- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
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- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- THINGS TO DO
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Info Cesky Krumlov
Český Krumlov (German: Krumau) is a beautiful town of 14,600 inhabitants located in Southern Bohemia in the Czech Republic. Like Prague, the town is situated on the Vltava River and is full of Baroque buildings housing cafes and bars, features a spectacular castle (the second largest in the Czech Republic), and an old-town square. The town's appearance is little changed since the 18th century and the buildings have been well maintained and restored. In 1992 Cesky Krumlov was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List [www]. The town is very popular among tourists, who outnumber the local population in the summer.
Construction of the town and castle began around 1240 by the Vítkovci at a ford in the Vltava River, at an important trade route in Bohemia. It was first mentioned in 1253 as Chrumbenowe. A legend says that the name derives from the German "Krumme Aue" which can be translated as "crooked meadow".
In 1302 the town and castle were acquired by the House of Rosenberg. The majority of inhabitants were German at that time. For 1336 it can be expected that Czechs were only a small minority, who had their own priest.
In late 15th century, when gold was found next to the town, German miners came to settle, which shifted the ethnic balance even more. In the parochial church the sermons were preached in Czech until 1788, when St. Jošt Church was abolished.
Emperor Rudolf II bought Krumlov in 1602 and gave it to his natural son Julius d’Austria. Emperor Ferdinand II gave Krumlov to the House of Eggenberg and the town was seat of Duchy of Krumlov. From 1719 until 1945 the castle belonged to the House of Schwarzenberg. Most of the architecture of the old town and castle dates from the 14th through 17th centuries; the town's structures are mostly in Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The core of the old town is within a horseshoe bend of the river, with the old Latrán neighborhood and castle on the other side of the Vltava.
8,662 inhabitants lived in Krummau an der Moldau in 1910, including 7,367 Germans and 1,295 Czechs.
After the First World War the city was part of the Bohemian Forest Region which declared to be part of German-Austria. By the end of 1918 the Czechoslovak army occupied the region. During the interwar era it was part of Czechoslovakia. In 1938 it was annexed by Nazi Germany, as part of the Sudetenland according to the Munich agreement. Between 1938 and 1945 it was part of the Reichsgau Oberdonau. After World War II the town's longstanding German-speaking population was expelled and it was returned to Czechoslovakia.
During the Communist era of Czechoslovakia, Krumlov fell into disrepair, but since the Velvet Revolution of 1989 much of the town's former beauty has been restored, and it is now a major holiday destination popular with tourists from Germany, Austria and beyond, as far as China. In August, 2002, the town suffered from damage in the great flood of the Vltava River.
Transportation - Get In
From Prague, and other nearby cities or towns of Bohemia, getting to Český Krumlov by public bus is easier, faster, and cheaper than by train.
Student Agency runs up to 8 buses per day between Český Krumlov and the Na Knízecí bus station in Prague, near the Anděl metro station. A one-way journey takes ~3 hours, and costs 200Kč. The bus stops at Pisek and České Budějovice. Cheaper and more comfortable than other public buses.
A local bus from České Budějovice takes 45 minutes and costs 32Kč.
Upon arriving in Český Krumlov, there are two bus stops: the first is north of the castle, the second is the main terminal and is located east of the main square. Both stations are about a five to ten minute walk from the main square—from the north, walk down Latrán ulice, from the east, head westward and look for Horni ulice off the main road. Check which stop is closest to your accommodation before your trip.
ShuttleCeskyKrumlov.com, Ckshuttle.cz, Budweis-shuttle.cz,Czechshuttle.com,and shuttlebus.cz operate comfortable daily bus service between Český Krumlov and the following cities: From Austria: Salzburg (3 hours, 950 Kč), Vienna (3 hours, 950 Kč), Linz (1.5 hours, 370 Kč), Melk (2.5 hours, 800 Kč), Hallstatt (2.5 hours, 1100 Kč). From other countries: Munich, Germany (4 hours, 1125 Kč), Bratislava, Slovakia (4 hours, 1700 Kč).
