Cesky Krumlov is a fairy tale town that jumps out of the pages of the book and comes to life. That is the great atmosphere felt in the whole town. It is indeed a fantastic place to spend some time and reconnect with your inner child.
Cesky Krumlov is a medieval town located in the South Bohemian region. It is also called the “Pearl of the Bohemian Forest”. It was finally declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Vltava River cuts through the city’s centre, and the entire city reminds one of the great Roman empire. As a result, the town is also called “Venice on the Vltava”.
Also, Cesky Krumlov is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in all of Europe and is the city in the Czech Republic with the highest number of tourists.
From the Old Town to the 13th-century Krumlov Castle, Cesky Krumlov is a town where history comes to life.
The town’s various restaurants and breweries are a treat for tourists with their authentic Czech cuisine as well as locally brewed beer.
Cesky Krumlov is the perfect location for history buffs and art aficionados with great museums holding iconic pieces and breathtaking galleries with legendary art.
Cesky Krumlov is also home to a Marionette Museum where there are more than 300 puppets on display. If you wish, you can even attempt to be a puppeteer yourself.
1. How to Get to Cesky Krumlov
There are numerous ways you can travel to Cesky Krumlov from Prague. There are shuttle buses from places like Vienna, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Linz, and Prague that can take you to Cesky Krumlov.
These buses depart 4 times in one day and can take you to your destination comfortably and efficiently.
There are also guided group tours that will take you from Prague to Cesky Krumlov and show the ins and outs of the city as well. A coach will pick you up at your hotel, and provide you with lunch, a local guide, and tickets to see the Cesky Krumlov Castle.
You can also take a train with Ceske Drahy Railways. The earliest train leaves Prague at 8 am and the latest train leaves Cesky Krumlov at 2 pm. A one-way ticket for this train costs 8 Euros.
A car rental is always an option if you have an EU driving license. The journey by car takes about 2.5 hours. With a rented car, you can decide when to leave, where to stop, and can take breaks whenever you want.
You can also get a private driver and guide if your pocket allows. The driver will pick you up wherever you want and can take you to Cesky Krumlov.
The car can take up to 4 people so you can share the cost with your friends. The driver has first-hand knowledge of Prague and Cesky Krumlov, so they can also be your guide in the fairytale town.
The city was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the winter of 1992. It is also one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful towns.
2. Things to do in Český Krumlov
2.1 Historic Old Town
The vintage design of the old town makes it compact and perfect for leisurely walking around. You can start by visiting Namesti Svornosti, the main town square surrounded by whimsical houses painted in the most beautiful colours.
The main square contains architectural elements that remind one of many architectural periods, for example, the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural periods.
Namesti Svornosti contains many little cafes and restaurants. It also has a beautiful fountain along with its baroque plague column.
There are indeed cobblestone streets just as one might expect in a fairytale. There are also varieties of gift shops, artists, street performances, and so on along the streets.
The Lazebnicky Bridge is a bridge that connects the town centre to its local castle and attractions. It makes its way from the historic centre of Old Town to the Krumlov Castle Complex over the Vltava River.
It also shows tourists one of the most beautiful views in the entire city.
2.2 Cesky Krumlov Castle
The Krumlov Castle Complex was built in the 13th century and is the second-largest historic building in the Czech Republic. Previously, it belonged to the Rožmberk family.
It consists of around 40 buildings, courtyards, a theatre as well as a museum, and 7 hectares of garden. And it only takes a few minutes from the Old Town to get to the castle complex.
There are basic guided tour routes offered by the beautiful castle. However, many areas of the castle can be visited for no cost, for example, the Mantelbrücke, the courtyards, and the gardens.
On the hillside of the castle district, Cesky Krumlov’s Castle Tower stands proud at over 162 steps high.
As a result, it is the town’s highest viewpoint and shows a panoramic view of the town, the castle hill, and the Vltava River.
Mantelbrücke translates to ‘Cloak Bridge’. The Mantelbrücke is a bridge built above the local castle’s moat. The bridge leads the way from one courtyard to another.
You can look out over the entire town from this multi-story cloak bridge. The spectacular skyline of the beautiful city includes a glimpse of everything, from the gabled houses in the streets, and the historic city centre to the Vltava River, and Castle Tower, along with finally an amazing view of the twin towers of the St. Vitus Church.
