Home » 13 UNESCO Sites in Czech Republic (Outside of Prague!)
4 pictures of UNESCO sites in Czech Republic

13 UNESCO Sites in Czech Republic (Outside of Prague!)

by Joel

There are 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic. These sites cover a large range of topics, from medieval fortresses right through to modern architecture. And as you’d expect, they’re spread all over the country.

Naturally, Prague is the shining glory of these sites. With centuries of history and breathtaking architecture, Prague is genuinely one of the world’s great cities, and a deserving World Heritage Site. However, visiting Prague in the 21st century can be a difficult experience. Overrun with hordes of tourists, beset with scammers, and infested with obnoxious stag parties, Prague is both challenging and rewarding.

This is a guest post by Joel, the author of World Heritage Journey. Joel will be contributing to a series of posts dedicated to less popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe. I am very happy, he agreed to share his amazing experience and knowledge with us. All tours and places to stay, however, are recommended by me.

So, after visiting Prague, I’d highly recommend visiting some of the other UNESCO landmarks in Czech Republic. Following is a thorough guide to all of the other World Heritage sites in Czech Republic.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of those links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost for you.

a beautiful castle with a round tower an colourful buildings with red roofs seen from top, a view of the castle in Cesky Krumlov, South Bohemia, Czech Republic

Historic Centre of Český Krumlov

After Prague, one of the biggest tourist attractions in Czech Republic is the historic town of Český Krumlov. Largely dating from the medieval era, the World Heritage Site of Český Krumlov covers the large 13th century castle along with the old town below. It’s all situated on a bend in the Vltava River, and makes for an unbelievably pretty sight.

Read more: A 4-day itinerary in South Bohemia, which includes Český Krumlov.

It’s a fantastic place to just wander around and explore, with a maze of cobblestone streets towered over by a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, while the river rushes past in the background. Be sure to spend a few hours at the castle, which is a surprisingly large complex – it’s actually the second largest castle in the Czech Republic! You can explore the grounds for free, while package tickets are available for the various buildings on site. The castle entrance also has a spectacular view back across the old town, and a moat complete with bears!

Know Before You Go
Český Krumlov is a very popular day trip from Prague, particularly during the summertime. It’s about three hours on the train, slightly quicker via coach. But, like many of Europe’s day trip destinations, staying overnight here is especially rewarding. The town feels completely different during the evening once all the day-trippers have gone home, and you’ll almost have the streets to yourself.

Recommended tours from Prague to Český Krumlov:

Tip: Choose the combined tour with České Budějovice. This South-Bohemian city is not among the popular touristy places, but so much worth the visit. Read here why you should visit České Budějovice.

two white house with ornamented facades with spirals and decorative ornaments, South Bohemian Folk Baroque in Holasovice

Holašovice Historic Village

The small historic village of Holašovice is located in South Bohemia, not far from Cesky Krumlov. It’s an incredible example of “Folk Baroque architecture”, packed full of farmhouses built in a layout that dates from the Middle Ages. Everything here is centred around the large green village courtyard which all the houses front on to. There are 23 farmhouses here, mostly dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, and they’re fantastically well preserved.

Read more: Complete travel guide to Holašovice.

The most striking aspect is definitely the stucco facade of each building, painted bright white, with decorative elements in lemon yellow. Each house has its gable end oriented to the village square, while the roof lines are all slightly different as well: some triangular, some gracefully curved. It’s a gorgeous place to explore on a sunny day, and gives you a great idea of what small central European villages were like in centuries past.

Know Before You Go
Holašovice is located about 15 kilometres from České Budějovice, and there are frequent buses between the two. Be aware that there’s no shop in the village, and only one restaurant. Access to the village is free, and a thorough visit only takes a couple of hours at the most.

Tip: If you are staying in Prague, you can book a combined tour of Holašovice and Český Krumlov, but my advice will be to spend a couple of days in South Bohemia and explore the area. It is such a beautiful place!

a white modern building on a green hill, Villa Tugendhat in Brno

Tugendhat Villa in Brno

Located on a leafy hillside in the northern suburbs of Brno, second-largest city in the Czech Republic, Tugendhat Villa is a gorgeous example of modernist architecture. It was constructed in the 1920s for the Tugendhats, a wealthy local family, by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Tugendhat Villa was revolutionary, with modern construction techniques like reinforced concrete, iron framework, and lots of glass. The building also featured air conditioning, an extremely rare addition for the time. And almost a century on, the villa still looks modern – almost as if it were built yesterday!

