Cesky Krumlov: 20 Best Things to Do and See

Growing up in South Bohemia, Cesky Krumlov (Český Krumlov) has been a part of my life since childhood. Yet, each visit brings new surprises and discoveries. This enchanting town, attracting over two million visitors yearly, holds a special place in the hearts of Czechs and international travelers alike.

Cesky Krumlov is a hub of cultural festivities, offering a diverse range of music, a unique revolving theatre, and endless activities. Keep reading to learn the best times to visit, where to stay, and the must-see attractions and experiences in Cesky Krumlov.

Cesky Krumlov: 20 Best Things to Do and See
Český Krumlov: Castle.

Best Time to Visit Cesky Krumlov

Your ideal time to explore Cesky Krumlov depends on what you’re looking to experience. If a tour of the famous chateau is on your list, plan your visit outside of January through March, as the chateau closes its doors during these months. For this, spring or fall are your best bets.

Summer, however, is when Cesky Krumlov truly comes to life. The city buzzes with an array of musical and theatrical shows, alongside various other events, drawing the most visitors. Plus, summer weather is the most reliable—spring and autumn in the Czech Republic can be unpredictable.

Český Krumlov: Castle. Things to see and do in Český Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov

The atmosphere in Cesky Krumlov is magical, especially during Christmas. Even though there are fewer tourists, the town transforms with beautifully decorated houses, making it feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.

If you’ve visited the castle before and are looking for budget-friendly accommodation and fewer crowds, consider January or February. These months are our favorite time to visit Cesky Krumlov. Just find a sunny day, and you’re set for an amazing long weekend.

How to Get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague

To reach the enchanting town of Cesky Krumlov from Prague, the most convenient option is to take a comfortable bus ride, you can book your trip through GetYourGuide. It’s important to note that renting a car for this trip is not the best choice, primarily due to the relatively high parking costs and the likelihood of parking spaces being occupied, especially during peak tourist seasons.

If you want to rent a car anyway, use Rental Cars, it is the best place to find car rentals.

For travelers seeking a seamless experience, I recommend using GetYourGuide, a reliable platform that provides various tour and transportation options. Get Your Guide offers a range of day trips from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, ensuring that you have a well-organized and stress-free excursion. With transportation included, you can focus on enjoying the captivating beauty and rich history of Cesky Krumlov without the worries of parking and navigation.

Best Hotels in Cesky Krumlov: Where to Stay

If you’re traveling with dogs, we highly recommend staying at the Krumlovská pohádka, where we stayed during our last visit. It’s a gorgeous hotel right in the heart of the town, offering delicious breakfasts, friendly staff, and most importantly, it’s dog-friendly.

For those without pets, you’ll find a wider range of options. For instance, the Pension Adalbert hotel boasts castle views and ranks among the top-rated hotels in Cesky Krumlov.

Tip for the best accommodation in Český Krumlov: Krumlovský mlýn
Best Hotel in Cesky Krumlov: Mill Apartments

For a unique stay in Cesky Krumlov, consider the Mill Apartments. These sought-after accommodations often sell out quickly, so it’s wise to book well ahead of time, even months in advance, to secure your spot.

20 Best Things to Do and See in Cesky Krumlov: Top Attractions

Cesky Krumlov offers much more than just a castle and bears, contrary to what some visitors might think. You could spend several days here and still not experience everything. Here are the top recommendations for things to see and do in Cesky Krumlov. Hope you will enjoy our list of top attractions in Cesky Krumlov.

Things to do in Český Krumlov
What to do in Český Krumlov: go to the castle

Castle Cesky Krumlov

No trip to Cesky Krumlov would be complete without visiting its castle. Even if you visit during the off-season when indoor tours are not possible, make sure to explore the castle grounds. From here, you can capture stunning views of Cesky Krumlov.

The castle features six different tours. Visitors between January and March should note that only the castle museum and tower are open, except on Mondays when they’re closed. Keep in mind, tours begin early in the morning, so plan to start your day early.

Castle Český Krumlov
State Castle and Chateau Český Krumlov

The castle in Cesky Krumlov, now the second largest castle and chateau complex in Bohemia, was likely established in the early half of the 13th century. The earliest documented reference to the castle is from 1253, marking it as the residence of the noble Vítek from the Vítkov family.

