How to Spend One Day in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Last Updated:

When we mapped out our 21-day road trip around the Czech Republic, Kutna Hora was our first stop.

The ancient silver mining town of Kutna Hora is one of the country’s most popular destinations. Only an hour from Prague, it makes a great day trip and an even better destination in its own right. Though it doesn’t hurt that the Sedlec Ossuary bone church is right next door.

Worth it? Definitely!

One day in Kutna Hora

While it may appear to be a rather unassuming town, Kutná Hora is a favorite on the tourist radar, to a great degree because of the famous “bone church” in the nearby village of Sedlec. Sadly, some rush in to see that one place and move on, never knowing what they might have missed.

What we learned during our visit was that Sedlec Ossuary pales in comparison to many other nearby places. For our part, we thought Kutná Hora’s historical town center and the Church of St Barbara were even more remarkable than the ossuary, which we covered in a separate article.

Anyway, Kutna Hora has a fascinating history. Watch this fun cartoon to learn all about it:

It all began in 1142, when the first Cistercian monastery in the Czech lands was established in the nearby village of Sedlec. Any peace and quiet the poor monks might have enjoyed was short lived though, because silver was discovered in the area in the 1200s. This made the king so happy that he established the royal mint there in 1300, making Kutna Hora not merely a wealthy royal city, but the second most important town in the Kingdom of Bohemia.

Thanks to all the money rolling into town, the magnificent Church of St. Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec were built not long after. Still standing, UNESCO thought these two sites were impressive enough to be awarded world heritage status.

Where to stay in Kutna Hora

We stayed at the comfortable and centrally located Hotel Opat. They are usually fully booked, though, so here are some other choices:

Kutna Hora excursions from Prague

Most excursions from Prague include a visit to the Bone Church (Sedlec Ossuary). They can be a good choice if you don’t care about exploring the salt mines or visiting the silver museum.

This one is very popular:

Kutna Hora day trip itinerary

Before I go further, I should explain that our plane had arrived in Prague at 9:00 a.m. that morning and got a late start. The drive itself only takes an hour.

10:30 – Hrádek

Castle Kutna Hora

Since it all began with silver, it made sense to begin our sightseeing at the Hrádek. It’s an impressive, 700-year-old building that was once a patrician residence. Thanks to the Information Center, we were able to take a private tour so we could get better photos and ask all the questions we wanted, without disturbing other people.

Hradek now houses the fascinating Czech Museum of Silver and offers two informative tours:

  1. Silver City – geology, archeology, development of Kutná Hora, the history of Hrádek, the life of the “silver nobility“, numismatics (1 hour)
  2. The Journey of Silver – medieval mine, horse gin, medieval silver ore extraction and processing technology, minting, miners’ settlement (1½ hours)

We took the second tour.

Tunnel in silver mine Kutna Hora Czechia

Our guide began by explaining how raw silver was mined and processed, then brought us to the original “donkey gin,” an animal-powered mining machine. After donning the required cover-up and headlamp, we descended 40 meters into the Swiss cheese-like passages under Kutna Hora.

Soon we were walking through a section of the original medieval mine, grateful for our shoes’ good traction because some of the walkway was damp and slippery.

The passage still shows scars along the walls from the miners’ hammer-and-chisel work, the pattern broken here and there with niches that once had held the miners’ candles. I shuddered at the mental image of working in such meager light underground, hoping my lamp wouldn’t go out while I completed my daily labor.

ⓘ PRO TIP: The mine is not suitable for large people, nor anyone with mobility issues or fear of enclosed or dark places. Be sure to wear good shoes.

Diorama of mine workers in Kutna Hora

Once we returned aboveground, we were guided to the Hrádek’s colorful garden, which houses wooden structures like those that would have been in a miners’ settlement. Ther’s also a replica of a hearth furnace with bellows, a smelter from the era that was complete with its devices and tools, and costumed mannequins of mining workers in the midst of their labors.

12:00 – Where to eat in Kutna Hora: Restaurant Dačický

front of Restaurant Dacicky Pivovar

Hidden in the corner of a narrow, crooked lane, 400-year-old Restaurant Dacicky has still managed to snag the top TripAdvisor restaurant spot. And it’s as much for its historic ambiance as for its delicious food.

The 700-year-old building was reconstructed in the 1500s and was the birthplace of the chronicler Mikuláš Dačický of Heslov in the mid-16th century, a legendary lover of wine, beer and women. Hence the name.

Even though this town landmark serves busloads of tourists, the restaurant was quiet when we arrived so we had our pick of where to sit. Daylight is a tried-and-true jet lag remedy so we sat on the patio … though its colorful medieval dining room and bar was far more inviting. I would imagine that the long, heavy wooden tables there have heard plenty of interesting conversations. They certainly looked old enough.

As is expected in Czech culture, we seated ourselves. Soon afterward we were savoring the restaurant’s own microbrew and looking forward to our first taste of Czech food. Yeah. Czechs never rush their cooking.

ⓘ PRO TIP: In Czech pubs, beer is served in half-liter mugs. If you’re not that thirsty, order a “malé pivo,” which is a third of a liter. It will be served in the same size mug and topped with a large head of foam.

Patio at Restaurant Dacicky, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

1:30 – Italian Court

Original silver Groschen coin on display at Italian Court in Kutna Hora

Had it not been for the Tourist Information Centre, we may never have ever heard of the Italian Court. Not by that name, at least.

