Trip to Telč

In and around one of the Czech Republic's most beautiful towns

Amazingly, within 20 kilometers of leaving Prague city limits you're already out in the country.

You'll immediately see soft rolling hills and thick forest and, if you make your way south-by southeast you'll see gullies and rivers that make you feel like you're miles from civilization.

So begins the journey to Telč.

Telč, dating back to 1099, is one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic. Located on the cusp of Moravia and Bohemia, the city is rich in both history and nature.

What makes Telč such a popular destination is the town itself. The main square (náměstí) and castle are teeming with tourists because of the beautiful designs and original architecture. Walking the long, wide shop- and café-filled main square, gingerbread houses spring to mind.

The great thing about Telč is that the surrounding area holds stunning beauty rich in tradition and nature. The countryside is dotted with castles and ruins which date back to the Middle Ages.

When visiting the Telč region (Telčsko) it’s easy to lose yourself in the humdrum of village life. Whether on bike or on foot everything is extremely close by, as long as you aren't adverse to traveling from hilltop to hilltop.

Each hill leads down to a new town with its own quaint attributes. One such location is Lhota. Located just five kilometers (bike) or 7.5 kilometers (bus) from Telč, Lhota is a great starting point for a hiking or biking trip through Telčsko.

The hike from Lhota to Štamberk (a massive fortress that was razed to the ground by the Hussites in the 1400s) is a one-kilometer uphill journey which blesses the hearty with stunning views of the Moravian countryside.

The old fortress was once one of the largest in the region and the surrounding points of interest include the Kamenné moře (literally, "Stone Sea") the remnants of a massive mudslide during the last ice age, and the towering Míchova skála.

Leaving from Lhota - an interesting, albeit hilly, trip - is the castle at Roštejn. Built in 1339, this castle is still intact and boasts a 53-meter tall tower. Travelers who can ride the 656-meter trail are rewarded with a small restaurant built into the side of the castle which offers cold, frothy beers and game stew for a pittance.

Telč itself is an amazing little town, centered on a long main square edged with pastel-painted little buildings with candy-cane facades. Great restaurants, bars and cafés line the square, which truly adds to the feeling so warmly known as "holiday." (The senior citizens drinking beer at 10 in the morning clearly share that feeling.)

One place particularly worth visiting is Šenk pod věží which has a great terrace for summer dining at the back of the old castle wall. Great Czech fare at very reasonable prices awaits those who venture under the shadow of the tower, and the wine is highly recommended too.

The lakes, surrounding forest and historical beauty of the city make Telč a prime location for both short- and long-term visits from Prague.

Nearby points of interest include the Štamberk and Roštejn castles, the giant 700-year old lime tree (known as Lípa v Praskolesích) near Mrákotín, the historic towns of Nová Říše and Slavonice, and much, much more.

PTV Tip
Some of the country's best wines are to be found in this part of the Czech Republic, produced with a dedication to vinicultural perfection the match of anywhere else in the world. One area worthy of particular interest is Znojmo, where the main producer is the giant Znovín Znojmo winery. If you get down to Znojmo during your stay, check out the wine shop on the square and sample some of the local víno.

Official Website
http://www.telc-etc.cz/en/

How To Get There
The fastest way to get to Telč is to take the bus from Prague's Florenc station. The bus takes about two hours and runs every hour from 1:05pm onwards, though some routes are quicker than others. The most direct busses leave at 1:55pm and 4:35pm. Check the IDOS site for details.

Accommodation
For a list of accommodation options in English, see the official Telč site. If you visit Lhota, stay at Penzion Javořice.

Dining
When in Telč try dining at Šenk pod věží for great game and typical Moravian dishes including duck, boar, stag and the Slovakian staple halušky (small dumplings) with cabbage and bacon.

If you do make it to Lhota there aren't many options for dining. To be precise, in fact, there's only one but the old man running the show (while sipping on thimbles of rum) is friendly and attentive. The fare here caters mainly to Austrian cyclists but the food is fresh and tasty. (Note: Vegetarians be warned! Old-school Czech culinary values still hold firm in this area. Vegetables are there solely to be fried, so bring some snacks or be prepared to get creative.)

Biking
Biking in this area is best described by the Czech phrase, "z kopce do kopce," meaning from hill to hill. The ups and downs are exactly that, but you can take some relief from the amazing scenery. Whether you're riding on natural bike trails or on country roads the journey is pleasant and there's very limited road traffic. You can pick up bike maps at the tourist information centre on the main square in Telč, and actually rent bicycles in Telč at Miluše Spázalová, nám. Zachariáše z Hradce 8 (Tel.: 567 243 562). The price is 150 Kč per day.

Telč Image Gallery

Video on YouTube

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