After the Vítkov lineage of the Krumlov family died out in 1302, the castle came under the Rožmberk family’s control, who initiated a significant Renaissance makeover led by William of Rožmberk. Following the demise of the Rožmberk lineage, the castle was acquired by Emperor Rudolf II, and it eventually became the property of the Eggenbergs. The Eggenberg era saw Baroque renovations, including the establishment of the castle gardens and the creation of the first wooden theatre.

View of Český Krumlov from the castle
View of Český Krumlov from the castle

In 1719, the castle was inherited by the Schwarzenbergs, who introduced additional renovations in the Viennese Baroque style. However, during the latter half of the 18th century and particularly in the 19th century, the castle experienced a period of artistic and economic decline, losing its status as the primary residence of the family.

In 1947, the chateau, along with other properties owned by the Schwarzenbergs, was transferred to the state and later declared a national cultural monument. By 1992, the entire historical complex earned a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List, marking its global significance and preserving its legacy for future generations.

Castle Český KrumlovPractical information
Opening hoursFrom January to the end of March, only the Castle Museum and the Castle Tower are open for visits. For the rest of the year, additional tours are available.
For other months I recommend visiting the official website of the castle
AdmissionAdults: 130 – 190 CZK, Family admission: 510 CZK
Sightseeing tours6 different circuits, details on the official website

Bear Moat and Bears in Cesky Krumlov

Bears have been a part of Cesky Krumlov since the 16th century during the Rosenberg era. Since 1707, they have been a feature of the castle’s moat. Presently, there are four bears residing there: the older bears, Vok and Kateřina, along with their cubs, Daxi and Hubert, all under the care of bear keeper Jan Černý.

Bears in Český Krumlov
Bears in Český Krumlov

Monasteries in Cesky Krumlov

The monasteries in Cesky Krumlov are stunning examples of architectural beauty, and the renowned Czech Krumlov Madonna originated from here. Though the original has been sold to Vienna, leaving only a replica behind, a visit is still highly recommended – you won’t be disappointed!

Founded in the mid-14th century by Catherine of Rožmberk and her four sons, these monasteries emerged as significant hubs for religious and cultural activities. Over the centuries, they have experienced various significant phases of construction, featuring Gothic enhancements and Baroque refurbishments.

What to see in Český Krumlov: Monasteries in Český Krumlov
What to see in Český Krumlov: Monasteries

The convent of the Poor Clares met its end in 1782 due to the Josephine reforms, and the Minorite convent was dissolved in 1950, marking 600 years since its establishment.

Today, these monasteries stand as the most architecturally intact monastery complex in the Czech Republic, continuing to play a vital role in the Cesky Krumlov community. The entire complex is now under the stewardship of the town of Cesky Krumlov and the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, who are responsible for its upkeep and the variety of programs it hosts.

3+ Galleries in Cesky Krumlov

3+ galleries is a family favorite in Cesky Krumlov, renowned for its rich collection of children’s book illustrations. This collection, acquired from Otakar Božejovský von Rawennoff, a co-founder of the Swiss publishing house Bohem Press, includes nearly 600 original pieces by 30 artists from 16 countries, showcasing works from the late 20th century up to the early 21st century.

The gallery’s exhibitions are often curated around themes or dedicated to the work of a particular artist, making it a hub of artistic exploration. It features interactive exhibitions that invite visitors into worlds of creativity: from experiencing the ancient art of letterpress printing, learning in the Scriptorium as a scribe, discovering the healing properties of herbs, to experimenting in the Alchemical Laboratory.

Additionally, hands-on craft workshops allow guests to work with various materials and techniques, offering a unique insight into the artistic process. This engaging environment makes it a top pick for what to do and see in Cesky Krumlov, especially for families looking to immerse themselves in art and creativity.

Blacksmith's shop in the Craft Alley
Blacksmith’s shop in the Craft Alley

Craft Alley (Řemeslná ulička)

Right next to the 3+ Gallery, you’ll stumble upon the Héfaistos Art Forge, home to a real blacksmith where you can purchase unique, handmade runes or pendants. We picked up a bell meant for Baby Jesus (we don’t have Santa Claus) here. 😁 With a little one on the way, we’re excited to have something special to ring during Christmas when Baby Jesus makes his rounds.

