Just 3 hours south of Prague sits a magical little town nicknamed the Jewel of Bohemia. Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s a not to miss day trip from Prague if you have the time.
This was one of the destinations I was most excited about when planning our trip. When our bus arrived into Cesky Krumlov at 11pm, I couldn’t wait for morning to finally see it with my own eyes.
Tips for Visiting Cesky Krumlov
Stay the Night
Most people visit Cesky Krumlov as a day trip from Prague. While you can definitely do it this way, I recommend staying at least one night. It gets crowded with day trippers from about 10am-6pm, and it starts to feel a little like Disneyland. Being there in the early morning and late afternoon gives you a chance to have the town to yourself. It really is magical walking along these fairytale streets alone.
There are tons of penzions (guest houses) within the city center, as well as right outside. Before getting here, I was nervous to stay outside because I wasn’t sure how far away we’d be. I booked a guesthouse on the outskirts and we ended up being only a 2 minute walk away.
Rooms within the center are significantly more expensive so save money by booking a guesthouse right outside the center limits. We stayed at Penzion Landauer which was perfect for us. It was clean, inexpensive and close to everything.
It’s Smaller than you Think
I was worried that one full day (+ two nights) wouldn’t be enough time, but Cesky Krumlov was a lot smaller than I expected. We spent the morning winding our way through it’s narrow streets, getting lost and eating trdelniks. After about an hour and a half, we had successfully seen the entire town.
With not much distance to cover, you can relax and take it all in without rushing.
Be Prepared to Climb
There are a lot of hills in Cesky Krumlov, so wear comfortable shoes. Inclines and declines are sprinkled throughout the town and if you want to go to the castle (which you should because you’ll get the best view), be prepared to climb. It’s not a very difficult walk, but some parts do get steep.
My “Apple Health” app clocked me in climbing 32 flights of stairs when I was in Cesky Krumlov.
If you choose to go up the Castle Tower, there are 162 steps to the top.
Have a Beer Overlooking the Best View of the City
Just like in Prague, I spent the day seeking out the best views of Cesky Krumlov. The best panorama I found was from a viewing platform near the castle.
As an added bonus they have a little outdoor concession stand with cold drinks and beer; and surprisingly the beer was the cheapest we found in Cesky Krumlov. We ventured up here in the afternoon to watch the sunset, and it was perfect.
Related Post: 6 Places to Go for the Best Views of Prague
Bring a Bathing Suit (Summer)
Nothing that I read prior to visiting Cesky Krumlov mentioned rafting but we wished we would’ve known about this popular option. As you walk through the town, you’ll see dozens of people floating down the Vltava River. Just about everyone had a beer in hand and looked to be having an awesome time.
We inquired about renting a raft but it was too late in the day and apparently, you get pretty wet. They do have dry buckets on board for your belongings.
The most popular rafting option is to take a short 30min-2 hour trip around the city center. They also had half day and full day adventures which take you to Rožmberk or Boršov. When we were driving to Austria on our way out of Cesky Krumlov, the scenery was breathtaking. When I wind up back to this part of the world, I’m definitely going to plan a day of rafting through it.
For More Information on Rafting in Cesky Krumlov: Malecek Rentals
Things Close Early
Between 5-6pm we noticed that all the stores and food stands began closing up shop. This must be when the tour busses head back to Prague.
At 5pm we were actually in line for a trdelnik and the girl refused to sell us one because it was time for her to go home. All of the restaurants in Cesky Krumlov stayed open into the night and they were busy as there wasn’t much else open once it got dark.
How to Get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
If you don’t have a car, the quickest and easiest way to get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is by bus. We went with a company called Student Agency because they were cheap and had the most departure times. It was $8 per person, one way. Prices vary slightly depending on what time you leave and where you depart from.
It takes 3 hours to get from Prauge to Cesky Krumlov and the bus drops you off close to the city center. It was only a 8-10 minute walk to our penzion.
The Student Agency bus was fantastic. There were televisions on the back of the seat and complimentary hot drinks. Free wifi was available on board, there was 1 outlet per 2 seats for charging electronics.
Important: If you are heading to Cesky Krumlov during peak season or on a weekend, make sure to have a reservation. We missed our first bus and almost were stuck in Prague for another night as all of the other busses were not only full, but had waiting lists. Luckily, we were able to get a spot on the last bus leaving Prague at 9pm.
Taking the train from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is a little bit more work. There are no direct train routes so you will have to get off in Cesky Budejovice (2.5-3 hours) and then board a separate train to Cesky Krumlov (45 min).
There are multiple shuttle companies traveling from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. Most have several departures times per day. I have previous experience with Bean Shuttle and would recommend them. Prices are 800CZK ($33) per person and they drop you off at your hotel.