During the hectic summer months in central Europe, sometimes the best 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. Keep reading for my tried-and-true suggestions of what to do in Česky Krumlov!
Transportation from Prague
Many tour 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, a castle tour and hotel drop off for roughly €55 per person.
The Main Attractions
Cesky Krumlov Castle
The main attraction in Česky Krumlov is the beautiful castle that stands overlooking the city below. One of the entry-points to the city is directly below the castle’s Cloak Bridge, where you can find some of the best views in town. 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.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to the castle experience. At the main entrance you will see the town’s famous 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.
Climb the Castle Tower
The Castle Tower is the most prominent feature of Česky Krumlov’s skyline and is definitely worth a visit. A joint ticket to the Castle and Castle Tower will cost you 150 CZK, or less than €6. Some of the best views of Česky Krumlov can be found at the top of this tower, and you don’t even need to climb that many stairs!
Explore the Main Square – Namesti Svornosti
Dating back to 1716, Namesti Svornosti square is known as the center of Old Town. The colorful square is filled with shops and quaint Czech restaurants, as well as a museum or two. The square is also home to the tourist information center where you can stop by and purchase an audio tour of Česky Krumlov!
Enjoy lunch along the River
Since Česky Krumlov is almost completely surrounded by the Vltava River, the majority of its restaurants are riverside! I stopped at Hotel Dvorák for a beautiful view of the castle, a dark beer and a snack. The Czech food is every bit as good as it is in Prague and the prices are very reasonable.
Raft down the Vltava River
In the summer months in Česky Krumlov you can see tons of tourists and locals cooling off in the river. A few companies in town offer rafting tours along the Vltava as a great way to beat the summer heat. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to try it out for myself (although in that heat I could have used a chance to cool off).
The streets of Česky Krumlov are filled with boutique shops just waiting to be explored. The town is famous for the production of rare gemstones called Moldavite which are only found in certain regions. There are countless jewelry stores on the quaint, cobblestoned streets selling stunning creations made from the dull, green gemstones!
Stop for a Trdelník
Trdelník or “chimney cake” shops are just as plentiful in Česky Krumlov as they are in Prague! Although the sugary, ice-cream filled treat is technically Hungarian, not Czech, they are extremely tasty and a great way to cool off in the summer heat.
The Best Viewpoints
My favorite part of visiting Česky Krumlov is the seemingly endless possibilities for amazing lookout points around the city! I’ve listed some of my favorite spots below.
State Castle and Chateau Viewing Platform
The viewing platform near the castle is arguably the most popular lookout point in the city, and for good reason. The spectacular view from this platform allows you to live out all your princess-fantasy moments in real life! Be warned, it does get very crowded in the on-season.
The Cloak Bridge
Another one of my favorite views, the Cloak Bridge is one of the highest points in Česky Krumlov and the perfect spot to observe the city below. Depending on where you arrive, the Cloak Bridge may be your entry point into the city. The bridge is right next to the castle, so it’s a great next stop after your castle tour!
On my second visit to Česky Krumlov, we entered the city through a different gate and stumbled upon this magnificent view. From Seminární Zahrada, you can see most of the city laid out beneath you and the perfect view of the Česky Krumlov Castle Complex!
The Castle Tower
Not only is the Castle Tower beautiful to observe from the outside, but you can find some truly magnificent views from the top! Located in the Česky Krumlov Castle Complex, a climb up this tower is not to be missed.
After spending two lovely days in Česky Krumlov, I’m convinced it should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. This little Czech town has much to offer in terms of sights, history, yummy food and souvenirs. Next time you’re in Prague, book the next train or tour and “Czech” out Česky Krumlov for yourself!
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