Czech Republic: the beautiful Cesky Krumlov

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By Jen

Why visit Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic?

Because it’s probably the most beautiful city in the whole country. UNESCO like it so much that they have listed 170 of the town centre buildings as worthy of special note. That’s practically the whole place.

View of cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov from the castle gardens.

They also sell excellent beer. But be warned, if it looks like 1.1% on the label that’s just a spec of dirt; it’ll be 11%!. The Eggenberg brewery is located in the town.

Cesky Krumlov
Looking down on the old town centre.

Cesky Krumlov has remained relatively untouched since the Middle Ages. It sits on the two banks of the Vltava river with the imposing 13th Century castle towering above.

A bear still guards the entrance to the castle. We only actually saw a duck in the enclosure below the entrance bridge; a very brave duck or a duck who has made friends with a bear.

The views of the medieval town from the castle walls are impressive. It’s the second biggest castle in the Czech Republic, after Hradcany Castle in Prague. The tower which was also started in the 13th Century is a beautiful piece of architecture. Inside is a bell dating from 1406.

Bell tower Cesky Krumlov
Bell tower in Cesky Krumlov

Further up the hill from the castle are the gardens and the revolving open-air theatre. It’s not the stage which revolved but the seating, to turn and face a new outdoor set. It now revolves automatically – it was first operated by 40 soldiers hiding beneath it.

Revolving auditorium in cesky Krumlov
The revolving auditorium in the castle garden.
Revolving Auditorium Cesky Krumlov
There’s now space for 600 people per performance.

TOP TIPS……. 1. The town can get very busy during the day with tourists. They generally come on day trips from Prague or over the border from Austria. But when we were there at the end of May, the place was really quiet early in the morning and in the evening, before and after the influx of tour buses. Definitely the best time to wander round.

Cesky Krumlov
Day trip tourists.
Cesky krumlov
Quiet streets on the evenings

2. If you are travelling by campervan, on the castle side of the river on the way out of town, there’s a parking area where you can stay overnight for 10 euros.

It’s an easy walk to the the castle and the town. There’s a gatesman until about 7 in the evening and it’s fairly quiet at night, although it fills up with buses during the day. GPS N48.81549 E14.30865 Follow signs to main bus parking.

3. There are lots of places to eat. These are a few of the ones we tried:

* Laibon, on the river, non castle side, there’s a sign at the top of the lane

This is a vegetarian restaurant with lovely views of the river and castle. The inside is vaulted. Good food, good beer, good view.

Restaurant cesky krumlov
Laibon Vegetarian Restaurant
Laibon Restaurant Cesky Krumlov
Food at the Laibon Restaurant.
Laibon restaurant cesky crumlov
Inside the Laibon

* Dwau Maryi (Two Marys), next door to Laibon

This places serves traditional medieval food like mead, buckwheat, millet and big platters of meat to share. It also has a lot of information on the menu about the traditional ingredients and herbs used, and what and when a typical medieval person would eat. Katie found it really interesting.

There are big chunky wooden tables outside overlooking the river and floodlit castle, or you can eat inside up the higgledy piggledy staircase. I think the place gets very busy in the summer but it was fine at the end of May.

Castle at night Cesky Krumlov
The floodlit castle at night.

* Na Louzi, Main Street (Kajovska 66)

This is my favourite. I’ve been a couple of times after having been taken there by a local friend a few years ago. Traditional food includes goulash, roast pork, and there are vegetarian options too. It’s a little place seating about 30 inside at 6 wooden tables.

Na Louzi restaurant Cesky Krumlov
The outside of the Na Louzi Restaurant
Na Louzi Restaurant, Cesky Krumlov
Na Louzi restaurant.

* Hotel Zlaty Andel, just along the same street from Na Louzi

Again this place was recommended by a local friend. It’s a lot bigger than Na Louzi and it has wifi and friendly staff. Inside there’s a little electric train which chugs round the bar suspended from the ceiling. There are chairs outside where you need to get you picture taken too. The traditional blueberry pancake desert here is nice.

Zlaty Andel Cesky Krumlov
Zlaty Andel restaurant and hotel
Zlaty Andel Restaurant Cesky Krumlov
Chairs at the entrance to Zlaty Andel restaurant

Or if you fancy a little snack, try a trdelnik, a flaky pastry cake with various flavours.  They are sold in open fronted shops around town.

Trdelnik stand Cesky Krumlov
Trdelnik stand

4. Check on the internet whether there might be a summer performance on the revolving auditorium. Even not in motion, it’s an impressive and unique outdoor venue.

5. Most places take euro and Koruna, so you don’t really need to convert money unless you are staying for a while in the Czech Republic.

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