A town grew up already at the end of the 13th century on the doorstep of the Slavkovský Forest, in which the mining tradition mixes with historic monuments and with the frightening parades of devils on the backdrop of majestic chateaus. Stop by in Sokolov and absorb the atmosphere of an authentic mining town.
If you want to learn something about Sokolov, then your steps should head towards the Municipal Museum. The main building is based at the Sokolov Chateau, so aside from the exhibits on metallurgical engineering, glassmaking, or the production of porcelain, you will also see the interior and learn something about the Nostitz family, to whom the chateau belonged until 1945.
If you are interested in the extraction of ores from the depths of the Earth, and if your eyes light up when you hear the words “adit” and “mine wagon”, then you will be enthralled by the Mining Museum in Krásno. It is located about twenty kilometres from Sokolov (although it is a part of the Sokolov Museum), and you can also visit a model adit or try a ride on a mine wagon.
And those who take mining seriously should not miss Jeroným Mine; one can explore its depths with a helmet on and a cape over your shoulders, and thus feel like a medieval miner for a while.
Monuments and vistas
Traditionally, people set out from Sokolov to visit two majestic castles. The first of them is Loket, the architectural dominant on the rock outcrop in the meander of the Ohře River, whose supernatural beauty was admired even by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. You can explore its interior, view the exhibits, or organise a birthday party or a wedding here. You could not say “I do” in a more stylish way.
Further on, on the rocky crest near Bečov nad Teplou, the castle and chateau of the same name towers above the ground. Aside from the fact that it hides the legendary Reliquary of St Maurus, the second most valuable gilded relic of the Czech Republic, it is possible to tour its interior and visit each of its salons, the chateau library, or the chapel. Children will not be bored, since one of the tours is meant for them.
Other sites are also worth visiting in the town’s surroundings. In the educational centre at Bernard Homestead, right beyond the Sokolov city limits, you can try out traditional crafts. The stone lookout tower south of Sokolov, near the village of Krásno, awaits your visit at an elevation of 777 metres above sea level, and you can even see the peak of Klínovec from it. To the north, near Oloví, there is the modern lookout tower of Cibulka, with a panoramic view in every direction.
Windsurfing, an organ, and devils
Do you want to spend your time in Sokolov actively? No problem; take a swim or try out windsurfing at the Michal swimming hole or take a walk on the educational trail leading to the Rotava organ – an amazing rock formation in the shape of a church organ.
And for a truly hellish show, plan your trip to Sokolov for December. It is at this time that a sulphuric fog engulfs the streets, and the rattle of chains can be heard throughout – a parade of hundreds of Krampus rushes through the town. These scary devil masks originally hail from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Just be careful that they do not cart you back to Hell with them!