Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov

I had read so much about Český Krumlov and not all of it was good. If I had based my decision on what I had read I probably wouldn’t have visited. I would have missed seeing a town as pretty as any in a fairy tale.

Most of the negativity had been directed at the fact that the town is a tourist trap. Many people are day trippers from Prague. I guess if you are on a tour, with a busload of people, being funnelled through a tiny town, then it can become a bit daunting and no doubt frustrating.

I, however, had a totally different perspective. I stopped en route to Prague for 2 nights. This made a huge difference to my experience. Yes, it did get busy after lunchtime, but it wasn’t jam packed by any means and I could escape to my hotel room. Maybe it had something to do with the time of the year, just before summer, I don’t know, but I enjoyed my visit immensely.

 

 

Cesky Krumlov Fairytale Town
Cesky Krumlov Fairytale Town

 

 

The History

 

The town has an interesting history and was established in the 13th century. It was founded by 3 families who have left their mark on the town to this day. The last of the 3 families, the Schwarzenburgers, left the town during WWII. Over the years, this tiny town was forgotten. During WWII it was unscathed and the buildings remained mostly intact. In 1992 it became a UNESCO world heritage site and a great deal of money is still being spent in order to restore it to its former glory.

 

Cesky Krumlov on the Vltava River
Cesky Krumlov on the Vltava River

 

 

Český Krumlov: What To See

 

I spent the first day just wandering the streets exploring. This is my usual modus operandi and it gives me a feel for the town. I can also work out what I would like to see more of. I discovered a free walking tour, that starts in the main square, that I joined the next morning. It was an excellent choice and the guide was engaging and knowledgeable.

 

The Main Square

 

The meeting point is in the main square called Náměstí Svornosti, which means “Conquered Square”. The square is lined with pretty buildings, restaurants and a few shops. It is quite busy during the day, but towards sunset, when all the day trippers had left, the locals were enjoying the space. Children were playing, dogs were being walked, and friends were sitting on the benches chatting. I was lucky to see this side of the town as this is part of what day to day life is about here.

 

Church Of St Vitus

 

This church is the burial place of members of the most important families in Bohemia, including the Rosenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs. The church dates from the 13th century, but the spire was added much later.

 

St Vitus Church Cesky Krumlov
St Vitus Church Cesky Krumlov

 

The Former Jesuit Seminary Regional Museum

 

I only mention this as a landmark, because there is a little park next to it. The views of the river from here, towards the castle, are stunning.

 

Jesuit Seminary Regional Museum
Jesuit Seminary Regional Museum Cesky Krumlov

 

The Old Monastery

 

This used to be a monastery and was famous for brewing beer. They discovered the secret of smoked beer called Nakouřený švihák or Eggenberg. Bamberg in Germany is the only other town in Europe that makes smoked beer. I, of course, naturally had to try a couple while I was in town so that I could tell you what it was like. It is made from a special malt and is full in flavour, with the smokiness adding some depth. I could not find it anywhere else on my travels, so if you like the idea you need to try it here!

 

The old monastery Cesky Krumlov
The old monastery

 

The Castle

 

The castle sits on the top of the hill, after all, where else would it be?  You approach the castle via a bridge that crosses over a bear pit. Apparently, there have been bears kept here since 1707, but I didn’t see them. The castle is really big and there are a number of tours that you can do. You can also climb the castle tower for amazing views.

As you enter the courtyard pay special attention to the walls. They look like stone, but in fact, have been painted with a special effect. This was done when the plaster was wet and as a result, it has survived for centuries.  Look at the windows as well as some of them are not real!

 

Castle Courtyard
Castle Courtyard

 

The Castle Gardens

 

The castle gardens are really beautiful and worth taking a stroll through if you have the time.  There is also an open-air theatre with a revolving auditorium that is an ongoing bone of contention. UNESCO feels that it is too modern and should not be situated where it is.  Next to the auditorium is a small café which is a perfect place to stop for a smoked beer!

 

Fountain in the castle gardens
Fountain in the castle gardens

 

What To Eat

 

Trdelník is eaten in a number of Eastern European countries. It is a rolled pastry and it was fascinating to watch it being made. It is dusted with cinnamon and nuts and is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is often filled with cream. I had quite a few of them on my travels, but the one I had at Creperie MLS was exceptional. It was turned into a cone and filled with the softest, richest ice cream imaginable. It is on the main road, heading towards the castle, so it is easy to find.

 

Creperie MLS Cesky Krumlov
Creperie MLS

 

Walking through the town made me feel that I had to try something authentic for dinner. After scouring around I discovered Satlava. It looks quite unimposing from the outside. Inside, however, was a different story. Huge chunks of meat were being roasted on an open fire, so if you are a vegan I would advise you to steer clear. It is a little bit touristy, but the food was divine. If you are going to have a meal at Satlava you need to book ASAP as it is small and it does get full quickly.

 

Satlava Cesky Krumlov
Satlava

 

 

Where to stay

 

There are numerous places to choose from to suit all budgets. A word of warning though, there is no traffic allowed into the old town. Dragging a suitcase along cobbled streets is no fun either! Some hotels do have a little golf cart that can move luggage for you.

I stayed at the Pension u Kaplicky which was delightful.  The area was quiet and the rooms were lovely. The breakfast was beautifully prepared and brought to your room on a trolley. I was more than happy with the choice I had made. It was a 5 minute walk to the town and my taxi dropped me at the door.

