When it comes to tourism in the Czech Republic, few visitors venture past Prague, at most they pay a visit to Brno or Cesky Krumlov. It’s a great shame as there are plenty of beautiful towns with rich history where you won’t see a fellow traveller in sight.
I have just returned from Třeboň, a quaint spa town in the south of the Czech Republic. If you are a fan of places with a strong sense of tradition that transports you back into the olden days, all the while making you feel rejuvenated, you may want to add Třeboň to your list of places to see.
The castle dates back to the 14th century and it provides a look into the lives of the two most prominent houses in the region, the Rosenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs. The Rosenbergs were responsible for the area’s flourishing between the 13th and 17th century, and the nearby town of Cesky Krumlov still commemorates them each summer with its Five-petalled Rose Celebrations.
When the last Rosenberg died without an heir, the castle swapped owners a couple of times, finally ending in the hands of the German house of Schwarzenberg, having been given to the family by the emperor in 1660. The history of the Schwarzenbergs are a fascinating family with a tragic history, as they went from a lavish life of luxury to having to leave the country and their possessions during the second world war, and ultimately losing their properties during the communist era. While the former Schwarzenberg castles remain property of state, the family is still prominent in the country with its current head Karl VII of Schwarzenberg being a known politician.
Depending on which of the houses you are more interested in, or which of the time periods you find more appealing, you can choose from two routes of exploring the castle. There is a 45 minute tour devoted to each of powerful families. Tours in English must be booked in advance and should be for a minimum of 8 people, and will cost you 180 CZK per person (approximately £5 or $7.50). To find out more or to book your visit, go to the castle’s website.
If you can’t get enough of the House of Schwarzenberg at the castle, you can also explore the Schwartzenberg Tomb just outside of the town. It’s a pleasant 20 minute stroll through the castle’s lush gardens and along the lake Svet.
Třeboň’s town centre is relatively small, but it’s a great example of a historical Czech town without the floods of tourists you’ll encounter in Třeboň’s more famous counterparts. You’ll encounter a number of cafes tempting you with tasty treats.
The main town square offers a decent selection of restaurants and pubs, which are particularly pleasant in the summer when you can sit outside in the sun. With the area being rich in lakes, most menus boast several fish dishes. Try out the local specialty, carp chips, and flush it down with Třeboň’s beer Bohemia Regent. If you enjoy the taste, you can even stop by the Bohemia Regent brewery right in the city centre for a more in-depth beer-tasting session.
If you venture out further you might come across one of the town’s spa resorts. You’ll also notice a number of parks and lush greenery throughout the town, putting you in a relaxed holiday mood instantly. Visiting in the summer months also has the added benefit of cooling down in the lake closest to the town, Svet, as there is a dedicated beach area not too far from the centre. The name Svet actually means “world” in Czech, and play on words is present all throughout the town with slogans such as “having the World at your fingertips”.
Třeboň can be visited as a day trip from the nearby city of České Budejovice – or if you’re pressed for time you can squeeze all of the main attractions in half a day. The coach from České Budejovice bus station takes approximately 30-45 minutes and costs 32 CZK (about £1 or $1.40). You buy the ticket from the driver at the beginning of your trip. Exact bus timetables can be found here.