Český Krumlov is the second most visited destination in the Czech Republic, just after Prague. There is plenty of reasons for that. Besides its great medieval character, it is a truly magical city. Let’s explore it!
If you ever dreamed about traveling back in time, you can experience it in Český Krumlov. Thanks to its unique preserved medieval center, the city is included on the UNESCO list. Enjoy the walk around the historical center in picturesque narrow lanes, surrounded by omnipresent Vltava river that is contributing to the unique atmosphere of this town.
The main dominant of the city is castle-chateau with a lookout tower. Here you have a great view over the whole city and also to the distant places of Šumava national park. Český Krumlov is not about majestic monuments, but about the atmosphere of the town that is extraordinary preserved.
The Castle and Chateau of Český Krumlov
It is not easy to identify whether the main dominant is rather a castle or chateau. Its construction from the 14th to the 19th century make it a unique combination of both. It is important to mention that it’s the second-largest complex in the Czech Republic, just after the Prague Castle. Take one of the tours (check the options and opening) and explore both medieval castle, Renaissance residence, and Baroque theatre, the best-preserved one in Europe. During our visit, we had no chance to visit the theatre, because they were just shooting a new movie about Beethoven there so that we met plenty of people in historical costumes.
The most spectacular view over the city is from the Renaissance tower that you can see almost from every point of the city. It is a great idea to climb it as the first thing after your arrival so that you can get an overview of the whole city. In the close distance, you can see all the medieval roofs and the meanders of the Vltava river that is dividing the historical city center into three parts. In a more distant view, you can even enjoy the scenery of Šumava national park with its green hills.
Castle outdoor areas are open to the public without any fee. When you walk through the whole outdoor complex, you reach a bridge with spectacular views over the city. When you continue further, you reach the Castle Gardens with fountains, colorful flowers, and ponds. Most interestingly, there is a unique type of outdoor theatre. During the performance, it is rotating around its axis so that the play can be performed in a 360° area without limits. It is an extraordinary experience, performed only in summer.
Český Krumlov Monasteries
Not far away from the castle is a large complex of monasteries founded in the mid-14th century. There are well-preserved gardens, where you can see how monks and nuns grew their vegetable garden, orchards, and vineyard. You can even explore the monasteries from inside, see various exhibitions, and experience interactive workshops of different human crafts and skills.
Latran District – First Meander
Latran district is the area below the castle, full of colorful small houses where castle servants lived. You can find plenty of styles from different centuries, such as Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque, that you might get lost in the course of history. No worries, just enjoy your walk around or have a rest. There is plenty of cafés and restaurants where you can relax.
Old Town – Second Meander
When you walk out from Latran district by the wooden Lazebnický Bridge, you will get to the second meander – district. In the middle of this district is Concord Square (Náměstí Svornosti) with the plague column in the middle and the Church of St. Vitus around the corner. This district preserved its medieval character with plenty of small houses opening its door for the public as cafés, restaurants, museums, and shops. I also enjoyed a walk alongside the banks of the Vltava river with a view of the castle and wooden bridges.
Residential Area – Third Meander
The third part of the city is less touristic, and that is why it has an even more authentic character. A significant portion of this district is devoted to city park alongside the Vltava river. At the edge of the park is a chapel of St. Martin, synagogue, and if you go even further, you might find a cute little red house. This small house is preserved as a place where the mother of Egon Schiele was born. The famous artist spent some years in Český Krumlov, and you can even find here Egon Schiele Art center in the old town.
Overnight Stay in Český Krumlov
First off, I have to say that if you have more spare time, I highly recommend spending at least one night in Cesky Krumlov. During the day, this tiny city is fully packed with tourists coming from Prague for one day trip. When you stay overnight, you might see this little gem almost empty until 10 am and after 5 pm. Mornings and evenings have even more magical atmosphere with a special light that is the best for photography, especially by the river and from the castle area.
For an overnight stay, I would highly recommend Krumlov Tower, unique accommodation in the tower that used to be part of city fortification.
How to Get to Český Krumlov:
First option: Driving to Český Krumlov from Prague would take about two hours. Second option: Direct train leaves from Prague once per day (and sometimes even not every day, so make sure you check the timetable) at 8 am. Third option: Bus is the easiest way, how to get to Český Krumlov. Check the schedule of FlixBus and RegioJet. These are leaving from Prague’s station Na Knížecí. It will take about three hours, and you will end up close to the city center.