Český Krumlov: Beyond Streets and Castle - Exploring History, Adventure, Culture and Natural Beauty

If you're looking for a magical place to visit in the Czech Republic that isn't Prague, you don't have to look any further than Český Krumlov, the closest thing I can imagine to a fairy tale. There are plenty of things to see and do in Český Krumlov, including the impressive castle and the UNESCO-protected old town. In this article, we will look at some of the best activities you can enjoy in this picturesque town.

Discover the charm of Český Krumlov beyond its streets and castle. Explore the rich history, adventure opportunities, cultural experiences, and natural beauty this enchanting town has to offer. Get answers to frequently asked questions and plan your visit to Český Krumlov, a hidden gem in the Czech Republic.
Český Krumlov, Czechia

Things to do in Český Krumlov, Czechia

Stroll through atmospheric streets

One of the best things about Český Krumlov is simply wandering through its narrow and winding streets, admiring colorful houses, charming shops, and historic landmarks. You can discover interesting details such as statues, fountains, paintings, and signs. Bears, which are a symbol of the town, also roam the streets and live in the castle courtyard.

Visit Český Krumlov Castle Český Krumlov

Castle is the centerpiece of the town and one of the largest and best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. The castle was the residence of powerful noble families, including the House of Rožmberk, Eggenbergs, and Schwarzenbergs. Today, it is a museum with rich collections of art, furniture, weapons, and porcelain. You can explore the castle's beautiful interiors with a guide or enjoy a stunning view of the town from the tower or the Cloak Bridge.

Tour the Baroque Theatre at the Castle

One of the most fascinating parts of the castle is the Baroque Theatre, which is one of the oldest and best-preserved theaters of its kind in the world. Built in the 17th century, the theater has its original stage machinery, costumes, props, and musical instruments. The theater can only be visited with a guide, and you must wear special slippers to protect the wooden floor.

Take a boat ride on the Vltava River

One of the highlights of Český Krumlov is taking a boat ride on the Vltava River. Czechs love water sports, and Český Krumlov is no exception! There are plenty of boat or kayak rentals where you can hire a boat or join a guided tour and explore the river throughout the day. The river winds beautifully through the old town, and admiring Český Krumlov from the water is always a great experience.

Visit museums

Český Krumlov also offers a variety of interesting museums to suit different interests and tastes. You can visit Fotoateliér Seidel, a unique photography and history museum where you can learn about the life and work of local photographer Josef Seidel. Or you can visit the Egon Schiele Art Centrum, which houses a permanent exhibition of works by the famous Austrian painter who spent some time in Český Krumlov. Other options include the Museum of Wax Figures, Museum of Torture, Puppet Museum, or the Regional Museum.

Explore St. Vitus Church

St. Vitus Church is the most significant sacred building in Český Krumlov and one of the oldest structures in the town. The church was founded in the 13th century and gradually rebuilt in Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. Inside the church, you can admire beautiful frescoes, altars, organs, and tombs of noble families. From the outside, you'll notice the tall tower with an onion-shaped dome, which is a characteristic feature of the town's skyline.

Visit the Seminář Garden

The Seminář Garden is one of the best spots to enjoy a beautiful view of Český Krumlov and its castle. The garden is located on a hill above the Vltava River and is part of the former Jesuit seminary. The garden is divided into two parts: the upper garden with a fountain and statues, and the lower garden with flower beds and a gazebo. The garden is an ideal place for relaxation and picnics.

Walk through the Castle Gardens

The Castle Gardens are another gem of Český Krumlov that you shouldn't miss. The gardens cover an area of 10 hectares and are divided into two parts: the upper Baroque garden with a fountain, an orangery, and an open-air rococo theater, and the lower Renaissance garden with a pond, the Bellarie Summer House, and a hedge maze. The gardens are perfect for walking, cycling, or horseback riding.

