If anyone asked me to make a list of most romantic cities in Europe I would certainly put three big capitals in my head: Paris, Prague e Vienna.
But it is not these big cities that I want to talk to you because now that it is romantic to have dinner in front of an excellent French dish, with a good wine and the view of the illuminated Eiffel Tower we all know and, forgive me, sometimes it is even a bit obvious .
The place I want to tell you about is a small town in the middle of the woods and meadows of South Bohemia, just over three hours by bus or car from its big sister, the elegant and refined Prague.
This small town is called Czech Krumlov.
Last June, taking advantage of a couple of days off, I returned to Prague for the 6th time in my life: she is stronger than me, I can't stay away from her.
After two days of visiting Prague, I decided, while I was there, to do an escapade also in Cesky Krumlov because this is one of those places that once you have discovered them, sooner or later you have to go back.
- How to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague
- What to see in Cesky Krumlov
- 1 - Historic center
- 2 - Cesky Krumlov Castle
- 3 - Baroque theater
- 4 - Tower of the castle
- 5 - Cathedral of San Vito
- 6 - Cruise on the Vatlava
- 7 - Museum Photo Seidel
- 8 - Visit the museums
- 9 - See the most beautiful views of the city
- Where to eat in Cesky Krumlov
- Where sleeping in Cesky Krumlov
How to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague
The easiest way to get to Cesky Krumlov is via the direct train from Prague in less than 3 hours. This is the most efficient way and it is also the cutest way, watching the beautiful Czech countryside fly by.
A slightly cheaper alternative is to take the Leo Express bus from Prague in about 3 hours. For those who prefer to take a day trip from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, there are many tours to choose from. All this includes the coach trip.
1 - By public transport
get to Cesky Krumlov we took one of the numerous daily buses which depart from Prague and take about 3 hours.
Tickets can be purchased directly at the terminal which is located immediately at the exit of the metro Florenc.
From the bus station to the center of Cesky Krumlov it takes about 5 minutes on foot and from the road you can look out over a beautiful view of the castle and the Vltava.
Alternatively you can choose the train.
2 - With a tour
The most convenient and fastest way to reach Cesky Krumlov from Prague is to take part in a guided tour, although of course it is more expensive than going alone by public transport.
After all, with the tours you also have a guide who will accompany you and who will tell you everything you want to know about this little pearl that is Cesky Krumlov.
The tour offer is really wide since Cesky Krumlov is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Czech Republic and, without a doubt, one of the things to do if you have enough time during a visit to Prague.
Among the recommended tours:
From Prague: Český Krumlov full-day tour with lunch: a tour, but you must read well when done in this language. The best-selling and with great reviews.
From Prague excursion to Cescky Krumlov: a new tour (in English). It doesn't have many reviews yet (the only one at the time of writing is 10/10). A tour to try!
ALTRI TOUR and CESKY KRUMLOV
What to see in Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov it is born and grows in a protective horseshoe-shaped loop that the Vltava form in its course before flowing into the Elbe and then flowing into the North Sea.
1 - Historic center
Its historic center, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is dominated by the imposing castle, the second largest in the Czech Republic, which can be reached by going up the winding lanes of the old village.
Cesky Krumlov had moments of difficulty during communism, when it was left almost abandoned and then recently in 2002 due to the flooding of the Vltava and the consequent flooding of the center, but in recent years, thanks to an intense commitment to renovations, it has been restored to the beauty of the past.
In Cesky Krumlov every street, every corner is steeped in history and culture and you breathe an ancient air, so when you walk there you have the impression of being catapulted into another time, when at every turn of the corner it was possible to run into a lady or a knight.
Do not miss Svornosti Square, which is the main central square. Here you will find the XNUMXth century town hall and the plague column; built to honor the numerous victims of the Cesky Krumlov plague.
Medieval reenactment in Cesky Krumlov
2 - Cesky Krumlov Castle
The center is characterized by narrow paved paths that wind between houses with sloping red roofs and decorated facades. The main road descends from the square and, crossing a bridge over the river, leads to the castle whose door is surrounded by a moat in which they live three cute brown bears.
