The purest example of the Italian Renaissance north of the Alps can be found in Telč in the Czech Republic, halfway between Prague and Vienna.
Created as a fortress surrounded by a moat, it is now a fairy-tale town with an old postcard atmosphere, where the old town seems to be embraced by small lakes and ponds.
Step back in time by having a coffee in the elegant square or visiting the sumptuous Renaissance palace. Remember, though, that the best pastime in Telč is to find out who has the most beautiful house!
The great attraction of Telč is its wonderful square overlooked by picturesque houses and arcades. The former, originally built in the Gothic style, are still perfectly preserved; the arcades and gables were only added during the 15th century.
Such an abundance of rich mansions is due to the competitiveness of the inhabitants of Telč, who loved to flaunt their wealthy status, so much so that it seems they competed to see who had the most beautiful house!
Here are some particularly interesting buildings to look out for:
The house at No. 31, Telč House, houses a permanent exhibition on the history and legends of Telč and its surroundings.
Two fountains and a Marian column further embellish the square. The latter was built in the 18th century using the legacy of Zuzana Hodová: this wealthy inhabitant of the house at number 52 donated a thousand gold coins to the town.
After admiring the square that made the town of Telč famous, visit another marvel: the Renaissance palace, commissioned by the Bohemian nobleman Zacharias of Hradec and built on an earlier Gothic fortress. The construction work was supervised by Italian experts invited to Telč by Zacharias, who had travelled to Italy and appreciated Renaissance art. The interior is still perfectly preserved.
Other noteworthy attractions are:
Telč is also an ideal destination for walkers. A dense network of marked urban paths and trails criss-cross the town and surrounding areas, and if you are looking for a beautiful view of the town, you can climb to the top of the Tower of the Holy Spirit.
A curiosity: the film Woyzeck by director Werner Herzog was shot in Telč.
Telč is about 30 km from the Austrian border and is not easy to reach from Prague by public transport. The train takes more than four hours and you will have to change at least once. Even more complicated is the bus because there are no direct routes and for part of the journey you will be forced to use the train.
Travelling by car is much faster: you can arrive at your destination in less than two hours.
To see all the facilities and book accommodation in Telč use the form below, entering the dates of your stay.