(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

Cesky Krumlov, a town that looks like it’s stepped straight out of a fairytale, is found in the south Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, just north of the border with Austria. It’s 172 km (107 miles) south of Prague and 24 km (15 miles) southwest of Ceské Budejovice, the regional capital and home to the original Budweiser beer. 

In pre-COVID times and I expect now, this tiny town was heaving with tourists and day-trippers. But I travelled out of season in early April, and it was very quiet, almost eerily quiet – and I loved it. 

Quiet backstreets of Cesky Krumlov
Helloooooooooo! Where did everybody go?

Most people visit Cesky Krumlov on a day trip from Prague, but it’s three hours each way, so I would highly recommend staying a night or two. Once the day-trippers have left, that’s the perfect time to explore this enchanting, well-preserved medieval town. 

Don’t have the luxury of time to stay a little longer, then visit in the shoulder season when there are fewer visitors -from late March to May or September through to November. Make sure you wander off the main thoroughfare and explore all the surroundings. 

What To Do In Cesky Krumlov?

Free Walking Tour

I always love a walking tour to get my bearings in a new destination. 

Cesky Krumlov is so small that you’d soon find your way around anyway, but it’s always good to learn a little bit about the history of the place you’re visiting and be shown sites you may not notice yourself. 

The Wiseman Free Walking Tour is excellent and covers all the major highlights. 

A random fact I learned on this tour:  The Czech Republic invented contact lenses and sugar cubes! 

Wander The Cobblestoned Streets of Cesky Krumlov’s Historic Centre 

The historic centre of Český Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Walk along the cobblestone streets and the River Vltava to admire the mix of Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance buildings.

Crossing the river in Cesky Krumlov with the castle tower in background
Wandering around Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov’s Main Square, Namesti Svornosti

The main square, Namesti Svornosti, is an excellent spot in Cesky Krumlov to eat on one of the restaurant terraces or linger over a local beer or coffee. 

If you visit the town in the middle of winter, this square is home to one of the best Christmas markets in the Czech Republic. 

Namesti Svornosti, Cesky Krumlov's Main Square
Namesti Svornosti, Cesky Krumlov’s Main Square

The tourist board is located here, and it is also the starting point for the free walking tour. There’s even a torture museum!

Explore Český Krumlov Castle

You can’t come to Cesky Krumlov and not visit its impressive castle that dominates the town’s skyline. 

Dating back to 1240, the extremely wealthy Rosenberg family built the castle. It’s the second largest castle complex in the country. Prague Castle is the largest, in case you were wondering. 

As the castle has grown over the years, there’s a fascinating mix of different architectural styles. 

first courtyard and tower of Cesky Krumlov castle
Inside the first courtyard of the Cesky Krumlov Castle with the Castle Tower.

Climb To The Top Of The Castle Tower

I may be scared of heights, but it doesn’t seem to stop me from climbing every tower I come across. So when I saw the Castle Tower, I knew it was just a matter of time before I was climbing the 162 steps to the top. 

The view was incredible, but oh my goodness, it was so windy the day I visited, it literally took your breath away. The ticket for the tower also includes the Castle Museum. In April 2022, the ticket cost 180 CZK.($8 / 7 euros).

A selfie at the top of the castle tower
The glamorous wind swept look at the top of the tower. Wearing sunglasses to keep the dust from my eyes but they nearly blew off too!

But check here for up to date prices on visiting the castle and the tower. 

Castle Garden 

Take time to visit the beautifully manicured castle gardens located towards the back of the castle.

Admission to the Castle Garden is free. 

View of Cesky Krumlov from the castle as you exit the garden
The view of Cesky Krumlov as you leave the Castle Gardens

From June to September, operas, plays and ballets are performed at the Open Air Revolving Auditorium in the Castle Gardens, which opened in June 1958. The theatre can hold 650 spectators and performances sell out very quickly. Travelling out of season has some negatives, I would have loved to have experienced this. 

