Traditional tourist sites open to visitors after long break

Photo: Barbora Němcová

With the start of the summer holidays, most of the Czech Republic’s castles and chateaux, as well as other tourist destinations, are opened to the public again. Most of the sites are operating under standard conditions and are hoping to boost their visitor numbers after a long break caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

Most of the Czech Republic’s castles and chateaux opened to the public on May 25, with a two-month delay caused by the restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak.

During the first weeks following the re-opening, the number of visitors had to be restricted and they were required to cover their face in the indoor spaces.

Following a further loosening of safety restrictions on June 22, castles and chateaux, as well as galleries, museums, swimming pools and zoos are now open without limits on the number of visitors and they are not required to follow any other safety measures.

Jana Hartmanová, a spokeswoman for the National Heritage Institute, which administers over 1,000 monuments around the Czech Republic, outlines the details:

Hluboká chateau

“Most of our sites are currently operating under standard conditions. We still recommend our visitors to keep a safe distance from each other, to stay away from large crowds, and if possible, to pay by card.

“The only exception to the rule is the region of Moravia and Silesia, where, due to the current Covid-19 situation, people are still required to wear a facemask.”

The National Heritage Institute estimates the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic at dozens of millions of crowns. Nevertheless, they are not planning to raise the entry fees this season.

To compensate for the lost earnings, the institute is considering other options, such as prolonging the main tourists season, explains Mrs Hartmanová:

“We are considering prolonging the main tourist season until the end of September. That means the sites would remain open even on Mondays, when they are usually closed to the public. But we have to decide individually based on the popularity of each monument.

“The most popular places, such as Lednice, Hluboká and Karlštejn, already have seven-day opening hours.”

Although the visitor numbers are still lagging behind, the number of tourists to Czech castles and chateaux has been gradually increasing over the past few weeks.

According to Mrs Hartmanová, summer holidays could see the same number of visitors as last year. To attract even more people to its monuments and sites, the National Heritage Institute has also launched a new campaign focusing on social media:

“We have asked visitors to take a photo of themselves while visiting our monuments and place them on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, with a hashtag ‘napamatku’. This way people can discover places they haven’t heard of before.”

The Czech Republic currently has 11,960 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 149 new cases reported on Tuesday. 349 people have died and 7,776 have recovered from the disease.

As of July 1, face masks are no longer required indoors and with the exception of high-risk areas.