When it comes to beautiful cities and towns in the Czech Republic, you won’t have a hard time finding them. But possibly one of the best places to visit in the Czech Republic is the scenic town of Cesky Krumlov in the country’s south. Like taking a step back into the past, this Bohemian town nestled along the Vltava River is a delight to walk through thanks to its historic splendor.
If this is your first trip to Cesky Krumlov, you’ll want it to be a memorable one! Make sure you have read up on all of the most important tips for traveling to Cesky Krumlov before you head out the door. Without wasting any more time, here’s why and how you should visit this stunning and historic Czech town.
Brief Background to Cesky Krumlov
Before we get to our Cesky Krumlov travel tips, it may be useful to first touch on the history of this town and why it’s so special to travel to Cesky Krumlov. In 1992 UNESCO decided to name the small town a world heritage landmark, the reason being that, despite its modest size and population, Cesky Krumlov is a perfect example of a completely intact medieval town with a completely intact castle.
The town of Cesky Krumlov first sprung up after the castle was built there on the Vltava river in the 13th century. Despite the chaos which has swept through that part of Europe repeatedly throughout history, Cesky Krumlov has remained mostly untouched. This means that the town is not just picturesque thanks to its river and surrounding landscape, but it is also home to beautiful Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque architecture. With a castle on the hill and medieval streets, Cesky Krumlov is a fairytale town come to life.
Best Time to Visit Cesky Krumlov
One of the great things about visiting Cesky Krumlov is that there’s really no bad time to go. The scenic town just rolls with the seasons, remaining beautiful no matter what the weather is doing. Still, there are going to be factors that may influence your personal decision on when to visit.
First, the weather, which is quite typical for this part of central Europe means you can expect warm, but not hot, weather in the summer months and chilly winter days with a good chance of snow. Visiting in winter is a trade-off between coping with the cold and seeing Cesky Krumlov perfectly dusted in snow.
The other factor to consider is how many people you want to share the town with. Cesky Krumlov is becoming one of the Czech Republic’s most popular attractions, so you should certainly expect other tourists to be around. Though it may be busiest in summer, it still will not be nearly as busy as Prague is at that same time.
How to Get to Cesky Krumlov From Prague
Thanks to its location in the Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov is quite convenient to visit for those traveling through that part of Europe. What this means is that a visit to Cesky Krumlov can be easily worked into any plans you have for exploring this corner of central Europe. Though the closest city is Ceske Budejovice, it’s more likely that you’ll be coming from Prague as it is the country’s main tourist destination and Cesky Krumlov is one of many day trips possible from Prague.
1. On a Guided Tour
Since Cesky Krumlov has become one of the more popular stops for tourists in the Czech Republic, it’s little wonder that there are now a number of tours which you can choose from to get there. With private and group tours possible, this is a nice way to visit without having to deal with the hassle of finding your way there or around the sights. Most tours to Cesky Krumlov will run around 10 or 11 hours, taking you through the town’s sights.
If you want to visit Cesky Krumlov from Prague on a guided tour, this full-day tour comes highly recommended. It includes lunch and ample free time to explore the city, plus the guides are super knowledgeable about the history of Cesky Krumlov.
2. By Car
As is often the case, driving will provide you with the quickest and most flexible means of travel. By driving, you’re free to go when you like and can easily add other stops along the way as you like. The drive from Prague to Cesky Krumlov should take you around 2 hour 20 minutes. Once you arrive in Cesky Krumlov, head for the big paid parking area, Parking P1, just behind the castle.
It’s important to note is that this drive is along highways, which in the Czech Republic require you to purchase a highway vignette. Additionally, if you plan to drive on to Germany or Austria, be sure your rental car company allows this and check if you need to pay any special tolls in those countries as well.
If you need to rent a car to visit Cesky Krumlov, make sure to check out Rentalcars.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their customer service is great as well.
3. Public Transport
Coming from Prague, you also have a number of public transport options open to you. The most direct of these is the bus, as it makes the journey straight to Cesky Krumlov without any stops. Both Flixbus and RegioJet have regular buses that make the 3 hour trip. The bus station in Cesky Krumlov is a quick walk from the center of town.
You can also make the trip from Prague by train, but there are fewer connections and most require you connect through Ceske Budejovice.
