Written by proxam2 on 07 Aug, 2012
After leaving Sopron in Hungary (well it did seem the best place for it!),the next step on our journey was the Czech Republic. We made our way to the hotel we had booked in a little town called Frymburk, on Lake Lipno.The main purpose of…Read More
After leaving Sopron in Hungary (well it did seem the best place for it!),the next step on our journey was the Czech Republic. We made our way to the hotel we had booked in a little town called Frymburk, on Lake Lipno.The main purpose of our visit here was to see the town of CESKY KRUMLOV, but we didn't want to stay in the town itself. Frymburk was perfect for us; a beautiful little hotel, in a picturesque and peaceful little lakeside village only 20 minutes from CK. Cesky Krumlov was one of the highlights of our holiday, somewhere we were really looking forward to seeing. We were not disappointed.After Prague, CESKY KRUMLOV is the best preserved historical town in Bohemia and is designated as one of UNESCO's World Monuments. All this despite being seriously neglected under communism (there's a surprise). Since the government changes in 1989, a lot of effort has been made to renovate the historic centre, and this has brought new life into the town.We parked our car on the edge of the old town, high on a hill above the river, and proceeded to walk towards the centre. As we approached the road leading into town, some of the views opened up to us. We could look down into the jumble of narrow, medieval streets and the irregular confusion of red-tiled rooftops almost completely surrounded by the river - and all dwarfed by the brooding castle overlooking the whole scene. Magnificent. An intriguing, medieval town, set in impressive fairy-tale surroundings. A Kodak moment.We arrived there early in the morning and it was very pleasant wandering around while the streets were still relatively quiet. Our first port of call was the tourist office, which is in the main square, at the Town Hall. The staff were very helpful and supplied us with maps and info about the town. In the cellars below the Town Hall is the Museum of Torture where we spent a damp, chilly and only slightly spooky, thirty minutes before making our way to our next port of call.The town is a maze of narrow streets and tight, dark alleys, so following any sort of route was a bit haphazard. No matter, it is quite a small area and relatively flat, so even though we wandered aimlessly around, we still covered pretty much everywhere. Stunning panoramas open up at almost every turn and we had to circumnavigate the huge number of people sitting sketching and painting these views. It was like one vast art class.Tourism may not have been a feature here under the communists, but they had lost no time in making up for it since. Not that it is tacky, in fact there were very few shops selling the usual, made in the Far East, type of rubbish. It was more noticeable in the number of bars and cafes, the amount of buildings turned over to tourist accommodation, and the types of shops. (I can't remember seeing any everyday shops selling groceries etc.) In fact the town did not have a lived-in feel at all.Most of the shopping was given over to 'arts & crafts' with some excellent pottery, glassware, wood carvings and wooden toys. There were also a number of shops that specialized in puppets and, though I was tempted to buy a singin', dancin' Pinnochio, I just couldn't resist a puppet of 'The Good Soldier Svejk', complete with mug of beer in hand. (My hero!) We bought quite a few bits and pieces but still couldn't make a dent in our cash.There are quite a few museums in town but it was such a lovely day, and the streets and buildings were so beautiful in themselves that it seemed a shame not to be outdoors and so we were quite content to meander from shop to cafe to viewpoint and then start all over again.There are many restaurants and bars so finding somewhere for lunch was not a problem. We settled on a restaurant with a riverside terrace and spent a very relaxing hour watching the fish swimming below the deck of the terrace, and craning our necks up towards the imposing castle atop the sheer cliffs on the opposite bank. Next door was a music shop and we were regaled with Rachmaninov as we leisurely nibbled on our lunch and washed it all down with some fabulous fruity beer - appropriately named Nectar. As lunchtime breaks go, it wasn't too shabby.By this time, half the tourists in Europe had descended on the town and it was, to say the least, extremely busy. So, in the late afternoon, we headed back to our hotel, showered, freshened up and returned for a second visit. A bit of a mistake really. We had decided to go up to the castle and by the time we got there, it was closed. Well, not exactly closed, you could still walk around the grounds and gardens, but the tours