Magical Things to Do in Český Krumlov
Discover the amazing things to do in Český Krumlov, the Czech Republic’s pristine medieval town with thousands of years of history and start planning your trip now.
As one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic and Central Europe, Cesky Krumlov remains a hidden gem just 2 hours south of Prague. This real-life fairytale town is the perfect place to explore during a trip to the Czech Republic. There are plenty of things to do in Český Krumlov including a beautiful castle, strolling the Medieval streets and trying the local beer that’s been brewed here for more than 500 years.
Cesky Krumlov makes the perfect day trip for those travelling to Prague and wanting to see a little more than just the capital. It’s also the perfect stop-over for those travelling between Prague and Vienna or Salzburg in Austria. While there are many things to do in Český Krumlov, they can all be done in a day, however, if you can stay the night, I’d highly encourage it.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT
Visiting Cesky Krumlov is a great idea at any time of the year. Like many other European destinations, the Czech Republic sees four distinct seasons where temperatures and rainfall vary drastically over the course of the year.
Spring and summer are the most popular times to visit where temperatures are at their warmest- an average of 24°C/75°F, parks are full of green trees and blooming flowers, watersports can be done on the Vltava River and the town comes alive with outdoor eating and drinking. Spring and summer are also the wettest months so you can expect quite a few showers at this time too, possibly a passing storm too.
This is also high season so expect prices to go up and crowds at the most popular sights.
Autumn and winter are other possible times to visit if you don’t mind the cold. In winter temperatures can go down to about 2°C/35°F but winters are also the driest time of year to visit. Visiting in the winter will mean that there are much fewer crowds around and you’ll be able to score some great deals on hotels and tours.
However, sights do close earlier and daylight hours are also limited. If visiting in the winter you might benefit from extending your trip to Cesky Krumlov and staying for a night instead of just coming for a day trip.
The high season months in the Czech Republic are June, July and August, the shoulder season is April, May, September and October and the low season is November, December (apart from Christmas and New Year), January, February and March.
GETTING TO CESKY KRUMLOV
You can get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov a few different ways; by bus, train or by driving or even by private transfer or guided tour. The bus or train are by far the easiest options even though driving is a little quicker and gives you more flexibility.
Bus – RegioJet, Flixbus and Leo Express all have departures from Prague to Cesky Krumlov.
RegioJet buses depart Na Knížecí bus terminal in Prague. The first bus from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is at 6 am. The last bus from Cesky Krumlov is at 7 pm. Tickets cost €9 each way and the trip takes just under 3 hours.
Flixbus and Leo Express services depart from ÚAN Florenc Station and reach Cesky Krumlov 3 hours later. Their first departure goes at 8 am with the last departure at 8 pm. Tickets also cost €9 each way.
I would personally recommend taking the RegioJet bus just because it has a much earlier departure than the other two and you can be in Cesky Krumlov by 9am.
Train – you can take a train with Ceske Drahy Railways. The Prague to Cesky Krumlov train takes 3 hours – the same as the bus- and the first departure is just before 8 am but you’ll have to change trains at Cesky Budejovice. The first direct departure leaves Prague at 8.49 am and arrives at 11.50 am.
Ticket prices depend on the type of service you opt for but direct services cost about €8 one way.
Drive – It’s also possible to rent a car and drive to Cesky Krumlov. Check the best deals for car rentals from Prague here. If you have your own car already, the easiest way is to follow the D3 south of Prague before turning onto Route 3 all the way to Cesky Krumlov. It takes about 2 hours to drive from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, covering 172 km/106 miles.
For the full guide check How to Get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
WHERE TO STAY
Wellness Hotel Svachovka – If you’re thinking about potentially extending and turning your trip to Cesky Krumlov into a mini, wellness retreat look no further than Cesky Krumlov’s best wellness hotel. Located amid Svachova Lhotka Golf course, right outside town, this wellness hotel provides a natural environment to fully relax and recharge.