2.4 Theaters in Cesky Krumlov
2.4.1 Baroque Theatre
There is an almost wholly intact baroque theatre in Cesky Krumlov. This theatre is one of the best-preserved baroque theatres in all of Europe.
Cesky Krumlov’s Baroque theatre is one of the few theatres in the Czech Republic that did not burn down.
2.4.2 Revolving Theatre
There is also a revolving theatre located in the castle garden. It is an open-air theatre with a revolving stage. It is believed that this theatre has the highest ceiling in the world.
The ticket prices for a seat at this theatre differ depending on the genre of the play being put on.
2.5 Seminary Garden, Cesky Krumlov
The Seminarni Zahrada is the seminary garden in Cesky Krumlov. It is also the first attraction you will encounter when walking into town from the bus station.
It is one of the viewpoints that are among the best in all of Cesky Krumlov. As a result, this is one of the most popular spots for those Instagram-worthy shots.
In fact, it provides people with the best photo opportunity in the Old Town. This spot is near the Regional Museum and shows off a magnificent view of the castle.
2.6 Egon Schiele Art Centre
The Egon Schiele Art Centre is also a very popular attraction at Cesky Krumlov. It shows off the many talented artists of the Czech Republic, for example, Janz Franz, Ivana Lomova, and Egon Schiele himself.
Schiele was an Austrian artist whose work is known for its distorted human figures and provocative nudes. The year 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the Egon Schiele Art Centre being opened to the public.
2.7 Vltava River
The Vltava River is the longest in the Czech Republic. The river also cuts the town of Cesky Krumlov in two parts. In fact, the city’s historic centre is located on the banks of this river.
A boat trip down the Vltava River is one of the most perfect things to do in Cesky Krumlov. You can also book a dinner cruise that passes through the Vltava River.
River rafting, canoeing, and kayaking are all fantastic ways to explore and admire Cesky Krumlov from a distance in the water. Boat tours can also be booked, locally as well as online.
2.8 Eggenberg Brewery, Cesky Krumlov
Pivovar Eggenberg translates to ‘Brewery Eggenberg’. It is a brewery located in Cesky Krumlov. In the 1600s, the dominion of brewing was officially given to the House of Eggenberg.
Ever since then, Eggenberg has become an established brand in the brewing business. Therefore, the brewery is named the Eggenberg Brewery.
However, as time went on, the brewery was refurbished with upgraded machines and equipment along with better processes to keep it up to date.
Nonetheless, the brewery continues to make beer and is still one of the most famous brands in the country. It is certainly a real treat for every beer lover out there.
However, in 2014, the brewery closed down and beers of the Eggenberg brand have been brewed in the Pardubice Brewery ever since.
In 2016, the Historic Pivovar Krumlov was established at the site of the old Eisenberg brewery. The rest of the brewery is being reconstructed into a brewery museum as well as a hotel.
2.9 Marionette Museum
The Marionette Museum is one of the oldest houses in Cesky Krumlov and has the oldest fresco from the 14th century.
It is a branch of the National Marionette Theatre in Prague. It is also fondly known as the Fairytale House.
The museum contains a vast collection of both historical and contemporary puppets and marionettes.
These puppets are indeed from the workshops of master woodcarvers and puppeteers, from South Bohemia, the Czech Republic, and other countries. The puppets are arranged into groups based on a theme.
There is also a puppet theatre wherein the puppets are used to put on a show of beloved fairytales for children.
In the exhibition, the puppets on display are somewhat famous ones; fictional characters from well-known stories.
In the attic, the nooks and crannies hide puppets of water goblins, dragons, demons, and other mysterious creatures.
One part of the attic contains props that were used by puppeteers while another part is dedicated to teaching visitors at the museum about contemporary puppeteers.
2.10 St. Vitus Church, Cesky Krumlov
The St. Vitus Church is a monument that was built during the Gothic period in Cesky Krumlov. It was later modified and is now a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic, according to a declaration in 1995.
Ever since Cesky Krumlov was founded, the Czech and German residents resided together. The sermon at the church was preached in Czech; but later, German believers began to preach in German.
The Chapel of St. Jerome served this purpose till 1602 when it was moved to the Church of St. Jost.
The church grounds also house the Rosenberg Mausoleum, containing the late rulers of Cesky Krumlov. When Eleonora Amalia, the wife of the first Duke of Krumlov was laid to rest, the hearts of both- the Duke and his wife- were placed side by side in a small tomb in the former church. Therefore, this started a long tradition for the noble family.
