Kromeriz, Czech Republic, is one of those perfect towns in Central Europe that are often overlooked by tourists. And it is a bit off the path, but nevertheless, Kromeriz deserves a solid spot in your itinerary.
Kromeriz Castle and Gardens are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and that is already a good reason to go there. But the town offers more attractions and can be a great place to slow down and relax in beautiful surroundings and enjoy a laid-back vibe.
I finally made it to Kromeriz only recently, on a small detour when I was going back home from my trip to Hungary. As soon as I stepped into the Old Town and wandered along the winding lanes, I fell for the place. Even if my stay there was rather unlucky, with a few key Kromeriz attractions being either closed or under construction, I still loved my trip there. And I’m here to convince you to visit Kromeriz too!
Where is Kromeriz, Czech Republic
Kromeriz, a town of almost 30.000 inhabitants, is located in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. Prague, the capital, is 270 km away. Other nearby large Czech cities are Brno (65 km west) and Olomouc (45 km north).
How to get to Kromeriz
If you travel by car, it’s very easy to reach Kromeriz as the D1 motorway from Brno to Ostrava passes through the northern part of the town.
With public transport, it’s slightly more tricky but not impossible. The local trains go to Kromeriz but coming from any major city within the country (and abroad), you need to change trains in Hulin, only 10 minutes away from Kromeriz. Trains are usually connected, so the change should go rather smoothly.
You can also get here by direct bus from Brno (other destinations might require a change).
Where to stay in Kromeriz
If you decide to stay overnight there are a few accommodation options to choose from. I stayed at Hotel Octarna (9.0/10 on Booking) and can definitely recommend it. The place is just a short walk away from the Old Town and all the attractions, and the rooms and spacious and comfortable. You can book your room in Hotel Octarna here.
Other recommended places to stay in Kromeriz:
- Hotel Purkmistr (8.5/10 on Booking)
- Penzion U Kubesa (9.0/10 on Booking)
- La Fresca (8.5/10 on Booking)
What to see in Kromeriz
Since the town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, you can expect many attractions in Kromeriz. The biggest one is, of course, Kromeriz Castle, the famous residence of the bishops and archbishops of Olomouc.
The first residence was built in this place already in 1500, in the late Gothic style with Renaissance details. A bit over a hundred years later, during the Thirty Years’ War, the castle was destroyed by the Swedish Army. Shortly after, the mighty family of Liechtensteins commissioned the renovations of the castle in the Baroque style. This is when the magnificent Kromeriz Castle we can admire today was built, a real testimony of the importance and wealth of the town in the late 17th century.
While the place is already impressive from the outside, don’t miss the interior too! There are different parts of the castle you can see: Representative Halls, Sala Terrena, Chateau Gallery, and Chateau Tower. Each of them requires a ticket, the first two are visited with a guide.
It’s better to get the ticket in advance, especially in the summer months and on the weekends. You can do it online on the official website of the castle here. Most of the tours are available in the Czech language only, but even if you don’t manage to get the ticket for the English one, the guide will provide you with a detailed description of every room visited (I got one in Polish on my tour).
The interiors are stunning and so full of details and history, and believe me, you don’t want to miss it. Unfortunately, taking pictures inside is not allowed, but you might have seen it already in some well-known movies that were filmed inside the Kromeriz Castle (such as Milos Forman’s “Amadeus” or BBC’s adaptation of “The Three Musketeers” from 2014).
Among all the beautiful rooms and chambers, the most impressive one is the parliamentary hall (also known as a great dining room), one of the largest rococo halls in the Czech Republic. It is rich in details, with high mirrors enlarging the room, as well as ceiling frescoes and golden stuccos. The hall got its name when in 1848 (during the Springtime of Nations) Parliamentary Assembly of the Habsburg Monarchy moved its proceedings from Vienna to Kromeriz to work on the project of the new constitution. That’s when the town’s importance heightened, and Kromeriz started attracting prominent people besides politicians also, clergy, artists, and scientists. Still, today, when wandering around Kromeriz, you will see numerous signs commemorating well-known people of the past. The popularity of Kromeriz among people of culture gave the city the nickname “Athens of Haná.”
When exploring the Kromeriz Castle, you will see the cultural testimony of the town – in the library, there are over 90.000 books, including manuscripts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Ludwik van Beethoven, the walls of the castle are lined with valuable paintings (second most significant collection of paintings in the Czech Republic), with the most important one “Flaying of Marsyas” by Titian.
Once you are done with visiting the interiors of the castle, don’t miss the tower too. You need to walk up 206 steps, but the view is worth the effort. You can see the whole town from above as well as the surrounding hills. Since Kromeriz Castle is located just off the main square, you can get a perfect vista of pastel townhouses and soaring towers from above.
Just outside of the castle, you can visit one of the two UNESCO-listed gardens Kromeriz is known for – the Castle Garden. Technically it is open every day and is free of charge to explore, but I was unlucky; a day before my visit to Kromeriz, there was a massive storm, and the garden was closed for a clean-up. Fingers crossed, you will be luckier than me.
The garden of 64 hectares was established in the early 16th century, originally for fruits and vegetables. It was eventually transformed into an English-style garden where today you can find over 200 kinds of trees and shrubs from all over the world. In the 19th century, a few structures, such as the Chinese Pavilion or Pompeian colonnade, were added to the park.
A second garden, located some 15 minutes walk away from Kromeriz Castle, is the Flower Garden, also included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The place is unique on a global scale, with two different garden styles (late Italian Renaissance and the Baroque-Classicist style of French gardens) mixed and over twenty thousand flowers and plants planted.
The biggest attraction of the garden (besides all the nature around) is the impressive baroque rotunda with a richly decorated interior. While it’s beautiful from the outside, the stunning ceiling makes your jaw drop.
A few steps away from the rotunda, you will find a 244-meter-long colonnade, with numerous sculptures of ancient gods. You can also climb to the top of the structure to see the Flower Garden in its whole glory. Again, luck was not on my side, as the viewing platform was closed for renovations.
There are different sections of the garden: an orange part, a Dutch part, an orangery, or the palm house, among many others. The best way to explore the place is in no rush. It is a pure pleasure to wander around the garden, this is a truly relaxing experience, and it is easy to forget you are actually in the middle of the town.
Besides the UNESCO-listed attractions, Kromeriz is this typical Central-European town with beautiful architecture, pastel townhouses, and a lazy vibe, perfect for slow holidays. There are a few interesting churches, the main square with the town hall from the early 17th century, and numerous winding, picturesque lanes perfect for wandering around. But these all are just an addition to the UNESCO highlights of the town.
Once you are done visiting the main attractions of the town, head to the main square (Velké náměstí) to sit down in one of the cafes or restaurants around, reflect on the importance of this small town and enjoy its slow life.
Where to go next
From Kromeriz, you can continue your journey either to Olomouc and then onward to Prague, to Ostrava and toward Poland, or to Brno and Moravia region. No matter what you choose, you will not be disappointed as all these places and really beautiful and interesting, definitely worth visiting.
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