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Nestled close to the border of Austria in southern Czech Republic is the cute and picturesque town of Český Krumlov, the second most visited destination in the Czech Republic after Prague. Known as the Jewel of Bohemia, there are many things to do in Cesky Krumlov and many of them are possible on a day trip from Prague.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov
Český Krumlov is a mini version of Prague, boasting a quaint little town square, a towering and colourful castle and a whole heap of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance styled architecture that curves around the Vltava River in a snake-like U-shape bend.
Since it gained UNESCO recognition in the early 1990s, Cesky Krumlov has grown in popularity, with hundreds of tourists flocking to its fairy-tale-like lanes and cobbled streets every year. But don’t let this put you off. Cesky Krumlov is one of the top day trips from Prague for a reason and although you may have to swerve around groups of tourists at times, you certainly don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit this charming town and experience all the things to do in Cesky Krumlov for yourselves. It really is worth it!
Best time to visit Cesky Krumlov
One great thing about Český Krumlov is there is no bad time to visit. The picturesque town is beautiful all year round. All four seasons offer a different experience and all are equally as beautiful as the other, however, there may be certain factors that may sway you as to when is the best time to visit Cesky Krumlov for you.
In the winter the weather is very cold (December to March), but it is worth visiting for the Christmas Markets and if it snows, the whole town turns into a scene from inside a snow globe. Incredibly pretty and a true winter wonderland. In the winter there are of course far fewer tourists but its a trade-off with the colder weather.
In the summer Cesky Krumlov is alive and is hosts a lot of tourists. Cesky Krumlov a very popular day trip from Prague. On top of that, you’ll find multiple tour companies stop by Cesky Krumlov on the way to neighbouring cities such as Vienna and Salzburg, so you can expect peak times between 10 am and 4 pm to be very busy. I normally recommend people stay one or two nights to avoid the tourists because after 4/5 pm the town becomes a lot less busy and you can enjoy a more relaxed and peaceful stroll of the sights.
I have always aimed to visit in the shoulder seasons (Late March to Early May and Late September to November) as these months are less busier. I have excluded December as Cesky Krumlov’s Christmas Markets are being increasingly popular and as such, hotel prices often rise dramatically in this period.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov – Visit Cesky Krumlov Castle
There is no shortage of things to do in Cesky Krumlov, but you’ll find Cesky Krumlov Castle is always at the top of the list. For a small town, its castle complex is pretty big. In fact, it is said it is only slightly smaller than Prague Castle which is the largest castle complex in the world.
Dating back to the 13th century, Cesky Krumlov’s Castle complex features numerous sights and attractions, some of which do not require an entrance ticket. Those short on time may want to only visit the Castle Exterior and its gardens which are free to visit. You can still walk through the castle and its courtyards and from its gardens you can get a pretty incredible view over the town below. Be sure to pop your head over the wall of the castle moat and say hello to the town’s beloved bear.
Cesky Krumlov’s Castle Museum and Castle Theatre
If you have more time, I highly recommend touring its staterooms, visiting the Castle Museum and seeing Baroque Theatre which is the best-preserved Baroque Theatre in Europe, complete with an orchestra pit, stage, machinery, sets, librettos, props, costumes etc preserved. To maintain its careful preservation, only a small number of tours can visit the theatre per day and the temperature and humidity inside is carefully controlled at all times. Live performances are held several times throughout the year although tickets are hard to come by.
Cesky Krumlov Castle tours are available all year round, although certain sights such as the Baroque Theatre are closed during the winter months (November-April). Prices for castle tours are around 320 CZK per person in English.
TIP: Aim to take an early morning tour around 10 am before the hoards of buses arrive.
Cesky Krumlov’s Castle Tower
The Castle Tower is probably the most famous symbol of Český Krumlov. AT 86m tall, it offers the best view over the town and the river below. The origins of this structure are partly Gothic and partly Renaissance, and it features six stories, four large bells and has 162 steps to the top.
