The silver mining town of Kutná Hora is one of the most magical places to visit in the Czech Republic. It is perhaps best-known for the extraordinary Sedlec Ossuary, a chapel decorated with thousands of human bones. Yet many more treasures await, including one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in Europe, and a fascinating historic town on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
It’s a popular destination for day trips from Prague, but deserves more time if you have it.
We’ve written this wide-ranging article to give you an idea of the many Kutná Hora things to do, how to get there from Prague. All of this will help you plan your time and visit accordingly.
We have also gone into more depth with a series of articles on the Kutná Hora Bone Church,St Barbara’s Cathedral and the Kutná Hora Silver Mine.
Why Visit Kutná Hora Czech Republic
It’s a town with a rich medieval heritage, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1995
Kutná Hora is widely known for the Sedlec Ossuary, a cemetery chapel elaborately decorated with thousands of skulls and bones
Unusually it is also home to two (very impressive) Cathedrals
Kutná Hora grew wealthy because of the reserves of silver beneath its streets, and you can visit the original silver mine and the Mint where its famous coins were struck
There are also several smaller museums worth visiting, including the impressive late medieval Stone House, and a wonderful Printing House Museum
Kutná Hora is also a gorgeous old town, with steep cobbled streets and beautiful vineyards just below St Barbara’s Cathedral
Kutná Hora with kids works too – my 7-year-old adores the place, and often asks when we’re going back next
Along with Český Krumlov, it is one of the best places in the Czech Republic to visit outside the capital Prague
One Day in Kutná Hora – Is It Enough?
There are enough things to do in Kutná Hora to fill at least two days, but realistically one day is all most travellers are going to have available.
One day is ample for visiting the three must see Kutná Hora sights – St Barbara’s Cathedral, the Sedlec Ossuary and Sedlec Cathedral. You would also have a few hours to enjoy the beautiful historic town, including the wonderful walk past the Baroque statues on Barborska, one of
I would also recommend visiting at least one of the Italian Court or the Hradek, home to the Czech Museum of Silver.
Kutná Hora Things To Do
St Barbara’s Cathedral Kutná Hora
The Cathedral of St Barbara Kutná Hora is one of the great Gothic churches in Central Europe. This extraordinary church was probably intended to be considerably larger, and took over 500 years to build. It was begun in 1388, funded by the vast wealth then being earned by the town’s silver mines.
The early 15th century Hussite Wars – a long conflict between reformists and the Roman Catholic Church – put paid to things for several decades, but work resumed in 1481 and continued on and off until the late 19th century.
Inside and out, it’s a spectacular sight with a forest of flying buttresses and a tent-style roof, while the highlight of the interior is the mesmerizingly beautiful Gothic, which runs the length of the Church. If you love French Gothic cathedrals, don’t miss this.
The Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the Kutná Hora Bone Church, is one of the most remarkable places to visit in the Czech Republic. It’s the biggest draw among visitors making the Prague to Kutná Hora day trip, and the first stop for many because of its location close to the main Kutná Hora railway station.
Ossuaries are places where bones are stored after cemeteries are cleared, and it’s estimated that the bones of around 50,000 people are kept in the Kutná Hora bone chapel in Sedlec. There are several other ossuaries in the Czech Republic, including at Brno and Mělník, but the bone church in Kutná Hora differs in one very obvious way.
The bone church Kutná Hora is elaborately decorated with skulls and bones, unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. The centrepiece is an astonishing bone chandelier, with garlands of whitewashed skulls protruding from it and holding it up. It’s one of the most incredible works of art you will ever see, the work of a woodcarver named František Rint, about whom very little is known.
Note that photography at Sedlec Ossuary is forbidden. It’s a solemn, holy place, and the resting place of tens of thousands of people. Unfortunately some visitors have shot wholly inappropriate material including selfies, so if you wish to photograph the Chapel you’ll need to apply in writing at least three days in advance
The Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and St John the Baptist at Sedlec is part of the oldest Cistercian Monastery in Bohemia, founded in the 12th century.
The original Gothic church fell prey to the ravages of the Hussite Wars, and was burned down in 1421. Monastic life continued until the late 17th century, but the main church wasn’t rebuilt until around 1700, on the initiative of Abbot Jindřich Snopek.
Prague architect Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel, who was also responsible for the World Heritage pilgrimage church of St John Nepomuk at Zelena Hora, soon took over the rebuilding project. The church has his distinctive mixture of Gothic and Baroque styling, with a simple, serene yet imposing interior.
