When we decided that the Czech Republic would be next on our (somewhat impromptu) Eastern Europe trip last summer (after amazing Poland!), I reached out to my wonderful Czech friend Renata for some suggestions on where to visit besides Prague.
She came back with an incredible list of places to visit in the Czech Republic, but was quite adamant that Český Krumlov should be high up on our list of priorities.
And let me tell you, she wasn’t wrong!
With an abundance of things to do, Český Krumlov is a real life fairy tale town in the south of the Czech Republic, about three hours by train from Prague.
Visiting Český Krumlov is honestly like travelling back in time to a spectacularly beautiful medieval town. It’s without a doubt one of our favourite picks for amazing places to visit in the Czech Republic!
Having escaped the extensive bombing that many European cities endured during WWII, Český Krumlov remains basically intact.
The centre of the town was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992, and retains its original layout. With the Vltava River snaking its way around this enchanting town, and labyrinth-like, narrow cobblestone streets winding their way through, it’s about as close to picture perfect as you’re going to get.
Read on for a detailed travel guide on all the best things to do in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic!
PS – This post may contain affiliate links: That means that if you purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Of course, I only recommend products/services that I have used and believe are great! Please read my disclosure for more info.
How Long Do You Need In Český Krumlov?
If you’re somewhat short on time, it is possible to visit on a day-trip from Prague. But, with an abundance of things to do in Český Krumlov, I swear you’ll regret not staying more than one day.
While Český Krumlov is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, we never felt like it was too crowded, despite its tiny size. Although I dare say this might have had something to do with the dreaded COVID Pandemic as well… (We visited in August 2020).
It was definitely busier in Český Krumlov during the day due to day-trip visitors from Prague. Evenings tended to be quieter and perhaps more charming as a result. But regardless, there are so many amazing things to do in Český Krumlov that one day just isn’t enough.
I very much recommend staying in Český Krumlov for at least two days and three nights.
Best Things To Do In Český Krumlov
Explore The Old Town On Foot
As always, I recommend simply wandering around the historic centre of this idyllic town as one of the most enjoyable things to do in Český Krumlov.
The compact historic centre of Český Krumlov is mostly pedestrianised, save for a few exceptions. With a population of only 13,000 (although much fewer in the actual Old Town), Český Krumlov really is quite tiny, and you can easily reach all attractions on foot.
Although we didn’t, you can join a free (tip-based) walking tour of Český Krumlov to get your bearings. Having said that, it would be pretty hard to get lost here! Even so, I do really enjoy learning about a place from a local, and walking tours are a great way of doing that.
Český Krumlov Castle & Cloak Bridge
Second largest in size only to Prague Castle, you definitely won’t miss the enormous structure of Český Krumlov Castle and its Cloak Bridge! It probably seems even more imposing because of the small size of Český Krumlov itself.
The complex certainly is a sight to behold!
The castle’s impressive Cloak Bridge was the first thing we saw of Český Krumlov’s Old Town as we walked into the town from the train station. As soon as we saw this massive covered arched bridge, we knew we’d made the right decision to visit this pretty Czech town, and not just as a day trip from Prague!
Much of Český Krumlov Castle is free to enter, including the lower levels of the three-storied Cloak Bridge which will give you spectacular views of Český Krumlov across Vltava River. Of all the things to do in Český Krumlov, I promise that taking plenty of photos from the various high vantage points around town will be high up on your list.
We were surprised to find that the castle moat houses 3 bears! They seemed happy enough digging in the dirt so hopefully they’re well looked after. There have been bears in the castle moat since the 16th century!
There are castle tours if you’d like to see some of the interiors, but large sections of the castle grounds are free to explore.
Český Krumlov Castle Tower
No matter whether you’re in Český Krumlov on a day trip from Prague or you plan to stay for longer, climbing the castle tower to enjoy the views is definitely one of the best things to do in Český Krumlov!
The birds-eye-view you get from the top is pretty impressive. (Yep, another photo opportunity right there!)
In my opinion the entry fee is a little steep though, at Kč 150 per person (€5.50).
This does include admission into the museum, although I can’t honestly say that I found the museum worthwhile. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to buy a ticket to the tower only.
Still, I think being able to enjoy the view from the top of the Castle Tower is one of the many incredible things to do in Český Krumlov, so the entry fee is a necessary evil.
Český Krumlov Castle Gardens
We kind of happened on the Český Krumlov Castle Gardens by chance while we were doing what we do best – wandering around just simply taking it all in. Covering 11 hectares (!!!) in total, it’s (unsurprisingly) the largest part of the Castle complex.
