Things to do in Cesky Krumlov in One Day
Cesky Krumlov is one of the most beautiful cities in Czech Republic, and for good reason.
The well preserved UNESCO World Heritage site brings you back to medieval times, back when horse carts run the streets and homes were built in classical Renaissance style, set in the serene countryside.
It is amazing how well kept Cesky Krumlov is, and part of the reason is because this quaint city in Southern Bohemia was spared the bombings of World War II, and we really loved our visit there.
If you want to know what a typical Central European town looks like, Cesky Krumlov fits the bill exactly.
Today, its reputation spreads far and wide, and is the number two most popular place to visit in Czech Republic.
Known for its photogenic red tiled roofs and perfect location beside the Vltava River, it is as romantic as a town can get.
Many people also come here to get a view of the Cesky Krumlov castle, built into a cliff and dominating the skyline and providing visitors a perfect view of the town’s never ending cobblestone streets and alleyways.
If you are here looking for the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov, then you are in the right place, as we take you through the best Cesky Krumlov attractions, best places to eat and a few recommendations on where to stay if you desire.
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What's covered in this post
- Short background about Cesky Krumlov
- Best time to visit Cesky Krumlov
- How to get to Cesky Krumlov
- Things to do in Cesky Krumlov in one day
- Where to stay in Cesky Krumlov
- Thoughts about Cesky Krumlov, South Bohemia
- Logistics before visiting Cesky Krumlov
Short background about Cesky Krumlov
Although the town of Cesky Krumlov is tiny, home to a population of around 13000 inhabitants, it is culturally one of the most important ones in Czech Republic.
This is evident by the fact that it was inscribed together with Prague into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Since the building of the castle in 1240, the town began to grow and become settled.
Having the Vltava River meandering through the town was important, as it gave it a means to conduct trade, which allowed it to grow significantly.
Although all that is gone now, the town is dedicated to the preservation of its history and roots, and you will be able to witness much of it, even on a day trip to Cesky Krumlov.
Best time to visit Cesky Krumlov
Being part of Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlow experiences a similar weather as the rest of the country.
As Cesky Krumlov is a very popular site these days, attracting over 2 million visitors a year, our advice is to visit it during the off peak period.
This will ensure that you get the best weather while not having to jostle with the crowds.
We visit Cesky Krumlov during autumn and we are sure that’s the best decision we made.
Perfect cool weather greeted us when we walked into the town, and while it did get slightly crowded between 11am to 4pm (that’s when day trippers from Prague or Vienna come), it was manageable and we never felt claustrophobic.
How to get to Cesky Krumlov
Most visitors will get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, and if that’s you, here is what you need to know.
Heading to Prague? Check out our 4 days Prague Itinerary before going!
The cheapest way to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague is to take the bus.
Buses take you from Prague to right outside the Cesky Krumlov, making it a convenient option.
There are a few companies that cater for this route, and the journey takes about 3 hours.
Our suggestion is to look out for tickets from RegioJet, which should be about $7 one way.
The bus seats are comfortable and is equipped with free WiFi! And on most journeys you can expect to get a bottle of water as well.
If that is not an option, you can check out Flixbus or Leo Express, both providing a similar service.
Our tip: go as early as possible, preferably the 6am bus, to make the most of your day trip to Cesky Krumlov. The crowds will not have arrived by then, giving you a couple of hours of peace and quiet to explore.
You can go by train, but our advice is to stick to the buses. Unless you have a serious love affair with trains, or if you intend to stay the night or more.
The reason is the train service only starts at 8am, and the last train for return is at 2pm.
You will reach Cesky Krumlov at 11am, which leaves you only 2 hours plus, barely enough to cover this beautiful town.
If you are travelling by train, the price for a second class return ticket is $14, and take note that after alighting, it is a 20-25 minutes walk to the Old Town.
You can alternatively take a taxi from outside the station which will cost about 100 CZK.
By Guided Tours
This will likely be the easiest way for you to visit Cesky Krumlov, since all the logistics and even lunch is taken care of by the company arranging it.
A guide will accompany the small group and give you a thorough understanding of this beauty.
The truth is that this will also likely be the most expensive option, so you will have to balance carefully between budget and convenience.
Starting in Prague where you will be picked up from your hotel and shuttled to Cesky Krumlov in a big comfortable bus.
Choose this if you want a hassle free experience.
By Shared Private Transfer
Want to save some money but still prefer a private driver?
This might be the right option for you then as you will get a private driver who will pick you from your hotel and take you to Cesky Krumlov and back.
The cars they use are small vans or multi person vehicles, thus keeping the party small and comfortable.
Once in Cesky Krumlov, use this guide you are reading now to get around on your own before heading back to Prague.
Book your Shared Private Transfer here!
Day trips from Vienna to Cesky Krumlov is a popular option for travellers, but surprisingly, the options to get from one city to the other is pretty limited.
If you are coming from Vienna, here is what you should know.
Not the most direct option available and it takes up to 4.5 hours to reach Cesky Krumlov from Vienna.
BUT, if you are taking this route and you have time to spare, you should definitely stop by at Ceske Budejovice, a small town we love, and spend some time there.
You can read up about the best things to do in Ceske Budejovice here.
From Vienna, here’s the journey:
Vienna – Linz – Ceske Budejovice – Cesky Krumlov
Our tip: make sure to check out the train timings in advance. Although there are regular departures to Linz, it is not the same for departures to Ceske Budejovice.
