Tourists looking over Cesky Krumlov

7 Reasons you’ll fall in love with Cesky Krumlov

In the few hours I had to wander around Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic I somehow managed to take over 300 photos.

And okay, it’s hard to tell you about Cesky Krumlov in depth when I was there for less than a day. But it’s a teeny village, with a small population, and you will come to know it fairly quickly.

You likely already know about my ongoing love affair with Prague. But Cesky Krumlov, man. I had a hard time saying good-bye to that place. (For now. I’m going back next month.)

It’s beautiful night and day

I arrived when it was dark. I went out for a walk with some friends who insisted the town was still beautiful at night. They were right about that.

Cesky Krumlov at night

There was light snow falling as we strolled though the streets and across the bridge leading to the castle. Europe does a really fantastic job of lighting its historic buildings, and I thought, if it’s this beautiful at night, how will it look in the morning?

Cesky Krumlov view from bridge

Spectacular, turns out.

It’s never very crowded

I awoke on Sunday morning and set out bright and early to take advantage of the few hours I had before my shuttle arrived to whisk me back to Berlin.

I looped my way around cobblestoned alleyways and through the town square. I passed lime-green buildings with Dutch gabling and centuries-old shops with miniature doors.

Walking up the hill towards Cesky Krumlov Castle, I became very much aware of the silence. I’ve missed that silence in Berlin — a certain stillness you won’t find in a grand city at any point in the day.

Cesky Krumlov viewpoint

I walked through open courtyards and past defunct cannons. I stopped at a look-out and snapped photos. And the whole time, I was gloriously alone. Perhaps two or three people met me on my journey, and they smiled and said “good morning.”

Where else will you find yourself alone, at an ancient castle?

I asked Carolyn, the owner of my hostel, if it gets crazy in the summer months. Surprisingly, she said no. There’s limited hotel capacity in town, and most people swing by on day trips.

You can stay in a 400-year-old former bakery

Speaking of hostels, I stayed in a tiny one named Krumlov House. While most hostels have become tedious and dull to me, Krumlov House was anything but.

Down a winding wooden staircase, I found my bedroom. My room key was one of those classic medieval ones, the kind you’ll find Cinderella’s evil stepmother using to lock Cinderella in the attic.

Krumlov House

The place had all the character you’d expect from a 400-year-old building — an attic with low beams, a secret passageway to another house, a window seat where I could curl up with my laptop for awhile. The owners, Carolyn and Cal, are lovely and treated me like a queen. They don’t know it yet, but I’m moving in forever.

You can learn about mad Princess Eleonore, and the castle’s vampire origins

Experts suspect that Bram Stoker’s Dracula might have been originally influenced by Cesky Krumlov. Archaeologists have unearthed numerous skeletons buried with stones in their mouths — apparently an attempt to keep the dead from biting others. And Stoker was known to have travelled in the area.

Krumlov Castle

Then there’s the curious lifestyle of Princess Eleonore, who lived in the castle in the 1700s. She was known to own wolves, and to drink wolf milk.

There are bears living in the castle moat

As I walking across the bridge, I noticed a sign in English, Czech, and German. It said: “Please do not feed the bears!” I laughed, thinking it was a joke, or a wrong translation.

But then I leaned over the bridge and poked my head through the gate, and noticed gigantic footprints in the snow. There are indeed bears living at the castle.

You can visit one of only two baroque theatres in the world

The Krumlov Baroque Theatre was closed for the season, but I’m told it’s one of two remaining baroque theatres in the world.

Everything here is preserved: the building, auditorium, orchestra pit, stage, technology, machinery, decorations, costumes, props. Even the fire extinguishers. The stage is designed so that performers can move flawlessly between scenes in a matter of five minutes, changing set designs at an amazing speed.

Guests get to sit on cozy wooden benches without backs. (“Cozy” is sarcastic.)

The restaurants are not what you’re used to

I was delighted when Carolyn went to open the tiny squat door of the restaurant she had chosen for us, only to find it was closed.

Never mind; it’s hard to go wrong in Krumlov. As we continued our journey, we paused in the street to listen to a gypsy band playing in a small bar.

