Karlstejn (KARL-shtine) is the most popular of the dozens & dozens of Czech castles one can visit around the country. Firstly, it was Charles IV’s (Holy Roman Emperor) favorite castle, and secondly, it’s only 40 mins outside Prague.
The castle tour takes you inside the royal chambers, where some authentic furniture & architectural touches (ceilings & paneling) yet exist from the 14th C. Very cool. As castles go, Karlstejn is picturesque inside & out. The epynomous town below the castle is now a touristy boggle of a couple lanes, but otherwise not much else.
What makes the castle really worth the short trip is the wilderness trail that leads from the main entrance towards a distant town, and a monastery 8km throught forest, over stream, up hill, and over dale. I wanted to hike some of this trail, but knew I couldn’t go the distance cuz of my knee. Though it works pretty well even for a goodly strenuous hike, I didn’t want to push a 16km return trip (the monastery doesn’t have bus or train service back to Karlstejn).
Anyway, I hiked a good 4km, and it was fairly easy going. I got a few nice pics of a huge poppy field that looks back onto a portion of the castle.
On the way back into town, I took a road that skirts below the west side of Karlstejn, leading into town. What I found made the trip: a nice mom & pop café that had good food and wine at a local’s price. A potato pancake filled with hot cabbage and a thinly sliced ham steak. Yummy!