Cesky Krumlov is a popular touristic destination in the south of the Czech Republic, and it’s gained its fame for a reason; in spite of the large number of visitors the town centre very much appears like the time has stopped here since the 13th century.
The historical town centre
Just wandering through the charming narrow streets is quite an experience on its own, and I would definitely dedicate at least an hour to carelessly roaming the old town. If you find yourself in need of a bit of a snack to keep you going, I would recommend trying a trdelnik, a warm tube-shaped pastry typically coated with cinnamon or nuts, from one of the street vendors.
If your appetite is a bit larger, the best restaurant in town, Mastal, can be found on the main Town Square, located just by the tourist information. Head there for some delicious steak, although be careful to time it well with your sightseeing – you may feel too full to move after your meal.
If you can stomach it, the Museum of Torture, pay a visit to the Museum of Torture next to the restaurant. The museum offers an interesting take on the history of torture, although it’s not for the faint-hearted. It is possible to buy a two-in-one ticket for the Museum of Torture and Wax Museum a few streets away, although I would suggest that you skip the latter – there are far more interesting things to see and do in this town!
The castle is probably Cesky Krumlov’s biggest attraction. As you approach the courtyard, you’ll pass a bear pit which normally holds three bears. The bears have been a part of the castle’s rich history ever since the 16th century. If you would like to learn more about the castle’s history and the noble houses who resided in it over the centuries, have a look at my posts on the Five-petalled Rose Celebrations and the Trebon Castle.
Different parts of the castle have been built or refurbished in various styles, so you can pick a tour based on your interests; Tour I will take you to the renaissance and baroque chambers as well as the unique carnival ballroom, Tour II covers the more recent classicism era. Both tours will cost you around 200 CZK (£5 or $8). You should also consider climbing the castle tower to take in the landscape of the town. However, if you want to save some cash, the view from the castle’s arcades is almost equally impressive.
More information on the castle can be found on its website.
The castle garden
Once you make your way through the castle’s courtyards, continue uphill and you’ll reach the castle gardens. Somewhat reminiscent of a smaller version of the gardens in Versailles, this is a great place to rest and recuperate. But if you still have enough energy, there’s lots to do around here.
In the summer months, knight tournaments often take place just across the street from the gardens – you can find out when exactly the take place and purchase tickets in the tourist information centre on the main square.
Even closer, Cesky Krumlov’s famed revolving theatre is based in the castle gardens. Tucked away from the main garden section so it does not affect the gardens’ charm, this is where a number of plays take place in the evenings. While most of the plays are in Czech, this is an experience not to miss, and you can always opt for one of the less language specific performances, such as Swan Lake or one of the operas that are on this summer. For more information and tickets, click here.
As mentioned in my previous post on Cesky Krumlov renaissance festival, the most convenient way of reaching Cesky Krumlov is by the Student Agency bus – it will transport you from Prague to Cesky Krumlov’s fairytale town centre in just under 3 hours.