Are you looking for one of the largest castles in Europe, a charming town straight out of a storybook and an affordable escape into a medieval fantasy?
You need to make your way to Cesky Krumluv!
Besides the more well known cities of Prague, Vienna and Budapest, you need to add Cesky Krumlov to your must see list of unreal towns when you head to Central Europe next.
Cesky Krumlov (pronounced seh·skee kroom·luhv) is a stunning town in an underrated region. Both the town and region deserve more attention, especially if you are looking for an affordable European vacation.
Not only is this entire region relatively affordable compared to cities like Paris, Rome and London, the cities here are comparable to places such as, well, Paris, Rome and London. From the unbelievable architecture to the history, this often overlooked part of Europe offers high end food, cocktails and fashion as well.
Once one of the beating hearts of European culture, decades of poor management and governments associated with the USSR tarnished the once sterling reputation of Europe’s central nervous system. Many casual travelers in the USA do not think of it when considering a trip abroad, but they should. In addition to London, Paris and Rome we need to be thinking Prague, Vienna and Budapest, and all the places in between!
Plus if you like cheap beer and endless cuts of meat, this region is calling you.
Recommendations and Things To Do
Since this was our second time to the Czech Republic we decided to spend some time in a smaller town to get a feel for a different side of things.
Cesky Krumlov is probably the second most well known place in Czechia, outside of the magnificent city of Prague. In fact Cesky Krumlov can simply be a day trip from Prague if you’d like.
However there is easily enough to do for two nights, especially if you split the days into a “Castle day” and “Town Day” but I can also see this easily done as a day trip.
We stayed an extra night because we arrived late and wanted to see everything, plus we love having small villages to ourselves. By this time of year there were few tourists. The weather was definitely getting colder too, with nights dipping down into the 30’s.
Jamie and I really like spending nights in the smaller towns, whether they be off the beaten path or well known and touristy. It just feels like a fairytale to be in a cozy village where it seems like a different era outside.
The town is laid out along an “S” curved river with a castle complex overlooking it. Unfortunately the entire town has a Disney, non-organic feel to it from being a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. This lends itself to a somewhat surreal and rather eerie feeling at times. The paintings are too perfectly preserved, the buildings too perfectly constructed.
The perfectly preserved streets of Cesky Krumlov
We stayed in a cute hostel, called Hostel Postel which we ended up having to ourselves since no one else was there at the time! I made tea while Jamie researched.
We had a nice clean bedroom and a shared bathroom, which was never a problem the entire trip. In fact our hostel experiences were lovely! Albeit we stayed in private rooms, many hostels felt more like small boutique hotels than anything else.
One of the great things about booking a room in Cesky Krumlov is that the town is laid out on a medieval scale meaning everything in the historical core is within walking distance. We stayed just across the river and had to walk only a few minutes past little red roofs and across a cute bridge to get to the center of town with its medieval buildings and painted walls.
The Castle is probably the main thing to do here, but be aware that it is closed for several months out of the year. We did not get a chance to go inside but we still got to see the outside view from the ramparts overlooking the city itself.
Cesky Krumlov had surprisingly good food. We enjoyed a fantastic macaroon place, good for dessert and a glass of wine.
We also had one of the best hot chocolates of the trip, memorably delicious from Bon Bon. It was true melted chocolate, not a powdery dry drink.
At night we went to grab cocktails at a small bar called Apotheka. They served fantastic drinks with winter inspirations. We had wonderful service, here, Jamie and I practically had a personal waitress to pour refills and serve our drinks.
In addition to places to eat and drink, simply walking through the streets of this tiny town will quench your thirst for medieval architecture and charming churches. There are many small shops and places to stop in. You can also stroll along the river and across the several bridges that cross it to add to the charm.
Photos of Cesky Krumlov
I can go on about Cesky Krumlov’s allure and grace, the fact that the serpentine river reflects every perfectly preserved building beautifully. But I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Jamie and I can’t believe the journey we’ve been through, the sites the sounds the sensations. From here we journey to Bratislava then on to Budapest, a city we came to absolutely adore and hope you will as well. Both of us just love this entire region.
Hope you are all having a marvelous time in the new year, see you soon!
Jamie & Austin
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We would love to hear from you, have you ever been to Cesky Krumlov? What underrated towns are we missing in Bohemia? Comment below!