Czech Republic

17 Great Things to Do in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Cesky Krumlov is one of the most popular places to visit in the Czech Republic (only Prague, the capital, attracts more tourists). And it’s no wonder as this medieval, UNESCO-listed town is simply the prettiest, with interesting historic sights, beautiful views, charming corners and more. Even if this is one of the popular day trips from Prague, it’s worth staying overnight in the town and enjoying all the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov without too many people around.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

It took me years to finally visit Cesky Krumlov, but as soon as I arrived, I understood the whole hype the town gets. It really is the prettiest, like from a fairy tale, and falling for it is so easy. If you think of visiting Central Europe, be sure to plan a trip to Cesky Krumlov, too, you will not be disappointed.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Here is my Cesky Krumlov guide with all the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov, as well as practical information to help you plan your trip. If you still have questions about visiting Cesky Krumlov, be sure to join my Facebook group about traveling in Central Europe and ask there!

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Where is Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov, a town of around thirteen thousand inhabitants, is located in the southern part of the Czech Republic, not far from the border with Austria. Prague, the capital of the country, is 170 km north of Cesky Krumlov, and Linz, the third-largest city in Austria, is 80 km south.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

How to get to Cesky Krumlov

Besides the car, you can also reach Cesky Krumlov using public transport. There are numerous direct buses throughout the day from Prague (with stops in Pisek and Ceske Budejovice); the trip takes around 3 hours. You can also take the local train from Ceske Budejovice, although the train station in Cesky Krumlov is a bit further from the Old Town than the bus station.

You can buy the bus ticket for your trip to Cesky Krumlov here.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

How to get around Cesky Krumlov

The town is compact, so that you can get everywhere on foot. All the Cesky Krumlov attractions are located within walking distance from each other.

How many days for visiting Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov is one of the most popular day trips from Prague, and indeed you can see most of its highlights in a few hours. However, I recommend staying here overnight to enjoy the city to the fullest. In the daytime, the town can get packed with day trip tourists, but in the afternoon, it gets much quieter and even more charming.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Day trip from Prague to Cesky Krumlov

If you have only one day in Cesky Krumlov and would like to visit the town as a day trip from Prague, you can do it either independently, using the buses (you can buy your ticket here), or join the tour. There are plenty of tours to choose from, here are some highly-rated ones:

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Where to stay in Cesky Krumlov

If you decide to stay overnight in the town, here are some recommended Cesky Krumlov accommodation options:

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Things to do in Cesky Krumlov

And finally, without any further ado, here are the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov.

Visit the Castle

One of the biggest Cesky Krumlov attractions is the castle, towering above the Old Town. This is one of the largest castle areas in Central Europe, with forty buildings and five castle courts, and it indeed is impressive. The first castle in this place was built around 1240, but the current Baroque look of the site dates back to the late 17th/early 18th century. That’s also when the castle was expanded, and some of the key features were added to the structure.

Over the centuries, the premises belonged to some of the wealthiest and most important noble families of the region: the Rosenbergs, the Eggenbergs, and the Schwarzenbergs, but after World War 2, the property was transferred to the Czechoslovak state. Today, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, open to visitors who can admire this beautiful building and its interiors.

You can choose two different sightseeing routes when visiting the Cesky Krumlov castle. The first one goes through the original castle interiors from the Renaissance and Baroque periods (16th – 18th centuries), and the second one shows the history of the Schwarzenberg family. Altogether, you need around two hours for both tours, but I suggest the first route if you have time only for one.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Climb the tower

While you are in the castle premises, be sure to climb the tower too (it requires a separate ticket). From the top, you can admire some of the most beautiful views of Cesky Krumlov and beyond. You need to climb 162 steps to get to the top, but the panorama you will see is worth the effort.

The tower is one of the oldest parts of the castle, with some of its elements dating back to the 13th century. After the climb, you can also visit the Castle Museum (included in the ticket), with numerous artifacts that used to belong to the families owning the castle.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Visit the Baroque Theater

Another place in the Cesky Krumlov castle that you can’t miss (and that requires a separate ticket) is the Baroque Theater. This is the best-preserved place of this kind you can find in Europe, which makes it such a unique gem.

