A view over the rooftops of Český Krumlov
Travel Guide

Cesky Krumlov: the Pearl of South Bohemia

Planning a trip to Cesky Krumlov? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Monastery Garden Bistro & Rooms

Walking tour: Old Town and castle exterior

Experience: Wooded raft cruise on the Vlatva River

Day trip from Prague: Cesky Krumlov full-day tour

Cesky Krumlov is an enchanting small town in South Bohemia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and easily one of the most beautiful places in the Czech Republic. Less than three hours from Prague by car, Cesky Krumlov is one of the most popular day trips from the city.

When you see its breathtaking Renaissance castle, picturesque Old Town full of cobblestoned streets, cozy riverside cafes and restaurants, you'll understand why there is so much hype about this Czech town.

Numerous tour companies provide full-day trips from Prague to Cesky Krumlov with private transfers. But if you plan to travel there on your own, staying overnight in Cesky Krumlov is more comfortable, and gives you the opportunity to see another, quieter side of the town.

Here's everything you need to know to plan a memorable trip to Cesky Krumlov.

Český Krumlov Castle looming over the town at twilight

How long should I spend in Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov is quite a small town, so one day is enough time to explore the main highlights. 

However, if you stay overnight, you can enjoy a much quieter atmosphere in the evening after the bus tours depart. Moreover, relaxing at your hotel after all the sightseeing is more comfortable than travelling back to Prague for another two or three hours.

If you have more time, it might be a good idea to explore other tourist attractions in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic next few days before you return to Prague.

Tip: Český Krumlov tourist information office on the main square sells a Cesky Krumlov Card. The card grants you discounted access to five museums in town, including:

  • Castle Museum and Castle Tower

  • Regional Museum

  • Museum Fotoatelier Seidel

  • Egon Schiele Art Centrum

  • Life and Art in the Krumlov Monasteries. 

The staff here is very helpful and can assist you with everything from where to eat and what to see to bus and train schedules. 

The old town on Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic

When to visit Cesky Krumlov

The best time to visit Cesky Krumlov is from April to October. Wintertime can be lonely in Český Krumlov, and most sites are closed, including the castle. However, December means magical Christmas markets.

On the flip side, avoid weekends in the summer if you don't like hordes of tourists. It can also be a bit overwhelming when the bus group tours arrive around midday. 

If you travel on your own and prefer to avoid the crowds, you can aim to arrive in Cesky Krumlov in the late afternoon, around 4 pm and leave the next day before noon.

The city also holds a few interesting festivals throughout the year:

  1. Renaissance festival called the FivePetaled Rose Celebration every June

  2. an Early Music Festival and an International Music Festival in July

  3. an Autumn Fair at the end of September

  4. several holiday events in December, including Christmas markets.

Old architecture and trees near river bay of Cesky Krumlov, Czechia

Things to do in Cesky Krumlov

Český Krumlov is a fairy tale town full of charm. It has a rich mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. 

A popular way to start Cesky Krumlov's exploration is at the Budějovice Gate, from where you can wander along the perfectly S-shaped Vltava River and Old Town's tiny streets. 

Here are the top things to do and see in Cesky Krumlov:

Český Krumlov Castle

Cesky Krumlov's main highlight and symbol is the castle. It’s the second-largest castle complex in the country after Prague Castle. It dates back to around 1240 and combines Baroque and Renaissance style architecture.

Cesky Krumlov castle is impressive from the inside out.  In order to see the interior of the castle, you'll need to go on a guided tour. Take your time to explore the beautiful castle courtyards, noble rooms, Masquerade hall, Baroque theater and gardens.

For the breathtaking views, climb to the top of the Cesky Krumlov castle tower with its beautiful Renaissance balcony.

Tip: Make sure to stroll a Cloak Bridge, which connects the castle with the gardens and theater. It has a very unique design with multiple pillars and arches. Standing on top of the bridge will open 360 panoramic views of the old town. It’s also very picturesque to see the bridge from below.

View at the organ of Saint Vitus Cathedral in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Church of St. Vitus

Close to the castle tower, you'll come across a Gothic-style St. Vitus' Church, built at the beginning of the 15th century.

Step inside and immerse yourself in a serene atmosphere. Inside, you can see an impressive high ceiling, elaborate frescoes, the altar, stained glass windows and the wooden statue of St. Vitus from the 14th century.

Řízková Restaurace Pivoňka

Trying řízek (schnitzel) is a must when visiting the Czech Republic. Not only is it a delicious and popular Czech dish, but it's also a great way to get a taste of traditional Czech food. 

This delicious meal is made from thin slices of meat, typically pork or chicken, that are breaded and fried until crispy and golden brown. It's usually served with a side of potatoes or other vegetables.

Řízková Restaurace Pivoňka is a unique schnitzel-only restaurant, so it might be a perfect spot for a lunch break. If you like beer, try locally brewed Eggenberg.