Crossing the main door you find yourself in a sunny courtyard from which you can either access the actual castle, or climb the tower from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the town and the surrounding countryside.
The castle is truly huge: Named the second largest castle in the Czech Republic, some say it's actually only 1 square meter smaller than Prague Castle, which gives you an idea of its size.
Whether you just want to explore the castle grounds outside or take a tour that takes you inside the beautifully decorated interior, or if you decide to do both, under no circumstances are you wrong.
After passing the entrance and the moat, you will arrive at the main entrance where you can climb the tower and get an incredible view of the city.
Continue along the giant stone bridge lined with statues. Here you will pass by the famous Baroque Theater, which I recommend you to see, and a little further on you will find a great cafe serving beer with another great view of the city below.
Last but not least, make your way up to the manicured gardens of the castle. In the evening you can check if there are live performances in their famous theater!
3 - Baroque theater
Considered to be one of the largest Baroque theaters in the world and also one of the best preserved of its kind the Theater it is something truly unique to experience in person in Cesky Krumlov.
The small theater hosted a well-selected audience, noble women and men, on the balcony with a perfect view of the stage: the participants included only people invited by the royal family.
But what makes this theater particularly unique are the painted backgrounds that give the feeling of a 3-dimensional experience.
In order to keep this small theater, you can only enter in small groups and with a tour. The humidity and temperature inside the theater must always be controlled. During the tour you will be able to watch a video and the guide will explain every secret: you can also go to the funds and see the mechanisms used to “move the funds”.
About 3-4 times a year there are live shows for which the public can buy tickets. Although they are usually hard to find and a bit pricey from what our guide told us.
4 - Tower of the castle
One of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov, even if you are short on time, is to admire the city from the tower of the castle. This is something you really can't miss.
The Gothic and Renaissance tower erected on the edge of the castle is actually a gallery itself decorated with elegant bottom-up paintings.
Tickets are cheap at 50 CZK per person to climb to the top. You can pay a little extra to combine the castle museum with your ticket.
5 - Cathedral of San Vito
Another beautiful site and one of the most amazing things to do in Cesky Krumlov is to visit the Vitus Cathedral.
Also from here, from the clock tower you can see a beautiful view of Cesky Krumlov.
Both the exterior and the interior of San Vito are beautiful. It is possible to visit the interior of the cathedral for free as long as there is no Mass in progress at that time.
6 - Cruise on the Vtlava
In good weather, the river running through Cesky Krumlov is full of boats. You will see locals taking a kayak or boat ride, especially on nice summer days.
You can do it too: you can book a canoe, a raft or take a boat cruise.
There are many tours, here I list you the best:
River cruise on the wooden raft: Experience a cruise along the Vltava River on a historic wooden raft and explore picturesque Český Krumlov from a unique perspective!
Traditional boat trip to Český Krumlov: do a ride on a traditional boat to Český Krumlov to contemplate the magnificent views of the city along the Vltava River. You will see its main attractions from a unique perspective.
Evening tour by traditional boat: participate in a evening tour by traditional boat to Český Krumlov and come and discover this historic city and its monuments along the Moldova River.
7 - Museum Photo Seidel
Il museum Photo Gallery Seidel it is particularly interesting for those who, like me, are fond of photography.
This beautiful house, designed and decorated in the Art Noveau style, is actually the former studio of photographer Josef Seidel.
Siedel was known for photographing South Bohemia from everyday life, to portraits, to landscapes. Many of his photographs were turned into postcards and he was considered one of the most important photographers of his time.
The start of the audio tour starts a bit slow, but after the first two rooms the museum gets more and more interesting and the two most intriguing points of the museum are the glass wall portrait studio and the attic where all the Siedels have stored and filed their negatives.
8 - Visit the museums
For such a small city, there are a huge range of museums in Cesky Krumlov. Some of the best include:
Regional Museum of Ceský Krumlov: Learn about the history of the city and browse artifacts, folk art and more.
Wax Museum: This fun museum is a good place to take the kids. There are tons of wax figures, from movie stars to medieval rulers.
Moldavite Museum: This entire museum dedicated to meteorites is a quirky addition to your trip to Cesky Krumlov!
