It seems like Český Krumlov is not real. Seriously, everything is so beautiful and old I had the feeling I’ve traveled back in time. Český Krumlov is the ultimate tourist destination in the Czech Republic. After Prague, it’s surely the most picturesque and stunning town in the country. I was astonished by the beautiful architecture and all the things to do in Český Krumlov. Its history and places to visit will keep you quite busy for one or two days.
Most travelers visit Český Krumlov as a day trip from Prague. It’s a nice way to explore the city, but there are so many things to do in Český Krumlov, places to visit and beers to drink that we decided to stay 2 days and 3 nights. Then we had the chance to visit Český Krumlov and also go on a day trip to Lipno, another cute town with stunning nature.
Things to do in Český Krumlov
The huge castle, the cobblestone alleys, and the medieval houses made Český Krumlov a designated Unesco Heritage Site. It’s a place like no other. Once you step into the old town, you are transported to the past. One day in Český Krumlov might be enough to walk around the city and visit a few attractions. But I highly recommend you to stay a bit longer, at least two days, so you can experience all the best things to do in Český Krumlov and see the city at night time. When all the tourists leave the town you can really enjoy the romantic and medieval Český Krumlov.
Here goes the list of what to do in Český Krumlov and some personal recommendations:
Discover the old Český Krumlov on foot
The city is an open-air museum, and it’s so tiny and cute that in a few hours you can see it all. Explore the streets that lead to the St. Vitus Cathedral, a neo-gothic church that stands out in the middle of the town. Take a walk by the Vltava, the river that runs through Prague, and get lost in the tiny alleys full of charming restaurants and hotels.
We loved walking around and exploring the city, but we also wanted to understand more about the history of Český Krumlov and how come this town can be so old and yet so preserved. To have all these questions answered, we booked a guided walking tour at the Český Krumlov Tourism Center, and it was our wisest move ever. Our guide took us to some incredible viewpoints, explained about how Český Krumlov remained unknown for so many years, and how it was restored to its perfection. It’s a great story to listen to, especially because it brings all the medieval and renaissance architecture alive.
If you are spending a night in Český Krumlov it might be worth to book a night walking tour and see the city from a different perspective.
At the Český Krumlov Tourism Center, we also bought the Český Krumlov Card, a ticket that gives you access to 5 museums, including the State Castle. This is a money-saving option which will also help you avoid queues. The price of the ticket was 300 CZK [12 usd] per adult, and they also have a family ticket, 2 adults and 3 kids for 600 CZK.
With the card in hand, you’re ready to explore the city and things to do in Český Krumlov. After the walking tour, be sure to take some time to visit the important attractions in Český Krumlov: the Český Krumlov Regional Museum, Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Museum Fotoatelier Seidel and the Medieval Minority Monastery.
There are other museums and historical buildings to see in Český Krumlov, but if you are in town for only one or two days, those are the highlights you simply cannot miss.
Český Krumlov Castle Tower and Castle Museum
You can’t say you’ve visited Český Krumlov if you haven’t been to the Český Krumlov Castle and Tower. Built from the 14th to the 19th centuries, Český Krumlov Castle is one of the biggest castles in the Czech Republic and in Europe. From the Český Krumlov State Castle, you can admire the buildings and gardens from the outside, or you can explore the interior and even go on a guided tour to understand the history of the complex. The castle is huge, and you can have access to its different areas, like the rooms, the stables, the cellar, and the museum. There is also a bear there, (I mean, I know, right?)! And this is one more story you must discover while visiting the castle.
One of the top attractions in Český Krumlov is the Castle Tower, and even if you are afraid of heights you should face your fears and just go up! We swear you won’t regret it. The tower is open to the public daily from 9 AM to 4 PM [the time changes according to the season, check the Český Krumlov Castle website for details]. The good news is that the entrance to Český Krumlov Tower and Castle Museum is included in the Český Krumlov Card, so you won’t need to buy any extra ticket to visit these two great attractions.
The view from the tower is stunning, my suggestion is to go up at the end of the afternoon so you can see the city and admire the sunset. We were in Český Krumlov during the winter [last week of February]. The weather was cold, but we had sunny days, which made the city look even more beautiful.
Visit the Český Krumlov Baroque Theater
Inside the Český Krumlov Castle, you can visit one of the oldest and best preserved Baroque Theatre in the world. All the carpentry, painting and murals were done by Viennese artists. Inside the theater, you can find original pieces and information from the theater’s life from the 17th until the 19th Century.
Drink the local beer made in Český Krumlov since 1560
Everybody knows that the Czech Republic is a country of good beer. In Český Krumlov, the art of brewing started in 1560. The best part is that you can taste the beer and visit the original brewery not only famous around South Bohemia, but worldwide. You can go to the traditional Pivovar Eggenberg for beers, for a meal or for a beer tour and taste the local beer that has been produced in the same place for centuries.
