Most travelers who visit the Czech Republic only want to see Prague. They move quickly to another trendy European destination, without realizing how beautiful the rest of the country is. While Prague is often called the most romantic capital in Europe, it can also be crowded and expensive. Only two hours away from Prague, there is a picturesque village in Eastern Czech, perfect for a romantic weekend getaway.
The Main Square
We stared our day early by walking towards the main square. The cobblestone streets were lined with small adjacent houses. The windows were so low that we could easily peak into somebody’s living room. As we walked, we noticed that there was not a single piece of trash lying on the ground, and a few locals were meticulously cleaning their doorsteps before anyone was out and about. Since the town is tiny, it only took us a few minutes to get to our first stop – T.G Masaryka square. We sat down near the central fountain, surrounded in all directions by century old architecture painted in pastel colors.
Loket has been known for centuries as a romantic hideaway, and it attracted many artists to live here. The famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, once wrote:
“Loket is beautiful beyond description and is like a work of art which can be admired from all sides.”
James Bond Movie Location
As we already mentioned, the town is absolutely picturesque. A few scenes from the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale, were in fact filmed here in Loket. The unique hilly terrain, with a medieval castle sitting on top made it an ideal location to stand in for Montenegro. We personally love watching James Bond movies because the locations always inspire us to travel more.
This was not the first, and probably not the last time this town was featured in a movie, but for now it still remains quaint and without the Hollywood glitz. In fact, we were surprised how quiet it was on a Sunday morning.
Perhaps the biggest attraction in the town is the Loket castle. Built in the 12th century, by King Vladislav I, it was a strategic defensive fortress. It also was a prison for a short time, before it was turned into a great museum. There are numerous exhibitions inside including: a porcelain collection, historical weapons, documents and a torture chamber – not for the faint of heart. This castle is full of mysteries and intrigues, as one would expect from a medieval castle. Apparently, as a child King Charles IV was imprisoned in the basement of the castle by his own father.
The entire tour took us a few hours, and at the end we climbed the tower where we could admire the city with a panoramic view. Besides the tour, there are numerous cultural activities at the castle throughout the year. The summer classical concerts and Christmas market are supposed to be particularly beautiful.
Brewery and Museum
A visit to Czech wouldn’t be the same without trying some of their famous beer. Loket has a great local brewery situated right on the main square – the Cisar Ferdinand Restaurant and Florian Brewery. The location is actually an old malt house, which was converted into a restaurant and a pub in recent years, although the town of Loket has been brewing since the 14th century. We entered through the small gift shop and a museum located on the first floor, and proceeded down to the lower level where the pub and restaurant were located. The first impression was that it felt as big as the city. A few tourists were enjoying their food and drinks. We sat at a large communal table and ordered a sample of beers ranging from light to dark. The smoky beer, which everybody raved about, was particularly tasty and unique.
Bridge and city walls
Loket ,means “elbow” in Czech. The city takes its name from the shape of the Ohre River, which from a bird’s eye view looks like a human elbow. We walked along the river bend on the old city walls, which were part of the original fortification that surrounded the city. We stopped at the suspension bridge, to admire the view of the castle and river.
The young owner of Stein Elbogen pension greeted us personally upon our arrival and we were ushered to our room through a long hallway. The wooden door opened and we entered a spacious room with a view. The river was so close that we left the windows open during the night so we could hear the flowing water.
There are plenty of accommodations to stay in town depending on your budget, but this beautiful mansion was charming and affordable.
A visit to Karlovy Vary
Only 15 minutes away from Loket, in the nearby town Karlovy Vary, you can pamper yourself at a day spa. Karlovy Vary is well known for its thermal springs and it also has a charming downtown.
The surrounding areas of Loket offer many great summer activities like biking and canoeing, which we can’t wait to go back and try.
By The Tipsy Gypsies from @the_tipsy_gypsies