Yesterday I went exploring by bicycle on an easy trail that passes along the Vltava River and several ponds to the town of Hluboká nad Vltavou with its beautiful castle and lush English park. Hluboká Castle is a Czech National Cultural Monument. King Charles IV, the first king of Bohemia to become Holy Roman Emperor, visited the castle when residing in České Budějovice.
Originally built in the 13th century the castle’s history and appearance passed through many centuries of royal families. The Gestapo seized it in 1940. After WWII the government of Czechoslovakia confiscated the castle.
The centuries saw it remodeled in Renaissance, Baroque, and Windsor Tudor styles. Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg, a German official, created its present ”romantic neo-gothic” style.
The castle is open to the public and popular with tourists and locals. Exhibitions from the Southern Bohemian gallery are on display in the winter garden.
Bicycling is a great way to see Czech Republic’s beautiful landscapes, medieval towns, towers, castles, monasteries, and parks. Along the way I truly enjoyed the scenery, including a horse stable and riding school and several swimming holes. You can hop on a local train with your bike if you need a break. I’m not an avid bike rider and yesterday I took a spill – into a patch of stinging nettles – ouch. Parts of the trail were crowded with cyclists and skaters. In the city you need to beware of the uneven cobblestone streets.