Cesky Krumlov is a true gem. It’s one of the cutest picturesque little towns that I have ever been to..no wonder some call it a little miniature of Prague! Its maze-like alleys, medieval pubs and the very well preserved Renaissance and baroque buildings and Castle, alongside with the Old Town Square, have rightfully made Cesky Krumlov a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cesky Krumlov lies near the border of Austria and Germany, and it’s only three hours away from Prague by bus, making it a very popular central-European destination. Even though its center is very compact-you can walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes-there are so many different things to do in Cesky Krumlov that you’ll definitely want to spend more than just a few hours wandering around its medieval streets.
I visited Cesky Krumlov during Christmas Eve and I also spent a night there! I absolutely adored this little town and I’d love to share with you some tips on what to see and what to do there :
1. Visit the Cesky Krumlov State Castle and Chateau.
It’s the second largest castle complex in the country, after Prague’s Castle, with its five courtyards, 11 hectares of gardens and a total of 40 buildings. The biggest part of the castle is open for visitors, but during winter some of the areas of the castle are closed. The courtyard on the other hand is open all year round.
2. Wander in the maze-like alleys and narrow medieval walkways.
One of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov, is to simply just wander and explore its many quiet streets which unfold at every corner…
… grasp the façades of the many different buildings; most are brightly painted and other are decorated by paintings and little statues…
..One thing is sure: you can’t walk very far without stumbling onto something that will impress you…
…or even lead you to amazing views…
3. Let the alleys lead you to the Old Town Square.
The Plague Column dominates the center of the Square and rightly so; it’s the history surrounding the reasons for the memorial Column, that brings out the beauty of it. The Column was built to commemorate those lost during the Plague that ravaged the town during the Middle Ages. It is crowned by a sculpture of Virgin Mary and is decorated with statues of eight other saints including St Wenceslas, John the Evangelist and Judas Tadeas who are considered patrons and protectors of the city plague.
The Old Town Hall is another interesting feature of the Krumlov Square. It was built by connecting three houses in the early 17th century and it makes up almost a full side of the town square. You’ll notice on the front of the Town Hall the coat of arms of the town’s ruling families; there is the Eggenberg family coat of arms, one for the Czech lands, the coat of arms for the town of Cesky Krumlov and finally, one for the Schwarzenberg family. In the basement of the Town Hall is the Torture Museum. We didn’t get to visit it, but I’d recommend checking it out if you’re into those sort of dark kinds of things.
4. Walk alongside the Vltava River.
One of the first things we did when we arrived in Cesky Krumlov, was to stroll alongside the Vltava riverbank and let it be our guide…we weren’t disappointed 🙂
5. Check out one of the oldest water wheels of the country.
6. Stop by St.Vitus Church.
One of the most dominant buildings in all of Cesky Krumlov is the Roman Catholic Church of St.Vitus. Its history can be traced back to the 13th century when it was built and ever since, it has been a religious site for hundreds of years and has continuously been visited by both Czech locals and European royalty. Additionally, many of the most famous and popular Bohemian families, have tombs there where the remains of different generations of their families are buried.
Just like the rest of the buildings in the town St.Vitus Church has undergone many renovations over the years. Depending on what time of the year you visit you might be able to go into the church and explore but it was not open for me when I visited in December.
7. Where to eat.
For dinner we went to Don Julius Restaurant . We basically picked this restaurant because we had a hard time finding one that was open at 8pm on Christmas Eve’s Eve, and it turned out to be really good! Its decoration is also very interesting and we loved the fact that it had a wood fired bake oven; it made this place feel very cozy and warm. The food was really good and the staff was very friendly and welcoming! Don Julius is exceptional and well worth trying.
We had pizza for dinner…
…and of course apple strudel with vanilla ice cream *drooling* !
Of course if you are a foodie too, then you won’t miss out on having the traditional “trdelnik” (or else called chimney cakes”. The best place in Cesky Krumlov to enjoy it is at MLS bistro.
We had one trdelnik with chocolate (which i highly recommend) and one with cinnamon. It was literally the best trdelnik we had so far! The staff was nice and friendly and the prices were good too.
8. Where to stay.
We stayed at the wonderful Pension U Hada. Its in a very good location, practically in the city center, and our room was very nicely decorated, clean and tidy, and also had a cozy vibe which we loved! The owner is very pleasant and friendly. We only stayed for night, but would definitely stay for more if we could! If we ever visit Cesky Krumlov again, it’ll be definitely our number one choice!