We started looking for the Konopiste forest castle in the Czech Republic. It was already evening, but a big castle can't be that hard to find. Or is it? After a while we realised that the Konopiste castle can be called a "forest castle" precisely because it is very well hidden in the forest... By the time we found it, it was getting dark, and our first encounter with the castle was surrounded by mysterious statues and sounds.
Konopiste Forest Castle in the Czech Republic
The forest castle of Konopiste is four miles south of Prague, and the nearest major town is Benesov. Although we had the exact address, we turned round for quite a while before we found it. We thought that a large castle would be visible, but the forest castle Konopiste is not visible. It is well hidden in the forest! Finally, we found a car park that looked like it was meant for castle visits ...
Animals in Konopiste
Once we arrived, we were in a hurry to visit the castle before it got dark. Was it stupid to come this late? We started walking up a dirt road and soon encountered an enclosure with deer. We also saw squirrels darting between the branches of the trees and, as we approached the castle, we discovered a bear living in the moat.
Loud noises in Konopiste
But none of this explained the strange sounds! As darkness fell, they became more and more intense. It sounded like a loud howling or moaning. What kind of animal could make such a sound? And didn't we hear something moving in the bushes? The explanation was not given until the next morning ...
A park full of statues
The castle is surrounded by a large park, where you can wander around the castle's fanciful statues. We wandered around among mysterious animals and two-faced figures as darkness fell and the 'wailing' increased in intensity.
The rose garden and the peacocks
We slept in our camper van in the car park outside the castle and only the next day, when it was light and the castle was open to visitors, did we get the answer to the riddle from the day before. The loud howling came from all the peacocks in the castle's rose garden! Have you ever heard what a peacock sounds like...?
Visiting the Konopiste forest castle
Just walking around the castle garden and admiring the castle from the outside is an experience. It is also possible to get a guided tour inside the castle. We skipped it because we would have to wait so many hours for an English guide, but if you plan your visit a little better, it is excellent. You can read more at the castle's website.
Around the castle there are several restaurants, fast food outlets, souvenir shops and museums. However, the campsite that once stood here seems to have been closed for years. Don't forget to check out Peter's film from the castle!