Read more: Brno is absolutely lovely and you should spend more than a day there. Discover the city with this weekend guide to Brno.

Unfortunately, the Tugendhat family only lived in the villa for a few years. Hitler’s 1938 annexation of Czechoslovakia forced the Jewish Tugendhats to flee, and they never returned to Brno. During World War II, the villa was converted to offices for the Gestapo and later used by the Soviet military as well. Fascinatingly, the documents formally separating the Czech Republic and Slovakia (the “Velvet Divorce”) were signed in the villa in 1992.

Know Before You Go
Visiting the interior is only possible via a guided tour, which run hourly in both Czech and English. It’s one of the top attractions in Brno and books out frequently, so make sure you book as far in advance as possible. If you’re unable to book tickets, you can still access the gardens around the Villa for a nominal fee.

religious statures on the side of a fortification wall leading to a church in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre

Another of the Czech Republic UNESCO sites that’s very commonly visited is the historic town centre of Kutná Hora. Located in central Bohemia, about 70 kilometres east of Prague, Kutná Hora was an important silver mining town during the Middle Ages. The wealth and influence generated by the city’s mines caused a building boom, so the city is home to many beautiful buildings in a variety of styles: Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and more.

The most impressive building in town is definitely the grand St Barbara Cathedral with its imposing Bohemian Gothic spires, dating from the 14th century. Built by the same workshop that also constructed St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle, the similarities between the two buildings are plain to see. Although St Vitus is slightly larger, St Barbara Cathedral in Kutná Hora is still a magnificent sight.

Kutná Hora is also known for Sedlec Ossuary, the famous “bone church”. This is a small chapel containing bones from 40,000 (!!) skeletons, and many have been artistically arranged. The grand centrepiece is an ornate chandelier featuring at least one of every bone from the human body. It’s a bit ghoulish, but definitely an interesting solution to the problem of running out of graveyard space!

Know Before You Go
Kutná Hora is about 90 minutes drive from Prague, slightly quicker on the train. Note that there’s two train stations in town: Kutna Hora mesto is near the historic centre and St Barbara Cathedral, while Kutna Hora hl.n. is near Sedlec Ossuary. They’re about three kilometres apart, so you can either walk, take a taxi, or one of the several public and private bus operators. If you’re interested in visiting the historic silver mines, be aware they’re closed on Mondays, and aren’t open at all during winter.

Recommended tours from Prague to Kutná Hora:

a white arcade with a French type of garden in the front, the gardens of Kromeriz palace in Czech Republic

Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž

In spite of its intimidating name (pronounced Krom-yer-chitch), the Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž rank among the most beautiful UNESCO sites in Czech Republic. The castle here dates from the mid-18th century and is reasonably interesting, but it’s the surrounding gardens that really stand out. Designed immaculately in a Baroque style, the gardens consist of many flower beds, statues, formal gardens, and informal English gardens too.

Visiting Kroměříž is a great opportunity to compare various styles of garden design, as fashion trends came and went across Europe. The flower garden here was designed by Italian architects in a Baroque style, and is precise, ordered, and careful. The neat lines and symmetry evoke other famous formal gardens like Boboli in Florence, or Versailles in France. Nearby, is the 19th century English garden, which was carefully and artfully designed to not look like a garden at all! It’s fascinating to compare the two styles, and marvel at how the gardens have survived without major changes over the centuries.

Know Before You Go
Guided tours of the castle interior are available, though they’re mostly run in Czech so be sure to confirm the language before the tour starts. The gardens are impressive year-round, but they’re definitely best in springtime when the flowers are blooming with delightful reds, whites and yellows.

a statue of an angel with a cross at the foregorund at a square lined up with building with facades in pastel colors , UNESCO Telc in Czech Republich

Historic Centre of Telč

The Historic Centre of Telč is located in the Vysočina region, on the border of Bohemia and Moravia in southern Czech Republic. Founded in around the 11th century, Telč was an important trading crossroads, before a devastating 14th century fire destroyed the town. Undeterred, the wealthy inhabitants rebuilt in stone using the latest Renaissance styles and designs. And the results are still there today.

