Having heard and read about the beauty of Cesky Krumlov, we decided to check out this indeed quite beautiful city that is located in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. The biggest draw of Cesky Krumlov is its behemoth 13th century castle (Cesky Krumlov Castle) which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. We had to see for ourselves if it was worth all the hype.
Cesky Krumlov Day Trip By Bus From Prague:
I didn’t have much hope after my disappointment with Prague itself. Cesky Krumlov day trip from Prague it was though, after ruling out Kutna Hora. We actually did a couple of day trips from Prague (Cesky Krumlov and Dresden, Germany) and both day trips were done via bus after careful consideration.
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Going from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, you have several options:
Prague to Cesky Krumlov Train:
Taking a train from Prague to Cesky Krumlov makes sense and one would assume it would be a faster journey. As always, we checked the man in Seat 61 website for train departure times. If you’re not familiar with the man, you need to be. It’s a treasure trove of information of all train transport, in plain English and easy links to purchase your tickets. 2 things stopped me from booking our Cesky Krumlov day trip by train.
- The journey time was just a bit longer than by bus. Go figure. Train time was 3.5 hours on the average and most required a change of train which didn’t appeal to me.
- Once in Cesky Krumlov, there is a bit of distance to get to the center, requiring a taxi to complete the journey, adding even more time and cutting into your day trip.
Prague to Cesky Krumlov Day Tours:
There are plenty of private tour companies that do daily tours from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. We recommend GetYourGuide as we have used them personally in the past including visits to Auschwitz Camp and Porto. Sometimes, you just want to pamper yourself and not worry about buses and trains. It’s nice to be picked up from your hotel, shuttled to Cesky and be dropped back at your hotel.
Getting from Prague to Cesky Krumlov via car:
Driving to Cesky Krumlov from Prague takes about 3 hours over a distance of 172 kilometers. It would be a great way to see the beautiful scenery up close as you could obviously travel at your own pace. If you intend of driving, you can save up to 30% on your car rental worldwide.
Cesky Krumlov from Prague by Shuttle Bus:
This was by far the best option for us, all things considered. There are two major bus operators that l considered.
- Student Agency Bus Prague to Cesky Krumlov. The name is misleading, the bus is for everyone, and not just students (I think they get a discount though, along with seniors). I wouldn’t have minded using them as l have heard good things overall. It is operated by Regiojet, but there was no available tickets for our departure time.
- Flixbus. This was our first time using Flixbus, even though l’d seen their green buses all over the world it seems. They had seats for us at the time we desired, so it was a no brainer. The journey time from Prague to Krumlov was 2 hrs, 55 minutes. The Prague to Cesky Krumlov bus ride was okay and the scenery serene. We had USB ports to plug in our headphones and read/listen to music. The bus was full. The seats were okay, but l would imagine, not very comfortable for someone over 6 feet tall. There was plenty of space for luggage and we brought our own snacks. The best part was that the Flixbus station, Prague Andel, was just about a 6 minute walk from our hotel called La Boutique (very nice hotel and centrally located), a happy coincidence. The cost per person was €6.50 ($7.50) each way, so a very good deal, the train would have been €10.50 per person each way, plus another €5 or so for a cab. I was impressed and would recommend Flixbus. I think this was definitely the best way to travel from Prague to Cesky Krumlov.
Upon arrival at the Cesky Krumlov bus station (which was just really an open field), all you had to do was walk up a little path up the hill to get your first breathtaking view of the city. It is simply spectacular and l am sure there are plenty of postcards sold with that view.
Cesky Krumlov: a little history
Cesky means Bohemian. The name Krumlov is supposed derived from the German Krumbe Ouwe which translates to “crooked meadow” after a bend in the Vitara River which runs through the city. The castle which dominates the center was built around 1240 by a noble family. After that noble line ended, King Wenceslaus II gave the town and castle to another family, the Rosenbergs. Most of the inhabitants were German, having migrated from Germany and Austria. The Czechs were a minority. The city was declared to be part of German-Austria. It wasn’t until after WWII that the Germans were expelled and city returned to Czechoslovakia. The city fell into ruins, pretty much like everywhere during the Communist rule, but after the non-violent revolution which happened in 1989, most of the city has been restored to its past glory. The UNESCO designation cemented its place as a must visit destination in the Czech Republic.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov in 1 day:
Visit Českÿ Krumlov Castle:
The most popular attraction in the city. The UNESCO site and its garden complexes (Rococo style) is beautiful and might be worth exploring via a tour. We didn’t do this because l am now very familiar with castles and gardens and palaces and didn’t really have much of an interest in seeing this one. We had just been to a couple of castles in Vienna :-). It’s fun looking at the mixture of Gothic and Baroque designs of the castle though. You can imagine what it must have been like in the old days. You can find admission times and tour prices here.
Klastery Cesky Krumlov:
14th century monastery complex. There is a chapel inside that looks really nice from pictures. Fairs are held in this square sometimes and there are craft classes for kids. The regular admission price is about $4.