Czech Railways operates train service to Cesky Krumlov, via České Budějovice. From Prague Hlavní Nádraží train station (Praha hl.n.), the regular fare is 261Kč (for two or more people, group rate, "skupinová sleva", is available, second person pays 157Kč, each extra person pays 131Kč). The online discount called "SporoTiket" [www] gives you a price of 180Kč to 200Kč.
The train leaves every 2 hours, trip takes 3 hours 40 minutes and requires a transfer at České Budějovice.
A train from České Budějovice takes 55 minutes and costs 49Kč, although the more people travel the cheaper it costs (e.g., only 81Kč for 2 people).
The train station in Český Krumlov is located north of the main square and the castle; the walk to the center is 15–20 minutes downhill. Taxis often wait in the parking lot for tired travelers - it may be worth the 100Kč ride into town, especially at night.
Some local buses although travel between the train station and the bus terminal (that isn't much closer to the old town though, but may be closer to your accommodation). Price: 10Kč.
Transportation - Get Around
Ambling around the town's crooked ulices is the best way to get lost in Český Krumlov's 750 years of history. Bring solid walking shoes for the uneven cobblestones.
Český Krumlov is a jumble of 750 years of architectural design, and for this reason was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Part of the fun is to get lost in its maze of cobbled ulices, while the Vltava River rushes along from almost every direction, adding to the confusion. Walking the length of Latrán from Budějovická Gate to the town square, Náměstí Svornosti, up Horní and across the bridge to the Barbakán, will take about an hour if you’re interested in stopping and gawping at sites.
Many good biking paths lead you to and from Český Krumlov, but you're not encouraged to ride through the streets once you get here. Park and lock your bike and enjoy not pedaling for a while.
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There are no bad places to eat in Český Krumlov, but some are better than others. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from the tourist restaurants that charge more than 40Kč for a half-liter of beer. The following restaurants are a good value (listed alphabetically):
- Hospoda 99 and Deli 99, At Věžní with Latrán (adjacent to the Budejovicka Gate - main entrance to the old town). Whether you are staying at the adjacent hostel or not, Hospoda 99 makes it a perfect spot to sit, relax, drink and enjoy some of the best Czech and American-inspired dishes in town. Join the locals and guests on the lovely terrace or inside with a lounge, good food, good service (staff speaks English) and all at reasonable prices. The kitchen closes at 23:00 but the bar does not. Right across the street is Deli 99 with great coffee, fresh baked bread, delicious sandwiches combo, bagels and pastries to sate small hungers. Illy coffee available to go or to savor in a comfortable room while reading a newspaper or viewing some locals’ photos of their travels. 500ml beer: 28Kč.
- Krčma v Šatlavské, Šatlavská Ulice (around the corner from the town square). This cozy tavern on the site of the old jailhouse is filled with tourists and locals alike, so try going on off-hours to enjoy the ambiance by the fire. Onion soup in a bread bowl followed by some meats grilled on the fire is a good bet.
- Laibon, Parkán Ulice (two blocks from the town square on the right, before you reach the wooden bridge). Český Krumlov’s veggie haven and tea house. Even meat eaters enjoy the healthy departure from fried pork and take a stab at the creatively cooked grains.
- Maštal, Tucked away next to the Infocentrum on the town square. Serves up quality food, and lots of it. Standard Czech fare, and a good range of salads. If you’re not so hungry, ask for the poloviční porce, or half-portion. Half-portions should be half the price of the normal-sized meal.
- Na Louži, Kájovska Ulice. Unlike many other restaurants in the Czech Republic, service here comes with a smile. Reasonably priced fare piled high with fresh vegetables and potatoes makes even the simplest entrée fit for a king.
- Nonna Gina, Klašterní Ulice (across from the castle gates). Owned by a Sicilian-Czech couple. Serves the most authentic Italian dishes in town. Here you’ll find pizzas, salads and gnocchi to nosh, and even homemade tiramisù.
