BEST of Český Krumlov
Updated: Jun 6
Český Krumlov, a beautiful walled city, is the Czech Republic's second most popular tourist destination after Prague. The city center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rightly so; a visit is like stepping back in time to the 14th century as you stroll through this perfectly preserved labyrinth of laneways lined with numerous Renaissance homes and buildings.
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What not to miss?
Český Krumlov castle
The massive Český Krumlov Castle complex, the largest in Eastern Europe, dominates the old town and provides an intriguing look into the lives of Bohemia's aristocratic rulers over the centuries. Although it dates back to 1240, much of what is visible today, including the fine Rosenberg Ballroom, the magnificent Chapel of St. George, the Renaissance Hall, and the Royal Apartments, was built in the 17th century. The opportunity to view various important collections of paintings, tapestries, and exquisite period furnishings is a highlight of a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Church of St. Vitus
The Roman Catholic Church of St. Vitus, which can trace its origins back to the 13th century with the construction of the first place of worship on the site, is the other structure that dominates the Český Krumlov cityscape, the largest being the old castle. The church's enormously tall roof adds to its distinctive profile, which is equally impressive when viewed from the sumptuously decorated nave. The church is also notable for being the final resting place of several critical Bohemian families, including the Rosenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs, whose tombs contain the remains of multiple generations of each family.
Egon Schiele Art Centrum
A highlight of a visit to Český Krumlov is simply walking through its many old streets and taking in the magnificent artwork around you. The city is well-known for its numerous frescoes, a centuries-old tradition. The Egon Schiele Art Centrum (ESAC), a large art gallery featuring classical and contemporary 20th-century artwork, is also located there. This superb privately owned gallery, founded in 1993, features an ever-changing roster of works by renowned artists such as Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dal, Pablo Picasso, and Egon Schiele. Another highlight is a permanent exhibition of works by Viennese painter Egon Schiele and an exciting overview of the artist's life and time in Český Krumlov.
Český Krumlov Regional Museum
The Regional Museum in Český Krumlov is another excellent place to visit, with unique exhibits relating to the city's history and Bohemia region. Highlights include numerous archaeological exhibits and artifacts, fine arts and folk arts, weaponry, furnishings, and ethnographic displays housed in a former schoolhouse. A fine collection of Gothic sculptures and a massive ceramic model of Cesk Krumlov built in stunning detail on a 1:200 scale are two particular highlights. The nearby Museum of Architecture and Craft, which traces the history of the city's design as well as local trades and crafts, is also worth a visit.
The Minorite Monastery, one of Český Krumlov's oldest surviving buildings, was built in the mid-14th century and continued intermittently until the end of the Baroque era. The monastery, which is still in use, is best visited during one of its memorable religious concerts or recitals. One of the most intriguing aspects of this vast property, including the Beguine Convent, is a one-of-a-kind collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque trusses. The intricately carved entranceway, fine saint statues, a high early Baroque altar, and several old organs are also highlights.
What else to visit?
Experience Rafting Down the Vltava River
The fairytale town of Český Krumlov is best experienced by rafting down the Vltava River and past stunning architecture. Just steps from the castle, you can board a raft and travel downstream to Ceske Budejovice, another dreamy town with its own magical Old Town. You'll pass through Zlata Koruna and its old monastery on the way and have the opportunity to stop at waterfront snack stands for a bite or a cold drink.
Climb Mount Klet
Mount Klet', located on the outskirts of Český Krumlov, is an excellent diversion after all the sightseeing in the historic old city. The journey is half the fun, and you can reach the summit on foot by following the well-marked trails or by riding a fast chairlift. The Klet Observatory is not far from the mountain's summit, and at the summit itself is Josef's Tower, an excellent observation tower built in 1885 from which you can see as far as the Alps on a clear day. Klet is also a significant conservation area, and a hike back down the mountain provides numerous opportunities to enjoy the local flora and fauna.
Museum Fotoatelier Seidel
Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, a famous photographer destination, traces the art form's history back to the 19th century. This fascinating museum, housed in the studios of photographic pioneers Josef and Frantisek Seidels, contains a wealth of information about the early years of European photography, countless historical photos and postcards, glass plate negatives, and an extensive collection of old artifacts such as cameras and darkroom equipment. Other highlights include personal artifacts, belongings, and original furnishings, which have been left much as they would have been when the couple lived and worked here (guided tours in English are available.)