The first interest in the theater at the Cesky Krumlov castle dates back to the late 15th century, but the first scene was built here some two hundred years later. The theater we can admire today was created in the second half of the 18th century, when new decorations and machines appeared, including the unique mechanisms for changing the scenes.

See the Cloak Bridge

One of the most interesting features of the extensive Cesky Krumlov castle is the so-called Cloak Bridge, named after the fortifications that protected the premises. Originally, it dates back to the 15th century when the structure was wooden, but during the later renovations, it got its current look.

The Cloak Bridge connects different areas on different levels of the castle; you can get through it from the Masquerade Hall to the theater and from the Castle Gallery to the gardens. If you want to see the bridge from the inside, you can do it on the second sightseeing tour. You can also admire its distinctive shape and look from numerous places around the castle.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Visit Castle Gardens

A short walk from the castle, you can find the gardens, a delightful place perfect to relax after visiting the castle. They were established in the 17th century and are the largest part of the whole castle complex. The entire area is well-designed and cared for, creating a serene green oasis. The entrance to the Castle Gardens is free.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Find the best viewpoints

Cesky Krumlov is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Central Europe, and the highlights of the town are its viewpoints. There are many of them located all over the area, and each offers a unique vista of Cesky Krumlov and surrounding hills.

While the most popular viewpoints are in the center of the town (like Seminární zahrada) or from the castle, you can find a few good ones a bit further away, too. I accidentally stumbled across two good points on my way from the train station to the Old Town (here and here), and I saw many more marked in the maps.me app I used.

Admiring the town from above was one of my highlights of visiting Cesky Krumlov and I’m sure you will enjoy those views too!

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Wander around the Old Town

Once you are done exploring the castle area, your next stop in the Cesky Krumlov itinerary should be the Old Town. The charming maze of winding, cobbled lanes is perfect for wandering around and enjoying the charm of the medieval town that remained intact until this day.

Cesky Krumlov dates back to the 13th century and is one of the best-preserved settlements from that time, so you can easily move back in time when exploring the central part of the town. Many of the houses you will stumble across are beautifully decorated, being a testimony of the old times. The Old Town in Cesky Krumlov, together with the castle, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Wandering around the oldest part of the city is one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov. To enjoy it to the fullest, it’s best to do it either in the morning or late afternoon/evening, as most tourists visit Cesky Krumlov for one day only. With fewer people around, you can get a feel of the place, be more observant, and see all the hidden gems.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Visit St.Vitus Church

One of the most distinctive buildings in Cesky Krumlov that (together with the castle) you can find in most pictures from the town is St. Vitus Church, dominating the central part of the Old Town. It was built in the first half of the 15th century and is a perfect example of the late Gothic architecture of the region.

While the church is impressive from the outside, it’s worth stepping inside to see its interior, too, rich in decoration and with some amazing architectural features. St. Vitus Church is yet another valuable and important medieval landmark you can find in Cesky Krumlov.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Stop at the Main Square

When exploring the Old Town in Cesky Krumlov, it’s worth stopping for a little longer at the main square – Náměstí Svornosti. Up to this day, the square has its medieval look and is surrounded by beautiful Gothic and Renaissance houses. Each and every building here is of great historical value, so be sure to admire them all.

Right in the middle, you can find the Plague Column from the early 18th century, erected here as an appreciation for saving the town during the epidemic in 1680. The most impressive building at the square is the town hall, located at no.1 in the Renaissance structure from the early 17th century that is, in fact, made of two Gothic townhouses.

Náměstí Svornosti is lined with some cafes and restaurants; there are also plenty of benches to sit at, hence it’s a great place to stop at, relax a bit, and observe the world go by.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Visit Egon Schiele Art Centrum

Egon Schiele, the well-known Austrian Expressionist painter who lived and created in the early 20th century, had ties connecting him to Cesky Krumlov – his mother was born there. This is why in the Old Town you will find the Art Centrum dedicated to the artists, with an exhibition about his life and work.