- U Dvau Maryi, Parkán Ulice (two blocks from the town square on the right, before you reach the wooden bridge). The building is owned by one of the town’s leading experts in historical preservation. Homemade delicacies made from old Czech recipes and offer a good selection of vegetarian offerings. The best deal is their Bohemian Platter with samplings of almost every dish on their menu for either meat eaters or vegetarians.
Sights & Landmarks
- Český Krumlov State Castle and Chateau. The Český Krumlov castle complex is the most-visited site in town. You can walk through the castle complex for free, or you can pay for either a guided tour of the interiors and the unique Castle Baroque Theater or pay a small entrance fee to walk up to the top of the castle tower. Plan at least two hours for your visit, and buy supplies for a picnic lunch in the castle gardens at the grocery across the ulice from the castle entrance on Latrán. The best approach to the castle is from Latrán. Walk through the red iron gates to the first castle courtyard that houses the Unios Tourist Information center, public washrooms, a souvenir shop, Doxa Galerie, and in the summer months, a tropically inspired mixed drink stand serving up mojitos, caipirinhas, and daquiris. As you approach the castle, you cross the Bear Moat, where the famous Krumlov bears gambol about lazily. Put a few coins in the slot to help keep them fat and happy.
The second castle courtyard features the entrance to the castle tower (50Kč). After slogging up the vertiginous staircase, you are treated to a 360-degree view of the town. Here is also a small fountain, and the main ticket office where you can book scheduled tours of the interior to the castle and the one-of-a-kind Baroque Theatre. The restaurant Maselnice, across from the ticket office, is a good place to stop for refreshment.
Tours of the castle interior begin in the third castle courtyard, where you will find another souvenir store and the entrance to the Wenceslas Cellars (60Kč), which now houses modern ceramic art pieces.
Plaštovy Most, or the “Cloaked Bridge” is covered by a walkway that leads from the Castle to the Baroque Theatre, and affords another sweeping view of the town. Continue to walk uphill and you will find the entrance to the monumental castle gardens. A newly restored fountain, maze of hedgerows, a revolving theatre [www] and a Medieval-style restaurant, Marketa beckon. At the far end of the castle gardens, you’ll find a lush duck pond, situated in a stand of moody, gnarled trees. This is the perfect picnic spot.
The castle's Barqoue theatre is the only one in Europe that survives in its original 18th century form with no modern additions. This means that stage sets are still operated by manual labour, and candlelight is still used to illuminate the stage and orchestra pit. Period performances of operas are occasionally performed at the theatre.
- Regional Museum, Horní 152. Permanent exhibitions of Bohemian antiques, geological fossils, archeological finds from the nearby Celtic oppidum, and interesting rotating exhibits of local interest. On the top floor, check out the ceramic scale model of Český Krumlov at the turn of the 19th century, when eight more towers and spires decorated the landscape.
- Egon Schiele Centrum Museum, Široká 71. Also open Mondays!. Egon Schiele, one of the world’s most famous artists, was a contemporary of Gustav Klimt. He set up his easel for a short time in Český Krumlov, painting the tortured landscapes of his famous Dead Town series, and young girls in compromising poses. The townspeople labeled him a perverted pornographer, and drove him out.
- Technical Monument - Graphite Mine, Chvalšinská 243. Whenever after the phone booking; May-Jun 9AM-4PM; Jul-Aug 9AM-5PM; Sep-Oct 9AM-2PM; last excursion starts 1 hr before the end of working hours. This mine offers a bit of information about the history of mining and about the region of Český Krumlov. Before you set off on the excursion, you get a special miner uniform, including helmet and miner torch. Underground, you are transported by a special miner train. There you continue on foot. You will be able to experience the conditions under which the miners worked, and the machines they used. The guide will inform you about mining procedures, and how graphite was reworked and used. Excursion takes appx. 1 hr. Price for excursion in English 200 Kč; in Czech 150 Kč.
