Czech Republic: Karlstejn Castle

Karlstejn Castle, built in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor and Bohemian King Charles V, is one of largest, most spectacular, and most visited medieval gothic castles in Europe. Sitting on a high hill, it has towers, walls, drawbridges, turrets and everything else a classic castle should have (probably even a sleeping beauty someplace). There is also an imperial palace inside. But sadly, the place is a total tourist trap – parking is over 2km downhill so you have to get a private ride up. If not, you can walk along tourist shops assaulting you all the way. Once you get to the castle, you find out you can’t see much without an organized time-specific tour. Even to walk outside – get a tour. It’s crowded with bus loads of tourists and tour guides with flags tied to sticks.