Craft Alley doesn’t stop there—it also boasts glassblowing artisans and leather craftsmen, offering a peek into traditional skills and the opportunity to find one-of-a-kind treasures. This spot is a must-visit for those exploring what to do and see in Cesky Krumlov, especially for those looking to take a piece of the town’s artisan culture home.

Lazebnický most – Lazebnicky Bridge in Cesky Krumlov

Lazebnický most serves as a vital link between the Latrán area and the Old Town, with its current design dating back to the 1930s of the 19th century. This bridge stands on two stone abutments and a central pillar that supports the steel girders above. These girders are then topped with a wooden covering, lending the bridge its distinctive look.

What to see in Český Krumlov: the Lazebnický Bridge
What to see in Český Krumlov: the Lazebnický Bridge

Before the construction of the current structure, there was a footbridge in the same location, which was destroyed in 1830. Over time, the Lazebnický Bridge has seen multiple renovations to both accommodate technical advancements and maintain its historical essence.

The bridge gets its name from the nearby “lazebny,” situated in the outermost house on the left bank of the Vltava River. Historically, this place was recognized for its “free manners,” adding a unique cultural context to the bridge’s significance in the area.

Take a Walk Around Latran

Latrán is arguably the most picturesque area of Cesky Krumlov. Nestled on the left bank of the Vltava River, right beneath the castle, it once stood as a distinct town before merging into Cesky Krumlov. The name “Latrán” comes from the Latin word “latus,” meaning “side,” which aptly describes its location near the castle.

In Latrán, you’ll discover a wealth of significant historical buildings, including the notable Budweis Gate. This district’s rich history and stunning architecture make it a must-visit for anyone exploring the beauty and heritage of Cesky Krumlov.

A walk around Český Krumlov: Latrán
A walk around Český Krumlov: Latrán

Budweis Get (Budějovická brána) in Cesky Krumlov

As you wander through the historic heart of Cesky Krumlov, make sure to visit the Budweis Gate (Budějovická brána).

Constructed from 1598 to 1602, this gate is the sole survivor among the nine original city entrances. Its most striking features are the captivating fresco adorning its facade and the exquisite sundial, both of which are sure to catch your eye.

Budějovice Gate in Český Krumlov
Budějovice Gate in Český Krumlov

Museum of Trade

The Museum of Trade is a haven for retro and vintage enthusiasts. Don’t miss the museum shop, where you’ll discover a treasure trove of items and advertisements from the previous century. It’s also a great place to pick up unique and unconventional souvenirs. The best part? Entry is free, and while the operator hopes you’ll make a purchase, there’s no pressure to do so. Enjoy your visit!

Things to do in Cesky Krumlov: Visit the Museum of Commerce
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov: Visit the Museum of Commerce

Josef Seidel Photo Stuido

Our favorite stop was Josef Seidel’s studio, a delightful place where you can delve into the art of vintage photography. Not only can you learn about the techniques of old-time photography, but you can also have your very own period photograph taken. Keep in mind that it’s essential to schedule an appointment in advance.

Things to do in Cesky Krumlov: Visit Josef Seidel's Studio
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov: Visit Josef Seidel’s Studio

This studio, now transformed into a museum, was established by the renowned Šumava (Czech Mountains in South Bohemia) photographer Josef Seidel and his son František. Originally, this house was solely dedicated to the studio’s operations, with the family residing in the neighboring house.

Today, the house retains the same furnishings as when the photographer’s family both lived and worked there, offering a glimpse into their life and artistry.

Things to do in Cesky Krumlov: Visit Josef Seidel's Studio
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov: Have your period photo taken

The Seidel Photo Studio Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Egon Schiele Art Museum

The Egon Schiele Museum enjoys far more popularity than the Josef Seidel Studio. When planning a visit, it’s important to note that you’ll encounter reproductions rather than original works. Nevertheless, the museum offers valuable insights into Egon Schiele’s life and artistic journey. For art enthusiasts, it’s an absolute must-visit destination, providing a rich understanding of this iconic artist.

Church of St. Vitus in Český Krumlov

he history of the church on this site dates back to its founding in 1309. The most significant transformation, which shaped the church’s current look, occurred between 1407 and 1439 under the patronage of the Rosenbergs, particularly Henry III of Rosenberg.