What To See And Do in Cesky Krumlov
Of all the tips for Cesky Krumlov the ones you’re probably most after are those regarding what to do there. After all, planning a trip to Cesky Krumlov is all about how much you can experience in the small town.
1. Walk Through the Old Town
You’re definitely going to want to see the historic center of Cesky Krumlov while you’re there. Whether you enter from the north, south, or east, it won’t take long until you’re in the dead center of Old Town.
Svornosti Square, the main town square, is right in the thick of things and has beautiful gabled houses, but things get better as you wander down the side streets and find your own way along the cobblestones. Don’t be afraid to cross north or south of the river either, as there are plenty of other quaint little spots to be found. I’d suggest you linger a moment though at Lazebnický Bridge as the views you get of the town from this single spot are phenomenal.
2. Visit Český Krumlov Castle
It’s nearly impossible to miss the town’s castle looming above almost as soon as you arrive in Česky Krumlov. With imposing cliffs below the castle’s tower and the rest of the structure stretching on along the river, the castle looks as massive as it is. It’s not just the scale of the castle which impresses though, but its details too. The tower being a perfect example of this, thanks to its beautifully painted Renaissance architecture.
The atmosphere of the Cesky Krumlov Castle is almost as alluring as its appearance. Entering from town, you’ll pass through a series of grand gates and one courtyard after another. You’ll then be climbing up tunnels with delicate wooden floorboards and into grandly painted courtyards this continues on until suddenly you’re on a dashingly elegant bridge which looks out over the entire town. This bridge and the neighboring lookout terraces are where you get the classic panoramic views of Cesky Krumlov. Even after walking through the town yourself, it can be hard to believe that the view is real.
While this is a walkthrough of the castle grounds, you also have the opportunity to visit inside the castle. There are many different tours you can take through the castle that go everywhere, from the castle’s chapels, to the theater, residences, cellars, museum, and up the castle tower. If you’re limited on time, it’s best to pick carefully as you could spend a lot of time trying to see it all.
3. Wander The Castle Garden
The castle fun doesn’t stop there, there is one last part of the castle you’ve yet to see, the Castle Garden. Up the hill from the viewpoints just discussed, there is a massive garden complex which dwarfs even the castle. Naturally, this means more walking, but this time it’s next to lawn hedges, through wooded parks, and over to a peaceful lake. If you like, you can take one of the shortcuts from there which takes you back down below the castle or to the southern end of Old Town.
4. Sit By the Vltava Riverfront
Cesky Krumlov might not be half as impressive as it is if it didn’t have the Vltava River weaving its way across the landscape. It’s the many twists and turns of the river which give Cesky Krumlov the shape it has and creates the viewpoints you’ve enjoyed so far. But it’s also worth spending a little time by the water’s edge as it can be both scenic and tranquil down there. Whether you’re on the island by the old mill, on one of the bridges, or over at City Park, it’s well worth spending time down by the river.
5. Find the Chapel on the Mountain of the Cross
In case you hadn’t already gotten your fill of viewpoints, there’s one more to see in Cesky Krumlov. On the very edge of the houses to the town’s south west lies a small chapel on a hill. Known as the Chapel on the Mountain of the Cross or Křížová Hora, this chapel offers up another, quite different viewpoint.
It may be a fair walk up to the chapel, but once there you get to see not only the town but the greater rolling landscape that surrounds it. With the hills and forests nearby, it’s from up here that you’ll notice that Cesky Krumlov is just one small part of a beautiful pocket of the Czech Republic.
Where To Eat in Cesky Krumlov
While you’re enjoying the charms of Cesky Krumlov, you’re going to need to break for lunch or dinner at some point. The good news is that the town has plenty of restaurants to stop at and enough range that you’re sure to find something you like.
The most common option is any place serving traditional Czech food, with meat and dumpling dishes like halusky. A nice and inexpensive pick for this is Don Julius Restaurant, just a block from the main square. If you’re looking for a change from hearty Czech food, try the delicious sweet crepes at MLS Crêperie Kájovská coffee shop.
Where to Stay in Cesky Krumlov
Most people just do a day trip to Cesky Krumlov from Prague but in case you’d like to stay longer in this charming little town, we have listed some places to stay for you below.
Hopefully our travel tips for Cesky Krumlov allow you a fun time experiencing this marvelous town.