Taste the best strudel in the Czech Republic
This is one of the top things to do in Český Krumlov that you won’t find in any guidebook. This is our personal recommendation for the best strudel in the Czech Republic, and – I would dare to say it – in Central Europe. Seriously, just stop at Café Štrúdl and try one, two or even three of their pastries, because they are gorgeous and delicious. This tiny cafe is tucked away from the busy square and it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon snack. Here is the food and beverage menu, and as it is a small tea room, you might need to wait for a table. But don’t worry: you will be rewarded with mouthwatering flavors.
Celebrate Carnival in Český Krumlov
Here is another cool thing to do in Český Krumlov that not many people may know about. We were lucky enough to be in Český Krumlov during the Carnival Festival [this year it was from February 25th to 28th]. The medieval town was the address for masquerade parades, music and fun. There were many events happening in Český Krumlov during the Carnival, such as royal banquets, parades, and parties at the local brewery.
For us, Brazilians who celebrate Carnival like no other nation, it was very interesting to be part of this festival. To witness the street parade, full of families, kids, and curious tourists was definitely one of the best things to do in Český Krumlov, especially in winter time.
If you are planning your itinerary to Český Krumlov, what to do and attractions to visit, keep in mind that the Carnival always happens a few days before Ash Wednesday, the Catholic holiday.
Things to do in Lipno
If you decide to stay longer in town, you can also go on a day trip from Český Krumlov. That’s what we did: we spent a day and two nights in the old town and one day at Lipno nad Vltavou. This village belongs to Český Krumlov District and it’s only 30 minutes away from the old town. The top attractions in Lipno are completely different from the things to do in Český Krumlov. This tiny village is famous for the beautiful lake, ski resort, and the Lipno Treetop Walkway. Summer or winter, there are tons of things to do in Lipno, most of them connected to nature.
We booked a taxi via our hotel and the driver took us all the way from Český Krumlov to Lipno and picked us up at the end of the day. We paid a total of 1600 CZK [69 usd]. You can book a taxi privately or go on a day tour to Lipno, it’s your call. You can book a guided tour at the Český Krumlov Tourist Information Center in the main square.
Here are our suggestions of what to do in Lipno in one day:
Lipno Treetop Walkway
This is a unique and stunning attraction in Lipno. A barrier-free wooden pathway that leads you from the ground level to a 24 meters high platform. From there you can climb to the top of a 40-Meter-high tower. It sounds like hard work, but it’s not. The Lipno Treetop Walkway is a pleasant walk to the top of the forest. You’ll be surrounded by trees and witness one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Czech Republic: the Šumava Mountains and the Lipno Reservoir.
The Treetop Walkway, or Stezka Korunami Stromu in Czech, was built in 2012 and it’s open all year round. It’s the perfect attraction for anyone that likes to be in the middle of nature and it also has wheelchair accessibility. To make the experience a bit more adventurous, you can go down from the top of the walkway sliding on a toboggan. It’s the perfect ending: a bit of adrenaline after a walk in the sky. Depending on the season, the opening hours of the Treetop Walkway changes, so check the official website before planning your visit.
Snow Sports [this is Rob’s department]
I love snowboarding, when I heard about a day tour to Lipno for skiing, my eyes were shining as a kid looking at Santa on Christmas. Lipno Ski resort has awesome facilities for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. I would say it’s a perfect place for families and those who want to learn skiing or snowboarding.
Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance!
The resort has an 11km of pistes: over 60% are easy ones and 34% are intermediary slopes. I’ve spent one afternoon running all pistes including the ski cross, and I loved the place. It was a busy day with competitions and full of Dutch families [Lipno Ski resort is famous in The Netherlands], but there was little queue for the ski lifts.
Ski schools and rental shops are located at the bottom of the slopes, which were easy to spot and get your gear ready. The season usually starts in early December and ends around March/April. Night skiing is available, so you may want to visit Český Krumlov during the daytime and travel to Lipno at the end of the day. Big thanks to Vojen for guiding me through the resort and the snowboarding tips!
The Lipno Reservoir, or Lipno Lake, is surrounded by nice hotels, resorts, and restaurants. You can enjoy the views while sipping some coffee or relaxing at one of the wellness centers. If you read our post about Liberec, another winter sports town in the Czech Republic, you already know I’m not good with snow sports. So, while Rob was snowboarding, I was at the Amenity Resort Wellness Center doing some stretches, enjoying the sauna and the pool.
Lipno Lake is also a great place to visit during summer time. There you can rent boats, kayaks and go for a swim. When the snow melts, the Lipno lake and mountains are the perfect places for mountain biking, hiking and also water sports.