The small tomb wherein the hearts of Duke Adam Frantisek and Eleonora Amalia rest is known as the ‘Tomb of Hearts’.
The contents of the ‘Tomb of Hearts’ are known only through a watercolour painting made by Josef Langweil, an engineer, in 1834.
Trdelnik is one of the most famous street foods in the Czech Republic. It is considered to be a variant of a spit cake or a Kurtoskalacs (Hungarian spit cake).
As a result of being such a famed street food, Trdelnik can be found just about anywhere in the town.
It is made by wrapping dough around a cone-shaped baking spit. Then, it is rolled in granulated sugar and roasted evenly over charcoal after basting with melted butter until it turns golden brown.
And this sweet treat is topped with a fantastic mix of sugar, walnuts, and sometimes powdered cinnamon.
The first written record of the Trdelnik was found in Uzdiszentpeter dating back to 1679. The first time the recipe was recorded was in a cookbook that was published in 1781.
Previously, it was considered to be a treat specifically baked for festive occasions. However, nowadays, it is an everyday street food.
3. Culture of Cesky Krumlov
The town hosts many festivals, mainly in June, July, and August. In fact, in June, on the summer solstice weekend, the Five-Petalled Rose Festival is held in honour and remembrance of the crest of Rosenberg.
The real highlight is certainly that locals and other participants dress up in medieval clothing.
To clarify, they engage in activities like jousting, fencing, dance performances, and folk theatre on the castle grounds, main square, and along the banks of the Vltava River. The festival finally ends with a delightful display of fireworks.
The International Music Festival Cesky Krumlov kicks off in July and ends a month later in August. It is the longest-running summer music festival in the Czech Republic.
It was first established in 1992. The festival presents music from all around the world in different genres.
Cesky Krumlov also holds other summer music festivals including the blues, rock, and soul festival Open Air Krumlov. This festival is held in the latter part of June at the Eggenberg Brewery Garden.
4. Accommodation at Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov is a town such that no matter where you decide to stay, everything is still within walking distance.
4.1 Hotels in Cesky Krumlov
4.1.1 Hotel Ruze
Hotel Ruze is the town’s most well-known 5-star hotel. It used to be the Jesuit quarters but was transformed into the Hotel Ruze in 1889.
4.1.2 Hotel Bellevue
The Hotel Bellevue is another high-rated hotel in Cesky Krumlov. It is the best hotel for romantic getaways in the town centre and is 2 minutes away from the Český Krumlov Castle museum.
4.1.3 Hotel Grand
Hotel Grand is a hotel right at the Municipal Square. Many tourists have said that the breakfast and afternoon tea at the Hotel Grand are grand.
4.2 Apartments and Pensions in Cesky Krumlov
If you prefer the cozier, lived-in feel to a hotel room, you might live in an apartment or a pension. A pension is a guesthouse that provides you with a room and food.
Many houses and apartments have converted to pensions due to the ever-increasing number of tourists.
4.2.1 Apartment Soukenicka 44
An apartment that is recommended is Apartment Soukenicka 44. The architecture of this building is inspired by the Gothic period and contains 3 rooms. They cater for up to 5 people.
4.2.2 Ubytovani Zamecke Schody
Another popular accommodation is Ubytovani Zamecke Schody. It is centrally located and at an equal distance from all the main attractions in the town. The entire home has single, double, and triple rooms.
4.2.3 Pension Faber
Pension Faber is a pension located in the historic centre of the town. Pension Faber is a historical building and is a part of the Latran Houses on Latran Street in the city centre.
4.3 Hostels in Cesky Krumlov
If neither of the above appeals to you, you might like the budget hostels. Hostel Merlin is one of the best budget stays in town. It has amenities like a lounge, private parking spaces, a garden, and a terrace.
Hostel Havana is another great option if you want a budget stay. It consists of a total of 3 houses with 12 rooms and 40 beds. The hostel has a marvellous view of the Vltava River. It also has a fully equipped kitchen, free WiFi, parking spaces, and canoes, rafts, or bicycles for rent.
In summary, Cesky Krumlov is a small town in South Bohemia in the Czech Republic. And the town doesn’t have more than 20,000 residents. The town is also known as a place out of a fairytale.
As a result, Cesky Krumlov has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also known as a tourist centre, for attracting the most tourists in the world.
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