of the castle stop at 5pm. However, the views over the town and the surrounding countryside from the castle were spectacular and it was worth the climb up for that alone.The town quietened down markedly as the sun was setting and became very peaceful again. We had a bite to eat at a cafe in the main square and slightly regretted that we hadn't chose to stay at a hotel in the Old Town. The castle is illuminated at night and I'm sure it would have been pretty impressive. Having said that, many of the hotels had 'no vacancy' signs displayed and the hotel we were staying at WAS an absolute cracker. Besides, I've seen a castle illuminated at night before, so overall, no regrets.Cesky Krumlov is an absolute gem of a town. Historic, picturesque, friendly and generally welcoming, it is a place well worth visiting, although a day IS probably enough. Close
Written by Praskipark on 30 Jul, 2009
It was one of those wet, dreary days in the Czech Republic when we hopped on to the packed bus heading for Cesky Krumlov. Hoping the weather would brighten up a little as we waved goodbye to the enormous bus station in Prague, I started…Read More
It was one of those wet, dreary days in the Czech Republic when we hopped on to the packed bus heading for Cesky Krumlov. Hoping the weather would brighten up a little as we waved goodbye to the enormous bus station in Prague, I started to wonder what this town, often described as a fairy tale town, was actually like.Sometimes the countryside in between towns in this region can be plain, flat and somewhat dull but fortunately the splendid Gothic and Baroque architecture make up for this.Once we had arrived in Cesky Krumlov the drizzle was still with us but it didn't deter us from walking around this wonderful town.The Vlatva river forms two wide arcs around the town. One of the semi circles encloses the Old Town, and in the second loop stands the castle. It comes as no surprise that this beautiful historical centre was added to UNESCO's World heritage List in 1992.The rather ramshackle buildings and the monastery in the Latiran quarter were once desperately in need of attention. When the Germans - who had lived here since the town was founded by the Viteks - were evicted in the post war period, many buildings fell into disrepair, but much has been preserved and work is still being carried out.The river is actually a very pretty sight; spanned by wooden bridges, meandering through quiet pastures. It is peaceful to walk alongside the river and listen to the sound of wildlife as you pass by.I found that Krumlov's Gothic and Baroque features are best appreciated on a late summer afternoon. I spotted many hidden features. The shapes, the colours, the narrow alleyways, the crooked arcades -a wonderful experience when walking through the streets.Walking around I noticed lots of visitors and many from nearby Austria. It was like going on a journey back into the Middle Ages.The castle is probably the main attraction - it is the second biggest in the country after Hradcany in Prague. The 13th century, pastel pink tower, can be seen from practically everywhere in the town. About 300 years after the tower was built, the fortress was converted into a Renaissaince castle and then in the 18th century, the Schwarzenbergs built the unique castle bridge. Three arcades, forty metres high and 30 metres long were built one on top of another.There is a very special artistic atmosphere in Krumlov. In the years when private initiatives were frowned upon elsewhere in Czechoslovakia, galleries were opening here and the town played host to avant garde artistic festivals. The Hall of Masques in the upper castle is the best place to witness this independent spirit. Visitors can be guests at a commedia dell' arte, a masque; the walls are covered with painted theatre boxes, grimacing faces appear. Harlequins, women in all their finery and pot-belllied noblemen join in the fun.During June, July and August; months when I have visited, the town's social calendar seems to be a busy one. In the middle of June I witnessed the townsfolk dressing up in historical costume for a colourful carnival which recalled the years of the Rozmberk family. At the same time, the owner of the Eggenberg brewery, a descendant of another important local family, organised a beer festival. The South Bohemian drama festival attracts foreign theatre groups and other international events include some fantastic art exhibitions in the Egon Schiele Cultural Centre and the August Music Festival.The Castle garden is the usual venue for public performances as it not only possesses an open-air theatre with a revolving stage, but also provides an unsurpassable backdrop: the town and castle.Another attraction to look out for as you aproach the castle walls is the bear pit which is inside the castle moat between the first and second