Hiking the Šumava Mountains
The Šumava Mountains is a hiking paradise. As we were there for only one day we ventured a small hiking to a rocky point by the Vltava River, before the dam. It was just a quick ride starting from the Lipno Ski resort, and there we could see the mountains, the trees and the river that crosses the country and goes all the way to Prague, passing by the charming Český Krumlov.
This is not a tourist spot, and we found it because of a local friend we met at Lipno Ski resort. He knows everything about Šumava Mountains, Lipno, skiing and outdoor sports. To find this and other amazing places in the area follow Vojen’s Instagram.
Where to stay in Český Krumlov
To be able to visit Lipno and all the attractions in Český Krumlov, you will most definitely need to stay more than one day in town. There are over 200 hotels in Český Krumlov, so choosing your Český Krumlov accommodation might be a daunting task. Here are our suggestions on where to stay in Český Krumlov, hotels for every budget and taste.
If you are looking for one of the best hotels in Český Krumlov, look no further. The Hotel Bellevue Český Krumlov is a stunning property where helpful and smiling staff will be ready to welcome you. The Hotel Bellevue Český Krumlov is located a few meters from the castle, the Pivovar Eggenberg brewery and the monastery.
We stayed for 2 nights in the Junior Suite. The room is huge, about 40m2, with a comfy king-size bed, a bathtub to relax after walking around the city and a Nespresso machine to kick off your day.
Natalie absolutely loved the L’Occitane toiletries. The breakfast is a feast of local cheese and cold cuts. Our recommendation is to book your room in advance since there are only 3 Junior Suites. Although you can choose between 62 other rooms and 1 Presidential Suite.
For those who are searching for budget accommodation in Český Krumlov, the Krumlov House is a good option. It’s located about 250 meters from the bus station and 800 meters from Český Krumlov old town. The property offers dorms and also private rooms. Please, note that we didn’t stay there, but we saw the hostel while walking around the city and we read great reviews naming Krumlov House as one of the best hostels in Český Krumlov. Book your room at Krumlov House!
And did you know you can rent a house, a boat, a castle or a room on Airbnb? Curious? Sign up here and get a discount on your first booking!
How to get to Český Krumlov
Český Krumlov is located in the South Bohemia region and it takes you a two-hour drive from Prague. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to stay a week or only going on a day trip from Prague to Český Krumlov whichever your plans are, you can do it by train, bus or as a private or group tour.
We traveled by train from Prague to Český Krumlov, with a change at České Budějovice. For us, this was the best option, as we were already traveling with Eurail Pass all around Central Europe. If you want to explore the Czech Republic by train, read our comprehensive guide about how to travel with Eurail Pass.
If you are only doing this train trip, then you can buy a single ticket from Prague to Český Krumlov [during our trip the price for the train ticket was from 7 to 10 Euros each way]. There are several trains running daily, most of them with one change at České Budějovice and it’s a 3h30min train ride. The best train from Prague to Český Krumlov is the one that departures at 8 AM, it’s a direct train and the trip takes only 2h40min. In other words, if you are only doing a day trip to Český Krumlov, waking up early and taking this specific train is totally worth it. To go back to Prague, the last train departs from Český Krumlov at 6:50 PM, and there is no direct train on the way back. You can check the timetable and price at the Czech Train Service website.
Are you planning to travel to Český Krumlov by train or bus? Find all the routes, prices and book your tickets here on 12Go.
The RegioJet Company offers buses from Prague to Český Krumlov every hour, from 6 AM to 9 PM. The return bus runs from 5 AM to 8 PM, and the ticket costs from 7 to 10 Euros each way. The bus from Prague to Český Krumlov takes up to 3 hours, depending on the traffic.
There is not much difference whether you decide to go by bus or train from Prague to Český Krumlov. The best option will be the one that fits your travel itinerary and what type of experience you want to have. We are big fans of train trips, and the landscape you can see on the way from Prague to Český Krumlov is stunning, totally worth the ride. From the train or bus station in Český Krumlov, you can take a taxi to the old town or straight to your hotel.
Just keep in mind that to enjoy a day trip from Prague to Český Krumlov you will need to wake up early, so you will have enough time to visit the top attractions in Český Krumlov. Or, instead of rushing around, plan to stay at least one night and experience all the cool things to do in Český Krumlov, which includes a nice dinner and beers.
Are you ready to explore the medieval streets of Český Krumlov? If you’re traveling around the Czech Republic, don’t forget to read our other guides:
Hope you enjoy the best things to do in Český Krumlov and have fun in the beautiful Czechia!
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PS: our trip to the Czech Republic was organized in partnership with the Czech Tourism Board. But as usual, you always get our honest opinion and travel tips.