Melnik, Czech Republic
At the confluence of the Vltava and Elbe Rivers, the port of Melnik, in the heart of Bohemia, is a stopover for river cruise vessels en route to Prague. From the river banks, passengers make the ascent up a steep path that leads to a Renaissance castle with views of terraced vineyards.
What We Love
Clifftop Church: Sts. Peter and Paul, rebuilt in 1555, has a bell tower that you can climb for rooftop views and a crypt that shelters mounds of bones—some arranged in patterns—mostly from victims of the plague.
Melnik Castle: This Renaissance edifice was once the residence of Czech prince and princesses and holds a wine cellar with giant oak barrels and a distinguished collection of paintings and furniture.
Best Known For
Winemaking: One of the most northern wine-making regions of the Czech Republic, the area is covered with vineyards tucked into the nearby slopes and valleys. Wine cellars, where visitors can sample the local pours, are scattered throughout the town.
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Who It's Best For
Small-Town Lovers: Cute and compact, this walkable town is a refreshing stop among less picturesque places along the Elbe River; a row of benches overlooking the banks affords magnificent panoramic views.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You: The path that leads to the center of Melnik is situated on a steep incline, which may require some sturdy sports shoes and some huffing and puffing.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.