As at St Barbara’s cathedral, you can ascend from the nave to the gallery, where you can enjoy an amazing elevated view of the Church. Don’t forget to look back down the splendid Baroque staircase either.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to buy your ticket to the Cathedral and Ossuary from the information centre on Zamecka, halfway between the two.
Kutná Hora Silver Mine
Also known as the Czech Museum of Silver, this is one of the best Kutná Hora museums, and gives you an insight into life in Kutná Hora when it struck it rich in the 14th century.
It’s located in the Kutná Hora Hradek, a largely late medieval fortified palace built by mine owner Jan Smišek of Vrchovist’. The first tour runs through part of the Hradek, and covers the growth of Kutná Hora as a silver mining town, with a large collection of coins minted between 1300 and 1621.
We opted for the Kutná Hora Silver Mine tour, which was quite an experience. One of the main mine tunnels runs below the streets of Kutná Hora town so you walk up the hill from the Hradek to the entrance and climb down into the depths of the Mine.
The smaller you are the better for this one, as you have to make your way through some very narrow low tunnels, the lowest of which is a mere 127 cm. No mean feat for a 190 cm person like me, but I made it!
Kutná Hora Stone House
This ornately carved townhouse is the most impressive of the buildings in the historic town centre, which makes up part of the Kutná Hora UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was built between 1485 and 1499 by Prokop Kroupa, who attained noble status around the time it was completed.
The House is now managed by the Czech Museum of Silver, and includes an exhibition on life in the town between the 17th and 19th centuries. The cellar also contains a lapidarium, a collection of Gothic-era stone sculptures from the town.
It is open Tuesdays to Sundays, April to November.
GASK Kutná Hora
The long white building close to St Barbara’s Cathedral is the former Jesuit College, now GASK, the main art gallery in Kutna Hora. It’s also known as the Central Bohemian Regional Gallery.
It’s housed in a long Italian-style Baroque palace, the work of Giovanni Domenico Orsi, an architect based in Vienna. Behind the fine façade, some of the interior is rather austere, in line with Jesuit values.
This contrasts with the row of Baroque statues outside on Barborska, which have a similar grand effect to those either side of the Charles Bridge in Prague. The Charles Bridge statues were begun in 1683, and were finally completed in 1714, whereas the Kutná Hora statues were added between 1703 and 1716.
Both were intended to decorate a royal processional route. In Kutná Hora this ran from the Italian Court to St Barbara’s Cathedral.
The former College houses 20th century and contemporary art exhibitions, and also has some wonderful spaces, especially the Garden.
We were particularly impressed with the Children’s Corner, which has some great interactive ideas for kids that they can just get on with. My son was particularly taken with the wall installation, in the style of an abstract Mondrian painting with plenty of ledges to climb and rest on. He loved jumping off it onto the crash mats a metre or so below the ledges, and can’t wait to go back.
Italian Court and Gardens
The Italian Court (Vlašský dvůr) is a Gothic palace which housed the famous Kutná Hora royal mint from 1300 onwards. This is where the Prague groschen was minted, so the Court and town grew in importance and wealth. King Wenceslas IV later added to the building, converting part of it into a royal residence.
There are three separate tours – the cellar, mint and palace – and the option of an all-in-one. It’s also well worth strolling a short distance down the hill to see the beautiful gardens, which also offer great views of the town.
St Jakub Church
St James Church is the oldest in Kutná Hora, begun in the early days of the silver boom around 1330. Its 86-metre tower is one of the most prominent Kutná Hora landmarks, and can be seen from all over the city.
Plans for a second tower were scuppered by mine tunnels causing instability below ground. It’s nonetheless a fine parish church, with Renaissance and Baroque additions complementing the middle period Gothic parts of the building.
St John Nepomuk Church
Admirers of Czech Baroque may well wish to seek out the church of St John Nepomuk in Kutná Hora.
It’s on Husova, with a plush pink façade, and is the work of Kilian Ignaz Dietzenhofer, who was responsible for several churches in Prague. These include St Nicholas Church, across Old Town Square from another of his creations, the Kinsky Palace.
The entrance to the church is around the side, and is well worth seeing if ornate Baroque interiors are your thing. It’s open from April to October.
The Kutná Hora plague column (Morovy sloup) was built by Jesuit sculptor František Baugut in commemoration of the outbreak of plague in Kutná Hora, and in thanksgiving for deliverance from it.