Tickets are 50 CZK per person to climb to the top. Trust me its worth the effort.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov – Church of St Vitus
Built on the grounds of the previous 14th Century Virgin Mary Church, St Vitus is a Gothic church located in the heart of Cesky Krumlov. While the interior if the church is far from impressive compared to other churches in the region, it is worth a visit to see its soaring arches and stained glass windows.
The church is also the burial site of a number of important Bohemian families, including the Rosenburgs, one of the most significant, venerable, noble and influential Czech noble families. The family who once occupied Cesky Krumlov’s castle had a huge influence over Cesky Krumlov and their family crest of a red five-petalled rose can be seen throughout the town.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov – Explore Cesky Krumlov Town Square
Strolling through Cesky Krumlov’s streets is an attraction and a joy within itself. Its narrow lanes and colourful facades are picture worthy and its frescoes are famous, with some date back centuries.
Luckily the charm of the town has not been lost even with its ever growing tourist numbers. As a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cesky Krumlov all major high street chains and restaurants such as Starbucks and McDonald’s have been banned turned away in favour of quaint cafes and family run establishments.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov – Rafting on the Vltava River
Adventure lovers listen up! One of the best ways to explore Cesky Krumlov in the summer is via the Vltava River. Rafting in Cesky Krumlov is a very popular activity. Hire a canoe, inner tube or raft and paddle down scenic streams and waterways through the Bohemian countryside, stopping at numerous pubs and riverside cafes along the way.
Equipment can be hired from numerous travel agents in town, and they will meet you down river to transport you back to Cesky Krumlov. This activity is only available in the summer months.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov – Hike to Krizovy Vrch for a view over Cesky Krumlov
For a distant view of the town and the Vltava as it hooks around the town, hike to Krizovy Vrch or the Hill of the Cross for a countryside stroll and fabulous views of not only Cesky Krumlov but its surrounding hills.
The “hike” takes approximitely 30-40 minutes, passing through Stations of the Cross uphill to the white chapel on the hill. Its a peaceful walk and the view from the top is very pretty.
What to do in Cesky Krumlov – Visit the Minorite Monastery
The Minorite Monastery is one of Cesky Krumlov’s oldest surviving buildings. While you can explore its grounds, it is best visited during a concert or classical music recital. Other sites of interest are its numerous organs and its Baroque altar.
Accomodation in Cesky Krumlov – Where to stay in Cesky Krumlov
For a relatively small town there are many great accommodation options if you’re looking for a place to stay in Cesky Krumlov. Since there is quite a lot of things to do in Cesky Krumlov and its surrounding area, I recommend staying one or two nights. There are accommodations in Cesky Krumlov that suit all budgets and almost all of them are in the historical centre.
Hostels in Cesky Krumlov
Quite possibly the most homely of hostels I have ever stayed in, Krumlov House is an unbelievably cute, crooked home situated just 500 metres from the centre of Cesky Krumlov. This is my top choice for hostels in Cesky Krumlov due to its close proximity, friendly English speaking staff, aesthetic appeal and reasonable prices.
Dorm rooms are priced from 400,- CZK or 16.75 EUR per person, per night. They also have a few private rooms. I stayed in the Cozy Attic Room which is around 1000,- CZK / 39 EUR per night.
I have also heard great things about Hostel 99 which is located up near the castle. They offer dorm rooms and private rooms and there is a kitchen for those who wish to prepare their own meals. Hostel 99 also own the Hospoda 99 and the Deli 99 Cafe next door, which offer sandwiches, coffee, baguettes, croissants and more…
The Hospoda 99 and bar offers a range of Czech and American-inspired at reasonable prices. They have a great outdoor terrace too.
Best Hotels in Cesky Krumlov
I have personally visited and stayed at all three recommended properties below and can personally vouch for their quality, comfort and services. For this reason I feel 100% recommending them to you.
