Wine Castles and World Class Golf

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……in the land of which Pilsner was born

…..and fairytales might just come true

 

If you need to have an Ocean on your golf vacation you can stop reading right now.  If you are good with waking up in a fairytale setting surrounded by cobblestone streets and mystical architecture, exceptional golf, warm summer nights, and very reasonably priced I might add – then, read on!

Colorful and historic architecture abounds, not only in Prague but other cities and towns, Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic also the gateway to the South Moravian Wine country, Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne some of the recently visited, truly give you that magical feeling.  Add to that the Castles and Chateaus that are yours to discover, some even on and part of the golf courses and resorts leave you at a loss for words.  The history of which we speak of here often starts with 3 numbers, not four.  Have you ever thought you could be waking up in a castle and walking out to the course?  Golf Resort Konopiste the largest Czech golf resort at the south end of Prague offers just that.

Compared to other golf destinations you will find that your Stay & Play golf vacations will have extremely satisfying price levels.  The colorful streets wherever we traveled were very clean and the atmosphere brisk and safe!  Very comparable in climate to the Northeast USA and Southern Ontario, no need for sweaters or jackets for any midsummer travel.

It was a 2-part adventure for me, after landing in Prague and spending a night and having my first Pilsner the next day escorted by Jaroslav (Jerry) of Abante Golf, meeting up with my new Czech golfing buddy Tomas as we spent time touring, staying and playing Golf & Ski Resort Ostravice between the twin peaks of the Beskydy Mountains.  In North Moravia, Prosper Golf Resort Celedna which in 2011 combined the back nines of the New and Old Course to test the skills of the European Tour tested our skills too.  More on this part of the Czech Republic in a future issue including a visit to Olomouc, Moravia’s 1,000-year-old spiritual centre.

Week two was centered around Prague with a couple of days in West Bohemia and 2 major Spa Towns of Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne where we followed in the footsteps of Beethoven, Goethe, Schiller, Wagner, Chopin and King Edward IV to name a few.  Both towns have their own prominent golf history and a number of options to play.

Prague is a must stop for all first-time international visitors.  Often described as “the heart of Europe” or the “City of a hundred Spires” (it’s probably closer to 500, but who’s counting).  Combining centuries of European architecture with history, romance and panoramic views, evening strolls through the narrow cobblestone streets exploring the nooks and crannies of the Old Town is a Disneyland for adults.  There is a reason that is always in the top 5 most visited cities in Europe.  Prague.eu

The best of what golf has to offer within greater Prague is generally a 30-to-45-minute drive of Old Town.

Albatros Golf Resort
Czech Republic

PGA National Czech Republic at Oaks Prague voted Best Course in Europe in 2020 by World Golf Awards is a must stop. Oaks Golf | PGA National Czech Republic (oakspga.cz)

Six-time host of the European Masters, a classic layout, Albatross Golf Resort. Golfové hřiště Albatross – Home

Panorama Golf Resort, 27-hole complex recognized by Golf Digest as one of the top golf properties in Prague.  Panorama Golf Resort

Castles can come into play at any turn in the Czech Republic.  Be it the historic Prague Castle, downtown Prague, in wine country, or you might catch a glimpse in your back swing at a top-rated course, Golf Resort Karlstejn, Golf Resort Karlštejn (karlstejn-golf.cz) or the previously mentioned, castle at Golf Resort Konopiste. Golf Resort Konopiště (golf-konopiste.cz)

Beer, Beer, Beer, it is everywhere and the most favored drink in the land and for good reason.  The most popular beer in the world, a golden pilsner was born in Plzen in 1842. Pilsner Urquell changed the beer world and became the inspiration for over 70% of all beer consumed worldwide. Still using the same recipe today. The facility tour is a beer lovers delight. A must for beer lovers, approximately 1 hour from Prague.  www.plzen.eu https://www.pilsnerurquell.com/ 

A land of wine, unsuspecting to most North American simply due to the fact that over 90% of the wine produced is consumed within the Czech border.  The Czech Republic has 2 wine regions Moravia and Bohemia although 96% of the wines are produced in Moravia.  There are approximately 1,300 registered wineries with roughly 71% producing white wine varieties.

The route to Wine Country from Prague (approximately 2.5 hours) takes you south towards Brno with Vienna lurking in the distance.  A number of golf resorts, Golf Resort Kaskada just about 10 miles from Brno.  Additional options include Korenec Golf & Ski Resort, Austerlitz Golf Resort and Golf Resort Telc.

Certainly, one of the most interesting and refreshing parts of my Czech adventure, combining wine tasting, with visits to UNESCO heritage sites.  Our guide for this from Mikulov Tourism Jan Sojka showed up driving a vintage Chrysler Newport that he brought to the Czech Republic, originally from Peterborough Ontario, small world!  First stop of the day was to check out the unique sleeping accommodations in wine barrels right in the vineyards of Vinarstvi pod Hradem at the base of a castle in the Palava hills. So cool Vinařství pod Hradem – Nabízíme ubytování v dřevěných sudech a stylové chatce přímo ve vinici. (vinarstvipodhradem.cz)

I know it is never too early for wine tasting, but on this day, we added a little culture with a visit to the spectacular Lednice Valtice Complex a UNESCO site known as the Garden of Europe.  A unique parkland setting created over centuries, with rare tree species, interlaced with ponds and alleys.

The underground caverns of Valticke Podzemi provided us with our first up close and personal family style tasting experience giving us a first-hand glimpse of underground wine storage predating the good old refrigerator.  Homepage – Valtice Underground (valtickepodzemi.cz)

The ultimate wine tasting experience in South Moravia might have to be Valtice Castle (Zamek Valtice), the Wine Salon exists in the lower level of the castle where for a few dollars you have 90 minutes to sample a selection of the 100 best wines of the Czech Republic.  And yes, this too is a UNESCO site.

A South Moravian gem not to be missed is the Mikulov Castle with its own wine making tradition and a tour of the cellar will bring you to what just might be the largest wine barrel in the world.  Not to be missed on the upper level is a historic library and a collection of over 1,000 extremely valuable books.

For greater insight into all the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic offers visit: South Moravian Region – Amazing Czechia

For information on the amazing Czech Republic #VisitCzechRepublic

To help you with getting around the Czech Republic and certainly experts when it comes to golf in the Czech Republic ABANTE GOLF :: Czech Republic Golf (abante-golf.co.uk)