By CK Shuttle
Using this shuttle service is a direct option, where a driver picks you up from the Vienna Main Station and sends you to Cesky Krumlov.
No prizes for guessing that this will leave the deepest hole in your pocket though, as it will cost 1200 CZK per person for the 3.5 hours journey.
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov in one day
Before we go on, it will be worth pointing out that you can consider getting a Cesky Krumlov Card.
This gives you access to 5 different museums as well as the Castle Tower.
Also included are admission into Český Krumlov Regional Museum, Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, Egon Schiele Art Centrum, and the Monastery museums.
Total price: 300 CZK
Buy it at the following locations:
- Castle Museum and Castle Tower
- Regional Museum
- Museum Fotoatelier Seidel
- Egon Schiele Art Centrum
- Tourist Information Centre Český Krumlov
Start at the Svornosti Square
Where the centre of the action is, the Main Square in Cesky Krumlov is a great place to come and get your first observations about the town, where it all began and how life used to be.
From here, there are numerous side streets for you to explore, with the opportunity to cut across the Vltava River and take in the beautiful views.
Our tip: Some of the best restaurants are found here too!
For the brave: Museum of Torture
Sometimes we all have a little bit of sadistic feelings inside our brains but we might not know it. Just kidding!
Reconcile with those thoughts at the Museum of Torture, where you will see how criminals of the past were punished.
Located underneath the Old Town hall in cellars, this gruesome museum lives up to its name with matching dark lightings and unbelievable torture devices.
Cesky Krumlov Castle
The standout of the entire town of Cesky Krumlov, a huge castle built into a cliff.
That very fact alone makes for an engineering marvel, and the stunning views you get while up there makes this a must visit.
The castle complex is huge, and you should not miss out the Rosenberg Ballroom, Chapel of St. George, Renaissance Hall, and Royal Apartments.
To get the best views of the entire town, you have to make your way up the bell tower.
Also check out the museum where you can get a glimpse of the fascinating lives of the aristocrats that lived here centuries past.
Not forgetting the 2 bears that stand guard inside the moat of the castle. Yes, real bears!
Church of St Vitus
This 13th century Roman Catholic church is the only other tall tower in Cesky Krumlov, and is free to enter.
Make sure to check out its gorgeous facade as well as its intricate interiors.
Not only is it still a place of worship, it is also an integral part of the town’s history and serves as the burial grounds for notable families such as the Rosenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs.
Walk the streets and alleys of Cesky Krumlov
While there are beautiful architectures to marvel upon, the best way to get a sense of life in this fairy tale town is to simply walk through it.
The main street in Cesky Krumlov is Latran, and where the shops and bars and cafes now reside, they used to be dwellings of the residents.
Now you are free to explore the maze of alleys that forms the interior of the Old Town, and make sure to check out some of the souvenir shops selling hand made gifts.
This ancient monastery was founded in 1350, which was to serve the Minorites and Claire nuns.
Today, visitors can pay a visit and admire the beautiful Baroque art and sculptures, not to mention passing through the grounds onto a lovely view of the Vltava River.
While it is a place of worship, we know a secret that you are going to love too: check out the restaurant and taste the local beer Eggenberg!
Amusement at the Puppet Museum
Do you think puppets all look the same? Probably not, and here in this Marionette museum in the Church of St Jobst, you will find quirky Czech puppets on full display.
Bring the kids along and educate them about how people of the past kept themselves entertained.
If you are lucky, you can get to watch a puppet performance right here, and don’t leave without getting one from the shop!
Go on a free walking tour
If you want to be part of something more organised, that brings you to most of the main sights, consider a walking tour.
Just like in many cities in Europe, and in fact globally, you can sign up for a free walking tour.
In most cases, travellers want to know more about the place they are visiting, not just mindlessly visiting the most famous tourist sights.
They want to feel part of the culture and understand what went on, what this building represents, what that monument means, without having to read an entire guide book or the history books.
That’s where a good old walking tour comes in.
Walk around Cesky Krumlov while learning more about each of the sights through a well informed guide.
Although we say that it is free, it is well appreciated that participants leave a tip for the guide. Anything from $5 to $10 is considered the usual.
Check out the tour here.
Where to stay in Cesky Krumlov
For the lucky ones who get more than one day in Cesky Krumlov, here are a couple of suggestions on the best place to stay in Cesky Krumlov.
Pension U Kapličky
A beautiful 16th century guest house that is situated just across the river from the city center, it provides the best location for the budget.
At about $100 per night during off peak periods, you are not going to find a better bargain than this wonderfully restored property.
Close to the center and comes with all the amenities you need such as WiFi, satellite TV and super comfortable beds, make this one of your top choices!
Another option that won’t break the bank is Pension Kristian.
Boasting a superb location that is just steps away from the Castle, all your creature comforts can be found here and there is a wonderful terrace to relax.
Super clean and modern, this is suitable for all kinds of travellers who wants to be in the thick of the action and don’t mind a bit of crowd around them.
Thoughts about Cesky Krumlov, South Bohemia
We sincerely hope you find these suggestions to be useful, and inspired you to the trip to Cesky Krumlov.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or contact us here!
Related trips: 2 days Vienna itinerary, Salzburg day trip, Ceske Budejovice itinerary
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Logistics before visiting Cesky Krumlov
Find cheap flights.
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Find the best accommodation.
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Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.
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