Most often, ancient castles are such original museums in which no one lives (except for ghosts), and tourists are shown a recreated atmosphere of previous years. All this is very interesting, but it can be difficult to imagine how one can live within these walls. But for some, castles even now are commonplace, a familiar “apartment” and work at the same time. As, for example, for the owners of Cesky Sternberk, which is located near Prague. The doors to this castle are open to everyone who wants to visit a real residential fortress with a rich history and at the same time boast to friends that they shook hands with its owner.
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How to get to Český Šternberk
Despite the proximity of the capital (it is only 50 km north-west of the castle) and the city of Benešov, which is a transit point on the way to other sights of the region, getting to Cesky Sternberk is not very convenient. That is why many people prefer to take a tour in Prague. But the trouble is that guides often take a little time to explore this castle, combining a visit to Český Sternberk with a trip to other castles. If you want to explore it in detail and thoughtfully, enjoy a walk around the neighborhood and take pictures, you need to go there on your own.
The castle itself is located near the village of Cesky Sternberk, or rather, the settlement at one time arose around the castle. This town can be reached from Prague by train or bus. When choosing a bus route to Cesky Sternberk (departure from the Roztyly bus station), please note that there are few direct buses to it and they take quite a long time (2-2.5 hours).
Traveling by train, alas, also does not save you from transfers. Getting from Prague, from the main railway station of the capital (Hlavní Nádraží) or from the train station in Benešov (Benešov u Prahy), you will need to transfer to another train at the Cercany station and from there go to the Cesky Sternberk station. Travel time from Benešov is about 1.5 hours, the trip from the capital takes 2 hours.
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Most tourists after a tour of the castle go to booked hotels in Prague or Benešov. Those who decide to spend more than one day exploring the castle and its surroundings are probably wondering if it is possible to stay in Český Šternberk for the night. We hasten to reassure – it is possible. Moreover, in addition to the warm welcome and cozy rooms of the Park Hotel, located directly opposite the castle, guests can enjoy a spectacular sight of the fortress walls illuminated at night.
Cuisine and restaurants
In the castle itself, you can dine in the restaurant at the Park Hotel. Well, behind the castle, on the outskirts of the town of Český Sternberk, you can have a good time in the local pub U mlýna. The name (“At the Mill”) owes the institution to the old water mill, from which the wheel and picturesque ruins now remain.
Shopping and shops
Souvenirs from shops in the village and from the castle itself are distinguished by very pleasant prices. Of course, the entire traditional tourist set is presented, from beer mugs to magnets with views of the castle and eight-pointed stars: this is exactly what flaunts on the count’s coat of arms of the owners of the castle. Children will be especially pleased with the local clay whistles with a particularly deep sound, and parents with the opportunity to take a picture with a trapping chip on their sleeve or in the company of Mephistopheles himself, a local owl.
Entertainment and attractions of Cesky Sternberk
Excursions and renting out the premises of the castle for weddings and other festive events are the main source of income. A sightseeing tour of the castle takes about an hour and is led by Count Zdeněk Sternberk himself, not without pleasure telling the visitor about the difficult history of his family and the entire castle complex.
There is something to see in Český Šternberk: the Clock Museum, the tower with the creepy name “Gladomorna” and the castle itself with its library, wonderful collections of pipes, weapons, old engravings and portraits.
The website of the castle hradceskysternberk.cz.