Museum Fotoatelier Seidel

The museum is an authentic photographic atelier of famous photographer Josef Seidel. Today, it serves as a museum dedicated to his work and the history of photography.

Museum Fotoatelier Seidel provides a fun photo shooting session in vintage clothing that makes for a great unique souvenir from your trip.

People sitting in the Old Town Square of Cesky Krumlov

Unity Square (Náměstí Svornosti) 

Cesky Krumlov Inner Town is centred around Unity Square (Náměstí Svornosti), with its 16th-century Town Hall, Marian Plague Column and many other colourful historic buildings.

Every corner brings a new charming view, and every building is its own work of art. 

You'll also find many cute restaurants, cafes and shops with souvenirs here.

Tip: Latran Houses from 17th and 18th centuries in Latran District are especially photogenic.

Vltava River 

The charming looks of Český Krumlov can be attributed not only to the castle and medieval streets but also to the winding Vltava River.

Take a stroll or enjoy a drink at several cafes and restaurants on the patio overlooking the river.

The best way to take in the beauty of Cesky Krumlov landmarks is to view them from the river. To enjoy pleasant sailing or rafting, you can rent a raft or a canoe in one of the many boat and raft rental places. I recommend especially a wooden raft river cruise or river rafting pub crawl.

Tip: Have a coffee break at Drunken Coffee Cafe, with a beautiful outdoor patio and scenic views.

Cross Hill (Křížová hora)

The hilly countryside around Český Krumlov is ideal for short hikes. The nearest viewpoint is Cross Hill (Křížová hora), about 2 km from the city center, with the eight-nave chapel of Our Lady Dolorous and the Holy Cross built in 1710.

The best part is the breathtaking view of the whole town from the top.

Tip: If you like the outdoors, check out the nearby Treetop Walkway in Lipno nad Vltavou. It’s only about a 30-minute drive from Cesky Krumlov.

A quaint street lined with colourful buildings in Cesky Krumlov

Where to stay in Cesky Krumlov

If you're plan an overnight stay, my top accommodation choice in Cesky Krumlov is Monastery Garden Bistro & Rooms. The location is super central, directly at the entrance to the castle, and only 5 mins walk to the old town. 

The rooms are exceptionally cozy and stylish, with beautiful wallpapers. They even have a special room with a hidden bedroom behind a bookshelf that will make you feel like a secret agent in a movie.

You can kickstart your day in the morning with a la carte breakfast at their Garden Bistro. The food here is delicious, made with good quality ingredients and thoughtfully presented.

A nice touch is also their honesty bar, where you can get sparkling water or water with lemon to stay hydrated throughout the day.

If you're after a fantastic view of the Vltava River, great location and comfort, Ultra Premium Apartments are also a great option. Some rooms come with a balcony.

A panoramic view of Cesky Krumlov and the Vlatva River

Getting to Cesky Krumlov from Prague

Below are some of the easiest ways to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague:

Travelling to Cesky Krumlov by bus

When it comes to public transportation, the most convenient way to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague is by bus.

A direct bus to Český Krumlov leaves Prague from both the Florenc station and Na Knížecí station.  

Regiojet provides a bus line that departs from Na Knížecí station in Prague to Cesky Krumlov every hour. The trip is direct and lasts roughly three hours. You can purchase the bus ticket online. The best part is that the bus travel with Regiojet includes free wifi, air conditioning and your choice of hot drink.

Travelling to Cesky Krumlov by train

There's no direct train ride from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, so you'll need to transfer at České Budějovice station. 

Note that the train station is a 20-minute walk from Old Town Square, while the bus station is much closer. That's why travelling by bus is a more convenient and quicker option. Nonetheless, if you choose the train, you can buy train tickets directly at the Prague train station (Hlavní Nádraží).

Travelling Cesky Krumlov by car 

Car travel to Cesky Krumlov from Prague is pretty straightforward and takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. Simply follow the directions to České Budějovice, and once there, follow the signs to Český Krumlov.

The parking lots in Český Krumlov can be a bit confusing. One safe bet is to use Parking Lot No. 2, which will bring you close to the town brewery and an easy 10-minute walk from the historic centre.

Tip: If you rent a car, you could enjoy an exciting Southern Bohemian road trip. There is a lot to discover in this region, from Hluboka Castle and Budvar Brewery in Ceske Budejovice to an open-air museum in Holasovice and Červená Lhota Castle.

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Kamila Jakubjakova

Author - Kamila Jakubjakova

Kamila is a freelance writer and blogger originally from Slovakia and now based in Canada. On her blog, she and her partner share useful tips for expat life in Canada. When she isn't writing, you can find her on a yoga mat or enjoying a cup of tea.

Last Updated 26 January 2024

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Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is best known for its enchanting capital, Prague. It's also home to some beautiful natural parks, interesting, artistic cities, and several charming towns.