These Baroque Gardens were founded in the 17th century and you’ll find them on the hill behind the castle if you cross over the Cloak Bridge.
Pro Tip: Head to the Castle Cafe for one of the most spectacular views in Český Krumlov. (Camera at the ready folks!) The best part is that it’s absolutely free!
Vltava River Rafting
Our rafting experience down the Vltava River was without a doubt our favourite of all the things to do in Český Krumlov! It’s (mostly!) a really relaxing experience, floating down the river at your own pace.
We went with Maleček Rafting, who offer numerous rafting options of differing lengths. We opted for the half-day trip starting upriver in Pískárna. The rafting company will take you to your starting point in a minivan and set you up with all the gear you’ll need including life vests and dry bags.
Pro Tip: We went with their 2-3 person raft rather than the canoe as it is more stable in the water meaning less chance of toppling over! If you’re not an avid rafter, this might be a good option for you too.
The trip is all downriver so there’s not too much effort involved, making it a really fun activity for visitors of any age! There are a few adrenaline inducing weirs to glide down though! Make sure you wear swimwear or clothes you don’t mind getting wet.
Where To Stay In Český Krumlov – The Best Hotel
Penzion Kapr – This is a fantastic little family run guest house right on the Vltava River and within easy walking distance to everything Český Krumlov has to offer. The owners, Monika and Karel are lovely and the rooms comfortable. We even had a side view of the river. Breakfast is continental but plentiful and fresh.
Note that accommodation in Český Krumlov is comparatively expensive due to the limited number of hotels available (especially in the historic center), and its popularity in general. Still, for €60 a night, we were more than happy with Penzion Kapr.
Where To Eat In Český Krumlov – The Best Restaurant
Krcma v Satlavske Ulici is without a doubt the absolute best restaurant in Český Krumlov! Unless you’re vegetarian, definitely make sure you head here to eat a hearty feast on one of your nights.
In keeping with Český Krumlov’s Medieval vibe, this tavern makes you feel like you’ve landed right in the Middle Ages. We ordered the meat platter for two and enjoyed the cozy atmosphere with a drink or two. It does get a bit smokey inside as your meat is grilled on an open fire, but it truly adds to the experience and I recommend a table inside if there’s one free.
Bonus Tips For Visiting Český Krumlov
Bring cash – Cash is generally the preferred method of payment in Český Krumlov. But, surprisingly enough there aren’t many ATMs in Český Krumlov itself, and most will charge you for your withdrawal. If you do need a top-up of cash use one of the following two ATM’s, as neither of these charged us;
- Raiffeisenbank on the Town Square
- Bankomat ČSOB on Pivovarská
Wear comfortable shoes – The cobblestone streets and high vantage points are what make Český Krumlov so magical, but it also means good shoes are a must. While Český Krumlov is small, you’ll do a lot of walking during your time here.
Bring your swimwear – You’ll definitely want to do the rafting I mentioned earlier!
Don’t come by car – Parking in Český Krumlov is challenging at best and the historic town is primarily pedestrianised.
Stay a while – Yes, this might be repeating myself but don’t short change yourself! You can happily spend two full days in Český Krumlov despite its small size.
How To Get To Český Krumlov From Prague
We arrived in Český Krumlov from Prague by train and left by bus to Vienna.
Buses are definitely the easiest way to get to Český Krumlov from Prague, or from anywhere really. This is because there are no direct trains from Prague to Český Krumlov. You’ll have to change trains at České Budějovice, home to the original Budweiser beer!
Note that the train station is also a bit of a walk out of town but we didn’t mind stretching our legs a bit after the 3 hour journey. Alternatively, you can catch a local bus from the train station into town.
The bus station is a bit more convenient for Český Krumlov town, and we took Flixbus to Vienna from Český Krumlov after our 3 day stay. Good alternative bus options to Český Krumlov from Prague or elsewhere are RegioJet and Leo Express. We travelled with RegioJet from Vienna to Budapest and found them to be quite luxurious, with entertainment systems and Stewards on board to serve you a free coffee!
Remember that Český Krumlov town center is a car-free zone so either way you’ll be doing a bit of walking over cobblestones to get to your hotel.
Enjoy your visit to the Czech Republic, and let me know which of these things to do in Český Krumlov were your favourite!
Related Posts You Might Like
Your Complete Guide To The Beautiful Morskie Oko Hike From Zakopane
Amazing Things To Do In Krakow – The Ultimate 3 Day Itinerary
12 Important Things To Do Before Traveling Abroad
Your Ultimate Guide to Skiing in Selva Val Gardena, Dolomites
Croatia’s Islands – Sailing The Dalmatian Coast