9 Things to do in Ceske Budejovice Itinerary

9 Things to do in Ceske Budejovice Itinerary

black tower from old town square ceske budejovice

The Czech Republic is one of our favourite places to visit, and during our time spent here, we discovered the tiny yet wonderful city of České Budějovice, also known as Budweis.

Most people travelling to Czech Republic will easily overlook this capital of South Bohemia region for larger or more popular spots like Prague or nearby Cesky Krumlov, but not you. 

You are in the perfect place to learn more about this hidden gem and the things to do in Ceske Budejovice!

Learn about Ceske Budejovice first

How about a wager? We bet you have never heard of Ceske Budejovice before, but came across this name while researching for its neighbour Cesky Krumlov. 

As the capital of South Bohemia, it is an important transport hub and commercial center for the region, and many visitors will pass through here to get to Cesky Krumlov. 

However, they make the same mistake of not spending some time discovering this special place, which has one of the largest main square in Europe!

What you will find here is an ideal mix of an off the beaten path location, combined with the chance to mingle with real working people, not just people catering to tourists.

For beer lovers, this is where you will find the Budvar Brewery, which is the original maker of the world famous Budweiser Beer. There is an interesting story behind it if you are keen to learn more.

With a population of under 100000, it never feels crowded and is mostly devoid of busloads of tourists, making it the perfect place to discover South Bohemia and its surroundings.

ceske budejovice streets

How to pronounce Ceske Budejovice

We gotta be honest, this is one hell of a tongue twister for us, and we are sure for most non Slavic speakers. 

Go ahead, try out this Ceske Budejovice pronunciation:

ches-ke boo -dye-yaw-vi-tse

But maybe it is better to hear it from native speakers here and then attempt it yourself.

How to get to Ceske Budejovice

While there are no flights to this city, there are other options that makes it easy to plan a visit. 

Heading to Prague? Be sure to read our 4 days Prague Itinerary first!

By Train

From Prague, trains run regularly between these 2 cities, with the journey taking approximately 2 hours. Prices are reasonable at 169 CZK, and there are no messy transfers to deal with.

Buy tickets from the official train website, link here.

We did run into some problems when we took a train from Ceske Budejovice. 

After boarding the train, we were informed that there was an accident somewhere near the Prague station. 

As such, we had to get off the train at a small town and transfer to another train, but not before taking a bus ride to the other train station.

The transfer was not organised well, and no signs were placed around the station, and thanks to a local family, we managed to find our way eventually. But not before dragging our luggage 1 kilometre uphill to the bus stop!

By Bus

Buses run frequently between Prague and Ceske Budejovice, and we recommend going with RegioJet. 

They are on time, reliable, clean, comfortable and provides free WiFi on board. Prices are great, usually costing around 134 CZK and takes only 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach your destination. What else can you ask for? 

beautiful buildings in ceske budejovice

Both methods are great for getting to Ceske Budejovice, and both the train and bus stations in Budweis are located within 100 metres of each other on the east side of town. 

From here, it is a short 10 minute walk into the Old Town, where the heart of the action is. 

Driving is another option, but will be unnecessary since almost everything is within walking distance of each other. 

What to do in Ceske Budejovice

While one day is probably sufficient to see the main sights of Ceske Budejovice, we do recommend 2 to 3 days. 

You can take your time to soak in the atmosphere, lounge alongside the Vltava river, drink as much Budvar as possible, and try out the delicious food here.

Visit the Black Tower

ceske budejovice black tower
Climb up the Black Tower

We start our visit of the Old Town from the eastern front, where one of the historic sites, the Black Tower, is located. 

With its history dating back to the 16th century, today the Black Tower is an iconic architectural piece in Ceske Budejovice and a favourite of many visitors. It also serves as the bell tower for the Church of St Nicholas which sits right next door. 

It is also the best spot to get a bird’s eye view of the Old Town which you will get after climbing its 225 wooden steps.

From the other side, you can get a glimpse of the Hluboka chateau as well as the Klet mountain. 

Our tip: Make your way up when the bells are about to ring, the experience is definitely more striking than hearing it from the outside!

  • 30 CZK (pay only when you reach the top)

St Nicholas Cathedral

Talk about a turbulent history and St Nicholas Cathedral could fit into the conversation pretty well. 

First established in the 13th century, it was rebuilt in the 16th century in a Gothic style, before a fire burnt it down and was rebuilt again, and this time a Baroque style was used. 

Over the last few hundred years, several modifications were carried out on this building, and in the 16th century, it acquired the Black Tower as its bell tower. 

Explore the Old Town Square

ceske budejovice old town square
Walk around the Old Town Square

One of the first impressions you will have when you walk into the Old Town Square is how large it is. 

If you have been around Europe, you will inevitably notice that this is one of the largest town squares around. 

This Old Town Square, Namesti Premysla Otakara II, is named after Premysl Otakar II, or King Otakar II of Bohemia, who is the founder of the city back in 1265! 

It is also here where you will find some of the sights as well as get the opportunity to explore the arcades flanking it on all four sides. 

Along these sidewalks, you will discover the many fantastic restaurants and cafes.

Take a moment to stand in the middle of the town square and admire the colourful heritage buildings, with designs in Baroque and Renaissance styles. 

Check out the Town Hall

Learn more about Budweis at the Town Hall

Fitting right in alongside the colourful buildings is the Town Hall, which is painted in a gorgeous blue, complete with a Baroque design.

It sits right in one of the corners of the main square, and has 4 allegorical statues on top of it, representing Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice. 

Right above the entrances to the Town Hall is where you will find 4 copper gargoyles, as well as the city’s coat of arms on its facade.