However, there is an ongoing battle with UNESCO, who want the theatre demolished and are threatening to remove Cesky Krumlov from the World Heritage List if they don’t adhere. 

Bears Moat 

Český Krumlov Castle is the only castle in the world to have a bear moat. It’s located between the castle’s first and second courtyard. Since 1707, bears have been kept in the castle moat as a status symbol, warning, and deterrent to invaders. 

a brown bear inside the bear moat at Castle Cesky Krumlov
One of the bears in the Bear Moat

The bears are cute and apparently well cared for. They aren’t locked in tiny cages, but they are still captive animals, so I felt a bit sorry for them.

The Castle Baroque Theatre

Only four castle baroque theatres are left in the world, and this one in Cesky Krumlov is considered the finest. It’s more than 250 years old, and everything inside the building is hand-painted from the 18th century. 

Unfortunately, it was closed in April 2022 when I was there. But it is open now. Tickets and guided tours are available in the castle. 

Church of St Vitus 

Gaze over Cesky Krumlov from any viewpoint, and you can’t fail to miss the thin spire of the Church of St Vitus.

It was built on the former site of a 14th-century church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The only remains from this church is a mosaic above the door. 

The neo-Gothic spire you see all over the town was added in the 19th century.

The tower of the Church of St Vitus in Cesky Krumlov
Walking up to the Church of St Vitus.

Another Amazing Viewpoint of the City 

One of the best viewpoints in Cesky Krumlov is the courtyard at Seminární Zahrada. You can’t miss it; it’s between the bus station and the main square. 

You get a fantastic view of the castle and the town from here. 

The view of Cesky Krumlov from the courtyard at Seminární Zahrada
The view from the courtyard at Seminární Zahrada

Minorite’s Monastery 

The monastery of the Minorites is close to the castle by the River Vltava. It had a lovely garden with benches to sit, chill, and ponder life. 

The exterior and gardens of the Minorite's Monastery in Cesky Krumlov
Minorite’s Monastery in Cesky Krumlov

Where To Eat In Cesky Krumlov 

The Hospoda Na Louzi, just off Cesky Krumlov’s main square, is a great historic pub for a traditional roast pork meal washed down with a local beer. I wouldn’t say I like beer, but Czech beer is famous worldwide, so I had to give it a go. Good hearty food and some interesting local characters. 

The exterior of the Hospoda Na Louzi
Hospoda Na Louzi is the one with the flags outside.

How to get to Cesky Krumlov 

By Bus 

There are regular departures from Prague to Český Krumlov, and prices range from 5 to 14 euros, depending on the time of day. 

Flix Bus has excellent deals, especially if you take the late afternoon departure from Prague.

Regio Jet has a bus almost every hour and built-in LCD screens for watching movies, wi-fi on board or a hot drink for free. 

Note: there are two bus stops in Cesky Krumlov – one a tiny stop called Špičák and then the actual central bus station. From either bus stop, it’s only a ten-minute walk into the centre. 

The entrance gate to Cesky Krumlov
If you get off at the Špičák bus stop, you enter the town through this gate

By Train

Also possible to take a train, but that involves typically changing trains at Ceske Budejovice. 

By Shuttle

Shuttle (from 35 EURO) – you are looking for a door to door service, shuttles are a great option. CK Shuttle comes highly recommended. 

By Car 

Are you thinking of driving? Cesky Krumlov is situated halfway between Prague and Vienna. 

Join A Tour 

But if you don’t have the time to spend a night or two in Cesky Krumlov, then here are some of the best day tours from Prague. Whatever you decide, Cesky Krumlov is definitely worth a visit. 

Where To Stay In Cesky Krumlov

There is accommodation in Cesky Krumlov to suit all budgets. I stayed at the Grand Hotel right on the main square. Very comfortable beds, a good breakfast, and an excellent off-season rate. 

I loved my time in Cesky Krumlov and Prague and hope one day to return to the Czech Republic to explore a little more. I am also really pleased that I decided to stay a couple of nights in this town – it’s completely different when the day-trippers have left.

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