Konopiště Chateau is situated in the midst of charming gardens and a scenic landscape. This chateau once belonged to the successor to the Habsburg throne Franz Ferdinand d´Este – famous for his death in 1914 which started WWI. Originally a gothic castle built in the 14th century it was rebuilt in the 19th century and houses fascinating collections of historical weapons, furniture, paintings and tapestries. Worth seeing is Franz Ferdinand’s impressive collection of medieval arms and armour and the landscaped garden with peacocks grazing on the lawn. Franz Ferdinand was obsessed with hunting and his home is decorated with his trophies. In his books he recorded that he shot around 300.000 creatures, from foxes and deer to tigers, more than 100.000 of these still decorate the walls. Franz Ferdinand renovated the castle in the 1890’s with up to date technology such as flush toilets, electricity and a lift. There is also the St George Museum (Muzeum sv Jiří) just beneath the castle terrace. There are three guided tours available.
Eating at Konopiště
There are three restaurants in Konopiste, but the best bet is to bring your own food – there are plenty of places you can stock up with supplies from in Prague. This means that you’ll avoid the massive queues for the eateries and will be able to relax instead. Try Stará Myslivna – a Czech restaurant set in a 19th-century lodge. Most mains are under 200 CZK. You could also try eating in Benesov itself – U Zlaté Hvězdy is a popular choice.
Costs and Tours
Admission: from 145 CZK to 310 CZK, museum 25 CZK.
You are only able to visit the castle if you sign up for a one hour guided tour, although you can pick from three different routes (Route 3 is the best):
- Route I includes the public and guest rooms, as well as the hunting hall and the shooting range. It costs 210 CZK per person.
- Route II includes the oldest area of the castle, plus the chapel, elevator and armoury. It also costs 210 CZK.
- Route III includes the private dwellings of the family of Franz Ferdinand and is slightly more expensive, costing 310 CZK.
Route I is the most popular choice, as it provides the most to see on the tour. Route III however, is the most spectacular, as it transports you back to the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Route III is limited to 8 people per hour though, so it is best to book in advance. You can save money if you go on a Czech speaking tour rather than an English one, and you will be given an audioguide in English for when you go round.
Tip: leave time to explore the beautiful landscaped grounds around the Castle.
May-August – Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-12.30pm & 1pm-5pm
April and October – Tuesday-Friday, 9am-3pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-4pm
September – Tuesday-Friday, 9am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
November-March – CLOSED
40 km to 50 km south east of Prague, you can take a bus from Roztyly metro station to Benešov u Prahy (40 CZK, takes 40 minutes) or train from Main Station to Benešov u Prahy. Chateau is just 2.5km from a town. Bus no.2 runs from a stop on Dukelská, approx. 400m north of the train station to the Chateau car park. You can also book excursion online.