courtyard. These are very special brown bears and have been kept here since the early 18th century.One year I spent Christmas in the Czech Republic and I went to the Bear festival on Christmas Eve. This was originally organised as a festival for children who were impatient and couldn't wait to open their presents. In the early hours of Christmas Eve morning a head bear keeper and his colleagues take a large selection of sweets, biscuits, fruit, cake and gingerbreads to be placed on the enormous spruce trees that surround the moat. All these goodies are tied together on one long strand so that when the bears tug on one of the sweets the others will follow and dissolve into their mouths. Children with parents can visit the moat and instead of paying an entrance fee they take handfuls of fruit, honey, cakes, and confectionery. These presents are laid out underneath the decorated spruces for the bears to eat.It is a spectacular occassion with all family members taking part. Not only do the brown bears recieive large amounts of sweet food, visitors have a party too. Children are given reciprocal presents of sweets, paints, pens, toys, chocolate and adults are treated to fruit punch. When everyone had finished eating we then had to depart from the special enclosures so the bears could be led in to enjoy their feast. Standing on top of the bridge I was able to see the bears being led to the moat to devour every morsel under the decorated christmas trees. A fine sight to behold for children and grown-ups. So when in the Czech Republic leave Prague behind and take a trip into South Bohemia to Cesky Krumlov - a town filled with vibrant life, medieval streets, colours, majestic buildings and brown bears. A most impressive town. Close
Written by marif on 17 May, 2004
What to see, what to do and how much to spend depends to a great extent on your interests. Lovers of history and architecture will find in Cesky Krumlov a rich heritage of impressive architectural styles and a 13th-century Renaissance castle which was successively passed…Read More
What to see, what to do and how much to spend depends to a great extent on your interests. Lovers of history and architecture will find in Cesky Krumlov a rich heritage of impressive architectural styles and a 13th-century Renaissance castle which was successively passed on from one influential landowning aristocratic family to another. Lovers of artistic works will be impressed by the numerous portrait paintings housed inside the Castle's Renaissance Hall and by the Flemish tapestries and priceless furnishings inside the Schwarzenbergs' rooms. Visitors who like to wander away from the crowds will find inside the Castle Gardens a paradise of tranquillity or if they venture 2kms further towards the monasteries in Zlata Koruna, they will be fascinated by the outstanding natural beauty of the region. If you like water sports, you can launch a rented canoe and navigate downriver through two areas of rapids admired by crowds of tourists laughing and clapping waiting to see if you'll survive without being thrown over.
All this may seem spectacular and interesting but if your time in the city is limited to just a couple of days, plan beforehand what to see and do. However, whatever your interests, don't miss the following:
1. Touring the Krumlov Castle is undoubtedly the highlight of any visit to Cesky Krumlov. Founded in the mid-13th-century by the rich and powerful Vitkovci family, the castle was further developed and enlarged under the rule of the influential lords of Rozmberg. After 20 years used by Emperor Rudolf II, it was donated to the Eggenberg family in 1622 and later inherited by the Schwarzenbergs. The Baroque Castle Theatre, the Bellarie summer house and the riding school were added when the Schwarzenberg family made the castle their home. You can wander as much as you like in the courtyards and within the splendid 17th-century Baroque Castle Gardens which extend over an area of 10 hectares. But the interior halls can be viewed on guided tour only which takes just over 1 hour and covers the Chapel of St.George, the Renaissance Hall, the Schwarzenbergs' rooms and the rococo Masquerade Hall in the Chateau Theatre. Don't miss the impressive view from the outdoor walkway over Na Plasti bridge. More impressive and far more gorgeous is the view from the 12th-century Round Tower. Entrance to the tower requires a separate ticket.
2. Cesky Krumlov offers visitors a wide selection of 80 restaurants, pubs and cafes. In summer, the dining areas more than double when tables are spread on numerous terraced backyards overlooking the river. If you come here in fine weather, opt for a table outside where the atmosphere is one of peace and relaxation. Four picks among the best eateries and drinking places are: Papa's, Krcma Marketa, Na Louzi and Pizzeria Latran.
