Freistadt has managed to conserve much of its medieval heritage. The ancient moat is green with grass but the doorways, balconies and windows tell a story that is hundreds of years old. The town even has a night-watchman. The Goldenen Hirschen is just inside the solid Bohemian Gate and the garden backs on to the old walls. Built after the great fires of the early 1500s, it was rebuilt and given a new façade some 100 years ago.
Our inspector was delighted by the swallows in the arched passage where old wine presses and a hay cutter lend an aura of rusticity. In the vaulted, Gothic dining hall, the marriage of owners Johann and Anna Kronberger in 1867 is recorded on the ceiling, but it has been in the present family only since 1913.
The cooking is imaginative, with traditional dishes matched by, for example, a pumpernickel souffle with cheese sauce. Bedrooms are large and some have a separate sitting area; the best offer a view across the town towards the Gothic church.
Our inspector liked the two pretty Stuberln, the terrace at the back, and the cheerful owners who have expanded into the house next door, and also own the Hotel Goldener Adler, just a few streets away.