Things to do
- Rafting on the Vltava River. You can rent rafts on several locations and hostels in and out the town, and near the camping area as well. The river can become faster flowing in summer months after rain, so approach the weirs with caution.
- Maleček Boat Rentals, Rooseveltova 28. Rent a boat or take the historical wooden raft tour with guides and commentary in English.
- Expedicion.cz - rafting, climbing, outdoor travel agency, Under the main square, , e-mail: [email protected]. Raft rental, night rafting with a guide, mountain bike rental, kickbike rental, climbing, fishing, paintball, horseback riding and shuttle buses from/to Cesky Krumlov.
- Tubing on the Vltava River. Make sure you get proper instructions on how to navigate the weirs through town, or you could end up with some small injuries as a souvenir of your visit.
- Vltava Travel Agency - Tube Rental, Kajovská.
- Horseback Riding.
- JK Slupenec Horses, Slupenec 1 (30-minute walk from Town). They provide all the gear you need, including a helmet. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a couple sugar cubes or an apple to sweeten the experience. You must book ahead – ask at your accommodations or at one of the tourist information centers.
- River Rampage, Traveller`s Hostel. Ride a raft down the river. Free shots and free beer at each bar you stop at. Pub crawl on the river. 400 Kč per person. Meet at travellers' hostel near the square daily between 11 and 12 in the morning for a full day of fun games, paddling, and drinking with new friends.
Festivals and events
- International Music Festival Cesky Krumlov. Indoor and outdoor concerts during the months of July and August. The festival features International music greats coupled with a rich mix of musical genres. Even if tickets are sold out, you can still find an outdoor pub and soak in the sounds and post-concert fireworks.
Don't be afraid to walk into a pub alone. Locals are friendly, menus are in English, although a bit of Czech please (prosím) and thank you (děkuju) can go a long way. A night on the town (5 half-liters of excellent Czech beer) will cost you less than 200Kč.
- Bar Krumlos. A beautiful bar in a historic building, full of artistic details and a real special drinking menu. The owner travels during winter to find special rums, tequilas and whiskeys in South America. The best rums you ever had (for very little money). The owner will pour the drinks at your table and is willing to tell you the story that goes with the drink.
- Cikanská Jízba, Dlouhá ulice. Cold Pilsner Urquell, hot Gypsy goulash, and great atmosphere made by a mix of travelers and die-hard locals. On the weekends, live Gypsy music swells the space, and bodies melt into the bar.
- Dobrá Čajovna, across from the castle gates (across from the castle gates). For those who would rather sample a list of more than 200 types of teas from all over the world such as one to “drink with slim concubines”.
- Eggenberg Brewery, Pivovarská ulice. Locally-brewed Eggenberg beer tastes best here. Try the kvasnice, the yeast beer, if available.
- Horror Bar, Másna ulice (one block from the town square, heading towards the wooden bridge). Never ending trick-or-treats. Ask the barmaid with the darkened eye sockets for skoumavky for your table: little test-tubes filled with blood-red liquor. Specialty drink is the Ginger Mojito.
- Travellers’ Hostel Bar, Soukenická ulice. Soukenická ulice where travellers meet locals. modern music, open till 4, 5 even 6 in the morning, vibrant. for a wild night out.
- U Baby, Rooseveltova ulice (next door to Hostel Krumlov House). A local bar for students, die-hards, and the odd lost traveler. On offer: Gambrinus, Pilser Urquell, impromptu acoustic guitar jams, and hedonistic, roasted pig knuckle gorge-fests.
- Antre, Horni ulice (right next to the bridge leading into town). the only non-smoking pub/cafe in Cesky Krumlov with friendly service, family-friendly attitude. Bernard beer served. Often live music on the weekends and in summer the terrace is the most perfect place to soak in the Cesky Krumlov skyline.
- Apotheka, Latrán 46 (at the edge of street from the Castle and main street Latrán in historic town), . Drink list includes about 40 cocktails but it is for reference only. They apply individual approach to customers and after a short debate they will mix the cocktail tailored to taste.