Surrounded by the Vltava River that snakes its way around the beautiful Cesky Krumlov Castle, this Czech town can easily become the setting of a modern fairytale. Undoubtedly the most picturesque town in the Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov lures travelers on its medieval streets and keeps them prisoners for a while with the help of a magic spell. Because if one thing is sure about Cesky Krumlov is that it’s too pretty to be real.
There’s more castle than town in Cesky Krumlov
The castle that dominates the town of Cesky Krumlov is an enormous and impossible to miss structure, even if you’re visiting the town blindfolded. It’s simply there, imposing and majestic, and you will instantly feel its presence. This is the second largest castle in the country with many saying that it’s only 1 square meter smaller than the equally impressive Prague Castle.
The main attraction of the town, the castle doesn’t disappoint. You can either visit the castle grounds or get a tour of its interior or, of course, you can do both. Climb the beautifully painted tower you’ll encounter after entering the castle and admire a breathtaking view of the city. Various courtyards will be waiting to lead your steps to the inner castle walls.
During your journey, you’ll also discover the Baroque Theater. Don’t ignore it and visit its beautiful interior. Maybe stop for a moment or two at its chic café that serves tea, coffee…and beer. This is one of the most beautiful Baroque theaters in the world. Even though it doesn’t impress through size, it sure makes up for its small number or seats with its beautiful décor and the layers of moving backdrops that create a 3D effect.
Even if you’re on a short day trip from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, you should definitely make time to admire the city from the Castle Tower, a Gothic and Renaissance structure that awaits at the edge of the complex.
Wander the cobblestone streets of Latrán
The charming neighborhood below the castle is called Latrán. It’s a labyrinth of medieval streets. At every twist and corner, some wonderful architectural surprise awaits. Whether it’s a medieval house, a charming boutique, a pink café or a cozy restaurant, you can be sure your reactions will be a series of aws and wows.
When the night comes, Latrán lights up its lanterns. The tourists are hiding in restaurants and bars, and you’ll be able to enjoy the narrow, winding streets in peace while strolling along the left bank of the Vltava River.
Here you’ll also find the Minorite Monastery, a simple monastery with an interesting history. The monastery is free to visit but we recommend having a guide alongside, so you can understand more about its past. Originally, it was inhabited by both Catholic nuns and monks (it is said that even though they were living separately, love conquered this obstacle from time to time). This is now the Monastery of the Order of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star. It was founded in 1350 by the Krumlov ruler Peter I of Rosenberg and his wife Katerina, and the Minorites lived here until the 1950s.
The Minorite Monastery is connected to a brewery that dates back to 1560. It was a common thing for the monasteries in the region to make beer. You won’t be able to visit the brewery, but you’ll have a chance to try the local beer, Eggenberg, at any restaurant in town.
Forget about diet and try the local specialties
Czech cuisine is not for everyone! Only the most daring travelers have the stomach to digest the hearty traditional specialties that fill the locals’ plates. From heaps and heaps of meat and dumplings to all sorts of sauces and gravy, when you eat in Cesky Krumlov calories are just an abstract concept. Try the guláš, a savory stew made of pork and served with dumplings, or the Svíčková na smetaně – marinated sirloin served with a side of cranberry and cream sauce.
End your culinary feast with a Trdelník, a traditional Hungarian sweet treat adopted by the Czechs. This is a tube of grilled dough topped with sugar, walnut, cocoa, coconut or anything else that easily adheres to melted sugar. It is a caloric bomb but hey, you’re on holiday!
Catch the best views and take a seat at the revolving auditorium
You already know now that Cesky Krumlov is magic. But you also need to find the best viewpoints so you can return home with proof. Besides the Cesky Krumlov Castle Tower, you’ll also discover superb views from Seminární zahrada, a hidden little courtyard that offers the perfect perching point to photograph the town’s skyline, and from the beautiful gardens of the castle.
And yes, there’s also a revolving auditorium in Cesky Krumlov, another proof that everything here is different, special, and unique. This is an open-air theatre housed in the gardens of the Cesky Krumlov castle, the perfect place to attend a play or opera performance during the summer.
Considering that Cesky Krumlov is only a 2-hour bus ride from the majestic Prague, it would be a real shame to ignore its magical presence. There aren’t many chances in life to actually visit a fairytale land.
Private Note: Wesley Baker the Founder and Chief Editor of Pure Vacations spent a lot of time visiting Cesky Krumlov between 1989 to 1992, he saw the change from Communist to Democracy and saw the positive change that early tourism businesses had to the town. He feels very privileged to have friends in the town even to this day. He walked the streets that are now flooded with tourists alone and says it was like stepping back in time…