Třeboň is famous across the Czech Republic as the home of the country’s well-loved carp, a staple of everyone’s Xmas Eve dinner. The carp—along with other fish—are caught from 100’s of fish-ponds in the area, which were initially established at the end of the Middle-Ages. These have survived to the present day.
However, Třeboň has more to offer than fish. It is a picturesque walled town which, although not quite as captivating as Český Krumlov, nonetheless retains a great deal of its’ Renaissance-period charm. It has a wonderful pedestrianised main square and pieces of its’ original town wall still exist. Furthermore, its’ Regent brewery, which dates from 1379, still produces—at least in this reviewer’s opinion—much of the country’s best beer.
It is also the main recreational hub of southern Bohemia. Hiking and cycling trails span from every direction, negotiating through woods and around ponds for miles on end (refer to the boxed text beneath “Stretching Your Legs”). If you have a few spare days and you are searching for a means of getting some countryside air, do not search beyond Třeboň, where you are able to rent bicycles, receive biking maps, and bask in the unspoiled nature of the region.
Třeboň expanded gradually from the twelfth to the mid-fourteenth century, when four of the Rosenberg brothers (also called the Rožmberks) took control, and made Třeboň their second home (their native residence was in Český Krumlov, down the road). Třeboň rapidly prospered, acquiring important salt customs and brewing rights.
Although fires and war in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries ruined some of the historical Renaissance architecture in the town, a gradual process of reconstruction eventually rebuilt virtually every inch of this walled town to its’ initial condition. Under Communist rule, Třeboň was given spa rights that kept cash coming in so the buildings could be well maintained.
The “Okolo Třeboně” four day festival is held here at the close of June each year. You can witness numerous fun, sporty competitions and street happenings, and listen to traditional Czech folk music played on city centre stages, and at the park nearby. This multi-genre event never fails to turn into an extended party with an unforgettable ambiance. Visit the information centre to check the precise dates, and also enquire about the historical Knights Contest which, should it occur, is often lots of fun as well. Regrettably, there is no set date that this event is held, and it is not a yearly event.
Officials of the city, who are always quick to help tourists, have positioned signs to guide tourists to virtually every orifice of the centre. Because this walled city is fairly small, there is no incorrect place to start a tour, although it is best to begin at the gate on the south side, by Svinenská brána. The reason for this will become clear. This is the oldest of the 3 gates of the town. Outside this gate, on the right-hand side, sits the Regent Brewery (www.pivovar-regent.cz), established in 1379. Local people will say that this brew is just as nice as Budvar, and they are not fibbing. If you wish to stop by, please keep in mind that brewery tours needs to be booked in advance (on a nice sunny day, don’t miss the brewery’s open-air terrace). Upon entering the Old Town, carry on through Žižkovo náměstí to get to Masarykovo náměstí, where beautifully coloured façades from Renaissance times appear as if they were constructed yesterday.
On the left-hand side is the entrance to Třeboň Castle (www.zamek-trebon.eu), which is the town’s show-piece. The history of this castle mirrors the town’s history. The initial Gothic castle was ruined by fire and rebuilt on numerous occasions. The last time this happened was in 1611. It appears quite ordinary from the exterior, but it features impressively decorated rooms which offer a fantastic back-drop to the sixteenth century furnishings.
Admissions are via guided tours (only in Czech, English upon advance arrangement), with 2 primary tours offered: Tour A centres on the Renaissance interiors of the castle; Tour B focusses on the nineteenth century, noble, Schwarzenberg family apartment. Both tours cost 100 CZK (150 CZK to go on both), with price reductions provided for seniors, families and children. During August and July, a 3rd tour of the casements and cellars is also offered. October, September, May and April hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 09:00-16:00. June to August, it is open from Tuesday- Sunday from 09:00-17:15.
Stroll out from the castle’s gate and head down Březanova Street towards the Augustinian monastery & the fourteenth century Saint Giles Church adjacent to it. Within the church are copies of many of the best Gothic works of central Europe; the original pieces have been taken to Prague’s National Gallery. The monastery and church are open Monday-Saturday from 09:00-19:00, and Sunday from 09:00-18:00.
Rybník Svět lies southwards of the Old Town. This is a big pond which local people visit on warm afternoons. When the weather is nice, various locations surrounding the pond provide rental boats. You could also bike or hike the pond’s circumference alongside marked trails. Allow for around 3-4 hours for your hike. On the pond’s south-eastern shore (approximately a twenty minute stroll from the centre) lies Schwarzenberg Mausoleum (Schwarzenberská Hrobka). This neo-Gothic crypt and chapel was constructed in 1877, and is the place where most Schwarzenberg family members are buried. A tour of the mausoleum is 50 CZK for each person. During October, September, May and April, these crypts are open Tuesday-Sunday from 09:00 to 11:30, and from 13:00-15:30. During August, July and June the hours in the mornings are identical, but the hours in the afternoon are extended to 16:30.
The Augustine Monastery has been at Třeboň since 1367 and was originally established by the Rožmberk family. The Chapel of St. Vincent and the cloister in the convent are two of the oldest parts of the building and you can also visit St. Giles Church here. It is open from 9am until 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
The Tourist Information Center lies in Masarykovo nám, at the centre of the Old Town. 103 (www.trebon-mesto.cz). Every member of staff is great and speaks numerous languages, especially German. They offer maps, guide-books and details on lodging options, bike rentals and tours. It is open from Mondays to Fridays, from 09:00 to 17:00.
Finding Your Bearings
There are just 3 ways of penetrating the Old Town walls of Třeboň (not including pole-vaulting!). Eastwards is Castle Gate (Hradecká brána); on the town’s southern edge sits Svinenská brána; and on the western side is Budějovická brána. After you have gone through any of these entrances, the 6 or so roads which make up the Old Town are easy to navigate.
Buses depart from the bus station at České Budějovice every sixty minutes or so. The journey lasts thirty to forty minutes and 30 CZK is usually the fare.
Taking the train out of Prague, this trip normally requires you to change trains in Veself nad Lužnicí. This train takes around three hours; the 2nd class fare is 200 CZK. Buses and trains also frequently depart for Třeboň out of Tábor and Jindřichův Hradec. Also, there are good links from and to Vienna via České Velenice, the border town, which can be reached from Třeboň on the train or bus.
Driving out of Prague, take Highway E55 through Tábor then turn left onto Highway 150, just after Veselí nad Lužnicí. This journey lasts a minimum of one to two hours. Out of České Budějovice, join Highway E551 eastwards towards Třeboň.