Cesky Krumlov (Český Krumlov in Czech) is a small town in Bohemia in the south of Czech Republic: there are about 13.000 people living there now. Its history began with the construction of the castle that belonged to many wealthy families that shaped its appearance and fate. This is true especially for the Rosenberg family who ordered the construction of many notable buildings in Cesky Krumlov.
Why travelers go to Cesky Krumlov? Yes, that’s right, to visit its famous castle. And this is why I went there. I had not heard much about the town before I went there, but I was sure of one thing: it must be a fabulous place. And I was not wrong 😊 Imagine narrow streets and rows of fairytale houses with red roofs dominated by a spectacular castle, and you will get a picture. Cesky Krumlov is a lovely place, perfect for a day trip from Prague.
So, let’s start with some practical info.
How to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague
There are a couple of ways to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague; here I am going to talk about trains and buses. There is always a possibility to rent a car, but I use public transport only.
I took the bus from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. I bought my tickets at Regiojet, which is operated by Student Agency Company. I wrote more about them here, but I will repeat that it is a fantastic company: the buses are comfortable with Wi-Fi connection, they serve tea and coffee for free, and the attendants are very nice and polite. One-way ticket for this bus costs 7,60 EUR, which is about 196 CZK and they run many times a day. There are many bus stations in Prague, and for Cesky Krumlov Regiojet departs from Na Knizeci.
Another way to get to Cesky Krumlov is by train. Trains depart from the main railway station, but they do not run often and may be more expensive than the bus. And, depending on the date, you will not find any suitable trains back to Prague.
It takes three hours to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague both by bus and train. And considering that the bus schedule was much more convenient, and the price was much better, I opted for Regiojet. And I never regretted my decision 😊 What I like most about them is that they are always on time, like they have never been late with arrival or departure.
Cesky Krumlov: things to do
Here I will guide you through my itinerary step by step. These are the places I have visited in Cesky Krumlov and I can guarantee that it is totally doable. Well, it will depend on your departure time from Prague: the earlier you come, the better. I took the 7 AM bus and was in Cesky Krumlov at 10 AM. My bus back was at 7 PM, but there are later ones as well.
The first thing I saw when I got off the bus was an old bus station that was being repaired 😊 But the view changed quickly: I saw Cesky Krumlov from above immediately after I exited the bus station in the direction of the town. This viewpoint is like 50 meters away from the station and you will not miss it. Just stop here for a moment, enjoy the view and take some pictures.
When you enter the town, there is another panoramic deck: it is in a small park next to the Regional Museum of Cesky Krumlov. If you visit the town during the high season this viewpoint will be extremely crowded as the views from here are the best. You will clearly see the whole castle from here, the monastery of the Minorites of the Poor Clares and rows of houses with red roofs.
St Vitus Church in Cesky Krumlov
After taking tons of pictures at the viewpoints I went in the direction of St Vitus Church. It is a big church, and it is not easy to fit it in the frame taking pictures if you are staying in front of it, at least not with my camera 😊
The original church was built in the beginning of the 14th century, but later it was considered too small for the growing population. The reconstruction started in the beginning of the 15th century and was finished after the Hussite Wars. Now some parts of the church are Neo-Gothic, others are Baroque.
The church is higher than the street level, so you will have to climb some steps. it is a bit dark inside, there are some intricate altar pieces that draw attention immediately. As it is the most notable building in Cesky Krumlov after the castle, you should definitely visit it.
It was not the first church I saw in Czech Republic, so I did not spend much time here.
Interesting fact: there was a crypt of the Rosenberg family in the church, but it was removed later. It was claimed that the crypt was too close to the altar and had to be disassembled.
Entrance fee: free to visit
A tip: there is a toilet next to the church, the cost is 5 CZK
Svornosti Square (Náměstí Svornosti)
I went to Svornosti Square immediately after visiting St Vitus Church. I guess it will not be a mistake to say that it is the main square in Cesky Krumlov, and it is very similar to Spanish plazas in the sense that it is surrounded by fancy buildings and restaurants. Tourist information center is here as well, and the Torture Museum is next to it.
What you will not miss is the fountain on the left: it is built around the Plague Column. The column was erected in the beginning of the 18th century as a remembrance of the plague that raged in the town. The statue of Mary is on its top, and there are statues of saints-protectors against plague on the lower levels.
