Detailed photo of the centerpiece at the Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church
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Prague Day Trip: The Kutna Hora Bone Church — The Sedlec Ossuary

The Bone Church Day Trip: Visiting Kutná Hora from Prague, Czech Republic

Kutna Hora is a small city just an hour from Prague, Czech Republic. It’s extremely walkable and totally worth spending a whole day trip exploring. Actually, I would love to go back and spend a few days in Kutna Hora. Kutna Hora is home to the Sedlec Ossuary—The Famous Bone Church—the main draw of the small town. But you’ll also want to visit St. Barbara’s Cathedral, The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist, and just explore the quaint streets, alleys, shops and restaurants.

About Jason Robinson // The Nomad Experiment

Having not seen his 3rd country until age 40, then diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 42, Jason encourages and empowers others with a fear of travel, or of traveling with major medical conditions, to push through and live an unconventional life.
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Photo of creepy wall coverings of skulls and bones at the Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church
Creepy wall coverings of skulls and bones at the Sedlec Ossuary

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How to get either from Prague to Kutna Hora or back from Kutna Hora to Prague

You can go from Prague to Kutná Hora by bus, taxi, or car, but the best and easiest is via train from the main station in Prague.

Czech Railways operates a train from Praha Hlavni Nadrazi (the main Prague station) to Kutna Hora Hlavni Nadrazi (hl.n) hourly. It should only run you a few dollars each way.

The train takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes, dropping about a 5-10 minute walk from The Bone Church and The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John The Baptist. Then you can enjoy a walk through Kutna Hora’s Old Town to get to St. Barbara’s Cathedral. Getting back from Prague to Kutna Hora is just as simple, just in reverse!

Want to skip the planning? Check out this highly-rated tour. They’ll pick you up in Prague and take you to explore Kutna Hora, The Bone Church, and St. Barbara’s Cathedral. Then get you back to Prague from Kutna Hora in time for your evening Becherovka!

The ceiling fresco, statue and organ at the Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist in Kutna Hora
The ceiling fresco, statue and organ at the Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist
Photo of the nave of St. Barbara's Cathedral in Kutna Hora, Czechia
The nave of St. Barbara’s Cathedral in Kutna Hora

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First Things First, Get Your Tickets To All Of The Churches In Kutna Hora

I highly suggest you get the combined ticket for all of the paid-entry churches in Kutna Hora, including the Sedlec Ossuary. The beauty of a trip to Kutna Hora is that, while it’s a popular trip, it doesn’t seem like it’s overwhelmingly packed with tourists.

And both The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John The Baptist and the moody, Gothic, flying buttress-adorned St. Barbara’s Cathedral are well worth the extra $5!

Detailed photo of the centerpiece at the Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church
Detailed of the centerpiece at the Sedlec Ossuary

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How much does it cost to visit the Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church?

A ticket to get into just the Sedlec Ossuary will run you about $4-5USD. But a ticket that also includes entry into The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John The Baptist and St. Barbara’s Cathedral is only around $10. You can get your ticket just across the street from the Sedlec Ossuary or reserve one here for use later.

Seasonal hours for the churches in Kutna Hora may vary, but plan for:

  • Peak Season Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM (April to September)
  • Low/Shoulder Season Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM (October to March)
    Note: St. Barbara’s Cathedral opens at 11 AM on Sundays.

Visiting The Sedlec Ossuary Church of Bones

The Exterior of The Sedlec Ossuary

The exterior of The Bone Church is very simple, with a white facade and a cross on the front. Quite unassuming to what’s inside. And you may be a little surprised that the church is actually quite small. It’s surrounded by a cemetery which you can peruse before entering the church, which adds to the overall atmosphere for sure.

Inside The Bone Church

As you enter the small church, you are immediately “greeted” by walls adorned with carefully placed and curated human bone displays. As you peer down the stairwell you get your first glimpse of the extremely intricate and eerie, massive bone “sculptures.”

Now, keep in mind that this is actually a very small church. The main space might measure 50’x50′ on a good day—just eyeballing it. But don’t let that scare you off…

The church was built in the 15th century and is estimated to contain the bones of over 40,000 people. Every bone is carefully arranged into intricate designs and patterns from the floors to the chandeliers. The ossuary is dark and gothic and definitely evokes a slightly creepy vibe.

There are literally entire corners of the Sedlec Ossuary stacked nearly floor to ceiling with skulls and bones. Add to the thousands of human bones a few creepy cherub dolls, and we’re talking potential nightmare material here.

When is the best time to visit The Bone Church in Kutna Hora?

The best time to visit The Bone Church in Kutna Hora is during the day, especially first thing in the morning before the crowds get thick. The sun shines through the windows and lights up the bones, which adds to the ambiance a bit.

I visited The Bone Church first thing in the morning, right after it opened, in the fall shoulder season. Within an hour it was already filling up a bit with tourists and cameras. Again, this church is actually quite small compared to the other churches in Kutna Hora, so I imagine it can get pretty crowded in high travel season.

detailed photo of skulls and bones at the Bone Church in Kutna Hora
Detailed photo of skulls and bones on the wall

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Other churches to visit and things to see on a day trip to Kutna Hora

The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John The Baptist

The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John The Baptist is a Gothic cathedral located just across the way from The Bone Church in Kutna Hora. The church was founded in 1388 by King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia, construction began in 1396, and the cathedral was completed in 1420.