It was modelled on the even more elaborate Holy Trinity Plague Column in the Graben in Vienna. It was built around the same time as the famous Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, which contains a chapel at its base, and is another Czech World Heritage Site.
The Gothic stone fountain (Kamenná kašna) on Rejsek square was built in the late 15th century by Matej Rejsek to supply water to the town.
It’s a fine structure, built to provide a back-up supply in case work in the silver mines disrupted the normal supply. It has an unusual 12-sided design with richly carved stone tracery resembling what you would see on a church window.
You can also see Rejsek’s work in Prague – the Powder Tower also dates from the late 15th century, and marks the border between the Old Town and New Town Prague. It’s one of the finest towers in Prague, and is similar to the two towers at either end of the Charles Bridge.
Dacicky House Kutná Hora
The Dacicky House is a beautifully restored late medieval townhouse that now houses an exhibition on Kutná Hora and its role as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s a great introduction to the work of UNESCO, especially for kids. The basement and cellar area is the most interesting part, with touch tables and a superb video projection of the other World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic.
There is a small museum dedicated to Josef Kajetan tyl, who wrote the words to the Czech national anthem. It’s called Tylův dům, and is on Tylova, just down the hill from Palackého náměsti.
The anthem, Kde domov můj (‘Where is my home’), originally featured in a play in the 1840s, and grew in popularity. Around this time there was a growth in Czech national consciousness, when the Habsburg Empire still ruled over Czech lands. It was adopted as part of the Czechoslovak national anthem, with a verse added for Slovakia.
It was trimmed back to a single verse after the Czech Republic and Slovakia separated in 1993. The exhibits are in Czech, with limited English translation, but if you have a partial grasp of Czech like me or an interest in Czech history, it’s worth a look.
Shopping For Silver in Kutná Hora
The days of minted silver coins from Kutná Hora may be long gone, but there a couple of shops specializing in silver jewellery including this one on Sultysova, and another around the corner on Komenskeho naměstí.
Several other shops in Kutná Hora, including the tourist information centre on Kollarova, also sell silver items, including coins and other jewellery, as does the souvenir shop at the Czech Museum of Silver.
Three Kings House
This building, across the street from the Italian Court, is one of the most striking sights in Kutná Hora. Known as Dům U Tří Králů in Czech, the façade is adorned with a series of frescoes of three Bohemian kings, Wenceslas II, Vladislaus II and Wenceslas IV.
The frescoes are recent, the work of artist Pavel Novak. It isn’t possible to visit the interior of the house, but the paintings make for a great photo opportunity. It’s on Havličkovo naměstí.
The sign outside says ‘Gutenberg Museum’, but it’s actually more of a Printing House Museum, with a 180-year-old printing press, typesetting machines and printing presses. To my seven-year-old son, this may as well be Ancient Egypt, and it can be enthralling for kids.
The beauty of this small museum is that it’s all hands-on, and you can try out some of the machines for yourself. These include a century-old printing machine, on which you print a postcard of Kutná Hora from 1836. Captions are in English as well as Czech, bringing the whole to life even more.
One of the best places to visit in Kutná Hora with kids.
Kutná Hora Chocolate Museum
Most chocolate museums I’ve seen tend to be glorified chocolate shops, which is not necessarily a bad thing, of course.
It turns out that this tiny chocolate museum in Kutná Hora tells an amazing story. The Kutnohorske chocolate factory was founded in 1918, and produced the famous Lidka brand. It one time it employed 500 workers, but it declined under the Communist regime and closed in 1958.
The Lidka brand was finally revived in 2018, and now has two employees. It has started winning praise – and prizes – again, so watch this space. Well worth a bit of time on your Kutná Hora day trip.
Blues Café Kutná Hora
We were delighted to chance upon this great little café across the cobbles from St Jakub Church.
We only stopped for a brief coffee and cake, but they also serve sandwiches and soups and double as a record shop and small concert venue. Their prices are extremely reasonable too – no tourist premium in sight.
Check out their website here.
Where to Stay In Kutná Hora
Staying in Kutná Hora gives you the chance to savour this stunning town as dusk falls and its magical buildings and streets are lit up. Even in summer it’s hardly inundated with crowds (except perhaps the Sedlec Ossuary). But while many visitors have returned to Prague, you can have this amazing town almost to yourself.
There are several great Kutná Hora hotels and pensions, all within a short walking distance of the main sights.