Take advantage of their pool and terrace in the summer, sauna, massages, private whirlpools, hydro massage as well as a Czech speciality, a beer bath. During the winter there’s also a local fireplace to cosy up to. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Oldinn– A magical hotel in a medieval townhouse right on the main square, Hotel Oldinn add all the modern feels to Cesky Krumlov’s medieval charm. With spacious, modern rooms, a lovely restaurant and bar in a location that’s pretty much unbeatable on the main square this is a great choice for those looking for a modern stay in town. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Ebersbach – For 16th Century luxury, make sure not to miss this opulent hotel that’ll transform you right back to Renaissance times. With classical furnishings, roofs with exposed wooden beams, rich drapes and tapestries this is one of the best places to stay to completely immerse yourself in the medieval charm of Cesky Krumlov. Check rates and availability here.
Pension Rozmaryna – For a mid-budget stay in the center of Cesky Krumlov, this local B&B ticks all the boxes with friendly service, welcoming vibe and great breakfast. Rooms are large, clean and decorated in a traditional style that perfectly fits with the town’s vibe. Check rates and availability here
Monastery Garden – For beautiful rooms with a traditional and modern flair, this is our top choice for Cesky Krumlov. Located right next to the Monastery of the Minorities in the center of town, this cosy property is just so hygge. Rooms are spacious, clean and beautifully decorated. The breakfast here is one of the best in town. Check rates and availability here.
WHERE TO EAT
Laibon – Probably the only vegetarian and plant-based restaurant in town, this building goes back to 1538! Choose between a table inside in a welcoming, low lit interior or round the back in their beautiful garden facing the river and the castle.
Take your pick from the many options on the menu from Czech inspired dishes to those inspired by world cuisines. It’s a lovely place to enjoy lunch on a warm, sunny day with local Czech beer and great views.
Kolektiv Cafe and Wine Bar– A lovely, modern and super cool cafe and bar selling coffee, breakfast, cakes, light meals, wine and more. This is a great option for breakfast if you arrive in town early.
Drunken Coffee– Another great option for coffee and light snacks with great outside seating right in the river overlooking the castle.
Le Jardin – For an upscale, dining experience, head straight to French restaurant Le Jardin for top-quality cuisine. There’s always at least one vegetarian starter and main on the menu and the menu focuses on high-quality, seasonal ingredients cooked to perfection. If you’re looking for a more special meal in Cesky Krumlov this is it.
Apotheka Cafe Bar– One of the best spots in town for cocktails, Apotheka was once a medieval pharmacy selling all kinds of natural concoctions to cure all kinds of ailments. As it is a pharmacy, everything here (cocktails included) counts as medicine- so they say!
TOP THINGS TO DO IN ČESKÝ KRUMLOV
Explore the Old Town
Cesky Krumlov dates back to the 13th Century so it’s safe to say the town is old, ancient in fact. The buildings here however have been perfectly preserved and restored, making this one of the best Medieval towns to visit in Central Europe. The center of Cesky Krumlov has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a title that’s pretty well-deserved; a visit to the town is like stepping back in time.
Exploring the old town, coming down to the old town square, walking through the narrow, cobbled alleyways and peeking into doorways are one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov. There’s Medieval and Renaissance charm and character on every corner you turn- in fact, the town is so beautiful I was totally hooked on just getting lost in this labyrinth of historical streets.
Cesky Krumlov Castle and Tower
The grand, imposing building located on a rocky outcrop over town is easily seen as you arrive in Town and visiting it is one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov. The castle, the second largest in the Czech Republic, dates back to the 13th Century when it was home to various aristocratic families throughout the centuries.
The castle today is divided into two parts; the main castle where aristocrats lived and received guests and the castle museum and tower. You’ll need a separate ticket to visit the two but it’s definitely worth it for the history of the local area and the views of the town from the tower.
Cesky Krumlov Castle dates back to 1250 when it was founded by the Lords of Krumlov. When they died out it was inherited by the Rosenbergs who held their seat there up until 1602. They probably had the most influence over the early days of the castle, constructing the main building at the church seen today. The Rosenberg family crest, which features a rose is seen prominently around the interior of the castle.