Inside the church, you’ll be captivated by its remarkable vaulted ceilings and 15th-century frescoes, though some elements were removed during a 19th-century neo-Gothic renovation. Today, the Church of St. serves as a place for religious ceremonies and occasionally hosts classical music concerts, preserving its cultural and historical significance for both worship and the arts.

Church of St. Vitus in Český Krumlov
Church of St. Vitus in Český Krumlov

Chapel featuring Calvary on Linecká Street

A truly charming structure that drew our gaze is the Chapel featuring the Calvary sculpture on Linecká Street. It’s conveniently located right beside the cozy Ideal café and the photography studio of Josef Seidel, creating a picturesque corner of exploration in Cesky Krumlov.

Chapel with a sculpture of Calvary in Linecká Street
Chapel with a sculpture of Calvary in Linecká Street

City Park Cesky Krumlov

For a serene daytime retreat, make your way to the delightful city park. Here, you can bask in the beauty of Cesky Krumlov while taking in scenic vistas of the city. The park also houses the Memorial to the Struggle and Victory over Fascism, along with the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Memorial, offering a peaceful and historically significant setting for relaxation.

Memorial in Český Krumlov City Park

Seminary Garden

If you’re seeking a breathtaking viewpoint in Cesky Krumlov, don’t miss the Seminary Garden. It’s one of the city’s most beloved spots, providing a panoramic vista of the magnificent castle.

Seminary garden - a tip for a beautiful view in Český Krumlov

Mirror Labyrinth in Cesky Krumlov

What to do in Cesky Krumlov with kids? Consider a visit to the Czech Republic’s largest mirror labyrinth, a world of endless corridors and optical illusions. This mirror maze ranks among the largest in Europe, boasting around 90 mirrors. Additionally, there’s a smaller but equally unique crystal maze crafted from clear glass. You’ll find this captivating mirror labyrinth on Široká Street in Cesky Krumlov, promising hours of family fun and excitement.

Wax Museum in Cesky Krumlov

Another intriguing attraction that appeals to both adults and children is the Wax Museum in Cesky Krumlov. While some may have varying opinions on this type of entertainment, it’s an experience worth having at least once in a lifetime. 🤭

Within the museum, you’ll encounter famous Czech figures like T. G. Masaryk, E. Beneš, and V. Havel, alongside globally renowned personalities such as Picasso, Dali, and Einstein. It’s a chance to get up close to these iconic individuals, making it a unique and memorable visit in Cesky Krumlov.

Rotating Auditorium in Cesky Krumlov

The theater in Cesky Krumlov draws visitors from all across the Czech Republic who come to experience the unique revolving auditorium, even though it has been a topic of controversy. Originally, the turntable could accommodate only 60 spectators, but in 1994, it was replaced with a more advanced auditorium from Škoda Plzeň, capable of hosting 644 audience members.

What makes this auditorium special is its picturesque setting within the castle’s forest park, providing a stunning backdrop for theatrical performances. It accommodates a diverse range of productions, from classic Czech fairy tales to Shakespearean dramas, operas, and ballets.

During the season, which spans from June to September, around eighty performances take place here, attracting up to 55,000 spectators. Despite its popularity, the auditorium’s location in the castle garden has sparked long-standing debates and criticisms. UNESCO has expressed concerns about its impact on the historic castle park environment and recommended its relocation.

In 1992, there were promises to remove it, but this didn’t happen, leading to fears that Český Krumlov might be removed from the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Graphite Mine Cesky Krumlov

For those seeking an adrenaline rush or have adventurous kids in tow, consider a trip to the youngest graphite mine in the Czech Republic, established in 1975.

We strongly advise reserving tickets in advance for a designated time slot since, like everything in Cesky Krumlov, this attraction tends to get quite crowded. The mine maintains a temperature of around 10 degrees, and be prepared for a descent, so dress accordingly. Upon arrival, you’ll be provided with boots, a helmet, and a flashlight. For an added thrill, you can even take a ride on the mine train. This excursion promises an exciting underground adventure for all ages!

Graphite mine in Český Krumlov
Graphite mine in Český Krumlov

Via Ferrata Ravenna

If you’re craving an adrenaline rush in Cesky Krumlov, don’t miss the Havranka Ferrata. This thrilling adventure is set against the stunning backdrop of the Havraní skála rock formation on the right bank of the Vltava River, just a short stroll from the city center.