Besides numerous artifacts from Schiele’s life, you will also see some of his notable works. There are also numerous temporary exhibitions of 20th-century and contemporary art, so if you enjoy this kind of creation, Egon Schiele Art Centrum is a must-visit place in Cesky Krumlov.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Visit museums

There are more interesting (and sometimes quirky) museums that you can visit during your trip to Cesky Krumlov. Some of the best ones include Museum Fotoatelier Seidel (focusing on the beginning of professional photography), the Regional Museum (with the history of Cesky Krumlov and its surroundings), or the Museum of Commerce.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

See monasteries complex

In the mid-14th century, monasteries of Minorites and Clare nuns were established in Cesky Krumlov, invited to the town by the current owners of the castle. The Minorites were present in the area until 1950, being a valuable addition to the town and its everyday life.

Today, the former monasteries complex is open to visitors who can relax in the attached pleasant garden or visit the museum dedicated to local monasteries and showing some beautiful sacral art in historical interiors.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Enjoy the Vltava River

One of the inherent elements of Cesky Krumlov’s scenery is the Vltava River, winding through the town. Since it’s just the beginning of the river, it’s pretty narrow and shallow here (unlike in Prague), perfect for some water activities. And there are many of them that you can enjoy in Cesky Krumlov.

The most popular one is rafting, but you can also try canoes, kayaks, or regular boat tours. There are different distances to cover and various options available, so everyone should find something for their experience and level of comfort.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Relax in the City Park

If you are tired of all the busy Cesky Krumlov sightseeing and want to relax in the green scenery that is not packed with people, City Park is a perfect place to do it. This little oasis is located on the banks of the Vltava River, across the St. Vitus Cathedral, and despite being right in the center, only a few people seem to get here. The area is pleasant, with lots of greenery and beautiful views across the river. You can also find here some nice structures, such as St. Martin Chapel or a pretty gazebo.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Enjoy local cafe scene

The Czech Republic has an excellent cafe scene; in every city and town, you can find some excellent places serving delicious coffee, and Cesky Krumlov is no different. I had a few stops during my sightseeing simply because the cafes I found around were so great.

As always, my greatest help with discovering new places was European Coffee Trip, a website featuring some of the best cafes around (it has never disappointed me during my travels).

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Try Czech food

Visiting Cesky Krumlov can be a good opportunity to try some local food. Since this is a popular tourist destination, you can find many restaurants serving Czech dishes.

Some of the typical local things to try are knedliky, svíčková na smetaně, vepřo knedlo zelo, or pečená kachna se zelím. Vegetarians should get smažený sýr (fried cheese), or česnečka (the garlic soup).

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Go for day trips

Cesky Krumlov can also be used as a base to explore the surrounding area, especially since there are some great destinations nearby, not only in the Czech Republic but also across the border in Austria and Germany. Here are the best places you can visit as day trips from Cesky Krumlov:

  • Ceske Budejovice (25 km) – home of Budweiser beer and a beautiful Central European town
  • Hluboká nad Vltavou (33 km) – known for the beautiful chateau, probably the most impressive one in the Czech Republic
  • Trebon (48km) – a picturesque town with a beautiful market square, a chateau, and more
  • Pisek (70 km) – known for the oldest stone bridge in the Czech Republic and a charming historical center
  • Tabor (85 km) – a perfect medieval town
  • Sumava National Park (55 km) – one of the largest protected forests in Central Europe
  • Linz, Austria (80 km) – the third largest city in Austria, known for the industrial past but with numerous historical sites and cultural spaces

While public transport works well here, it will not get you everywhere, so for some places it’s better to rent a car – you can do it here.

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Final thoughts of visiting Cesky Krumlov

To be honest, I regret not visiting Cesky Krumlov sooner. This town really lives up to the hype and is one of the most beautiful and charming towns in Central Europe.

When you plan your trip around the region, be sure to include Cesky Krumlov in your itinerary, even for a day. I’m sure you will not be disappointed and will enjoy the place as much as I did!

things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic

Travel Resources

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in the Czech Republic

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for the Czech Republic here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


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things to do in cesky krumlov czech republic


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