In the 17th Century, the Castle was donated to the Eggenberg family and later to the Schwarzenbergs, each ruling aristocratic family adding more to the castle architecture and developing the economy of the town into what can be seen today.
While you can come in, see the Castle from the outer courtyards and enjoy the views of the Royal Gardens, I highly recommend opting for a ticket that allows you to explore the inside of the castle. Not only will you see how families lived in the castle hundreds of years ago, but as the tour is guided, you’ll learn more about the families and the castle and its fascinating history.
While you can buy a ticket at the castle, you can later also pre-arrange a walking tour online that combines the Castle grounds with other popular city highlights, learning from the knowledgeable local guides about each place.
Museum and Tower
If you wish to find out more about life at this time in Cesky Krumlov, the Castle Museum is also worth a visit. This entry ticket, which costs 150 CZK, will give you access to not just the museum but also the Tower, where you can check out hundred-year-old dungeons as well as climb to the top for spectacular views of the Cesky Krumlov town.
Once you’ve walked through the main Castle complex you’ll end up walking over the top of Cloak Bridge, a magnificent structure that dates back to the 15th Century. This three-tiered covered bridge stands on huge stone pillars and the lower passages link the masquerade hall with the theatre. The upper-tier links the Castle gallery with the gardens.
While the view from the bridge is amazing and the structure is well-seen from above, make sure to also walk down and see it from below. It’s even more impressive!
Heading to Prague too? Don’t miss 2 Days in Prague: The Perfect First-Timer’s Itinerary
St. Vitus Church
Another structure that dominates the Cesky Krumlov skyline, St Vitus Church is one of the most prominent and beautiful buildings in town. Standing tall, on a hill this pink-hued church is a lovely example of late Gothic architecture. The Church was founded in 1309 and developed and connected with the Rosenbergs, Eggenbergs and Schwarzenbergs, the key families that ruled in Cesky Krumlov Castle through the years.
Entrance to the church is free so make sure to go inside and have a look at the ribbed vaults and flamboyant, Rococo altar and pulpit. You’ll also see a number of gothic frescos and neo-gothic altars. Inside you’ll also find the tombs of several multi-generational members of the Rosenberg and Schwarzenberg families- key figures in the history of South Bohemia.
Visit Svornosti Square
Cesky Krumlov’s charming old town square, officially named Svornosti Square is no doubt somewhere you’ll stumble into pretty quickly. With beautiful pastel-coloured townhouses, many of which have now been converted into hotels, banks and restaurants full of beer drinking tourists.
Its main landmark in the square is the iconic town hall from 1597, that’s a beautiful combination of gothic and Renaissance architecture. In the basement, you’ll also find the Museum of Torture.
Here you’ll also see the town’s beautiful fountain and Plague column which were erected in 1716 to commemorate those that died in the town’s plague epidemic of 1680-82.
On the other side of the river ( the same as the castle), you’ll find the Latran neighbourhood, characterized by its beautiful pastel-coloured townhouses. There are so many narrow streets to explore, lovely cafes, bohemian gingerbread bakeries, cute flower stores and of course beer bars.
This area might be small but make sure to not miss exploring this part of town too.
Check out the Viewpoints
There are quite a few viewpoints all around town and a few different vantage points to admire Cesky Krumlov from above.
You’ll find the first on the main road into town; ‘Seminarni Zahrada’ a small gated park with a lovely view of the castle, the castle’s tower and all the Medieval townhouses below. You can find this viewpoint on Google Maps as ‘ Seminarni Zahrada’ right next to the Regional Museum of Cesky Krumlov.
There’s also a stunning view from the Castle’s Tower. Visit the tower along with the Castle’s museum and climb to the top of the narrow, winding stone and wooden steps to the top for 360° views of the town.
Another free alternative, and probably the best panoramic viewpoint of Cesky Krumlov is from the castle grounds. Walk straight into the castle grounds, through the many outdoor, elaborately decorated courtyards, over Cloak Bridge and over to the viewpoint just at the entrance to the Royal Gardens.