3. Enjoy an evening of music or theatrical performance inside one of the city's theatres. During the tourist season, the Town Hall on namesti Svornosti becomes a venue of outstanding musical concerts while Mestske Divadlo (Town Theatre) along Horni street is the place for operettas and drama. If you're looking for a top atmospheric theatre, there's nowhere better than the Baroque Chateau Theatre which gives daily classical performances in summer. For jazz or pop music, the open-air theatre with a revolving auditorium within the Castle Gardens is the place to go. More information and theatre tickets from the Tourist Information Office, namesti Svornosti 2.
4. Cesky Krumlov hosts a number of excellent annual festivals which are both cultural and entertaining. In June, the Five-petalled Rose Festival (Slavnost petiliste ruse) is mainly a folklore activity on a large scale when the whole city becomes a stage of locals dressed up in Renaissance costumes. Musicians, artists, peasants, craftsmen, lords, knights and merchants parade the streets for three days and perform various activities ranging from folklore dancing and acting to fencing and jousting. The festival ends up with a splendid display of fireworks. Every August, performers from all over Europe take part in the International Music Festival. Concerts are held in nine spectacular venues scattered within the Old Town and the castle area.
5. Find time to visit at least one of Cesky Krumlov's museums. The Regional Museum of Local History (Okresni Museum) housed inside the former Jesuit seminary in front of Hotel Ruze is dedicated to Cesky Krumlov's one thousand year history. The museum's highlight is a huge 1:200 ceramic model which displays with surprising clarity and precision the streets and buildings within the Old Town. The museum opens daily in summer but not so frequently during the rest of the year. One other museum worth visiting is the Egon Schiele Art Centre at Siroka 70/72. This picture gallery housed inside a former brewery has a splendid permanent exhibition of paintings, mostly watercolours by the Austrian artist Egon Schiele. You can also see numerous documents related to his life and works, besides temporary exhibits of classical or contemporary artistic works brought here from museums elsewhere.
Written by captain oddsocks on 16 Mar, 2006
Ceský Krumlov is a town of around 15,000 inhabitants in south bohemia, just a few miles from both the Austrian border and the Šumava (Bohemian Forest) national park.
It’s an almost unimaginably popular destination for tourists, so much so that if people are rushing through the…Read More
Ceský Krumlov is a town of around 15,000 inhabitants in south bohemia, just a few miles from both the Austrian border and the Šumava (Bohemian Forest) national park.
It’s an almost unimaginably popular destination for tourists, so much so that if people are rushing through the country, the only places they will visit are Prague and Èeský Krumlov. And the centre of town exhibits many of the obvious characteristics of a tourist-town; souvenir shop after souvenir shop, only punctuated by restaurants, hotels, and guesthouses, with not a butcher, baker, or supermarket in sight. So, if you’re expecting to find an undiscovered bohemian hill town, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
That said though, Krumlov is popular for a very good reason. During the communist era, there were severe restrictions on living so close to the Austrian border/the iron curtain, with the result that the so-called architectural progress that occurred in other towns left the historic layout of Èeský Krumlov (and other near-border towns, such as Mikulov and Telc) largely intact. Its majestic chateau is the second largest in the country, is extremely well-restored and harbours, amongst other things, one of only four surviving baroque theatres in the world. The brightly painted round tower offers spectacular views across the Vltava River, town centre, and surrounding hills. The other main attraction is the town centre itself, which is a marvelous example of a late-gothic/early renaissance market settlement, and is almost completely encircled by a tight bend of the Vltava that comes within 100m of returning to touch itself and creating an island of the town.
The river also affords excellent opportunities for swimming, canoeing and fishing, but these activities are far more popular with Czech, rather than foreign, tourists.