The exterior of the cathedral is decorated with intricate sculptures and stone carvings, while the interior contains beautiful stained glass windows and frescoes.

The amazing ceiling fresco at the Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist in Kutna Hora
Absolutely gorgeous ceiling and fresco in The Cathedral of Assumption…

I was lucky enough to have the church almost all to myself, partly because it was early in the day, but also because this church just doesn’t get as many visitors as the other churches in Kutna Hora.

I loved how open and airy the church was, with it’s long, tall corridors. And the ceiling frescos and giant organ were amazing!

The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John The Baptist is a popular tourist destination, and receives over 200,000 visitors each year, whereas The Bone Church sees about 300,000 visitors.

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St. Barbara’s Cathedral in Kutna Hora

St. Barbara’s Cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site, is renowned as of the most beautiful and well-preserved churches in central Europe. The Gothic cathedral was built between 1257 and 1281.

The exterior of the cathedral is characterized by its three towers, two of which are asymmetrical. The central tower is 60m high and houses a baroque bell from 1724.

Simply walking up to St. Barbara’s Cathedral is overwhelming, as you pass massive statues on the walkway overlooking the Czech countryside.

Take Barborska street for these amazing views, then make sure you walk all the way around St. Barbara’s Cathedral before you go inside. That way you can truly appreciate the architecture and flying buttresses of this famous Gothic church.

Inside St. Barbara’s Cathedral

St. Barbara’s Cathedral in Kutna Hora is filled with ornate frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries, stained glass windows, as well as a number of statues of saints. The main altar is located in the choir, which is surrounded by an ambulatory and five chapels. The interior of the cathedral is decorated with numerous frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Similar to the ceilings in some of the halls of The Old Royal Palace at Prague Castle, there are intricate and detailed glimpses into the heraldry of the past. I spent a lot of time just taking in the ornate art in the nave of St. Barbara’s Cathedral.

Photo of the nave of St. Barbara's Cathedral in Kutna Hora, Czechia
The nave of St. Barbara’s Cathedral in Kutna Hora

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photo of a trash can in Kutna Hora, Czechia that looks like an alien robot face
Alien robot face…or cool trash can mechanism? You decide. 😉

The Plague Column (Morový Sloup)

Another reason to simply explore the streets and alleyways of Kutna Hora is that you’ll stumble upon art and statues that aren’t on most people’s radar. The Plague Column was one of those happy accidents I stumbled on while exploring Kutna Hora.

Also known as “The Plague Column of the Virgin Mary Immaculate,” this giant stone memorial is located in Sultysova street in Kutna Hora.

The Plague Column is definitely a little creepy, since it commemorates the 16th-century plague pandemic which wiped out more than a thousand people.

Black and white photo of the Plague Column of Kutna Hora
The Plague Column in Kutna Hora, Czechia

Add to that the fact that at the base of the column is a large tomb. And that the Plague Column is literally right in the middle of a pedestrian street.

The Gothic Stone Fountain (Kamenná Kašna) in Kutna Hora

The Gothic Stone Fountain (Kamenná Kašna) is a beautiful fountain located in the Old Town area of Kutna Hora. The fountain was built in the 14th century and is made from a series of large, rough-hewn blocks of stone.

The fountain is topped with a Gothic spire and features a series of water jets that shoot up into the air. Water flows from the fountain and cascades down into a small pool below. It’s located at Rejsek Square in the Old Town area.

The Weather In Kutna Hora During High Travel Season

In Kutna Hora and Prague during the high travel season, the weather is comfortable and dry. The average temperature in July is around 23° Celsius (75°F), and it can get quite chilly in the shoulder seasons.

I visited in early October when the crowds were smaller, the fall air crisp, and the bright yellow leaves made the brick roads seem to long to be back in Oz.

image of Kutna Hora Czechia street covered in yellow fall leaves
Kutna Hora brick road covered in yellow fall leaves

Planning a day trip from Prague to Kutna Hora and The Sedlec Ossuary?

Kutna Hora and The Sedlec Ossuary are definitely worth traveling to if you’re visiting Prague. Get up early and take the train from the Main Prague Station to Kutna Hora and spend the day. Getting back to Prague from Kutna Hora is just as easy.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or what your favorite part was!

Cheers!
— Jason

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The beginner traveler's guide to going nomad book by Jason A. Robinson

Tough Love, Tips & Strategies To Help You Finally Kick-Start Your Travel Life…Or Go Full Nomad!

Been wondering how the hell all those digital nomads, location independent travelers, and remote workers, travel “full-time?” Maybe you’ve thought about living that life one day, but you’re really not sure where to start.

Beyond giving you the stepping stones to dive into short-term domestic and international travel, this book will show you how long-term travelers extend those tools, maximize their budgets, and turn weeks into months…or even years…of traveling the world indefinitely.

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

Need more resources? Click here!

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