If the fairies ever chose to live on Earth, it would be ‘CESKY KRUMLOV’. This Bohemian beauty blew me away. So what if we can’t be there physically, we can always do an arm-chair travel. Here is everything that you would love to know about it. The memories are absolutely fresh in my mind as I had visited the gorgeous town in August 2019.
I thought such ethereal places only existed in dreams, until I visited this overwhelmingly gorgeous and heartwarming town in Czech Republic. Into the jewel of Bohemia, it felt as if a fairy tale book had come alive and I was one of the protagonists exploring its towering castle, intimate countryside and picturesque houses along the winding river. Here, I pencil out seven of my experiences in this historically pristine, romantic and vibrant place.
This was part of my 50 days trip to Europe. I covered 7 countries and 15 cities. Other stories from this long Euro Trip are- Art Tour in Berlin, Street art in Hamburg, Girls Trip in Giethoorn, One day in Gent, Magnificent Malta
The Crown Castle of CESKY KRUMLOV
Five minutes into this dainty town, I found myself making my way towards its most daring and intriguing structure. Overlooking the Vltava River, Český Krumlov Castle dominates the skyline of Cesky and is the second largest in the Czech Republic after Prague Castle. Founded by the Lords of Krumlov around 1240, the architecture of the building glorifies three major styles of its times- Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. While the arched cloak bridge, open-air courtyards and the sprawling gardens are accessible without any fee, guided tour is the only way to get a peek into the lives and collectibles of its ruling families, Rosenberg, Eggenberg and Schwarzenberg. The castle has preserved the Renaissance mural paintings very well and I loved the gorgeous Neptune Fountain in the garden. Don’t miss the one-of-its-kinds, Baroque Theater, here.
The 360° view from the Castle Tower
After indulging in the legendary vibes and making the most of the awe-inspiring views from the castle, I visited the museum and the castle tower. Built to guard the medieval river crossing, the iconic tower is touted as the most famous symbol of Český Krumlov. The architecture enthusiast in me was impressed with its Gothic core and Renaissance elements. The museum was average but the climb to the top of the tower was worth the jostle along the stairs. The 360 degree views from the top were like a painting on canvas. Intertwined like bosom buddies, the town and the Vltava River made for a pastoral poetry. The lush green mountains in the surroundings, multi-hued houses, carrot-colored rooftops and tiny bridges connecting the sides of the river made the town ineffable.
Walking through its picturesque streets
Český Krumlov inspires to walk and takeaway a unique perspective of the medieval city centre and its age-old monuments. Hugged by the gorgeous Vltava River, the street fronts are ruled by orange colored houses, cozy cafes and souvenir shops. At every turn, there is a story, waiting to be discovered and almost every building tells a tale through its artistic impressions. Svornosti Square is the heartbeat of the little town and is unmissable. Most of the museums and colourful houses thrive here. The different architectural styles of the buildings remind us of the fact Cesky Krumlov boasts of over 300 protected buildings and structures. The town was named one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1992. I also loved the fact that it was so small that I could manage to cover every nook and cranny of it on foot. There was no fear of missing out on anything.
Floating along the Vltava River and enjoying the riverside views
With all the laughter and cheer coming from the riverside, it was easy to conclude that boating on the Vltava River is a popular and beautiful experience in this medieval hamlet. It is always a great idea to relax and enjoy the views of bucolic countryside and cultural monuments from water’s surface. Pastel-coloured Renaissance buildings, bars and restaurants will greet your along the banks. One can rent a raft in Cesky, not only by the day but also at night.
Eating the traditional Czech food
After the stroll and the water activities, I stopped to take a break in one of the cafes by the riverside. Savoring local food is my way of becoming a part of the cultural & historical significance of a place. Czech deliciousness is dominated by meat, pancakes, potato soup, breads, dumplings and sweet bites. Pork ribs were a favorite on the menu, around the town. I went for Potato Goulash with bread dumplings. Trdelnik or a chimney cake is one of the yummiest treats here. No one misses to taste a Czech beer.
Visiting the Museums and Brewery
Since outdoors are so calming and photogenic in Cesky, you really don’t feel like going indoors. But if you are a museum person like me, the Regional museum is a great place to begin and acquaint oneself with the history of the place, from archeology to dress to current events, from pre-historic times to the present. The Museum of torture is also one of its kinds. Imagine looking at tools which were used to torture another human being. I wondered what makes mankind so evil. You can also sign up for a brewery tour in Cesky. It is interesting and insightful.
Picking up Souvenirs
I prefer picking specialty gifts from locally owned businesses. In Cesky Krumlov, there are many souvenir shops selling fridge magnets, postcards, earrings, t-shirts, handcrafted wooden toys and puppets (loutky). Some of the antique shops are very pretty and fit in well in the town’s history. Buying souvenirs is also a great way to strike a conversation with shop-owners and ask them about local stories. The artists are very creative and you will find some lovely painting shops too. During the winter season, the Christmas Markets are much loved here.
WHAT DOES THE NAME MEAN?
Cesky what? I was intrigued and I looked for the meaning.
Krumlov means ‘crooked meadow’ while Český simply means Czech (or Bohemian). Bohemian isn’t just a style, it’s a heritage. An area existed as Kingdom of Bohemia.
HOW TO REACH?
This is one of the best pit stops from Vienna to Prague or either way. There is a direct train from Prague to Český Krumlov and the most inexpensive way is to go by bus. There are many day tours to Český Krumlov from Salzburg, Vienna, or Prague.
WHAT TO SEE?
The place is particularly known for retaining its medieval character for five centuries. Don’t miss to walk around the medieval village and soak in its architectural gems. The Vltava River, Gothic castle, Church St. Vitus, the Baroque theater are the gems of this place.
The Czech Koruna is the currency of Czechia.
Do tell me if you have been here and how did you like it?