Puppet Museum: this museum is dedicated to the evolution of the show with many Czech puppets on display.
Museo 3D: For a fun place to take mind-blowing photos and entertain the kids, head to this 3D Museum in the old town.
Commerce Museum: To step back in time, visit this museum dedicated to old marketing materials and XNUMXth century products.
The Torture Museum - gulp! If you're feeling brave, this museum tells the story of how criminals have been mistreated throughout history. Find it in the mysterious cellars of the town hall.
9 - See the most beautiful views of the city
There are a few places in Cesky Krumlov from which you can enjoy great views and views of the city and you will surely find plenty of them just by walking and looking around.
Below you will find some, in case you want to look for them!
Between the Castle Theater and the gardens there is a small door along the brick wall which leads to a cafe with an incredible panoramic view of the city.
In front of the Hotel Ruze there is a beautiful panoramic bridge of the city and the Cesky Krumlov castle. From here you will have another beautiful view. After snapping a few photos, head to Hotel Ruze's courtyard for a local artisans market that sells everything from hand-blown glass to fresh lavender sachets.
If you feel like splurging, you can also dine at Hotel Ruze from their terrace which offers another incredible view.
Where to eat in Cesky Krumlov
Without doubt the best meal we had in Cesky Krumlov was at the Tavern Satlava. If you like meat this is a great place (I'm a vegetarian, but my husband Massi kills if he eats it!)
Aside from the meat cooked on the grill, this restaurant is a real step back in time.
You'll find different types of meat, potatoes with the best sour cream we've ever tasted and chives, with horseradish, mustard and coleslaw, all served on wooden boards.
Eggenberg Breweries is the restaurant in the location of the original Eggenberg brewery. Today the brewery offers several beer options, however it would be a shame not to try the local beer, Eggenberg.
The food we ate here was delicious and the plates plentiful. The prices are quite cheap and they accept credit cards. I highly recommend trying their goulash with dumplings!
Another fantastic restaurant that was recommended to us by a local is the restaurant at thehotel Hospada Na Louzi. This family-run hotel and restaurant serves some delicious local dishes and offers excellent daily specials.
We played roulette by ordering the daily specials at random from the menu and were so impressed we always go back. Staff members speak fluent enough English, enough to understand each other quietly. there are both outside and inside places.
Be prepared to pay cash as they don't have a credit card reader.
Located near the castle entrance and across the street from another impressive frescoed building, there is Apotheka Cocktail Bar. The building used to be a pharmacy in the past, but now serves fancy cocktails “with the apothecary's touch”.
Our local guide said that whatever you drink here is medicine because you are in a pharmacy. We ended up trying their signature cocktails and enjoying the atmosphere. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed, so you'll have to take my word for it.
Where sleeping in Cesky Krumlov
And for those who choose to spend a weekend a due Cesky Krumlov also offers a wide choice of hotels, from the cheapest to the luxury ones perfect for a romantic interlude and excellent restaurants nestled on the banks of the Vltava where you can enjoy tasty local cuisine (and many also do food inspired by the medieval) bathed in abundant beer and accompanied by the murmur of the river that flows alongside.
Due to the magic and history of Cesky Krumlov, most hotels seem to come out of a storybook. The Monastery Garden Bistro & Rooms is a lovely 10 bed boutique hotel, located near the castle and the main town square.
THEMerlin hostel it is perfect for budget travelers and boasts a beautiful location right on the Vltava River. You are only 2 minutes walk from the town square and about 5-7 minutes walk from the castle. The rooms are simple dormitories with a shared kitchen.
In the heart of Cesky Krumlov, you really can't find a better location and place than this 4-star hotel, the Residence Vltavín Museum. The rooms and bathrooms are large, the rooms are clean and well appointed.
THEHotel Ruze it's a great option for travelers who prefer luxury hotels. This 5-star hotel offers rooms with views, a spa and an arts and crafts market in the courtyard.
The best part of this hotel though is its location: it is right in front of the castle and offers a splendid panoramic view.
View of Cesky Krumlov from the castle tower
And then who knows, maybe you are as lucky as we were and you find yourself in the middle of a great historical reenactment and then yes, ladies and knights you meet them for real!