The highlight of Telč is the large triangular main square, fronted by many gorgeous Renaissance and Baroque styled houses. Painted in a variety of pastel colours, topped with a huge number of different decorations, and with a long columned arcade running underneath, the main square at Telč is a genuinely beautiful sight. At one end of the square is Telč Chateau, a Renaissance chateau converted from a Gothic castle. And the entire old town is surrounded by a series of defensive fishponds, both practical – and beautiful!

Know Before You Go
Getting to Telč there via public transport is a little tricky, as the trains in this area can be quite slow and require several transfers. A better option would be to drive, as there’s a large purpose-built parking area just outside town. Telč is free to explore at your leisure, though access to the Chateau is via guided tour only. The iconic Tower of the Holy Spirit is only open during the summer months.

a tall column with a few levels in the middle of a city square with lovely building at the background and a clock tower, the holy trinity column in Olomouc, Czech Republic

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc

The Holy Trinity Column is among the smallest UNESCO World Heritage Sites! Located in the charming university town of Olomouc, the Holy Trinity Column is a fascinating example of a “plague column”, a religious monument common to central Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was built between 1716 and 1754, celebrating the end of a devastating plague.

The Baroque-styled work on the monument is absolutely fantastic. Topped with a gilded copper sculpture of the Holy Trinity, the column also features statues of the Twelve Apostles, various saints and local holy figures. All are rendered beautifully with flamboyant Baroque styling, and it’s worth spending some time here carefully examining each statue.

One intriguing detail is that the column features a statue of John Sarkander, a local religious hero who was tortured to death for refusing to break the seal of confession. His inclusion was controversial, as tradition dictated that only saints should be placed on religious monuments. The issue was finally resolved in 1995, when Pope John Paul II visited Olomouc and canonised John Sarkander.

Know Before You Go
Visiting the Holy Trinity Column is free of charge, and it’s located in the Upper Square, the oldest and most beautiful part of Olomouc. Even a thorough appreciation of the column takes less than an hour, but Olomouc itself still has much to offer including a beautiful nearby Town Hall, the 15th century Astronomical Clock, and more. Olomouc is on the main train lines, and easily accessible via train from Prague, Brno and Ostrava.

a view on a town from a hill with red roofs and a church at the background and a river on the left side, Trebic in Czech Republic

Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica in Třebíč

Třebíč is a gorgeous river town in southern Czech Republic, not far from the Austrian border. It’s a fascinating reminder of how Jewish and Christian cultures co-existed across Europe from the Middle Ages through to modern times. The town is dominated by the Basilica of St Procopius, standing on a hill and looming over the town. Dating from the 13th century, it was built in Romanesque style and contains some fantastic stained glass windows.

The Jewish Quarter stands nearby, on the bank of the river. Unfortunately, Jews were confined to ghettos for much of history and Třebíč was no different. The ghetto here is considered to be one of the best preserved in Europe. Inside the ghetto area you’ll find a hundred or so Jewish houses complete with their original layouts, plus two synagogues. It’s a very atmospheric place to explore, particularly the Rear Synagogue which has been carefully restored. There’s also plenty of information boards around the town with useful facts and history.

Know Before You Go
Třebíč is located in south-western Moravia, and can be accessed via fast train from Brno and České Budějovice. There’s also buses from Prague and Telč. The city is free to walk around and quite compact: the Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica are adjacent to each other.

a white building with a red-tiles roof, with ornated facade and two statues in front with green low hedges and box tree columns, the Valtice Castle Czech Republic

Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape

After several small UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic, the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is one of the largest! At over 300 square kilometres, it’s so big that multiple towns fall within the area. So what is it? Essentially, it’s a huge parkland area that connects two historically important castles: one at Lednice, the other at Valtice.

Both castles were owned for centuries by the Liechtenstein family (yes, that Liechtenstein family), and Valtice was their principle residence for hundreds of years. Of the two, Lednice is the most striking, with its incredible Gothic Revival style exterior, while the Baroque and Renaissance architecture of Valtice is also spectacular.

However, the World Heritage aspect here is that in the 19th century, the two castles (approximately 7 kilometres apart) were connected by new manicured and designed English gardens, covered in decorations and points of interest. The landscaped area is surprisingly large, and some of the decorations are spectacular, including a huge lake, a Roman-style triumphal arch, and a minaret.

