Visiting Tabor, Czech Republic, is like traveling back in time. The picturesque town, one of the prettiest in the country, was created as the perfect medieval settlement, and still today you can feel the vibe of the past when wandering the winding lanes of the Old Town. At the same time, Tabor somehow doesn’t get the attention of international tourists yet easily could compete with the more popular destinations like Trebic or Mikulov.
Even if it’s very easy to visit Tabor as the town is conveniently located on the main railway line between Prague and Ceske Budejovice, it took me years (and numerous trips when I passed by the place) to finally get there. I could see right away that I’m in for a treat as the walk from the train station to the Old Town was a good indicator of what the place had to offer. And with every step, it was only getting better and better.
If you are planning a trip to the Czech Republic and looking for some less popular yet interesting and beautiful places, be sure to consider Tabor for your itinerary. The town can be visited as one of day trips from Prague or as an easy stop on the way south. No matter if you stay here just a few hours or decided to spend a night in Tabor, you will surely fall for this charming little town and its medieval beauty.
Where is Tabor, Czech Republic
Tabor, a town of around 35 thousand inhabitants, is located in the central part of the country, 90 km south of Prague (the capital of the Czech Republic), 60 km north of Ceske Budejovice and 115 km east of Pilsen.
A brief history of Tabor
Tabor is one of the most important places in Czech history. The first settlement was founded here around 1270 but only a few years later it was destroyed. In 1420 the radical wing of Hussites (the local religious movement in medieval times, led by Jan Hus) arrived in the area to recreate their vision of the perfect town and society. The name or the place – Tabor – was used as the reference to Mount Tabor in the territory of present Israel, soon the Hussites who inhabited the place named themselves “Taborites”.
For a few years, they treat the town as their base from where they led successful expeditions around (until the 1434 Battle of Lipany which was also the end of the Hussite Wars). Despite the defeat, Taborites had good relations with then-ruling King Sigismund who promoted the place to the status of a royal town which helped the development of the town.
The current look of Tabor that we can still admire today dates mostly to the late 15th and 16th centuries, making it one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Central Europe.
How to get to Tabor
Tabor is very easy to visit by public transport, well-connected by trains with Prague and Ceske Budejovice. From both cities the trains depart twice an hour, from Prague the journey to Tabor takes 1 hour with the fastest connections, from Ceske Budejovice the fastest train is 40 minutes. You can check the connections and buy tickets online at the website of Ceske Drahy (local train company) or in their mobile app Můj vlak (I definitely recommend it!).
How to get around Tabor
Once you arrive at Tabor it’s an easy 20 minute walk from the train station to the main square – Žižka Square. The Old Town isn’t very big and mostly pedestrian so the best way to get to know it is to wander around.
How much time for visiting Tabor
Tabor is rather small hence makes a perfect destination for day trips either from Prague or from Ceske Budejovice. To see everything (including the museums and underground tunnels) you need some 3-4 hours.
But if you are traveling from Prague to the south of the Czech Republic (or in the reverse direction), it’s worth considering staying overnight in Tabor to enjoy its charming Old Town once all the daytrippers are gone.
If you decide to stay for the night in Tabor, here is the recommended accommodation in the Old Town:
- Hotel Nautilus (8.8/10)
- Penzion THIR (9.4/10)
- Penzion Kostnický dům (8.6/10)
- Penzion Hradební (8.7/10)
What to see in Tabor
The old town of Tabor is rather small but so very charming. The main square – Žižka Square – is its core where you can find some of the most beautiful buildings in Tabor, including burgher townhouses in different architectonic style, mostly Gothic and Renaissance, but also Baroque or Rococo. Some of them have even rich frescos, sgraffiti and gable decorations, to make them even more eye-catching.
The most impressive structure here is, however, the late-Gothic Old Town Hall built in between 1420 and 1521. Since it’s been badly damaged during the Thirty Year’s War the place was reconstructed in Baroque style but eventually, at the end of the 19th century, the Gothic elements were added again. The unique combination of style catches your attention right away.
Inside the Old Town Hall you can visit the Hussite Museum but it’s worth visiting it also to see amazing interior of the building. This is also where you can start the underground tour.
The underground tunnels date back to medieval times and were used to store food but also as a shelter in case of the attack. Today you can visit around 500-meter long section of the tunnels that run under Žižka Square.
The building that dominates the main square and is visible from most of the places in Tabor is the Gothic Dean’s Church from the late 15th century, built in the Bohemian Renaissance style.
You can climb up some 250 stairs (and sometimes half-crawl under bells) to the tower. But the view is definitely worth the effort! From the top you can admire a beautiful panorama of Tabor and surroundings and you can clearly see the boundaries of the medieval town.
Just remember to have extra cash with you as you pay on top and credit cards are not accepted.
Before continuing your venture further into the old town take a look at two more important structures you can find on the main square.
The monument to Jan Žižka stands proudly near the Dean’s Church, looking over the main square that was in fact named after this medieval military leader, the greatest one of the Hussite. In the late 19th century Žižka, who played an important role in Tabor’s history, was commemorated by the local authorities when this monument was erected.
Another structure worth noticing is the Renaissance fountain from the second half of the 16th century with the statue of the knight on top. It’s supposed to symbolize the market privileges that Tabor had and is a great example of the Renaissance public art.
Back in medieval times Tabor had its own castle (most likely dating back to the late 13th century) but today the only remnant of it is Kotnov Tower, located a short walk away from the main square. It’s definitely worth visiting it, not only to see the exhibition about the history of Tabor and the region.
The highlight of this place is the view from the tower, probably the most beautiful one you can find in Tabor. You can admire the sea of red rooftops of the Old Town as well as the winding Luznice river and rolling hills surrounding the town.
The Bechyně Gate, adjacent to Kotnov Tower, is part of the fortification system of medieval Tabor and one of the entry points to the town, the only one that remained until this day. When wandering around the Old Town you will most likely stumble across even more remnants of the medieval fortification system that was erected when Tabor became the Hussite fortress.
Once you are done with visiting all the important Tabor monuments, it’s time for the real highlight of the place – a slow, aimless wander around the Old Town. The maze od narrow, picturesque lanes is perfect for a stroll.
It’s so easy to fall for the place and its medieval vibe when exploring the area. You might not know what kind of wonders you will find during your stroll, there are so many architectural gems around Tabor Old Town.
After all the sightseeing you can sit down in one of the cafes or restaurants on the main square to relax a bit and enjoy the slow, laid-back atmosphere of Tabor. It’s a perfect ending of the sightseeing here.
Where to go next
The Czech Republic is a wonderful country to visit yet most visitors focus mostly on Prague and Cesky Krumlov (which are great too).
Fortunately, you can see some really amazing places if you travel a bit south from Tabor. Not far away you can visit Pisek, České Budějovice, Hluboká nad Vltavou, Třeboň, Jindřichův Hradec, and eventually continue your journey to Český Krumlov.
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