Český Krumlov, in Bohemia’s deep south, is one of the most picturesque towns in Europe. It’s a little like Prague in miniature – a Unesco World Heritage Site with a stunning castle above the Vltava River, an old town square, Renaissance and baroque architecture, and hordes of tourists milling through the streets – but all on a smaller scale; you can walk from one side of town to the other in 20 minutes. There are plenty of lively bars and riverside picnic spots – in summer it’s a popular hang-out for backpackers. It can be a magical place in winter, though, when the crowds are gone and the castle is blanketed in snow.
How to get there
There are 2 ways to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague.
1. By Train: There is a direct train from Prague to Cesky Krumlov depart at 08.01am dan arrive 10.55am. Buy the train ticket at Czech Railway Company. If you take the train, you need to walk around 1km to the town center and the castle. The train to Cesky Krumlov is a classic train with compartment for 6 people. There is also a trolley guy offering refreshment throughout the trip.
2. By Bus (Regiojet Bus). The bus didn’t require a lot of walking like the train because the bus stop area was closer to the city center. On our way back to Prague we took the Regio Bus instead of the Train. The bus is also comfortable. There is toilet inside the bus, each seat has built in TV and they offer refreshment. The journey time is close to 3 hours.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov
Visit Cesky Krumlov Castle
The street in Cesky Krumlov old town was made of cobblestone and has a similar feel like Prague. We couldn’t walk fast with stroller as it was hard to navigate one on a cobblestone path. We walked straight to the castle and as we reached the gate of the castle, we found that Cesky Krumlov has even more fairy tale look than Prague. We walked leisurely along the castle and similar with Prague Castle, it was located uphill so we the walk ascended up and we could see the view of the town from the castle.
The massive Ceský Krumlov Castle complex – the largest in Eastern Europe – dominates the old town and offers a fascinating look into the lives of the aristocratic rulers of Bohemia through the centuries. Although tracing its roots back to 1240, much of what’s seen today was built in the 17th century, including the fine Rosenberg Ballroom, the splendid Chapel of St. George, the Renaissance Hall, and the Royal Apartments.The castle’s wonderful Baroque theater, was built in 1682 and with still-operating stage equipment and props dating from the 18th century.
One of the top things to do while exploring the castle is to climb to the theater’s tall bell tower for the superb views over the city. A highlight of a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the chance to view a variety of important collections of paintings, tapestries, and exquisite period furnishings. All told, the site consists of 40 buildings and palaces, five castle courts, and the delightful 27-acre castle garden, so be prepared for a little walking, especially if you take in the adjacent historic Cloak Bridge.
Stop by the Church of St. Vitus
The other structure to dominate the Ceský Krumlov cityscape – the largest being the old castle – is the Roman Catholic Church of St. Vitus (kostel svatého Víta), which can trace its origins back to the 13th century with the building of the first place of worship on the site. Adding to the church’s distinctive profile is its tremendously tall roof, which is equally as spectacular when viewed from the building’s sumptuously decorated nave.
The church is also a burial place of a number of important Bohemian families, including the Rosenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs, the tombs of which contain the remains of many generations of each family. Add to this mix an impressive 19th-century spire and a stunning façade, and there’s little wonder the church is so often photographed.
Walk the old street and admire the artwork
A highlight of a visit to Ceský Krumlov is simply walking its many old streets and soaking up the splendid artwork that is everywhere around you. The city is famous for its many frescoes, a tradition that dates back centuries. It’s also home to the Egon Schiele Art Centrum (ESAC), a large art gallery featuring classical and contemporary 20th-century artwork.
Established in 1993, this superb privately owned gallery features an ever-changing roster of works by such renowned artists as Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, and, of course, Egon Schiele. Another highlight is the permanent exhibition of works by Viennese painter Egon Schiele, as well as an interesting overview of the artist’s life and his time in Ceský Krumlov. Other highlights include regular lectures, workshops, and concerts. A cafe and a shop are located on-site.
If you are into arts you will be interested to visit Egon Schiele Garden Studio. Located in a picturesque garden setting near the Old Town walls, this delightful summer house was where Schiele painted many of his best-known works. Still used as a studio by local and visiting artists, it’s an easy diversion that’s well worth the time.
See Local Treasures at the Ceský Krumlov Regional Museum
Cesky Krumlov Regional Museum displays excellent exhibits relating to the history of both the city and the region of Bohemia. Located in a former schoolhouse, highlights include numerous archaeological exhibits and artifacts, fine arts and folk arts, weaponry, furnishings, and a number of ethnographic displays.
Two particular highlights are a fine collection of Gothic sculptures and a huge ceramic model of Ceský Krumlov built in stunning detail in 1:200 scale. Also worth a visit is the nearby Museum of Architecture and Craft, which traces the history of the city’s design, as well as local trades and crafts.
Visit the Monastery
Construction of the Minorite Monastery, one of Ceský Krumlov’s oldest surviving buildings, started in the mid 14th century and continued off and on until the end of the Baroque era. Still in use, the monastery is best visited during one of its memorable religious concerts or recitals.
One of the most interesting aspects of this vast property – it also includes the Beguine Convent – is a unique set of trusses of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque origin. Other highlights include the intricately carved entranceway, along with fine statues of saints, a high early Baroque altar, and a number of old organs.
If you have time you can join one of the fascinating workshops dealing with such traditional skills and crafts as glassmaking, blacksmithing, shoemaking, as well as tailoring (you can even try on traditional-style clothing). If time allows, be sure to explore the monastery gardens, too. Afterwards, stop into the cafe for a baked treat made from original traditional monastery recipes, especially pleasant during the summer months when you can enjoy this repast in a pleasant courtyard setting.
Have coffee in a restaurant by Vltava River or try rafting
The fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov is perfect to be enjoyed from the water, either as you sip coffee from one of the restaurants by the river or as you raft down the Vltava River and past stunning architecture.
You can hop on a raft just steps from the castle and go downstream towards Ceske Budejovice, another dreamy town with its own magical Old Town. On the way you’ll pass by the town of Zlata Koruna and its old monastery and have a chance to stop by waterfront snack stands to grab a bite or a cold drink.
Cesky Krumlov is definitely worth a visit as a day trip if you have more than two days in Prague. The travelling time is 3 hours one way so you have to leave Prague early morning and carefully plan your day. I hope our article helps.
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