Litomysl castle: How to visit the UNESCO Czech chateau

Looking for a complete travel guide to Litomysl Castle? In this post, I’ve shared everything you need to know, including opening times, entrance fees and what to expect from your visit.

Litomysl castle, Czech Republic

The top sight in Litomysl is Litomysl castle.

This Renaissance chateau is a UNESCO site and has more than 3,000 unique scraffitos that cover the castle’s outer walls.

The great thing is that this castle is really easy to visit if you’re in East Bohemia or taking a day trip from Prague.

Here is how to visit Litomysl castle in Czechia including opening times, prices, and things to do. 

Read next: The perfect one day in Litomysl itinerary

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Is it worth visiting Litomysl castle?

Litomyšl Castle is worth a visit, especially since it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It might not be the most beautiful castle in Czechia, but it’s still unique.

If you like pretty Instagram photos, it’s the perfect place to take some beautiful photos outside and in the arcades.

If you’re into history, this Italian Renaissance arcade castle is one of the finest examples in Europe, with opulent interiors that you can explore on a tour.

So overall yes, I recommend visiting the castle and seeing it from the inside. Most visitors only visit the castle gardens, but there is much more to the castle than that.

Litomysl castle

Where is Litomysl castle?

The town of litomyšl is located in the centre of the Czech Republic, about 130 kilometres directly east of Prague and 80 kilometres north of Brno.

Once you’re in town, finding the castle is easy – just head up the hill at the northern end of the square.

You can check out the location on the map below. Simply use the + and – sign in the corner to zoom in and out.

How to get to Litomyšl

You can get from Prague to Litomysl in three ways:

  • By car (2 hours)
  • By bus (3 hours)
  • By train (3 hours)

The easiest way to get to Litomysl is by renting a car. Roads are well maintained and signed, and you can follow the freeway most of the way.

Taking the train is another good option. From Prague, you’ll need to change trains in Chocen and then on to Litomysl.

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How to visit the castle in Litomysl

Litomyšl castle is located in the small town of Litomysl which is in Eastern Bohemia, Czechia.

You’ll find the castle on a small hill, close to the city centre.

There is some public parking next to the castle but this is very limited.

Opening hours

You can visit the castle from June to September, but the hours vary a little:

  • June and September: Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • July and August: Monday – Sunday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Tours cost 190 CZK ($7.45)

Entrance fee

To visit Litomyšl Castle, you’ll need to take a tour that lasts about an hour.

The basic tour is in Czech and costs:

  • Adults: 190 CZK (US$7.45)
  • Children aged 6-17: 80 CZK (US$3.10)
  • Free for children under 6
Litomysl castle

The castle tours

There are two castle tours:

  • A basic tour that takes you to the castle theatre and twelve of the most beautiful representative rooms on the first floor.
  • A tour that focuses on the history during the rule of Thurn-Taxis.

I recommend the basic guided tour called Castle during the rule of Valdstein.

There are no regular English tours, but you still get to see the rooms and the theatre. If you’re interested in longer or English tours, you can book them in advance for groups of more than 15 people.

History of Litomysl castle

Litomysl castle was built in the late 16th century by Vratislav of Pernštejn as a gift for his wife Maria Manrique de Lara.

The castle has been redesigned several times over the years.

In the late 18th century, the castle underwent a redesign of its interior and grounds in the Late Baroque style by its new owners, the Trauttmansdorff and Waldstein-Wartenberg.

The castle’s preserved family theatre from 1797 is a unique feature that you should definitely visit. In 1999, the castle was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Litomysl castle

Importance of Litomysl castle

Litomyšl Castle was the most important place in town during the late medieval years when the area was a busy trading route.

Wealthy businessmen chose to settle in Litomysl because they had protection from the castle above them.

Today, the castle is still the most important place in town and also the main reason why many people visit Litomyšl.

The two most important features of the castle are the sgraffito technique on the outer walls and the arcades.

Sgraffitos:

The walls are painted with sgraffiti decorations that look like large envelopes and each have their own unique design – animals, people, fruit, and other symbols. There are more than 3,000 sgraffitos in total.

The arcades:

Once inside, you’ll see arcades along three of the internal walls and a solid wall with murals painted on the fourth. The castle is an ‘arcade castle’ in the Renaissance style and is one of the best examples remaining.

Litomysl castle

Overview of the castle

Litomyšl Castle has four wings and three floors. The largest wing is the west, while the smallest is the two-story arcaded gallery in the south wing, which encloses a square courtyard.

The courtyard is adorned with beautiful arcading and groin vaulting.

The castle’s eastern wing houses the castle chapel, while the western wing contains a remarkably well-preserved theatre, complete with stage decorations, machinery, and an auditorium.

Right across from the castle is a brewery where the famous Czech composer Bedřich Smetana was born in 1824 and lived for the first years of his life.

The brewery was originally decorated with sgraffitos that complemented the castle but was later rebuilt after a fire in 1726.

There’s also a castle park in English-style and a Baroque pavilion located on the castle grounds.

What to expect on your visit 

To reach the castle, you will ascend up a small hill. That hill is also known as Castle Hill.

On Castle Hill, you’ll find the castle, but there’s also the Piarist church and monastery, which I highly recommend visiting. I stayed at Hotel Aplaus ( ⭐ 9.0), which is right next to the monastery garden, and it’s such a lovely place.