Well, the best thing about the square for many – including me 🙂 – is that there is free Wi-Fi there, and the connection is better the closer you are to the Plague Column.
Široká Street with antique shops
I had breakfast in a restaurant on the square, but after that I did not go to the castle but turned to Široká Street. Here you will find the most famous museum of Cesky Krumlov: Egon Schiele Art Centrum. But it is not the only one, I guess this street is the richest one when it comes to museums.
There are many restaurants and hotels on the street, but my favorite one is an antique shop not far from the island. I did not buy anything, but it was cool to walk around.
The island and the old mill
After taking a look at the antique things I stopped at the mill between the mainland and the island. Just have a look at this man 😊
The island is interesting mostly thanks to the views of the castle that open from here. Other than that, there are a couple of restaurants and hotels there.
Visiting Cesky Krumlov castle
Then it was the right time to go to the main attraction: Cesky Krumlov Castle 😊 And the castle is fantastic!
Let’s start with some historical facts.
The castle was built in the 13th century by the Witigonens, lords of Krumlov. When the last member of the family died, the castle passed to their relatives, to the Rosenberg family. They had owned the place for 300 years, and sold it to Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II, and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II gave the castle to the Eggenberg family. But they were not the last owners: in the beginning of the 18th century the castle became the property of the Schwarzenberg family. In the 20th century state owned the place. Naturally, every family added something new to the castle making it a true masterpiece.
The Cesky Krumlov Castle is a huge complex, so I took a picture of its plan when I was on my way to the Cloak Bridge.
When it comes to visits, just like the castle in Karlstejn, this one is split into separate tours. I did not see a combined ticket for all the areas which is a pity. In case you decide to see the whole castle, it will cost you more than 1.100 CZK or 43 EUR. It means that you will need separate tickets to visit
– The Stables
– The Castle Theater
– The Castle Museum
– The Tower
– The castle itself which is split into two tours and two tickets are needed: tour I covers the Renaissance and Baroque periods and tour II showcases the history of the Schwarzenberg family.
So, now back to what I saw at the castle.
The first place that caught my attention was the famous Cloak Bridge. This interesting structure that looks more like a stone wall with windows is a bridge and offers amazing views of Cesky Krumlov for free! To get there I crossed the bridge over the river at the mill and went through the Cloak Bridge: there are stairs on the left. I climbed them up to see two roads: the one on the left leads to the bridge, the right one goes to the stables.
The Cloak Bridge was very crowded so it is not easy to get closer to the edge and look around, but I did it 😊 As you see in the map, it leads right to the castle. So, instead of buying a ticket to visit the interiors I did something else: in the dark passage I saw a sign saying something about an underground town. I thought it would be nice to see what that was and bought a ticket. My god, did I regret my decision 😊 It was an exhibition of creepy surreal sculptures by Miroslav Paral: I am not a fan of this kind of art, that definitely was not what I wanted to see 😊
After having a quick look around the exhibition I gladly left this place and went to the ticket office of the castle. Here I chose tour I and had to wait till it started: you can see the schedule of tours on a display in the ticket office. I loved the tour! Our guide Jan was very lovely, funny and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed inside, but if you are quick enough you can take some pics 😊 I still remember a fancy carriage and the absolutely magnificent Masquerade Hall. Totally worth the money! I wish that instead of visiting that creepy exhibition I added some money more and bought a ticket for the tour II: I bet it is fantastic as well.
It was time to pay a visit to the Tower and see the town from above 😊 Again I went to the ticket office and bought a combined ticket for the Tower and the Castle Museum. The views are simply stunning! I think I could see the whole town from above. By far the best place to visit in Cesky Krumlov, in my opinion.
After that I went to the Castle Museum: it is a fantastic place as well exhibiting everyday objects that belonged to the castle owners. I highly recommend going there.
These are all the places I visited in the castle. I wish I had more money to see some other parts 😊 I spent 570 CZK in the castle to enter the places above.
And before I left I visited the gardens adjacent to the castle and saw the bear that lives in the castle: the moat is under the bridge that leads to the tower.
Useful info: there are a couple of toilets around the castle, but they are not free: the cost is 7 or 8 CZK.
Monastery of the Minorites of the Poor Clares
After visiting the castle, I went to see the Monastery of the Minorites of the Poor Clares. The monastery was founded in the middle of the 14th century by the order of the Rosenberg family. It underwent numerous reconstructions and additions during its existence, and now it hosts exhibitions and workshops.
