A magical trip to the fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov
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We have all grown up watching or reading fairytales about kings and queens and quaint towns with mighty castles perched atop hills. What if you actually got to visit such a town in real-time? No, we’re not talking about Disneyland! We’re talking about the city of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Aptly known as the “fairytale town”, Cesky Krumlov is as magical and beautiful as a storybook one. If you love castles and cobbled streets, this town is perfect for a getaway for you!
Cesky Krumlov is one of the best-preserved walled towns in Eastern Europe, such that its entire Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The colourful medieval buildings and quaint houses, tucked along a maze of cobblestone streets, are centuries-old and in pristine condition. You can’t miss the classic old-world charm of the town! The mighty Renaissance-styled Cesky Krumlov State Castle overlooks from a hill above, along with its pink Castle Tower, which is the symbol of the town of Cesky Krumlov. The River Vltava meanders through the town and completes the fairytale-town look, drawing you.
How to get around in Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov is only second to Prague in popularity with tourists and is just a 3-hour bus or train ride away. You can take a bus from Prague’s Na Knizeci Station or a train from Prague Main Station. Then you can hire a taxi/cab to your accommodation and the city centre.
The city centre and Old Town are entirely walkable: and it is a delight to walk around! You get to see and explore the quirky and lesser-known places and the more cosy cafes and restaurants.
We‘d suggest you sign up for a free guided tour, such as the Wiseman Free Tour, which covers the best and most interesting bits of the town. You get to learn about the history too. The tours usually start in the morning, so they are ideal if you’re in town for just a day.
Where to Stay in Cesky Krumlov
It would be unfair to do just a day in the city, so you should extend your stay. We suggest staying at least two nights in town. Accommodations near the city centre are very convenient. Try this cosy guesthouse overlooking the city, and about a 15 walk from the city centre. The place is clean and the owners are friendly. They also offer a nice range of breakfast items. Another option is this great B&B located 10 min from the city centre.
Walking through the Old Town in Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov is brimming with wonderful places to see and experience. Start your day at the Town Square in the heart of the Old Town. Colourful buildings line the Square, encircling the Plague Column and a public fountain. The Plague Column was erected in the 18th century as a memorial to the victims of the 17th-century epidemic. The public fountain is much older.
The cobblestone streets lead your way along the bends of the Vltava River that flows through the town. Medieval buildings line the streets, housing more modern establishments such as hotels, guest houses, museums, restaurants and tourist shops. A bridge crosses the Vltava River and connects the Old Town to the Cesky Krumlov Castle complex.
Sitting on a rocky hill the Krumlov Castle is a magnificent 13th-century building. The castle is actually a complex of buildings, palaces, gardens and a theater. Visit the castle and explore its exquisite, well-preserved interiors. There is a Rococo-style garden with an elaborate fountain. If you hike up, you will be treated to splendid views of the city from the arched stone ‘windows’ of the castle complex walls.
Another impressive feature of the city is the Cloak Bridge, connecting the castle complex to the gardens. It was originally a wooden bridge in the 15th century but was changed several times till it became the stone structure it is now in the 1700s. Views from the Cloak Bridge are even better and more beautiful: several viewpoints along the bridge will give you breathtaking views across the Vltava River, the Old Town and the magnificent St. Vitus Church.
What to do in Cesky Krumlov
Get the Cesky Krumlov Card. If you love museums, this card is a treat, granting you access to some of the most important museums in the city at half the price.
Visit the Baroque theatre. No other theatre in the world is so perfectly established for operas and period stage performances than the Baroque Theatre. Every year in September, the Cesky Krumlov Baroque Arts Festival takes place, featuring concerts and original adaptations of music from the 16th-18th centuries.
Try a Trdelnik. When in the Czech Republic, you must try a Trdelnik. This street food is a sweet treat made of dough and different fillings. It originates from Hungary but is very popular in Cesky.
Have lunch in the market square. Christmas week in Europe is an experience in itself. If you’re visiting Cesky at Christmas, there is nothing like having some mulled wine and traditional Czech lunch in the market square.
Take a boat ride down the Vltava River. Exploring the Vltava River by boat is a super fun experience. You can hire a boat, canoe or kayak from the shops nearby. Or, you can join a wooden raft tour. This tour is on the Vltava River, from where you can see Cesky’s famous landmarks from entirely new perspectives. If you’re travelling during warmer months, the boat rides and tours will be a treat!
Where to eat in Cesky Krumlov
There are plenty of bars and restaurants in town, tucked among the historic buildings. Check out the vegetarian restaurant Laibon. A must visit Must visit if you are looking for vegetarian food. For a more traditional and authentic Czech cuisine, try Depo C Krumlov or U Dwau Mayi.
Best time to visit Cesky Krumlov
Ideally, spring is the perfect time to visit Cesky Krumlov. The weather is pleasant, the flowers are in bloom, so the Castle Gardens are beautiful to see, and the crowds are not as bad as during summer. Autumn is probably the best time for a trip to the fairytale town. The temperatures are cool and pleasant, and the town is quieter. Also, the colourful autumn foliage always makes for a lovely holiday. European winters are pretty cold, but you also get to see snow and the lovely Christmas markets. Click here for more climate information.