The infrastructure for visitors to the Èeský Krumlov is excellent with possibly the country’s best tourist information office, dozens and dozens of restaurants, and accommodation ranging from the legendary Krumlov House backpackers’ hostel to the finest of hotels for the most demanding of guests, (including Czech and foreign heads-of-state). There is an abundance of museums dedicated to everything from puppets and torture to the artworks of Egon Schiele (a one-time resident of Èeský Krumlov) and his contemporaries, and different agencies organise everything from walking tours and bicycle trips, to rafting adventures and horseback riding.
Looking beyond the tourist industry, Èeský Krumlov has somewhat the atmosphere of an artists’ colony, with students from the schools of art and sculpture mingling with the freelance artists attracted by the town’s famous beauty. There’s also a rich program of music and cultural festivals that much larger cities would be proud of and worthwhile daytrips from Èeský Krumlov include Holašovice, a UNESCO-listed village preserve and Zlatá Koruna, with its riverside setting and impressive monastery.
Written by bledpub on 08 May, 2008
Okay, so this is the only negative thing I am going to write about Cesky Krumlov...So we booked four nights on a very reputable Czech-based website. I won't name it, but we have used the company for years, as well as various times on this…Read More
Okay, so this is the only negative thing I am going to write about Cesky Krumlov...So we booked four nights on a very reputable Czech-based website. I won't name it, but we have used the company for years, as well as various times on this particular trip. Anyway, we were booked into a pension in the center of town. It was paid for. When we arrived at the pension, via taxi, there wasn't anyone there. We knocked and knocked and the taxi driver knocked as well. Finally, someone came from next door. This woman also owned a pension next door to the one we were booked at. She talked to the taxi driver and he relayed the message to us: the owners of the pension we were booked at were gone and would not be returning for several months. We didn't know what to do. She offered us a room in HER pension. Having nowhere else to go, we took the room. Our room was beautiful and everything we could have asked for. The family also owns an antique store in town and the son spoke English. We had some nice chats with him. After nearly a week of staying there, we NEVER saw anyone go in or come out of the pension that we were originally booked in. I wrote the company and told them that we would like our money refunded. They refused. Their reply? That someone had been there the entire time, waiting for us, and that we had never showed up. Furthermore, they said that we had been scammed and that it happens all the time. So who was telling the truth? I do not know. We eventually got one night refunded so that was something at least. We still don't know exactly what happened, but we were very happy with our room in the end. Close
The Novohradske and Sumava mountains are the largest woodland area in Central Europe. Situated in South Bohemia within a region of outstanding natural beauty and stretching for 125kms along the border with Austria and Bavaria, Sumava is an area of virgin forests, glacial lakes, pristine…Read More
The Novohradske and Sumava mountains are the largest woodland area in Central Europe. Situated in South Bohemia within a region of outstanding natural beauty and stretching for 125kms along the border with Austria and Bavaria, Sumava is an area of virgin forests, glacial lakes, pristine mountain ridges and natural parks which have hardly been touched by man. Come here for relaxing walks in the forest or downhill skiing in the mountains and enjoy beautiful natural scenery few resorts are able to offer.
Cesky Krumlov, at the foot of the Sumava Mountains is a unique architectural and picturesque town of medieval origin but it is not the only interesting town in the region.
There are numerous other small towns and villages ideal for walking, hiking or cycling much better than Cesky Krumlov since they are either uncrowded or still undiscovered. A town whose neighbouring countryside is a paradise of natural beauty is Klatovy lying at the northernmost foot of the Sumava mountains. Known as the 'Gate to Sumava', it is a town of 23 thousand inhabitants and the administrative centre of the Sumava Region. Located 100kms northwest of Cesky Krumlov, Klatovy is accessible from Ceske Budejovice in about two hours by both bus and train. The Klatovy Tourist Office can help with questions about walking in the region and sells detailed maps for hikers concerning the Sumava trails. It's advisable to visit the Catacombs of Klatovy and climb to the top of the 81 metres high Black Tower for an excellent panoramic view of the mountains before exploring the nearby countryside. You can walk north for about 10kms along untouched forested trails until you reach Svihov where you can visit an original preserved Gothic castle.