Explore: Eggenberg Palace and Gardens

Among the places to visit in Český Krumlov is Eggenberg Palace and Gardens. This palace is built in the Baroque style and is famous for its magnificent gardens. You can take a walk in the gardens, admire the ornate fountains, and discover historical sculptures. Additionally, by visiting the gallery and museum inside the palace, you can explore artistic works.

Taste the Delights: Bohemian Cuisine

If you find yourself in Český Krumlov, you'll have a wonderful opportunity to savor Bohemian cuisine. In the restaurants, you can try traditional dishes such as goulash, trdelník (sweet pastry), vepřo-knedlo-zelo (roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut), and veřejné brambory (public potatoes). Pairing these flavors with a local beer will provide an authentic Bohemian experience.

Join the Festivals

Český Krumlov is known for its vibrant festival scene, offering a range of cultural events throughout the year. The most popular festival is the Five-Petalled Rose Celebrations, which takes place in June and commemorates the town's rich medieval history. During this festival, you can witness colorful parades, jousting tournaments, music and dance performances, and various medieval-themed activities.

Experience Rafting on the Vltava River

For adventure enthusiasts, Český Krumlov offers the thrilling activity of rafting on the picturesque Vltava River. You can join guided rafting trips that take you through the stunning countryside surrounding the town. Paddling along the river, surrounded by lush greenery and scenic landscapes, provides an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adrenaline seekers alike.

Attend a Performance at the Castle Theater

Český Krumlov Castle boasts a unique Baroque theater, which still hosts live performances today. Attending a theatrical or musical performance in this historic venue is a remarkable experience. The theater's ornate decorations, intricate stage machinery, and superb acoustics create a captivating atmosphere that transports you back in time.

Discover Crafts and Souvenirs at the Markets

Exploring the local markets in Český Krumlov is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the town's culture. The markets offer a wide array of handmade crafts, including traditional Czech ceramics, glassware, wooden toys, and embroidered textiles. These make excellent souvenirs to take home and serve as a lasting reminder of your visit to this charming town.

Hike to the Klet Observatory

For nature lovers and hikers, a visit to the Klet Observatory is highly recommended. Located on Mount Klet, which overlooks Český Krumlov, this astronomical observatory provides breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. You can embark on a scenic hike through the forested trails to reach the observatory, where you can learn about astronomy and marvel at the wonders of the night sky.

Český Krumlov is truly a magical place that will enchant you with its atmosphere, history, culture, and nature. I hope you enjoyed this article and that it inspired you to visit this amazing town.

FAQs

  • When is the best time to visit Český Krumlov?

The best time to visit Český Krumlov is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) seasons when the weather is mild, and the tourist crowds are relatively smaller. Summer (July and August) is also a popular time to visit, but it can be crowded.

  • How do I get to Český Krumlov?

The closest major airport to Český Krumlov is Prague Airport (Václav Havel Airport Prague). From Prague, you can take a bus, train, or arrange private transportation to Český Krumlov, which is approximately a 2 to 3-hour journey.

  • How many days should I spend in Český Krumlov?

Spending one to two full days in Český Krumlov is usually sufficient to explore the main attractions and soak up the town's atmosphere. However, if you have more time and want to take things at a slower pace, you can extend your stay to enjoy additional activities and explore the surrounding area.

  • Are English and other languages widely spoken in Český Krumlov?

English is spoken to some extent in Český Krumlov, especially in tourist areas, hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, the level of English proficiency may vary among locals. It can be helpful to learn a few basic Czech phrases or carry a translation app to aid communication.

  • Is it possible to visit Český Krumlov on a day trip from Prague?

Yes, it is possible to visit Český Krumlov on a day trip from Prague. However, due to the distance and the abundance of attractions in Český Krumlov, it is recommended to spend at least one night to fully experience the town's charm.

  • Are there any specific cultural customs or etiquette I should be aware of?

In Český Krumlov, as in the rest of the Czech Republic, it is customary to greet with a handshake, maintain eye contact during conversations, and say "Dobrý den" (Good day) when entering shops or restaurants. Tipping is expected in restaurants, and rounding up the bill is common.


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