Once you reach the castle, there is a tourist office at the entrance where you can book tickets or ask questions about the castle. 

There are several tours a day. If you’ll have to wait a bit for the next castle tour, spend your time wandering around the gardens and the courtyard.

Litomysl castle

Things to see in Litomysl castle

As I mentioned before, the two main highlights of Litomyšl Castle are the arcades and the sgraffitos. Make sure to notice both.

Litomyšl Castle is a Renaissance Italian design, complete with an open courtyard surrounded by arcades.

This style is rare in northern Europe and is the primary reason why Litomyšl castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The sgraffito

On the outer walls of the castle, you’ll notice a mural of cubes that look like large envelopes. They’re called sgraffiti and they’re typical for the Renaissance design.

Sgraffito decoration is a technique of wall decoration, where layers of plaster in contrasting colours is applied on to a moistened surface, and then scratched to produce a drawing. This creates a stunning and intricate design.

There are more than 3,000 sgraffito on the castle walls. They’re each handmade and different from one another.

Litomysl castle, Czech Republic
Litomysl castle

The arches

Litomyšl Castle is a stunning example of a Renaissance castle with arcades. This style comes from Italy and was further developed in the Czech lands.

Once you enter the courtyard, you’ll see the arches that continue around the west and east sides.

The west wing is the largest, while the south wing features a beautiful two-story arcaded gallery that encloses the main inner square courtyard.

Unfortunately, the castle was under construction when I visited so all the arches were covered in scaffolding. So, no photos 😢

The men’s salon

Inside the castle, you’ll see the many different rooms that each had their function. Each room is unique and painted in a new colour.

One of the things that stood out to me was the difference between the men’s and the women’s lounge room.

The men’s billiard room, as you can see below, has a pool table, a line-up of rifles and guns, and most notably, it’s plastered with paintings of war, battle fields and death.

… Which is in stark contrast to the women’s living room!

Litomysl castle

The women’s living room

The women’s room was decked with flowers.

Floral upholstered chairs and couch, floral drapes and paintings with nature and serene motifs.

It was such a contrast to walk from the testosterone infused men’s living room to the women’s. The genders were extremely divided.

Litomysl castle

The theatre

The pride of the castle is the baroque theatre from the 18th century with preserved classical scenes.

It’s a remarkable piece of history painted by Josef Platzer, who also decorated Vienna’s Burgtheater and Prague’s Estates Theater.

The theatre was used until the 1830s, and it could seat an audience of up to 150.

These small, wooden theatres lit by candles were rare in Europe and often destroyed by fire. After a fire, the castle’s theatre was rebuilt on the ground floor, where it has survived for centuries with its two curtains and sixteen stage sets intact.

There are only five theatres of this kind left in the world. One in Russia, one in Litomyšl Castle, two in Sweden and one in Český Krumlov (also in the Czech Republic).

Litomysl castle, Czech Republic
The neoclassical theater

Castle cellars and gardens

When you’re touring the exquisite interiors of the castle, you’ll also get to see the castle cellar where the Chateau Litomyšl wine is stored.

In the cellar, you can also discover the collection of sculptures by Czech artist, Olbram Zoubek. It might be a tad spooky to walk among the sculptures in the dimly lit cellar, but that’s how cellars are.

It’s cold down there, so bring a warm sweater or jacket. They also have blankets.

After exploring the castle, head to the French garden and the English park – a lovely parkland area with trees and streams.

The garden has an outdoor concert area where you can watch performances throughout the year, so it’s a perfect spot to relax and enjoy some music.

Litomyšl castle apartments and Smetana’s birthplace

Right across from the castle is the former castle brewery.

This is the birthplace of Bedřich Smetana, Czechia’s most famous composer. Since 1949, the town has hosted an annual opera festival called the Smetana Litomyšl in his honour.

Today, the former brewer has been transformed into a small museum, furnished in the style of a typical family home from the early 19th century.

The first floor has been decorated with hotel rooms or spacious apartments. You can spend the night here and enjoy the stunning views of the castle right across the courtyard.

Litomysl castle
The birth place of composer Bedřich Smetana

Looking for more things to do in Litomysl?

Litomysl is a beautiful historic town in East Bohemia.

Besides the castle, one of the most popular things to do here is to join the Smetana’s Litomyšl festival, which takes place in June. During that time, the city is filled with opera music, ballet and local artists.

In Litomysl, you’ll find several museums worth visiting. The most eccentric is Portmoneum, also known as the Josef Váchal museum. It’s both weird and interesting. I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen anything like it before!

You can head to the old town square, which is the longest in Czech Republic. Here, you can watch the Baroque and Classical houses in beautiful colours, do a bit of shopping, or visit one of the cafes.

Also, don’t miss the Piarist church. My favourite view of the whole city can be found on top of the Piarist church, which is just across from the castle.

The views from here of Litomysl castle and the city are picture-perfect and you can watch all the pretty colours on the houses.

Litomysl

Many thanks to Visit Czechia and Visit East Bohemia for hosting me in Czech Republic. Whenever I travel, there will always be full disclosure about whether my stay was hosted by a tourism board. And even if I’m on a press trip, my view will never be swayed one way or the other.

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