Lednice-Valtice Area: Unique Landscape Architecture
The Lednice-Valtice area is a unique landscape complex created by the Liechtenstein dynasty. Explore all the secret buildings, impressive chateaux, and unique nature. All these elements were carefully planned. That is why it is so exclusive. You just need to experience it.
The (hi)story of the Lednice-Valtice Area
You might already know that the Lednice-Valtice area is included in the UNESCO list, and there is a very good reason for that. It is one of the most extensive artificial landscapes in Europe, also known as the Garden of Europe. The idea makers behind this project were Dukes of Liechtenstein, the same family which rules over the Principality of Liechtenstein today. Between the 17th and 20th centuries, they transformed this property into a vast park, with two chateaux and several small buildings around.
Today, the whole area is a popular destination for visitors of all ages. You can explore Baroque chateau in Valtice, neo-Gothic chateau in Lednice, together with their gardens full of exotic species. What is unique about this complex is a number of small buildings around these two chateaux. During the rule of Dukes of Liechtenstein, these buildings served as a destination for walks, hunting stops, or places for hosting of numerous events. You can explore it on foot, but I would recommend you hiring a bike (there is plenty of bike rentals) and explore the whole area as a cyclist.
I would recommend you to start your visit with Chateau Valtice, the residence of the Liechtenstein Dynasty. Then, explore the whole area on bike and finish your trip in Chateau Lednice that served as a summer palace for the family. The afternoon is an excellent time for a walk in gardens of Lednice, where you can find Minaret and Janohrad (you can even take a boat trip).
As I already mentioned, Valtice chateau used to be a residence of the Liechtenstein dynasty, where the family permanently lived since 1530. They reconstructed the original castle into the Baroque chateau, where you can admire pure Baroque interiors and exteriors.
Around the chateau, you can find three special places worthwhile to visit – baroque theatre, wine cellars, and herb garden.
Baroque theatre is a replica of the original theatre from 1790. Dukes of Liechtenstein admired theatre, opera, and ballet, and they had it all in Valtice. Unfortunately, the original theatre was destroyed during the Communist regime in the 1960s. Today, you can have a tour in replica build according to the Baroque principles. It is pretty interesting to see wooden machinery running the backdrop, and you can have a tour behind the scene. During the summer, you can even visit theatre performances live. So, do not hesitate to check the cultural program of Chateau Valtice.
Next to the theatre, you can find extensive cellars of the Wine Salon, providing a permanent tasting of the best wines from Bohemia and Moravia. Across the wall, you can find an entrance to the herb garden, with over 300 species of herbs divided into the thematic garden beds.
I would recommend you to start your exploration at the Collonade, also called Rajsna. You can find it a bit distanced from the other buildings, almost at the borders with Austria. From Rajsna, you have a panoramic view of the Valtice and its vineyards.
Then, continue by the red trail to the Temple of Diana, also known as Rande-Vous. It looks like a triumphal arch, and the Lichtensteins used it for gatherings before hunting.
Another masterpiece on the red trail is St. Hubert Chapel since Hubert is a patron of hunters. It is the youngest piece of the whole complex, from 1855, but the style should evoke the antiquity of the chapel.
Still following the red trail, you are going to reach the Temple of the Three Graces, a semicircle gallery with a statue in the middle.
Then, you can continue by the red trail across the ponds, or have a tour around the ponds by the yellow trail. Thanks to this shift, you can enjoy a view on the ponds from an ornithological observatory, and stop by the Apollo Temple.
We continued around the ponds to the Pond House, beautifully renovated small chateau on the shore, and then to the Border House, a Classicist chateau with a great restaurant. It gained its name during the Austrian-Hungarian Empire since it was constructed in a way that half of the chateau stood in Austria and half in Moravia. Then, finish the circle around the pond back to the red trail until Lednice Chateau.
The Lednice Chateau served as a summer palace for the Lichtenstein family. They rebuilt an original Baroque chateau to the neo-Gothic palace, where they organized banquets for European aristocracy. You can have several kinds of tours in Chateau Lednice, admire unique interiors, and also explore a secret cave under the chateau or palm greenhouse that is still well maintained and open to the public.
Chateau is surrounded by a vast park with minaret and artificial ruins of a medieval castle Janohrad. It was intentionally built this way in the 19th Century since it was a fashion to imitate old English castles. You can get there also by boat from Lednice Chateau. The minaret is not part of any mosque but serves as an observation tower. You can climb 302 stairs to the 62 meters high view over the entire landscape up to the Pálava Hills.
How to Get to Lednice-Valtice
You can find the whole complex in Southern Moravia, on the borders with Austria. It is about 260 km from Prague. You can take a train from Prague to Břeclav, and then change to Valtice. It takes about 4-5 hours. You can also visit it from Vienna, it is about a one-hour drive by car.