By car, Cycle
What is on the way: Geocaching
Distance from KV: 20 km
The history of the town
The originally Gothic castle was probably built in the early 14th century on a high promontory above the Teplá River to protect an important crossroad of provincial roads. The first written mention of the local fortified settlement dates back to 1349, the days of the Lords of Riesenburg. In 1387, the settlement below the castle was granted the status of a town. Mining (mainly tin mining) was the main source of income for Bečov's residents in the Middle Ages. In the 19th century crafts were on the rise in the town: small factories started emerging here. A renowned music school located in Bečov was frequented by students from the entire north-western Bohemia. Thanks to the quickly developing road and rail traffic, the beautiful landscape of the Slavkov Forest came to the attention of tourists and naturalists.
Attractions of Bečov
The undoubted dominant feature of the town is Bečov nad Teplou Castle and Chateau. The originally Gothic castle from the early 14th century was heavily damaged during the Thirty Year War. Later it was abandoned. In the days of Questenbergs in the early 18th century, an opulent Baroque chateau was built near the castle. Today, Bečov nad Teplou Castle and Chateau is open to the public and offers several guided tours. The grounds are completed by a beautiful Italian terraced garden. The biggest attraction of Bečov Chateau is the Reliquary of St. Maurus from the early 13th century. Its value is comparable with the crown jewels. The unique Romanesque relic of European importance is a gilded casket set with gems and holds remains of saints. It was found in 1985 buried in the castle chapel. Finding the reliquary is considered one of the greatest discoveries in Czechoslovakia of the 20th century. Restoration works of the national cultural monument were very demanding and took 11 years. Since 2002, the shrine is on display for the general public in the castle.
The Baroque parish Church of St. George built between 1763 and 1767 according to a design by master bricklayer Franz Pöpperl in place of an older Gothic church from the 15th century is another historic building of the town worthy of notice. In the square you can admire the historic building of the Bečov town hall, in front of which stands a Baroque column with a statue of the Virgin Mary from 1680. Another place to visit in the square is the Museum of Historic Motorcycles and Toys. Walk down the alley away from the square and enter the place of a former Jewish Ghetto with ruins of a synagogue. Gradually restored, a botanical garden with rare trees is open to the public. You can find it in the valley, opposite the railway station.The rescue work of the natural park is conducted by the Czech Union for Nature Conservation.
Bečov nad Teplou is an ideal starting point for your trips or hikes in the wonderful landscape of the Slavkov Forest Protected Landscape Area. Here you can also find two educational nature trails.The first one takes you to Šibeniční (Gallows) Hill and provides interesting facts from the history of capital justice system in the country. The other, Panoramic Trail, offers a tour with magnificent views of the historic town, its castle and chateau from the surrounding hills.
How to get there
The small town of Bečov nad Teplou is located about 25 kilometres from the centre of Karlovy Vary. The best starting point for your walking trip is Doubí. Climb up the green tourist route across Deer Hill (Jelení vrch) to Horní Slavkov. From there follow the yellow tourist route to the outskirts of the village of Krásno, where you need to turn onto the district road and continue via Milešov to Bečov. The all-day trip through beautiful hilly countryside is 21 kilometres long. The above described way is also a marked cycling route. You can also get to Bečov nad Teplou by an intercity bus or train leaving from Dolní nádraží (Lower Bus Station) in Karlovy Vary. Bečov nad Teplou can also be reached by car using the I/20 road in the direction of Pilsen.