From Klatovy, take a bus southeast (six daily) towards the hilly village of Rabi which is perched on a rocky ridge 478 metres above the Otava River. Stop at Zichovice and then follow the marked 2kms yellow trail towards Rabi Castle. This huge structure consists of three terraced sections, one rising gradually above the other and each guarded by its own defensive walls. A remarkable tower called don-jon stands in the middle. Since 1954, the castle was passed on to the state and has lately become a tourist attraction. Cultural activities and concerts are sometimes held in the castle courtyards.
From Rabi, walk 9kms southwest to the village of Susice. The vast area of mountainous terrain, lakes and valleys between Susice and the German border is part of the Sumava National Park which at 683 square kms is the largest park in the Czech Republic. One of the most rewarding hiking tracks to follow is the marked 28kms 'Klostermannova Stezka' which starts a short distance south of Susice in the hilly village of Hartmanice. From here, the marked trail takes you further uphill to Kasperske Hory from where it runs east amidst forested peaks, meadows, peat bogs and wild valleys towards the tiny village of Vacov. Another hiking trail, not recommended for beginners however is the marked 'Medvedi Stezka' which runs close to the Bavarian border along the picturesque villages of Hamizna, Povydri and Churanov. You have to walk mostly along rugged rocky terrain, steep ridges and unforested mountain tops.
The highlight of the Sumava National Park is the vast area northwest of Cesky Krumlov. Known as Boubinsky Prales, it is a virgin forest on the slope of Mount Boubin which at 1362 metres is the second highest peak of the Sumava Mountains. There is a 38kms marked trail that links Boubinsky Prales to Horni Plana passing through thick unpolluted forests of spruce and pine. During the walking tour, you'll come across nine informative display boards that explain interesting facts about the history of the forest. Stroll along the shores of the picturesque Boubin Lake, formerly used to transport wood to the factories in Lenora.
Besides Boubin Lake, the Sumava National Park has seven other glacial lakes covering a total area of 42 hectares. The largest is the 18 hectare Cerne Jezero (Black Lake) which has a maximum depth of 40 metres. You can stroll anywhere along the lakeshore but 47 hectares of the nearby forested area is surrounded with a fence and is out of bounds to visitors. One other glacial lake whose wonderful forested surroundings reward visitors with splendid walks is Lipno Lake. Also called Lipno Dam, it has a 42kms long lakeside, most of it ideal for hiking. The area around Lipno Lake can be reached easily on foot in about one hour from the tiny village of Horni Plana. From here, there are six daily local trains back to Cesky Krumlov or you can take a bus to the picturesque secluded village of Kajov from where you can continue to Cesky Krumlov.
The best hiking map (1:50 000) which covers the whole Sumava region is published by Klub Ceskych Turistu. Look for it inside the Tourist Information Offices in Prague, Ceske Budejovice or Cesky Krumlov or inside the smaller Tourist Offices in Klatovy, Strakonice or Prachatice.
Written by mfs on 12 Dec, 2000
One of the things we loved most about Cesky Krumlov was how peaceful it was. We spent only three days here, but left the town feeling rejuvenated. The calm beauty of the town, absence of tourists (at least in May `99), serenity of…Read More
One of the things we loved most about Cesky Krumlov was how peaceful it was. We spent only three days here, but left the town feeling rejuvenated. The calm beauty of the town, absence of tourists (at least in May `99), serenity of the river and kind townspeople really helped us to kick back and relax. The town is so small that you can really get to know it well in a very short amount of time. We walked down every street, explored the dirt roads up behind the castle gardens on rented mountain bikes, and strolled through the castle at night. The cafes seemed to encourage long, leisurely meals. We spent a lot of time sitting in various cafes reading and drawing and admiring the scenery. We hated to leave - everything was so perfect. We arrived not really knowing what to expect or where to stay, and were completely awed by the town. It was a truly memorable experience. Close