Český Krumlov, the small Czech town with the unpronounceable name is picturesque like no other place. The city nestles almost perfectly in several Vltava loops. The highlight of Český Krumlov is the imposing castle that towers over the old town on a rocky outcrop.
In this blog article we will show you what you can expect on a trip to Český Krumlov can do anything. We’ll tell you about the most beautiful sights and highlights and, of course, as always, we’ll share our personal tips for your trip.
1. Český Krumlov: The jewel on the Vltava Český Krumlov – called Krumau in German – is tiny and enchantingly beautiful. The picturesque center of Český Krumlov is UNESCO World Heritage Site and almost entirely a pedestrian zone. Český Krumlov looks like a film set: Every little house fits perfectly into the historical cityscape. Several hundred houses in the center are up to 138 years old and beautifully renovated. In addition, of course, there is the towering, spectacularly situated castle complex.
Not only do we think that Český Krumlov is definitely worth a visit, but also countless travel agencies from Asia. There is no other way to explain why Český Krumlov is visited by so many tour bus groups from China, Japan & Co. Honestly, we were surprised at how popular Krumlov is with tourists from Asia.
Tour groups or not: the southern Bohemian city is beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Personally, we didn’t think the rush was that bad. You just have to know that Český Krumlov is not (anymore) an insider tip.
Český Krumlov can easily be explored in one day. Nevertheless, we would recommend you to stay one night. When the day visitors have left Český Krumlov, the town is even more beautiful.
2. Sights and activities in Český Krumlov In Český Krumlov you can easily reach all sights on foot and can be reached without public transport. The distances are very small. If you really only want to explore the highlights, then half a day is enough. Nevertheless, we recommend that you stay overnight in Český Krumlov (you can find information and tips further down in this blog article).
Castle Český Krumlov The first attraction you will probably spot and visit is the Český Krumlov Castle. It is enthroned on a rocky outcrop above the old town and is gigantic in size: Strictly speaking, the castle is the second largest castle complex in the Czech Republic after the castle in Prague.
The current castle was built in 13. Century, when first a Gothic castle was built. Later in the Renaissance and in the Baroque it was expanded. Accordingly, the castle complex consists of countless inner courtyards and buildings.
The area also includes other sights ( including the Cloak Bridge and the Castle Tower), which we will describe in more detail below. Access to the palace grounds is free of charge. Admission is only charged for certain sights (including the palace museum and the tower).
If you walk through the palace grounds If you walk, you will always come across places from which you can enjoy a beautiful view towards the old town . Probably the most frequented viewing terrace is located at the western entrance (near the palace garden).
Mantelbrücke The multi-storey Mantle Bridge is quite an eye-catcher. It belongs to the palace area and spans the moat. You can both walk under the bridge and walk over it (for free).
From the center you can reach the Cloak Bridge via a short climb in maximal 13 minutes (rather shorter). The fastest way from the square in the old town, where our photo was taken, up to the Cloak Bridge is the serpentine forest path that starts on the back of the bridge. From the Cloak Bridge you can enjoy a wonderful view over Český Krumlov.
Castle Tower The castle tower is not only beautiful to look at from below, but above all it is worth tackling the ascent. There are fewer steps than expected – 138 to be precise – and that’s why you get to the viewing platform pretty quickly.
Depending on the rush, it can be at the top of the viewing platform will be quite narrow. Nevertheless, we believe that the short effort is definitely worth it. You look from above in all directions.
Information on climbing the tower Entry: 150 CZK Opening hours: November to March from 9 to 16 Watch (Closed on Mondays); April, May, September and October from 9 to 16 hours (daily); June to August from 9 to 18 hours (daily); also closed on some days (over Christmas, New Year)
Castle garden The castle area also includes a very extensive Schlossgarten, located to the west of the castle (near the Cloak Bridge). So if you’re already at the castle, then you can also stop by here.
The baroque castle garden is beautifully designed: In addition to an open-air theater and an artificially created small lake you will of course find a lot of artistic flower beds here. Because the park is so spacious, the castle park feels anything but overcrowded.
Information about visiting the castle garden Entry: for free
Opening hours: April and October from 8 to 13 Watch; May to September from 8 to 18 o’clock, November to March closed
Old town with market square (Náměstí Svornosti) The historical Old Town of Český Krumlov is located within the bends of the Vltava River at the foot of the castle. She’s been since 1992 UNESCO World Heritage Site. From today’s point of view, Český Krumlov was very fortunate that in the post-war years there was a lack of financial means for renovation work. Therefore, a few hundred houses in the center up to 500 Years old – and meanwhile, of course, perfectly renovated.
The center of Český Krumlov is largely car-free (apart from a few special regulations). You can’t get lost – on the contrary: You will see many alleys and crossroads twice within a very short time. Probably the most spacious place in the center is the square main square, often market square or in Czech Náměstí Svornosti.
The well-known Egon Schiele Art Centrum is also located in the old town. You will find an exhibition there that also shows works by Egon Schiele, among others. He spent a few years of his life in Český Krumlov – his mother’s hometown – and immortalized the town’s houses on canvas several times. We were only in the (highly recommended) museum shop, but have read that the exhibition shows fewer original Schiele works than one might expect.
Most of the Street Art in the center can be found at the back of the Egon Schiele Art Centrum, in the alley called Hradebni. Don’t expect huge works of art, but it’s definitely worth strolling through.
