Vítkův Hrádek

This is the highest elevated castle in Bohemia, standing since the 12th century as a border fortress of the ancient Vítkovec family as well as the Lords of the Rose. It was the Lords of the Rose that later divided into the many five-petalled roses according to colors and are known (and whose praises are still sung) in many castles and chateaus throughout the region.

As for ancient history, the involuntary stay of King Wenceslas (Václav) IV, the son of Emperor Charles IV, is worth mention. The castle was maintained until the 18th century, when it was abandoned and left to the mercy of the harsh mountainous weather. It was further aided on the path to destruction by the creation of the closed border zone after the Second World War; access here was first forbidden for ideological reasons, then later for safety.

Presently, the heart of the castle is its squared residential tower, the “donjon”, to which a polygonal extension was later attached.

The castle was made accessible in 2005, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Adalbert Stifter, a renowned local author whose novel Vítek is dedicated to the local landscape and the site. The writer even immortalized the castle on his paintings.

During good weather, you can see the peaks of the Austrian Alps and the vast surface of Lake Lipno below, which at 48.7 km2 is the largest body of water in the Czech Republic.

Enthusiasts from the Friends of Vítkův Hrádek Association, headed by Miroslav Kovačičín, have already helped secure the building against unfavorable weather conditions and created conditions suitable for public tours. Archaeological surveys had to be conducted before repairing the stone walls and the entrance. All repairs are paid from admission fees and the sale of souvenirs as well as from the many cultural events. The Association’s cultural attaché, Alois Slavíček, offers untraditional guided tours and occasionally picks up the guitar and adds a musical element. The most popular event is the “summer full moon” at the castle, when it’s open to visitors until midnight.

You can get to Vítkův Hrádek from the mountain settlement of Svatý Tomáš, located above the right bank of Lake Lipno, or follow the hiking signs. Once inside the castle, you can climb the gallery and enjoy a magnificent view that will certainly move you to immortalize the surrounding scenery – if not in a painting, then at least in a photo. If the weather’s bad, though, save yourself the trip and don’t come, because it’ll be closed.


Nearby tips: Lipno Treetop Walkway There’s something special and unique near the town of Lipno nad Vltavou: a trail that takes you above the treetops and offers stunning views of the Lipno Reservoir, the nature of Šumava, the Novohradské mountains, and the peaks of the Austrian Alps. All this is your reward for walking up a wooden footpath 675 meters long to a height of 40 meters.