At the moment, you can take on the first ferrata route, rated as C in difficulty, and the second route, rated as B. Keep an eye out for upcoming routes, as more exciting challenges are in the works. It’s a fantastic way to add an extra dose of adventure to your Cesky Krumlov experience!

Via Ferrata in Český Krumlov
Via Ferrata in Český Krumlov

Best Restaurants and Cafes in Cesky Krumlov

In the past, Český Krumlov was infamous for its subpar food at exorbitant prices. While prices have now leveled with Prague, the restaurant quality hasn’t seen a significant improvement. Thankfully, the café scene is a different story. 😁

Tips for the Best Cafes in Cesky Krumlov

When it comes to the best cafés in Český Krumlov, they are a much safer bet than restaurants. If you’re content with the food they serve, I highly recommend dining at these cafés. 😁 Even if they primarily offer breakfast or desserts, the quality is on a whole different level compared to the restaurants. Enjoy your culinary adventures in Český Krumlov!

the best Kolektiv café in Český Krumlov
Kolektiv café in Český Krumlov

Best Restaurants in Cesky Krumlov

Finding good and affordable restaurants in Cesky Krumlov can be a bit challenging. In the past, the Travellers restaurant in the hostel used to serve excellent food at great prices.

For vegetarians, a top choice would be the Laibon restaurant, offering homely dishes with simple flavors. While it may not offer an extensive range of flavors, the food is satisfying, and the service has a quirky yet friendly charm.

If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, consider trying My Saigon. While it might not be exceptional, it still ranks among the better dining options in Český Krumlov.

Feel free to share your dining recommendations in the comments!

Best Trips around Cesky Krumlov

If you plan to spend more days in Český Krumlov, it would be a shame not to visit other places nearby.

Granátník Lokout Tower

Just a short distance from Cesky Krumlov lies the unassuming Granátník lookout tower. The journey from the parking area typically takes around an hour and ten minutes, so it’s advisable to allocate at least 2.5-3 hours for the entire excursion. It’s a delightful stroll, perfect for stretching your legs, enjoying the fresh air, and immersing yourself in the beauty of the local natural surroundings.

Hluboká Chateau

This picturesque Chateau is open year-round and stands as a Czech architectural treasure, drawing inspiration from English Gothic and the illustrious Windsor Castle.

Tip for a trip from Český Krumlov: Hluboká Castle
Tip for a trip from Český Krumlov: Hluboká Castle

České Budějovice

In the Czech language, there’s a saying that goes, “Everyone wants to live in České Budějovice.” While I may not entirely agree, I must admit that České Budějovice is undeniably beautiful and well worth a visit, particularly its charming city center.

Everyone would like to live in České Budějovice

The town was established in 1265 under the reign of Czech king Přemysl Otakar II. Its origins can be traced back to the original settlement of Budivojovice, named after Budivoj of Železnice, a noble associated with King Přemysl Otakar I.

In České Budějovice, you’ll encounter some notable attractions. These include the largest fountain in the Czech Republic, known as Samson’s Fountain, and the largest fresco depicting St. Christopher, located in the monastery church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary.

Other historic landmarks in the town encompass the church of St. Procopius and St. John the Baptist, dating back to the early 13th century, and the Black Tower. The Black Tower, constructed as a watchtower between 1549 and 1577, stands as the city’s tallest building, soaring to a height of 72.29 meters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do with children in Český Krumlov?

Take them to Gallery 3+, the Mirror Labyrinth or the Wax Museum. Book a photo experience in Josef Seidel’s studio or a tour of the Graphite Mine.

What to do in Český Krumlov when it rains?

If it’s raining, take a tour of the castle, explore museums like Josef Seidel’s studio or Gallery 3+. Take a look inside the monasteries or head to the Mirror Labyrinth.

How many tourists visit Český Krumlov every year?

More than 2 million tourists visit Český Krumlov every year.

What is Český Krumlov famous for?

Český Krumlov is famous for its bears, castle and beautiful historical centre.

What to do in Cesky Krumlov in one day?

In a single day, you can explore the castle, bear moat, monasteries, and take a leisurely stroll through the town. Cesky Krumlov offers a wealth of attractions that can be enjoyed in just one full day!

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