Melnik is a significant agricultural town on the outskirts of Prague.It lies on a ridge looking down over the merging of two rivers, the Lave and the Vltava, in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. Melnik has a history dating back to the 9th century, as it was home to some of the earliest Czech settlers. Since then, it has become famous for its wine, iconic churches and castle. With a strong cultural history, immersive local atmosphere, delicious cuisine and impressive architecture, a trip to Mělník offers the perfect opportunity for those wanting to escape the capital city.
Situated on a clifftop towering over the town, the church of St Peter and Paul is both imposing and impressive from the outside. The inside, however, is even more dramatic, with a chapel of human bones lying beneath the altar, a crypt holding the remains of 15,000 people. Next to the church is the historic Renaissance castle and in the wine cellars below, visitors can sample some of the infamous wine of the region. Stemming from the castle, there are a series of small winding streets traversing through the hillside vineyards and into the old town, along which various cafes and restaurants offer delicious traditional cuisine. The main square is filled with colourful buildings, a fountain, various small trees and an impressive, steep-roofed clock tower that is best viewed by sipping wine from a local street bar.
Only 33 kilometres north of Prague, Mělník can be reached via train from the capital, with many buses arriving daily in a journey of 40 minutes. The stations are a ten-minute walk from the old town, leading visitors through the historic gothic gate tower and the perfect entrance into Mělník. Once in the town itself, it is easy and enjoyable to explore by foot.
Mělník was originally established as a settlement of the Slavonic tribes in the 9th century, holding a fortress of the Pšovan tribe before becoming a dowry town for the Queens of Bohemia in the 1200s. Today, the town is best known for its wine with an annual wine festival with a Feast of St Wenceslas to celebrate the history and success of its vineyards.