 

Pension u Kaplicky Cesky Krumlov
Pension u Kaplicky

 

I had a wonderful 2 days in Český Krumlov and the UNESCO World Heritage status is well deserved. Remember that it is the second most visited town in the Czech Republic. The best time to visit would be March, April & May or September & October when everything is still open, but there are fewer tourists around.

 

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Cesky Krumlov Easy Guide
Cesky Krumlov Quick & Easy Guide

 

Český Krumlov the Fairytale Town
Český Krumlov the Fairytale Town

 

 

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31 COMMENTS

  1. I have heard so much about Cesky Krumlov and most of it has actually been good, just like you say, a fairytale town! Its such a pity that when I was in Prague 3 years back, I hadn’t even heard about it, would have loved to make a day trip. You did good by spending two nights, your pictures look gorgeous!

  2. I cant believe I missed out visiting this city on my recent visit to the Czech Republic. This is so on my list next time I go there. I love reading your post and seeing the fairytale photos.

  3. Český Krumlov looks like an idyllic town. Staying in a place for more than a day is always a good plan, as it allows one to enjoy the space and meet locals who can give you a better feel for a place. It looks like a lovely place to visit – maybe in fall or spring to avoid that ‘tourist trap’ potential. 😉

    • It is so difficult when you don’t have too much time available, but I always try and at least spend a night to get a better feel for the town. Otherwise you just barely scratch the surface.

  4. Cesky Krumlov seems like a fantastic place to visit. In fact, you had me at “smoked beer”. Next time I return to the Czech Republic I will make sure I stop by this lovely town and discover all these little details, the history and the culinary treats!

  5. Choosing to be there overnight seems to have made this an extra special experience. I love it when you get to see a place once the sidewalks have been rolled up, and you have the space where people really live to explore. At least one member of our household would be interested in the smoked beer too. Those painted walls are fascinating, and the idea of the fake windows. A lot of the pictures reminded me of Tallin, which I suppose makes sense. Thanks for sharing; it looks absolutely charming.

    • I have seen so much about Tallin lately. It looks like a delightful town to explore as well. The fake windows are for symmnetry apparently. Strange, but true!

  6. Wow! It sure does look like a fairy tale town. I would love to live here. I love UNESCO heritage sites, prob because I grew up spending a lot of time exploring one of them – my grandparents’ hometown in the Philippines.

    Are the walking tours always free? Would definitely keep Cesky Krumlov in mind when we plan our Czech Republic itinerary!

  7. How nice to get a different perspective on Český Krumlov. Great that you managed to get a free walking tour highlighting the important places and facts about the Unesco World Heritage town. The castle grounds look lovely and Satlava like the perfect place to have an authentic dinner.

    • I often think that a free walking tour has to exceed your expectations. If not, the guide will not do well, so they do tend to put so much effort into it. The castle is beautiful, but you need a day to explore it and I didn’t have sufficient time.

  8. Prague is packed with tourist but sooo pretty nevertheless. I really love wandering around the Old Town on the cobblestones path. It is indeed a fairy tale town. I also got to taste Trdelnik and their grilled pork leg which was yummy! Great photos by the way 😀

    • Thank you! I loved Prague as well. There is an old wolrd charm about it. One again, it wasn’t too busy when I was there, so I guess that I was lucky!

  9. I must admit that I haven’t heard much about the Czech Republic beyond Prague, but this is a really pretty little town! I immediately recognized the charm of Eastern Europe that I found in other countries like Slovenia or the Baltic States.
    That’s very good (and well noted) advice to avoid the group tours and enjoy it by yourself and get a hotel room. The walking tour sounds like a good idea – I went for one in Bogota not long ago and it was really interesting, so it’s definitely something to do in next trips. In any case, the visit of Cesky Krumlov is a good suggestion for a day or two out of Prague.

    • Eastern Europe has a charm all of its own. I love it and really want to explore more of it. Walking tours can be great, but I have been on some that have been really boring. This one was fabulous.

  10. I have not been to the Czech Republic (yet) but this really does seem like a fairy tale town, and I always love visiting UNESCO sites. What a great find!

    • The Czech Republic is beautiful. I loved my visit there. I really want to go back beacuse there are so many other gems to explore.

  11. I never heard much about this city but honestly just like you, before to form an opinion I’d like to see a place and experience it, in stead than believing I know it after seeing it for just a few hours. Well done!

  12. I had left a comment, but I don’t find it here. So I’ll write another.

    We love to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites – there is a good reason that they are often very touristy. We use the list on UNESCO’s website more that we use a guide book!
    Next time we visit Czech, we will definitely put Cesky Krumlov on the list of places to visit. If for no other reason than to try Trdelník 😉

    • Thanks for taking the time to write another comment. I am also a fan of the UNESCO website. You can really find some gem . Often I discover things that I haven’t heard about that I have to add to my bucket list! You won’t regret the trying the Trdelník and you might even want a second one!

  13. Thanks for walking me through Český Krumlov. Like you, I also love exploring on foot, as this gives me more time to take in the sights. I would also love to visit this fairytale town.

  14. Sometimes tourists flock to places for a reason, and this pretty town looks like it has a lot of great reasons to visit. I would love to walk along the canals:)

    • There is so much to see and it is a fabulous town to walk around. There are many reasons to visit the town and the river runs all the way to Prague!

  15. Cesky certainly does look magical! I’m hoping to make my way to the Czech Republic next year and I keep seeing some of these small towns that aren’t Prague and I’m just smitten. My husband is a photographer and I think he’d die taking photos here. The old Monastery would be at the top of my list!

    • You can go by shuttle, train and bus. They all take about 2 and a half hours, but the bus is the easiet option. I paid 6 euros one way so it was a bargain!

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