Church of St Vitus:
A small church that is just okay in my book. There was a pretty angry woman outside that was so rude to people, saying not to take photographs inside and yelling at some guy in a hat :-). Federico was like “screw it, I’m not going in” and together with another couple of guys stayed outside while my curiosity got the better of me and the other wives and we went in. It was okay. Worth a quick look l guess, and it’s free.
Tour the Eggenberg Brewery:
This is worth doing if you’re a beer lover. Beer brewing is a big part of Cesky Krumlov life and this one has been in existence since 1630. The tour will show you how beer is brewed and you get to taste it. I’ve previously done brewing tours of microbrewery beer as well as wine, so it didn’t hold a big draw for us.
Walk the historic center:
This was by far our favorite part. It was really nice walking down the streets through the center even though it was crowded. We found that most of the crowds were in the main square (Svornosti) and just a bit beyond. A lot of the buildings date back to the 14th century, including the Town Hall. Walking even further, the crowd drops way, way down and we were able to enjoy the serenity of the medieval city. There are plenty of cafes, ice cream shops etc.
Vitara River Rafting:
Weather permitting of course. There were plenty of people doing just that when we visited. A pleasant way to pass the time during your Cesky Krumlov 1 day itinerary.
Shopping in Cesky Krumlov:
In addition to the plenty of souvenir and high end shops in the old center, there was also a small arts and craft market that is worth visiting. Sellers had on offer lots of handmade objects and artwork and welcomed haggling.
Eat and drink in Cesky Krumlov Old Town:
Off the main street, there are also plenty of restaurants with both indoor and outdoor seating. Sample various cuisine, we saw Italian, traditional Czech and even Asian restaurants. We ended up at a pizzeria, which was very good actually. We must have been super hungry as neither one of us took pictures of the pizza. We also had drinks at a bar whose name l forgot..something like theater or playbill or something like that. It was attached to a hotel. Very cool interior.
Tips for visiting Cesky Krumlov:
- Wear comfortable shoes. You do a lot of walking, sometimes up lots of stairs, for example the St Vitus church has quite a few steps leading up to it. Cobblestones are not your friend in high heels.
- Get your souvenirs here. The prices were actually very reasonable considering how touristy Krumlov is. I can’t say the same for the high end stores though, from the prices in the window, they are even more costly than other places in Europe, which was surprising to me!
- Bring Cash !!!!! Believe it or not, most of the restaurants are cash only! No signs of course and it might be a shock when it’s time to pay. We chatted up a woman who was “held hostage” as she put it, while her husband went in search of an ATM. We all tend to assume that everyone, everywhere takes credit/debit cards, but it’s not so here. Federico of course, had to ask why this was so and was told that the cables for the fibra could not penetrate the walls. BS of course as the shops all take credit cards! :-) . Cash in hand = undeclared profit. Talking to a couple of people on the bus ride back to Prague from Cesky Krumlov, (including a Jehovah Witness woman who then proceeded to talk my head off and hand me leaflets :-(), we found others had the same experience.
- Use the app if going by bus. We downloaded the Flixbus app, purchased and downloaded our tickets for a painless day trip.
- If you’re smart, bring along a jersey you can wrap around your waist or a travel raincoat, or like me, a shawl that folds in my bag. Even though it was summer time, it was cold one minute, raining the next and sunny the next!
- Book a day or two in advance as seats on the bus fill up fast.
At the end of the day, it was just as easy to get back to the bus station. Our Flixbus arrived on time and soon, we were on our way. The trip back from Cesky Krumlov to Prague was uneventful. Another crowded bus with lots of people chattering about the beauty of Krumlov. Very nice indeed.
Is Cesky Krumlov worth the hype and praise heaped upon it?
Yes! In our opinion, definitely. It is a gorgeous town with stunning views and architecture and I would go as far as to say this is one of the most amazing day trips from Prague that you should do.
Is Cesky Krumlov worth an overnight stay?
In my book, truthfully no. A day trip to Cesky Krumlov is well worth it, and you can keep yourself occupied for a few hours. We were sort of bored by the end of the day. We could have spent a couple of hours less than we did and be perfectly okay. If you’re into water rafting, I could see an overnight stay to get another day in. If you did a full tour of the Cesky Krumlov castle for instance (which could take hours), you might feel rushed and an overnight stay might be worth it. Despite the fact that it is always crowded, it was bearable. I’ve heard that Cesky Krumlov at night is pretty cool, with most of the tourists having departed, but l think you can get that same sort of wow factor in Prague and other parts of the Czech Republic. Click to find the best hotels in Cesky Krumlov if you so desire. We had friends who stayed in Cesky Krumlov for a few nights and highly recommend the Pension Krasne Udoli.
Cesky Krumlov makes for one of the best Prague day trips, so if you can fit it in to your Prague itinerary, I would do it. It’s a UNESCO site that is worth seeing.
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Have you been to Prague? If yes, did you visit Cesky Krumlov? If so, what did you think of it? If not, does it look and sound like a worthy visit?