I visited Prague, Czech Republic four times in 2017, spending about 3 weeks hanging out and walking around the city.
One of the most frequent questions I was asked by people I met is “Have you been to Český Krumlov?”
It seemed like an odd question to me since I looked on the map to find Český Krumlov is not that close to Prague at 2.5 hours bus ride.
Well, now I can say, “I have been to Český Krumlov.”
Tour guides indicate Český Krumlov makes a long and tiring day trip from Prague. One of my motivations for traveling to České Budějovice, a city of 95,000 residents, where I stayed at the Clarion Congress Hotel on a great deal for a suite, is the proximity of the big city at 25 minutes bus ride to Český Krumlov, a town of about 10,000 people.
A factoid I read this week is Český Krumlov is the second largest tourist destination in the country behind Prague. The castle complex is the second largest castle in Czechia, behind only Prague’s Hradcany.
My hotel stay in České Budějovice cost under $50 per night instead of the $100 to $150 rates common in peak summer season for the limited rooms available in Český Krumlov. Round trip on the bus cost 64czk/$2.91usd.
Český Krumlov in summer crowds was like spending a day at Disneyland.
Once we crossed the bridge connecting the bus stop to the town gate, we gazed upon the beauty of this town filled with historic architecture. Český Krumlov castle and town center were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 due to the preponderance of intact medieval architecture in its town center. The castle dates to the 13th century and many of the structures in town are 400 to 500 years old.
Our first impression walking through the town gate was misleading from the direction we had arrived by bus. On the other side of the gate we encountered the true experience of visiting Český Krumlov in peak summer season on a warm sunny weekday and the streets became increasingly crowded with tourists.
At a little after 1pm on a sunny late July day temperatures were in the mid-80s, so rather than walking uphill to the castle, we walked downhill towards the river.
But we detoured into Bolero Restaurant, a cool place for a beer.
The price tag of 60czk/$2.75 for a pint was about 50% more costly than the average pint in České Budějovice pubs.
From our table, we watched rafters floating down the Vltava River. The patio umbrellas in the photo below are on the deck of Bolero Restaurant.
The Castle Tower is the symbol of the city. The base was constructed in the mid-13th century and the present tower design was completed in 1581. The tower tops out at 86 meters/282 feet over the Vltava River.
While Kelley is not one who enjoys getting into a raft, we did wade into the river to cool off.
We headed up to the castle. Guided castle tours of the interior are a popular ticket, yet the exterior of the castle is open to the public.
The bear moat is a well-known attraction of the castle, however, the bears were not outside in the heat of day. Brown bears have been kept in the moat since 1791. Bear Moat at Český Krumlov Castle has some bear photos.
Český Krumlov Castle walls in the interior open spaces are painted with various designs.
Český Krumlov Castle Views
Some of the best views of Český Krumlov are seen from the high path through the castle to the arches.
These castle view photos were taken from the open arches.
Now when you ask me if I have been to Český Krumlov, I can say, “I have”.