Situated in the meander of the Ohře River is the gem of the Karlovy Vary Region, whose silhouette was already sketched with fascination in a notebook by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. We are speaking of the Gothic-Romanesque Loket Castle that hides in its bowels the oldest documented meteorite in the Czech Republic, but also a dungeon, the statuette of Gottstein the Imp, and even a dragon in the castle tower. No less enchanting is the historic town centre or the amphitheatre below the castle, which serves as a venue for cultural events.
You can also spend countless hours in three museums, dedicated to spa cups (over 3,100 cups), secret societies (ritual objects, documents, and ritual clothing of the Freemasons or the Illuminati), or to such specialities such as the development of the wheel, wagons, and carriages in the “Včerejší svět” (Yesterday’s World) museum.
If you do not want to have the same photographs of Loket as everybody else, gather your strength and climb up the Kolowrat Cliff, where the statue of the truly remarkable creature called “Zeprase” (Zebrapig) is found. Too high for you? Then take a selfie under the monumental plaque of Johann Wolfgang Goethe in front of U Bílého koně (At the White Horse) Hotel.
And the best view of Loket? From the Ohře River, of course. So, hop on a sightseeing boat ride that travels under the castle, and admire its majesty from a new perspective. Along the river, you will reach the Svatoš Rocks rock formation, just bring or rent a boat, and grab your oars.
Views from above
If, however, you prefer views from above, set out for Jeskynní vyhlídka (Cave Vista). It is located not even four kilometres from the castle, and the uphill ascent is bearable even for children. And if you miss being with animals, the Hory Farm is located nearby the vista, where you can see deer, moufflons, and horses. The farm also offers rides, including a day-long trip in the saddle.
A paradise for children
The surroundings of Loket are a paradise for children. Literally. About a twenty-minute car drive away is the Svatoš Children’s Paradise complex, where kids can saddle-up Appaloosa horses and try out either the western or English riding styles. The smallest of visitors can look forward to Lojza, the Shetland pony. If you do not want to leave Loket, there is a high-ropes centre located directly in the crowns of the town’s trees, offering a breath-taking view of the castle panorama.
Hiking boots and pedals
For a trip in the fresh air, the circuit trail leading to the Špičatý kámen (Sharp Rock) rock formation with its iron cross and then on to Šibeniční vrch (Gallows Hill), named for the gallows that stood here until the 18th century, is perfect. Along the way, you will come across five vistas, and you will return to town along a pavement. On your bicycle, you can set out and follow the trail of mining activities through the magical Slavkovský Forest.
Those who wish to see the Slavkovský Forest from a bird’s-eye-view must visit the Krudum Lookout Tower, located thirteen kilometres south of Loket. In its proximity, you will find the ruins of the Church of St Nicholas, where legend has it the spirits of miners still attend mass to this day. Just a bit further, the noteworthy Krásno Lookout Tower reaches for the heavens. It has a height of twenty-five metres, and a spiral staircase leads around the circumference of the stone foundation, reminding one of the zikkurat in Babylon.