Our tip for the sunset in Český Krumlov Unfortunately the castle tower is only up to a maximum 17 o’clock, otherwise it would be the perfect place for the sunset. After all, we spent a long time researching where you can really see the sun going down with the city in the foreground. We chose a small panoramic terrace near the bus station (we have marked the exact location on the map at the end of the blog article).
Here you are lucky that you can see both the city and (when the weather is nice) the sun. There are only a few benches, but there is really little going on up here. With the exception of a few bus passengers who wanted to take a quick photo just before their bus departed, we were almost the only ones.
Our tip: In the gas station next to the bus station you can buy a chilled Pilsner and then watch the sun go down. You should be there some time before the actual sunset, because of the hilly location of Český Krumlov the sun disappears earlier.
Viewpoint Seminární zahrada A very popular and really beautiful vantage point is located next to the Regional Museum. This beautifully designed viewing platform is slightly elevated, so you have a really great panoramic view of the entire castle area including the castle tower.
By the way, it’s also worth come by here in the evening, because the castle is beautifully illuminated at night . The viewing platform has a gate, but even at 21 It was still open (when we visited).
3. Eating & drinking in Český Krumlov: tips for cafes & restaurants The owner of our accommodation (more on that in a moment) got us pretty quickly brought down to earth: Because the pubs of Český Krumlov are almost exclusively frequented by tourists (and not by locals), the quality varies greatly. Nevertheless, we have collected some good local tips for you:
Monastery Garden: Very pretty, French inspired bistro that we discovered by accident. Unfortunately there is only breakfast and snacks (but until 14 h), including eggs Florentine/Benedict, pancakes and granola.
Nonna Gina : Solid Italian cuisine right in the center (right next to the Monastery Garden Bistro) at fair prices. Inside you sit very authentically, there are also a few tables outside in the guest garden.
IDEAL Coffee: Very good coffee in a quiet location away from the tourist crowds.
Egon Schiele Café: Very cozy café with a living room atmosphere, located right next to the Egon Schiele Art Centrum.
Don’t miss: Trdelník You can find street stalls selling Trdelník on almost every corner in Krumlov. Trdelník is a sweet pastry that is baked on a roll and then refined with various ingredients.
Our favorite variant is the classic one with cinnamon and sugar. But there are also some filled variants that we haven’t (yet) dared to try. A popular café that also offers Trdelník to go is MLS Crêperie right in the center of Krumlov.
4. Our hotel tip for Krumlov Although many people only visit Český Krumlov as part of a day trip, we can highly recommend staying overnight to spend there. Firstly, it is more comfortable and secondly, you can also explore the city in the evening hours when the day visitors have already left Krumau.
We chose Pension Kristian – a first opened, highly recommended accommodation in the middle of the historic old town. Pension Kristian is run by a young, very likeable couple. Both are extremely dedicated and very helpful. You feel welcome immediately.
There are only 8 rooms – four on the first and four on the second floor (no elevator). We ourselves stayed in room number 7, which was very comfortable and also very cozy with the sloping roof. The bed is wonderfully comfortable and the furnishings are very high quality.
You can book our accommodation here: Pension Kristian
5. More travel tips for Český Krumlov How to get to Český Krumlov If you come from Vienna by car, there are two route options: Either via the Autobahn to Linz and then to the north. Or via Krems and the Waldviertel. We have (without hesitation) opted for variant no. 2. The reason: We were able to take a break without going to Weitra and eat a delicious, freshly baked poppy seed tent in the café on the main square.
From Weitra the road then runs quite winding and through many villages. The border crossing is one of the most inconspicuous we have ever seen.
Parking in Český Krumlov As beautiful as Krumlov is, the parking situation is a little difficult. The reason is obvious: In the old town there is simply no space for cars and the center is (with a few exceptions) car-free.
There are a total of five larger car parks near the center (named P1 to P5). You can find a map here: Parking Český Krumlov. We ourselves parked our car in the car park P1, which is located directly behind the castle grounds. From this car park you can walk to the center in 2 minutes. (If you want to navigate directly to the parking lot using your GPS, here is the address: Chvalšinská 138.)
Regular would be one hour 21 cost CZK (almost 2 euros; the first 50 minutes for free). But there are special day tickets (40 hours for about euros), which you will receive from your accommodation (it is best to check again in advance ). Alternatively, you can also get these discounted day tickets from the tourist information office.
If your hotel is in the old town, the best way to proceed is as follows: You park your car in the parking lot closest to your hotel (this will mostly be P1). Then you go to the hotel with your luggage (it’s a bit tedious due to the cobblestones, but the distances are really shorter than expected), pick up your day ticket and go back to the parking lot. You then drive your car back into the parking lot, because you have to insert your day ticket when you drive in. If you are longer than 18 hours, you can easily pay the additional amount at the end of your stay at the machine.
6. Map: All sights and tips at a glance So that you can find your way around better, we have included all our sights on this map Tips marked. The red dots are sights or vantage points, the green ones are our tips for eating & drinking. As you can see: the distances are really small.
Now all that remains is to wish you a wonderful time in Český Krumlov. Eat a Trdelník for us and enjoy the flair of this pretty little town. Have a great trip!
2019Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you ever been to Český Krumlov? What were your highlights? Do you have any other tips? We look forward to hearing about your experiences!