Bítov Castle is an enchanting neo-Gothic castle towering above the deep waters of Vranov Reservoir. It is located near the confluence of the meandering Moravian rivers Dyje and Želetavka, close to the tiny village of Bítov, in the South Moravian region, 27 kilometres (16.8 miles) west of the town of Znojmo, Czechia. Founded in the 11th century on the place of an old Slavic fortified settlement, it’s probably the oldest castle in the entire Podyjí (i. e. the area around the majestic river Dyje). And some say it’s also the most romantic one!
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For centuries the castle served as a cautious guardian of the southern border of the Czech lands. The fortress was rebuilt many times throughout its existence, changing its shapes and features. It got its current appearance in the 19th century, during the reign of the House of Daun. The last private owner, baron Haas – an avid animal lover – established a small zoological garden at Bítov Castle and enlarged the collection of stuffed dogs, creating the most extensive exhibition of this kind in the world with 50 dogs of many breeds.
What to See
Bítov Castle offers many tour routes – either guided or without a guide. The classic tour includes the interiors of the castle palace including its gorgeous rooms, halls and lounges with outstanding illusory painted walls and stylish historical furniture. Often there are special exhibitions taking place. Visit the official web presentation of the castle to check for the current tours, admission rates or opening hours. In summer, commonly, the castle gets packed with tourists, but making a reservation for tours is usually not a necessity if you don’t travel with a larger group.
TRIP INSPIRATION: A cruise trip can be a very mesmerizing experience. Right below the castle on the shores of Vranov Reservoir, there’s a landing place from which the cruise boats depart. At the time of writing, there are two companies with scheduled boat trips and regular connections during the summer season: Lodní doprava Vranov and Lodní doprava Vranovská přehrada. A return journey to Vranov nad Dyjí and back to Bítov Castle usually takes about 3 hours. Board the boat and set sail!
The easiest way to get to Bítov Castle is to travel by car. Leave your vehicle at the paid parking lot about 750 metres (820 yards) far from the castle. Then it’s about a 10 to 20-minute walk, depending on your tempo. The path is flanked on two sides by tall Linden trees. The closest bus stop is Bítov, rozcestí – some 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) far on foot. The nearest train station with direct routes from Znojmo and Jihlava (Okříšky) is in Štítary, where you need to transfer to a bus. Travelling from Vranov nad Dyjí, you can also use the regular boat lines departing from the Vranov Dam wharf. You can check the up-to-date connections and timetables anytime at idos.idnes.cz.