It is my understanding that there are two permanent exhibitions:
– Life and art in Krumlov monasteries. This one tells the story of the monastic life and showcases religious paintings, altars, etc. This is the exhibition I chose to visit.
– The interactive exhibition of human skills. It houses alchemist’s laboratory, and has rooms dedicated to food and herb storage, brewery, toys, daily life of nobility, etc. This one seems to be more interesting and I think I should have chosen it 😊
The buildings themselves are interesting as well, so I had a walk around. But my favorite part is the small garden: it is a wonderful place with magnificent roses.
Entrance fee: each exhibition costs 150 CZK, both exhibitions cost 250 CZK. There are discounts for families.
Latran Street with shops and restaurants and St. Jost Church
It was time already to go back to the station, so after exiting the monastery I took Latran Street back to the Svornosti Square. It is a nice street with shops and restaurants, but its most notable building is St. Jost Church. It was built in the 14th century at the order of the Rosenberg family and served as a church till the end of the 18th century when it was sold and became private property. It was used for different purposes and housed even a casino. Now there are stores there and the Marionette Museum.
Places in Cesky Krumlov I did not visit and things I did not do
Basically, when it comes to places to see, I visited St Vitus Church, the Monastery of the Minorites of the Poor Clares and some parts of the castle. But there are other places to visit in Cesky Krumlov, and below are some of them. Maybe, they will catch your interest 😊
A walk along the streets and kayaking the river
If you have time till the bus departure, take a walk along the river or explore the area between the Svornosti Square and Egon Schiele Art Museum.
Please, keep in mind that I am in no way associated with these companies, and I have not used their services. They are just some suggestions so that you know where to start your research.
The Castle Garden
When one does not do the research, many places get missed. And this is my personal problem 😊 I had no idea that this garden existed! No, this garden is not next to the castle, it is about 15 minutes on foot away. And I am so disappointed that I did not visit it: I was in Cesky Krumlov at the end of May and it must have been fantastic. And, according to some reviews, an excellent view of the town opens from there. Luckily, the entrance is free 😊
There are many museums in Cesky Krumlov, including the Wax Museum, Torture Museum on the square (very small), Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Mirror Labyrinth, Regional Museum of Český Krumlov.
Where to eat in Český Krumlov
I spent just one day in Český Krumlov so I am not going to claim that I am an expert in the restaurants of the town 🙂 I had breakfast in Krumlovská Fontána right next to the Plague Fountain: this is how I found out about free Wi-Fi in the square 🙂
The person who waited me first did not speak English so she called her colleague and I made my order without any problems. I had eggs, they were well cooked so I have no objections 🙂 The restaurant was empty in the morning, so I did not have to wait for long.
For dessert, I recommend to have trdelnik. There is a trdelnik store next to the restaurant: they sell different types here, plain ones, with ice cream, Nutella, etc. The most important thing is that all trdelniks are super fresh! In Prague I had trdelniks with ice cream only, so here I bought one with Nutella and it was yummy!
On my way back to the bus station in the evening I bought a trdelnik on Latrán Street (sorry, I do not remember the name of the place, it was not far from St Jost Church): I had to wait in the queue for quite some time and it was stale! Just be careful!
Is one day enough?
Well, I would say that one day is enough to explore just the biggest and most important tourist attractions of Cesky Krumlov. I think it would have been better if I had spent a night there and continued exploring the town the next day. I wish I visited other parts of the castle and the garden. Missing the garden is my biggest regret!
In case you decide to spend a night in Cesky Krumlov, here are some places to consider:
– U Kalíšku Hotel is not far from the center and has double rooms starting at 42 EUR.
– 3-star Pension Wok has rooms with and without balcony for 60-70 EUR.
– Ubytování Zámecké Schody is very close to the castle and prices start at less than 30 EUR per night.
– If you are looking for a hostel, take a look at Travel Hostel: beds here in 3- or 4-bed dormitories cost 17 or 18 EUR per night.
– Pension Cert a Kaca is a 2-star hotel not far from both the castle and Svornosti Square. Rooms start at 50 EUR per night.
This is how much money I spent in Cesky Krumlov:
– bus ticket, both ways: 15,20 EUR
– entrance fees to attractions: 720 CZK
– food and water: 400 CZK
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