Hotel Zlata Stoupa is ideally placed in a fine historic building just below main square Palackého náměstí, and also on the way up the street from the town station. They also have a restaurant serving traditional Czech dishes.
Pension U Hradku is a wonderfully atmospheric building with wooden ceilings a few metres down the hill from the Hradek and the Czech Museum of Silver. It’s on one of the most beautiful streets in Kutná Hora, and guests repeatedly mention the exceptional service there.
How to Get to Kutná Hora From Prague
We have written a separate feature on getting from Prague to Kutná Hora, but here are the basics. We recommend taking the Prague Kutná Hora train if you’re travelling independently, as the journey only takes around 1 hour 15 minutes including the changeover at Kutná Hora main station.
There is also the option of driving to Kutná Hora, but unless you’re visiting as part of a road trip, the train is a better bet.
Prague to Kutná Hora By Train
Kutná Hora has three railway stations. You can reach Kutná Hora main station (Kutná Hora hl n) directly from Prague main train station (Praha hl n), and this station is around 3 km (2 miles) from the town centre.
A branch line train is time tabled to meet passengers arriving from Prague, so you have seven minutes – ample, we’ve found – to cross Kutná Hora station via the underpass to reach the connecting train on platform 1.
This train – whose final destination is Zruc nad Sazavou – calls at Kutná Hora Sedlec, a request stop (press the red button marked ‘Na Znameni’ near the door to alight), barely a minute along the track from the main station.
It is only a two-minute walk from there to Sedlec Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. the ticket office for this magnificent church is across the street on Zamecka, halfway to the Sedlec Ossuary.
After visiting these Kutná Hora attractions, you can backtrack to the Sedlec train stop, then catch the next service one stop along the line to Kutná Hora Město. This is where you alight for Kutná Hora town, less than a 10-minute walk up the hill.
Check train times on the Czech Railways website here.
Prague Kutná Hora Bus
It’s also possible to reach Kutná Hora from Prague by bus, but if time is at a premium, it isn’t worth the bother.
If you’re planning a Kutná Hora day trip from Prague and want to travel by bus, you need to allow over 2.5 hours journey time each way. The bus leaves from Haje, last stop on Metro line C, in the south-eastern outskirts of the capital. that alone can take an hour, allowing for transfers.
The Haje Kutná Hora bus then takes a very long 1 hour and 40 minutes. And remember – you have to travel back from Kutná Hora to Prague. You might save a couple of euros, but it’s not worth that much time.
If you’re set on it, then check the idos.cz site for the 381 bus.
Book A Kutná Hora Tour
Taking a Kutná Hora tour from Prague is another option, especially if you don’t have much time available and want to see the main sights.
This Kutná Hora day tour includes a stop at the Sedlec Ossuary and nearby Cathedral, as well as St Barbara’s Cathedral, the old town and the impressive Italian Court. It also includes the option of transport by train or private bus.
If you’d prefer hotel pickup in Prague, this Kutná Hora from Prague tour takes you to the main sights, and includes a walk in the old town rather than visiting the Italian Court.
Otherwise, check out this wider selection of Kutná Hora tours.
Want to explore further? Take a look at our Czech Republic Travel Guide.
Discover these other Czech World Heritage Sites in our guides below:
Telč Czech Republic – gorgeous country town with one of the most beautiful squares in the world
Holašovice – A Wonderful, Uniquely Preserved South Bohemian Village
Pruhonice Park Prague– A Stunning Garden Landscape On the Outskirts of Prague
Things to do in Mariánské Lázně – One of the Great Spa Towns of Europe
Český Krumlov Old Town – one of the medieval wonders of Europe
Lednice Castle – English-inspired summer seat of the Liechtenstein Princes
Also check out these awesome castles near Prague:
Konopiště Castle – home to Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Karlštejn Castle – imposing behemoth of a Castle in countryside near Prague
Křivoklát Castle – early medieval royal Castle in remote forest west of Prague
Blatna Castle – fine Bohemian water castle with adjoining Deer Park
Kokořín Castle – awesome Castle in forest north of Prague
Troja Castle Prague – gorgeous Prague Baroque masterpiece with wonderful Garden
And explore these other wonderful towns in the Czech Republic:
Mikulov – Stunning South Moravian wine-producing town near the Austrian border
Mělník – Wonderful Wine Town An Hour North Of Prague
České Budějovice – South Bohemia’s Undiscovered Capital