov
After you buy your ticket, an actor will take you on a tour through some areas of the castle, while explaining some details about the life of Charles IV and his court. The wooden floors and old paintings convey a feeling of being in a place frozen in time. The hour long tour is full of surprises which I will not spoil for you. All the performers at Karlštejn make an incredible effort to preserve the aura of magic that makes this place so special, in a way that is not only entertaining but that also honors their past and their traditions. Even small babies appear in the performances.
Photo by @wanderlusterian
Late September is the time to go if you are a wine lover. The fall season provides the perfect ambience for tasting the traditional Burčak, a wine that is still fermenting, something like a grape cider. It is sweeter, and thicker, than regular wine; with barely 10% alcohol content, it is easy to forget it is an alcoholic beverage and keep drinking it until the sudden dizziness reminds you that this is, in fact, wine. If sweet wine is not your thing, try one of the many traditional beers, not for anything this is one of the most exported Czech goods.
Photo by @janaduff
Either way, be sure to accompany your choice of beverage with one of the traditional dishes of the czech cuisine: fried cheese, Guláš, or dumplings with cranberry sauce. Remember to stay hydrated: beer or wine are cheaper here than water!
By: Paula Vázquez
Cover photo by @jerrykavan