Feel free to visit the Town Hall and if you are keen, you may register for a tour at the Visitor Centre on the ground floor, or alternatively you may write to them to inform of your visit and if you require any special assistance. Check out their website here. 

Samson’s Fountain

Admire Samson’s Fountain in the Main Square

No Town Square is complete without an iconic fountain right? 

At Ceske Budejovice, you will find the imposing Samson’s Fountain, which was built during the 18th century and dedicated to the myth of Samson fighting the lion. 

Although what you see today are replica statues (the originals are moved to the Town Hall during its reconstruction in 1999), they are nonetheless stunning. 

Water Tower

During the period of 1721 to 1724, the Water Tower was built with an important function in mind: to pump and supply water to the Samson Fountain. 

Till this day, the water system still works perfectly and the building itself has gone through a number of restorations and modifications, with the last in 2016, where you will be able to see the half timbered facade.

Our tip: take a walk around the area surrounding the Water Tower too, as you get to discover information about water engineering and more. 

Hike at Stromovka Park

Unlike its namesake in Prague, this Stromovka Park is smaller and more quaint, offering a nice respite from the city. 

Just a short 15 minute walk from the Main Square to its fringe across the Vltava River, this is a popular spot for locals to chill out or be active.

There is a network of walking and bicycle paths that you can use, or simply bring pack along a picnic and a mat to relax under the sun. 

Have a drink along the Vltava River

Chill out by the Vltava River

There are a number of cute cafes that dot the Vltava River. In fact, Ceske Budejovice sits on a special location, which is the junction or confluence of the Vltava and Malse River. 

Check out the floating bar Kavarna Vlnna, which offers comfortable outdoor seating on a floating platform, or you can choose to go up to the roof level for a better view of the river. 

A number of boat rental options are available from them too, so you can choose to go paddling on your own or simply opt for the motorised boat cruise down the river.

While you are going down the river, don’t forget to look for the Dominican Monastery. It won’t be too tough, since it is one of the largest buildings along the river!

Take a tour at the Budvar Brewery

Budvar brewery Ceske budejovice
Learn about the original Budweiser Beer

If we have to think about the most likely reason why anyone knows about Ceske Budejovice, it has to be Ceske Budejovice beer, Budvar.

You can say that Ceske Budejovice is synonymous with the Budvar or Budweiser brand, since they started brewing here in 1895.

Even if you are not a beer lover, please make some time to take the tour, as its history is deeply connected to the city’s own. 

The Budweiser tour (read our review here) is suitable for the whole family, and takes only an hour!

  • 150 CZK per adult
  • K. Světlé 512/4 370 04 České Budějovice
  • September to June, daily at 2pm
    July to August, daily at 11am and 2pm
    January to February, Monday to Saturday at 2pm

If you wish to visit them outside of these hours, make sure to contact the brewery for more information and to make a booking.

Where to eat at Ceske Budejovice

There are so many good restaurants to choose from, but we wanted to highlight 2 of our favourites here. 

U Tri Sedlaku

Located just a street behind the Old Town Hall is this family friendly local Czech cuisine restaurant. 

Whether you choose between indoor or outdoor seating, take a bit of time to admire the interior decor and dark wood furniture. 

It is a great place that balances fine food and hospitable service. 

Make sure you try out the Vepro Knedlo Zelo (pork loin, gravy, sauerkraut and bread dumplings)!

  • Hroznova 488, Ceske Budejovice 370 01 Czech Republic
  • 11am-10pm daily

Restaurace U Podkovy

Very unassuming, hidden away from the main town square is U Podkovy. 

This family run restaurant is as authentic as it gets in Ceske Budejovice. 

Expect wonderful service (although they are not so fluent in English, they treated us very well), generous serving of food, and cheap local beer. 

The owner is a fan of the football team Sparta Prague, so that might win you some brownie points.

  • Rudolfovská tř. 10/6, 370 01 České Budějovice, Czechia
  • Monday to Friday, 10:30am-10pm
    Closed on Saturday and Sunday and national holidays

Of course, if you googled for food options, it is likely that you will come across Masne Kramy Restaurant, which is an excellent choice too. 

You will need to take note though that this is an extremely popular joint with tourists too, so expect a slightly higher price, and you will do better to make a reservation. 

Want more travel inspiration? Check out these popular posts! 

Visit Ceske Budejovice: Thoughts

Art installations around Ceske Budejovice

We have covered some of the must dos for Ceske Budejovice, but there are some other things that you should not miss out adding to your Ceske Budejovice itinerary if you have more time:

  • Look out for the art installations around the city
  • Explore the alleys, such as Krajinska, Ceska or Siroka
  • Stock up art supplies and cute pencils at Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth Art Supplies
  • Hike at nearby Sumava National Park

Seriously, this is one fantastic city to visit if you want to get off the beaten path, lesser crowds and authentic experience. It is one of the best day trips from Prague, so don’t miss it!

Logistics before visiting Ceske Budejovice

Find cheap flights.
Air tickets are usually the bulk of your expenses. Set up an alert and snag cheap fares with Skyscanner.

Find the best accommodation.
Book a place ahead of time to get good rates. Booking.com has transparent fees and excellent rates. 

Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.

Your mobile phone can do a pretty good job, but if you need an upgrade, we recommend the Sony A6000 (US) (International)

Travel insurance.
You don’t need us to teach you to be a responsible adult, do you? Get a quote here.

Planned for you activities in Ceske Budejovice.
Need a guide to show you and your group around? Lots of operators here to choose from here. You know who they are and how they are reviewed. 

More resources to help you.
All other useful travel resources we use when we book our trips.

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