Know Before You Go
Lednice and Valtice are best accessed from nearby Breclav, which has great train connections to Brno and Prague (along with frequent connections to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest). Buses run from Breclav to both Lednice and Valtice, though exploring the large landscape area is much easier with a car. Tours of both castles of Lednice and Valtice are available, though both are closed during winter. Guided tours are required.

a white castle with ornated facade and a small pond at the front with a fountain in the middle, Litomysl Palace in Czech Republic

Litomyšl Castle

Located in eastern Bohemia, Litomyšl Castle is both a gorgeous and interesting building. One of the largest Renaissance castles in the Czech Republic, it was designed in the 16th century as an arcade castle, where the central castle courtyard was surrounded by columned arcades. However, the most notable feature of Litomyšl Castle is the exterior decoration.

Here, the exterior stones were covered in white plaster that was then carefully scratched away in patterns to reveal the undercoat. The technique is known as sgraffito (from which we get the modern word graffiti), and produces absolutely striking results! From a distance, the castle exterior looks to be white stones with yellow mortar, but a closer inspection reveals the illusion. The “white stones” are actually just scratched rectangles, while the interior of each square shows an image such as people or leaves (but from a distance looks like rough stone). It’s absolutely fascinating, and definitely one of the more unusual Czech Republic World Heritage sites!

Know Before You Go
Litomyšl is about two hours on the train from Prague. The town itself is quite pretty, with a nice main square and town hall. It’s also well off the tourist trail, which is quite refreshing. Tours inside Litomyšl castle are available, though most of the furniture and decoration inside is from the 19th century.

a small church surrounded by a wall of buildings on a small hill amidst fields, UNESCO Zelena Hora Czech Republc

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelena Hora

This fascinating church in Moravia is one of the most unusual churches in Europe. Designed in the early 18th century by Jan Santini, a famous Czech architect, the church is laid out as a 12-pointed star, surrounded by other 12-pointed shapes. It has a dramatic location, on a hill amongst plains and rolling fields, and it’s a fantastic place to visit and explore. The mixture of Baroque and Gothic exterior and the austere interior is quite striking, along with the unusual and heavy symbolism.

St John of Nepomuk was a Czech priest who refused to reveal the Queen’s confession secrets to the king. He was thrown off the Charles Bridge in Prague and martyred for his trouble (a plaque and statue still mark the location today), and is today one of the most important Czech saints. This pilgrimage church was constructed in his honour, and is located where John received his early education.

Know Before You Go
The church is located about three kilometres outside the town of Žďár nad Sázavou. It’s a long walk, so take the local bus from the train station, which connects with trains from Prague and Brno. The church is only open during the summer months, though occasional prebooked guided tours are available during winter.

a hill covered with a forest with autumn colors and some buildings at the foot of the hill, Jachymov in Czech Republic

Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region

This newly-added UNESCO site in Czech Republic made it to the list in 2019. It covers a medieval ore mining region in the far north-west of Czech Republic, stretching across the border into Germany. Mining has been done here for over 800 years, principally of silver, zinc, lead, and copper. There’s quite a bit to see here, but the highlights are located around the town of Jachymov, home to the Dul Svornost mine. It’s been operating since 1530 – one of the oldest in Europe! Nearby you’ll also find the Red Tower of Death, where political prisoners during the Communist era were put to work mining uranium, with predictable results.

Know Before You Go
Many of the Czech components of this site are located around the famous spa town of Karlovy Vary, making it a great base to explore. Trains and buses operate in the area, but your own vehicle will definitely make things easier.

a carriage drawn by two white horses heading to a builing with a red roof, Kladruby nad Labem stud in Czech Republic

Kladruby nad Labem

And finally, the last of the World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic is the National Horse Stud at Kladruby nad Labem. Established in 1579, the Kladruby horse stud was used to breed Kladruber horses for the imperial Habsburg court in Vienna. Kladrubers are heavy carriage horses, used for ceremonial processions like funerals, parades, weddings and more. They’re considered one of the oldest and rarest horse breeds, and have a majestic appearance.

At Kladruby these days you’ll find several farms, paddocks, and a large landscape area. As one of the most significant horse breeding institutions in Europe, it’s definitely one of the most unusual places to visit in Czech Republic!

Know Before You Go
You can reach Kladruby on the train directly from Prague, though the closest train station is three kilometres away at Řečany nad Labem and you’ll need to either walk or catch a bus/taxi from there. Accessing the grounds is free, but going inside the breeding farms requires a guided tour. Bookings are essential, and unfortunately most tours are in Czech though information sheets are available.

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four pictures of castles and churches with overlay text: UNESCO sites in Czech Republic outside Prague
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