From here there’s the most beautiful 180° view of the whole of Cesky Krumlov. You can pretty much see all the sights from here surrounded by the looping Vltava River.
Visit the Cesky Krumlov Monasteries
Amid medieval houses and terracotta rooftops, you find the tranquil complex that is the Cesky Krumlov Monasteries- a series of buildings that date back to the 14th Century. Inside this vast property, you’ll find a Beguine Convent, Baroque altar, organ and statues of saints.
There is also an exhibition, focusing on the life and art of the Minorite monastery where you can see a variety of different religious artefacts passed down the centuries.
Even if you don’t visit the inside, the building is lovely from the outside and there’s also a little park with benches to relax on for a while.
If you’re only in the Czech Republic for a few days and are looking for a worthwhile purchase, one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov is to go shopping. With plenty of souvenir stores, antique specialists, wooden crafts, moldavite and natural cosmetics stores there are plenty of great boutiques around to keep you shopping for quite a while.
If you’re after organic, natural and cruelty-free cosmetics, make sure to check out Czech brand Havlik Apoteka for CBD oil-infused cosmetics and more. Botanicus is another good brand for natural soaps and other cosmetics.
Visit the Museum Fotoatelier Seidel
If you’re a fan of photography or you’re interested in seeing photographs from Cesky Krumlov and the Czech Republic and learning about the history, make sure to check out this little gem of a museum.
This building was the family home of Josef Seidel, a prominent Czech photographer of the 19th Century. In the museum, you’ll be able to see the home and studio as they left it, with a traditional darkroom, storage rooms and much more. You’ll also be able to see some of Seidel’s best photographs hanging up on the walls presented in the context of the time period.
If you’re interested in photography and the history of photography make sure not to miss this lovely museum.
Drink a Beer on the River
Nowhere else, but maybe in Germany, is it more culturally appropriate to order a beer ( at any time of day), relax by the river and let time go by. Wherever you go you’ll be able to find bars, restaurants and hotels that serve local beer but head to the river to find the ones with the best views where you can enjoy a glass with views of Cesky Krumlov castle and its tower as well as, Plastovy (Cloak) Bridge.
If you want to go for a local beer, I highly recommend trying a glass of Eggenberg, Cesky Krumlov’s own beer dating back to 1560. The brewery was originally founded in Cesky Krumlov by a member of the ruling Eggenberg family and it’s still running today, even though it’s not the local’s favourite. Krumlov beer is another great alternative to try.
Visit a Museum
One of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov is to actually learn a little more about its history and culture. if you’ve still got time after visiting Cesky Krumlov Castle there are many other museums to also visit in this small town. Here are some of the best museums definitely worth considering, especially on a rainy day.
- Cesky Krumlov Regional Museum – a lovely museum dedicated to the history and culture of the region with plenty of artefacts, art and more.
- Moldavite Museum– a meteorites museum in the heart of town dedicated to the moldavite found in the area.
- Museum of Torture– If you have the stomach for it, learn about how criminals were tortured and treated through the ages.
- Museum Fotoatelier Seidel – learn about the life of the Seidel family and browse 19th Century photography and camera equipment.
Take a Boat Trip
Making the most of the winding and slow-flowing Vlatava River, one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov is to get yourself out onto the river for a boat trip. There are a number of different boat trips offered in Cesky Krumlov as well as kayaking and even rafting on the river.
One of the most unique boat trips is on a wooden raft that allows you to take in Cesky Krumlov from a different perspective. Read more about this tour here.
If you find yourself staying the night and prefer to opt for a calm evening tour of the town then click here.
For more great tours and activities in and around Cesky Krumlov, check the box below:
Ready to explore all the things to do in Český Krumlov? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
Planning a trip right now? These are just some of my favourite websites I use to book everything from hotels to rental cars!
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Related posts you might like:
2 Days in Prague: The Perfect First-Timer’s Itinerary
How to Get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
The Best Viewpoints in Prague: 11 Best Views of Prague You Can’t Miss
Where to Stay in Prague: The Best Areas and Hotels
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