Hotel Leonado Cesky Krumlov – $$ – Hotel Leonardo boasts a central location just a stone’s throw away from the old town square. Its two 16th century town houses boast fourteen double rooms, five suites and one single room. All rooms feature antique styled furniture and a relaxing historical atmosphere. It is one of the best hotels in Cesky Krumlov offering a friendly service, comfortable beds, central location and good value for money.
Hotel Bellevue – $$$ – Hotel Bellevue in Cesky Krumlov is another top rated hotel in Cesky Krumlov, located just a few steps from Cesky Krumlov’s Castle Gate. The rooms are beautifully decorated, they offer a full concierge service, a great restaurant and wine cellar and they also have a small wellness centre offering Thai massages and a sauna.
Hotel Ruze – $$$$ – Set in the Renaissance and Medieval style, Hotel Ruze is a themed 5 star hotel that features all the facilities of a modern hotel (including a full spa with a swimming pool, the only one in the town) while maintaining an atmosphere that transports you back to the 16th Century. Period style clothing can also be hired if you really want the full experience. They have beautiful rooms and large suites suitable for families, Some rooms have a great view over the town and towards the castle – a view certainly worth the money. The hotel also has a wonderful outdoor terrace overlooking the river and town, a nice spot to enjoy dinner in the summer months.
How to get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
Getting from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is relatively straight forward and inexpensive. The transportation options are reliable, clean and inexpensive. Regardless of the method of transport you choose, the journey time will be approx. 3 hours.
Taking the train from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
Taking the train from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is very easy, however, there is only one direct train per day that leaves from Praha Hlavni Nadrazi at 9:01 AM daily. You can book your train ticket in advance using the national train website for the Czech Republic cd.cz The Prague to Cesky Krumlov train takes just under 3 hours.
Once you arrive at the train station, you can either take a short taxi ride to the historical centre or walk 15 minutes (1.5 km).
From Prague to Cesky Krumlov by bus
Taking the bus from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is by far the best option (aside from driving). Regio Jet (Student Agency) buses depart from Prague’s Na Knížecí station to Český Krumlov very frequently throughout the day. There is also now a two direct Flixbus connections that departs from Prague ÚAN Florenc and Na Knížecí daily.
You can book your tickets in advance online through RegioJet’s website for as little as 195 CZK or through FlixBus from €6 one way. You can also book tickets through RegioJet’s and FlixBus mobile apps so you have the tickets directly on your phone.
The advantage of taking the bus is that Cesky Krumlov’s bus station is located just a few hundred metres from the entrance bridge to the old town. Therefore, you can simply walk even if you have luggage with you.
Prague to Cesky Krumlov Shuttle
Another option to travel from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is via a private transfer or shuttle service. CK Shuttles are a very reputable service which I have personally used and worked with. They charge 950 CZK per person for a seat on a shared shuttle with a pick up from your hotel in Prague. Alternatively, you can pay 4100 CZK to 5350 CZK for the entire van with door to door service, a great option if you’re traveling in a group with luggage. Note however, that due to traffic restrictions in Cesky Krumlov, you may not be dropped directly at your hotel’s door but they will certainly get you as close to it as possible.
You may also want to consider this option if you are traveling from Prague to Salzburg, Linz or Vienna as Ck Shuttles will drive you there via Cesky Krumlov. You can spend a few hours there with your luggage safety stored inside the van until you return and continue your journey.
Prague to Cesky Krumlov by car
The drive from Prague to Cesky Krumlov will take approximately 2 hours 30 minutes. You can rent a car from the airport and from the train station. I highly recommend using Rentalcars.com to check for car rental prices and availablity. This is the only company we use and can personally recommend.
Parking in Cesky Krumlov
There are three serviced parking zones located close to the centre of Cesky Krumlov. We have always used the “P3 Municipal Car Park”. You can see the list of car parking in Cesky Krumlov here.
Tours to Cesky Krumlov from Prague
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of taking public transport to Cesky Krumlov, here are some suggested tours to Cesky Krumlov from Prague.