The Wax Museum of Cesk Krumlov, housed in a fully restored Renaissance home, is a fun excursion for families traveling with children. The museum has many exciting wax figurines dressed in medieval European costumes and situations. Highlights include a blacksmith's workshop, an alchemist's shop, a medieval tavern, and a fascinating recreation of Emperor Rudolf II's royal courts. Wax figurines of famous people from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including rock stars, movie stars, and royalty, are also on display.
Museum of Torture
While not for everyone, incredibly the faint of heart, Český Krumlov's Museum of Torture (Museum Torture) provides a fascinating look at the cruel ways in which criminals, and often the wrongfully accused, were mistreated over the centuries. This dark and atmospheric museum, located in the medieval cellars of the old Town Hall on the main square, houses more than 100 grisly artifacts and torture instruments, including a chilling display depicting details of Europe's horrifying witch burnings.
How to travel there?
The best thing about traveling around the Czech Republic is that our country is relatively small, and our tourist infrastructure is quite good, so there are many options for getting to your desired destination. Český Krumlov is accessible by car, train, and bus, and you can even join a tour, which is helpful for travelers who prefer to have everything taken care of for them.
Depending on traffic, it takes 2 to 2.5 hours to drive from Prague to Český Krumlov (a 172-kilometer journey). The highway is quite congested, especially on the way from Prague to the south in the afternoons when people return from the capital.
It is now time for all train enthusiasts to pay attention. If you prefer public transportation, the good news is that you can take a train from Prague to Český Krumlov. The only disadvantage is that there is no direct train and you must change lines in Ceske Budejovice, but this is easy. There is only one direct train, but it departs early in the morning from Prague and returns in the early afternoon.
Taking the bus from Prague to Český Krumlov is the most popular option among international visitors. The direct bus to Český Krumlov departs almost every hour from Prague's station Na Knizeci and takes approximately three hours. The Na Knizeci bus station is located directly behind the busy Andel metro station and is easily accessible. Unlike train tickets, we strongly advise booking your bus tickets at least a few days in advance, as visitors and locals use this line.
When to travel there?
One of the best parts about visiting Český Krumlov is that there is never a wrong time to visit. The picturesque town changes with the seasons, remaining beautiful regardless of the weather. However, there will be factors that will influence your personal decision on when to visit.
To begin with, the weather, which is quite typical for this part of central Europe, means that you can expect warm but not hot weather in the summer months and chilly winter days with a good chance of snow. Winter visitors must choose between dealing with the cold and seeing Český Krumlov perfectly dusted in snow.
Another thing to consider is how many people you want to share the town with. Český Krumlov is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Czech Republic, so you should expect to see other visitors. Even though it is busiest in the summer, it is not nearly as busy as Prague at the same time.
What amount of money will you require for your trip to Český Krumlov? You should budget 1,177 CZK (52€) per day for your vacation in Český Krumlov, which is the average daily price based on other visitors' expenses. Previous visitors spent an average of 415 CZK (18€) on meals for one day and 56 CZK (2.47€) on local transportation. In addition, the average hotel price for a couple in Český Krumlov is 1,406 CZK (62€). So, a one-week trip to Český Krumlov for two people costs, on average, 16,482 CZK (731€). All of these average travel prices were gathered from other travelers to assist you in planning your travel budget.
Where to eat & drink?
A lovely French-style bistro that we happened upon by chance. They only serve breakfast and snacks, such as eggs Florentine / Benedict, pancakes, and granola. This also means that they close early, around 2 p.m.
Solid Italian cuisine is in the city's heart (right next to the Monastery Garden Bistro) at reasonable prices. The interiors are very comfortable, and there are also a few tables outside in the garden.
Excellent coffee in a peaceful setting away from the tourist crowds.
Egon Schiele Café
Located next to the Egon Schiele Art Centrum, this cozy café has a living room atmosphere.
Magical Krumlov (April/May)
Spring is an excellent time to visit Český Krumlov, especially if you are in town for Magical Krumlov. The fantastical is celebrated during this celebration, with the wonder of witches combined with delectable street food and a large amount of booze.
Festival of Baroque Arts (September)
We love Baroque arts, so we're all about this beautiful autumn celebration. As the name implies, the Festival of Baroque Arts is a festival of Baroque arts. As it should be, music is the main attraction.
Wine Festival (October/November)
Do we value Christmas more than wine? That is a difficult question, and we are not prepared to answer it. We know that Krumlov hosts a wine festival from the end of October to the end of November, and it's a lot of fun, no matter how much wine you've had.
We've reached the end of the article about Český Krumlov. This city has an unforgettable atmosphere, and we believe you will love it as much as we did! In the meantime, you can read other articles on our blog. How about planning a trip to Prague or Gdansk? Remember to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!