I felt like I was back in the 1800s, standing on the cold street, watching the warm scene unfold inside. A server bustled between a handful of tables while old men sat talking and drinking beer, the smoke from their cigarettes curling around the candlelight. Musicians played a loud upbeat ballad, accompanied by accordion and fiddle.

Tavern Šatlava

We eventually arrived at Tavern Šatlava with heaps of firewood piled up outside the front door. Inside: long tables with benches, candlelight, and a giant wood-fired grill at the centre of it all. The server was piling grilled sausage and pork onto plates.

So naturally I ordered a bratwurst, and French onion soup in a bread bowl. The perfect meal for minus temperatures.

onion soup in a breadbowl-min

You can get really acquainted with Czech history and culture

You can’t go inside the castle in the winter months — it costs too much to heat that draughty ‘ol thing. But the museum is open, where the castle’s rooms are replicated to perfection. You can also climb the tower for a bird’s eye view of Krumlov.

View of Cesky Krumlov

Go to Josef Seidel’s photography museum. He was a well-known photographer in the early 1900s, with an eye for capturing portraits. The museum contains his photography, and his perfect preserved work studio.

In the winter months, the town square turns into a Christmas market. In February, carnival comes out to play. In fact, festivals occur all year around. So much so that even Cal expressed frustration with their frequent occurrences.

There are regularly scheduled free walking tours as well, which might be your best bet for a little historical introduction.

I visited Cesky Krumlov with Daytrip, a service that provides day trips between Eastern European cities. They’re a good option if you find yourself in Prague with a desire to reach Cesky Krumlov!

  • January 26 2016

    I LOVED Cesky Krumlov, too!

    You have to go back in the summer, though! You can rent a raft and go on a rafting pub crawl down the river, and then have dinner on one of the terraces along the water.

    It *does* get more crowded in the summer with lots of day trippers, but it’s still such an awesome little town.
    Amanda recently posted…13 Adventures to Add to Your U.S. Bucket List

    • January 27 2016

      Thanks for the wonderful write-up of Krumlov House! Yes, it does get crowded with day trippers in the summer, but after 5pm, when all the tour buses leave, the town is “ours” again. There are only 3000 beds in town, so it’s never too jam-packed. I double dog dare anyone to find a small town in Europe that packs with it so much culture, natural beauty, and history. Until I find that place, I’ll be sitting on the Vltava drinking a cold Kozel. Come join me :)

      • January 28 2016
        Candice

        I’m so there! Haha. I haven’t been so inspired by a town in such a long time! I completely understand how you ended up staying forever.

    • January 28 2016
      Candice

      Hahaha there’s a rafting pub crawl?! Awesome!

  • January 27 2016

    I can’t believe I haven’t been to Cesky Krumlov yet! I’ve seen such a big part of Czech Republic, visited nearby Ceske Budejovice three times but still didn’t make it to this cute little town! And it looks just stunning! The winter scenery adds up to the atmosphere! I’m definitely going there this year, there’s no way I’m goona miss it any longer!
    kami recently posted…5 days in Malta – my itinerary

    • January 28 2016
      Candice

      I can’t believe you haven’t either!!! Lol. You must go!

  • January 28 2016
    Jodi

    Cesky Krumlov is my favorite place in the world. What a lovely article! I hope you get to have tea in the teahouse where the owner plays the Twin Peaks soundtrack. It’s almost too delicious…

    • January 30 2016
      Candice

      Thank you, Jodi! I did not, but my time in Krumlov was pretty short. I’m going back soon!

  • January 28 2016

    Holy moley! These pictures are wonderful! Cesky Krumlov is so colorful (and I can’t help thinking the buildings look like little doll houses).

    I’ve just come across your blog and can’t think of a better first post to read.
    Veronica recently posted…Identifying My Excuses and Overcoming Them

    • January 30 2016
      Candice

      Yay, thanks Veronica! :) Thanks for stopping by

  • January 30 2016

    This looks like the most beautiful town. Honestly it looks like you were in a fairytale.
    So enchanting :)
    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    • February 02 2016
      Candice

      It FELT like a fairytale!

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