When King Vaclav II implemented his monetary reform in 1300, he summoned experts from Florence to oversee it. As part of the reform, these Italian bankers created a central mint and standardized the silver coins, replacing the scattered mints around the country, as well as their various coins. The silver Prague groschen became one of Europe’s strongest currencies at the time.

The building that housed the mint was nicknamed the Italian Court, thanks to the Florentine consultants and the fact that it was a favorite residence of King Wenceslas IV. Many important royal matters were handled there, most notably the Decree of Kutná Hora.

The Italian Court is still a government building and serves as Kutna Hora’s City Hall. It also houses a museum that is one of Kutná Hora’s most visited tourist sites.

3:00 – The streets of Kutna Hora

Street in old town Kutna Hora Czechia

When it was time to bid goodbye, our tour guide took us back to our car by way of a few charming little cobblestone streets. Seeing the official sights is nice, but it’s best not to overlook the historic town they are in.

Old Town Kutna Hora has some particularly fine private dwellings.

4:00 – Sedlec Ossuary

bones in Sedlec Ossuary

As previously mentioned, Kutna Hora’s nearby neighbor, Sedlec, is home to a sensational chapel decorated with bones. It is so popular with day-trippers from Prague and so unique in its own right that it has earned its own article. (Read about the macabre bone church here.)

4:30 – Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist

The monastery’s beautiful cathedral is part of the official UNESCO World Heritage site because “it was restored in line with early 18th-century Baroque taste and influenced the architecture of central Europe.” Built around 1300 in the shape of a Latin cross, it was the first French Gothic church on Czech lands and the largest religious building in Bohemia.

The Hussites burned the cathedral in the 1400s. When the interior was redone in the early 18th century, it was designed to the then-popular Baroque taste. Well, all but its presbytery, main nave and transept; they still retain their original appearance.

Visitors can borrow a helpful English-language handout and use it to tour the cathedral. Be sure to see the treasury room, which holds a masterpiece from the church’s gothic beginnings: the Monstrance of Sedlec. It is one of only ten gothic monstrances in existence and the oldest gothic monstrance in the world. (Monstrances are Roman Catholic ritual items.)

My biggest regret for our day in Kutna Hora is that we didn’t stop to visit the Cathedral in Sedlec. It completely slipped our minds. As it turns out, we could have spent 20-30 minutes there and still had time to see St. Barbara’s.

ⓘ PRO TIP: The cathedrals in Sedlec and Kutna Hora are both open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The last admission to the church is 30 minutes before it closes.

4:45 – St. Barbara’s Cathedral

Facade of St. Barbaras Cathedral Kutna Hora Czech Republic

The ornate St. Barbara’s Cathedral rightly deserves to be Kutna Hora’s pride and joy. It is named for the patron saint of miners who, it is said, has helped miners escape seemingly hopeless situations. On various occasions, she opened a hard rock, she enlightened the mine when a lamp went out, or she just showed the right way out of a mine collapse.

True or not, UNESCO considers the church a jewel of the late Gothic period. What’s surprising is that though it was begun at roughly the same time as Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral, they seem so different. Although they both have buttresses, St. Barbara’s has the tented roof typical in Late Gothic architecture and seems much brighter inside.

5:45 – Gothic Stone House (Kamenny dum) & Gothic stone fountain

The completely reconstructed Gothic Stone House (which conveniently was within a few blocks of our hotel) is covered in exquisite stone carvings. Inside are displays about the daily life of the townspeople in the medieval mining town, local church activity and more about the economic base of the town.

It is considered the most important civic house in Kutna Hora because it is a testimony to how people lived and thought in its day. Unfortunately, it had already closed for the day, which just goes to prove that you really can’t see all of Kutna Hora in one day.

Well, at least we got to see the outside!

Details of Gothic Stone House

A block away, we came across a huge, 12-sided, obviously Gothic structure. Better yet, it was sharing a square with several picturesque and historic houses. Peeking through a hole in the doorway we discovered that it is now home to a number of sculptures, which look to have been created by local artists.

circular stone fountain in Kutna Hora Czechia

The fountain hasn’t always been an art gallery, of course. During the Middle Ages, it was covered by a hexagonal roof; wooden pipes channeled water into it from a well four kilometers away. It was built in 1493 by the same architect who worked on the Church of St. Barbara and Prague’s Powder Tower. He had originally designed the fountain with a hexagonal roof and it was so well-built that it continued to supply water to the town until 1890.

ⓘ PHOTO TIP: The ancient fountain is beautifully illuminated after dark.

6:00 – Day’s end: Dinner, wine, or time to head back

With so much to do in Kutna Hora, it might seem odd to end a day so early, but our first day in the Czech Republic had begun the day before with an overnight flight from the U.S.

After almost the entire day on our feet, we felt exhausted and ready to grab a bite at the hotel before heading upstairs to bed. Still, we couldn’t resist the temptation to cap off our day at a vinoteca on our way back to our hotel to sample the local wines.

Kutna Hora local wine

Plan your trip

ⓘ PRO TIP: Traveling with older kids can be daunting, as they like to explore on their own. If you want to give them some space but keep track of where they are, this app might be just what you need.

Share this story with others

Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.

You may also like...

We often link to affiliate products and services that we believe will benefit our readers. As TravelPayouts and Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. Details here.

6 thoughts on “How to Spend One Day in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic”

  1. Om my! Love this itinerary! This is another town I was not able to visit during my visit to the Czech Republic. I didn’t know about the silver past of the town.

    • If you ever make it to Kutna Hora, don’t miss the silver museum. It’s fascinating. We really wish we’d been able to spend more time there.

Comments are closed.

As We Saw It