In the hectic summer months in central Europe, sometimes the best travel destinations are the ones off the beaten path. Česky Krumlov is one of the Czech Republic’s hidden gems and, located less than three hours from Prague, is the perfect escape away from the bustling city. Although it’s a bit of a trek for a day trip, the charm of Česky Krumlov’s quaint medieval streets will steal your heart and leave you lost in the magic of this historic city.
How to get there (from Prague)
Many companies offer day trips to Česky Krumlov from Prague. I decided to hop on a tour by Prague Bus Tours that included direct transportation to and from Česky Krumlov, lunch, castle entrance with a tour and hotel drop off for roughly 55 EUR.
Attractions in the city
Česky Krumlov Castle
The main attraction in Česky Krumlov is the beautiful castle that stands overlooking the city below. The main entrance to the city stands below the castle’s arched bridge, from which you can get incredible views of the city. Recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the original castle was built in the mid 13th century. Entrance and a guided tour of the castle will only set you back 300 CZK, or roughly 11 EUR.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to the castle experience. At the main entrance you will see the “bear moat.” The history of the bear moat at Česky Krumlov goes back to the 16th century and inside the castle you can see many bear themed decorations. Tradition aside, trapping that poor bear down there in the middle of July is not something I can get behind.
After your guided tour, head over to the arched bridge for some unreal views of the city below!
Enjoy lunch at one of the many river-side restaurants
As a small town completely surrounded by the Vltava River, almost all the restaurants are river-side! I stopped at one with a beautiful view of the castle, Hotel Dvorák, for a dark beer and a green salad. Even though Česky Krumlov is popular tourist destination the prices are still reasonable and the food (and beer) is delicious.
Raft down the Vltava River
In the summer months in Česky Krumlov you can see tons of tourists and locals alike cooling off in the river. Many companies offer rafting tours around the city to beat the summer heat. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to try it out, although in that heat I could have used a chance to cool off!
The streets of Česky Krumlov are filled with boutique stores and souvenir shops just waiting to be explored. The town is famous for the production of rare gemstones called Moldavite which is only found in certain regions. There are countless jewelry shops that create stunning pieces from the dull, green gemstones.
Although tiny and off the beaten path, Česky Krumlov should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. This little Czech town has much to offer in terms of sights, history and souvenirs. Next time you’re in Prague, book the next train or tour and “czech” it out for yourself!