The village of Lednice is in the heart of the Czech Republic’s wine-growing region, southeast from Prague in South Moravia and famous for its fairy-tale castle surrounded by extensive parklands. The castle forms part of the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape, which is UNESCO listed, and began life as 12th-century defence stronghold positioned on the former border between Czechoslovakia and Poland, although it has been transformed over the centuries into a stately Neo-Gothic palace.
There are three routes for exploring the interior of Lednice Castle, which was owned by the aristocratic Lichtenstein dynasty. Tours take in the lavish private apartments, the vaulted Knight’s Hall and the puppet museum. The manicured gardens contain a vast cast-iron glasshouse, built in 1845 and filled with tropical plants, while the Baroque master architect Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach designed the riding school in the late 17th century; it stands almost unaltered today.
Hidden around the grounds are several follies—including an artificial cave—as well as a lakeside minaret, designed by Josef Hardmuth and completed in 1797; this was home to the Lichtenstein family’s collection of Oriental artifacts and a spiral staircase leads 302 steps up to an observation gallery in the 197-foot (60-meter) tower for glorious views over the estate. In summer boat cruises along the River Dyje are available along with carriage rides around the grounds and daily birds of prey shows. There are also several wineries close by for tasting the local vintages.
Státní zámek Lednice, Zámek 1, Lednice. Open Apr & Oct Sat–Sun 9am–5pm, May–Aug daily 9am–5pm; Sept Tue–Sun 9am–5pm. Admission adult 100 CZK; seniors 300 CZK, students & children 60 CZK; family 250 CZK. A 2.5-hour road trip from Prague.