Blatna Castle – Zamek Blatná in Czech – is one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. It may not be one of the best-known Czech castles like Karlštejn or Konopiste, but it’s far and away one of the most picturesque. Blatná also has a wonderful deer park the other side of its moat, where the tame deer regularly expect to be fed by hand.
Unusually for castles in Czech Republic, Castle Blatna is situated on an island, surrounded by a moat and connected to dry land by two bridges. It’s just inside the region of South Bohemia, close to the small city of Pisek. It’s accessible by (rather slow) train from Prague, and is one of the longer day trips from Prague, at over two hours each way.
The Castle is sometimes referred to as Blatna chateau, and it does bear some resemblance to some of the Loire valley’s finest – albeit with a splendid Gothic watchtower. Its distance from Prague – around 60 miles – means that it remains one of the loveliest hidden gems in Czech Republic.
Read on for all you need to know about gorgeous Blatna Castle.
Blatna Castle – An Introduction
Blatna is one of a small number of castles of the Czech Republic to be surrounded by water
It’s one of the best-known south Bohemian castles, and is less than 100 km from Prague
Its golden age was in the 14th century, when the Gothic core was built by the Rožmital dynasty
Visually it’s one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, with a Gothic entrance tower and partly Renaissance wing built in the 15th century by Benedikt Rejt, who also built the Vladislav Hall in. Prague Castle
The Castle has been owned by the Hildprandt family (originally from Austria) since the 1790s – though they were forced to live away from the Castle for much of the Communist era
Blatna Castle Park is home to a herd of tame fallow deer, making it a very popular destination for families and kids
Where Is Blatna?
Blatna is 96 km (60 miles) south-west of Prague, the in the far north of South Bohemia. It’s also 29 km from the lovely town of Pisek.
How To Get To Blatna From Prague
Blatna is one of the more time-consuming Prague day trips because a change of trains is involved, as well as a trip on of the slower regional Czech Railways branch lines. Regular trains depart from Praha hlavni nadraži (Prague main railway station) and Praha Smichovske nadraži (Prague Smichov station) six minutes later for Zdice, from where direct trains run to Blatna.The Czech Rail České dráhy website has up-to=-date schedules.
It’s a very slow but enjoyable run, and you briefly see Karlštejn Castle on the right on the first part of the journey. The second part runs through rolling fields, passing several small Bohemian towns and villages. If you like to take things slowly, the Castle and Deer Park make it one of the best day trips from Prague.
If you’re travelling by car, it’s around a 90-minute journey via the D4 and Route 4.
Castle Blatna Opening Times
As with other Czech Republic castles and Prague gardens, the visiting season is surprisingly short; it’s open from May through October, and closed from November through April.
It’s open every day from June to the end of August, opening at 1000 in June and 0900 in July and August.
The Castle is also open Tuesdays to Sundays in May and September, and on weekends in October.
Blatna Deer Park is open daily year-round. A single entry to the Deer Park via the Castle costs 20 Kc (roughly $0.90).
Blatna Castle Tour
The full Blatna Castle Tour takes in all three of the palaces (Roždrazov, Rožmital, and Rejt), and takes around two hours, costing 230 CZK. There are also shorter tours of each individual palace, an exterior tour and a children’s tour taking in several highlights.
I went on a tour which was conducted in Czech, but was able to follow it easily as I had notes in English from the reception. The full list of tours can be found on the Castle Blatna website.
Is the Castle Blatna Tour worth joining?
Yes. The best part of it is the Green Chamber, a stunning frescoed room from around 1480, a unique survival in the Czech Republic.
The tour I joined also visited some fascinating rooms, including the study where Czech scientist Jan Purkyne taught the family children from 1810 to 1813, and the room where Cornelia Hildprandt, one of the most prominent family members, spent much of her time.
Some of the rooms and corridors are decorated with a profusion of antlers – one of the Hildprandt ancestors had a predilection for shooting them and hanging their antlers on the wall as a trophy. This makes for some very atmospheric, striking interiors, one of which was used in a Czech film in the 1950s.
Castle Blatna Deer Park
Blatna Castle Deer Park is a wonderful place to wander or to take the kids for an hour or two. There is a herd of thirty or so fallow deer roaming the Park, and they are all very much accustomed to human contact and enjoy being fed by hand.
Our six-year-old son was in raptures. He went straight up to some of the biggest deer in the herd, and fed them carrots and apples by hand. He absolutely loved it, as did the other kids there.
The house in the Park is also home to the Castle owners, the Hildprandts.
Places To Eat In Blatna
There are a couple of cafes across the street from the Castle, but they were closed by the time we left the Park and Castle.
Oh My Deer Café is on the right-hand side of the Castle courtyard, where they serve coffee, biscuits, cakes and (my wife and son reliably inform me) some of the best gelato they’ve had north of the Alps.
We dined at the Restaurace Beranek, which serves a mixture of traditional Czech dishes and pizzas. The food was superb, and the portion sizes more than generous.
We also stopped by at the Kulturni Kavarna U Sulcu, close to the tourist office, for a coffee and slice of cake. It’s a gorgeous café, somewhere we’ll definitely return.