Explore enchanting Cesky Krumlov
Narrow alleys, winding cobbled streets, bendy river and a fairy princess castle peering down on you from atop a cliff. Sounds like Prague, doesn’t it? Cesky Krumlov, a fascinating medieval town, is the smaller but just as picturesque sibling of the capital city. Superbly preserved, the whole town centre has been declared a Unesco site making Cesky Krumlov one of Czech Republic’s most charming places for a short break.
1.Climb the tower of a UNESCO listed chateau
The monumental complex of Chateau Cesky Krumlov is situated on an elevated long rocky promontory west of the Vltava river and south of Polečnice creek. The magnificent towers proudly above the refined Renaissance and Baroque burgher architecture of Cesky Krumlov city.
For a small town Cesky Krumlov can disorientate you quite easily with its eclectic maze of streets and little bridges. Leave your bags in the hotel and set off to reach the top of Chateau Cesky Krumlov. The chateau tower offers unparalleled views of Krumlov’s enviable location in an impressive hairpin on the Vltava River with the town centre on one side and Krumlov castle perched atop a cliff on the other.
Once you get your bearings back, come down again to explore this heritage site of forty buildings and palaces, situated around five castle courtyards and seven hectares of gardens. It is one of the largest in Central Europe and a listed UNESCO gem.
The fairy tale like character of this remarkable UNESCO heritage site continues through the extensive landscaped gardens that surround it.
The castle commands an uphill walk and it closes on Mondays.
2.Raft the Vltava River
If the weather allows and the river is calm, rent a raft or canoe to set on a trip between the banks of the beautiful Vltava. You will slowly drift through the stunning countryside of South Bohemia and the heart of Cesky Krumlov, a magnificent World Heritage town.
The longest river of the Czech Republic Vltava springs in at the foot of Black Mountain not far from the border with Austria. There it is just a narrow stream slowly growing in size and power with its meandering course flowing past Rozemberk Castle and Cesky Krumlov before making its way eventually to Prague.
You can start your rafting trip either at Cesky Krumlov or at several upstream points. Consult the map with the rafting company which will be happy to drop you off at any one of these and collect you at an agreed point and time further downstream, it’s all part of the service.
All the little restaurants and beer stalls that you’ll see on your journey exist only so that water travellers like you have a place to refresh. Stop at few to sample local specialities such as “utopence” which is a beer snack made of sausage, or pickled local brie or, our favourite, “bramboracky” which translates as a lovely herby rosti.
Our favourite rafting route is between Rozmberk and Cesky Krumlov. Rozmberk is situated about 24km south of Krumlov and will take about 3 hours at a gentle paddle to cover the distance by raft. However, you can go a lot further and spend a whole day on the river if you wish to see more of this picturesque part of the world.
Along the route are several weirs or river steps that require negotiating. Nothing to fear but it does add a small amount of white water excitement to your otherwise docile day.
With very little effort on your part you’ll be carried along by the gentle current enjoying the sun, nature and a beer or two from the local river bank stalls.
3.Visit a unique open air revolving theater
Water levels in the river are determined by what is released from Lipno Dam further upstream but are often only between knee and waist deep. If swimming isn’t your strongest point, check with the rental company what routes would be most suitable for you on the day.
Aim to visit Cesky Krumlov during summer and you have landed yourself a chance to see a performance in the world’s only open air Revolving Theatre set in the beautiful grounds of the Cesky Krumlov Chateau.
Ever been to a theatre without a stage? Seated in a revolving auditorium you’ll be turned to whichever scene is about to take place, often featuring fire, explosions, live horses and superb light shows. Weather is never guaranteed but an amazing experience always is, even for staunch non theatre goers.
The charismatic settings within the Chateau gardens have been cleverly exploited by the production team who deploy horses, fire and swordsmen in the well rehearsed performances.
Most performance are in Czech, however, for certain famous stories such as Robin Hood or world famous operas you’ll need no interpretation.