Český Krumlov might not be as large or impressive as Prague at first sight, but this centuries-old Czech town is full of magnificent surprises waiting to be discovered.
Prague is a massive city with tons of things to see and do. While this might sound wonderful, it also means you need a lot of days to see it all, and there will be a lot of running around from one attraction to the other – and probably just minutes inside each building. Český Krumlov is a lot smaller, with most significant attractions located in the historical center. As a result, you can spend more time discovering each place, exploring museums, churches, and historical buildings. A short three-day trip would probably be enough to truly enjoy Český Krumlov, while you would need much longer to see Prague.
While Český Krumlov might be small, there are tons of things to see and do within driving distance. Rent a car or hop on a local bus and head to Rozmberk Castle, the Zlata Coruna Monastery, the Holašovice World Heritage Site and more.
In general, the Czech Republic is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to visit. However, everything will cost more in Prague – and that goes not only for accommodation but also drinks, food, and entrance fees to attractions. For example, a room in a mid-level hotel will set you back about 30 Euros in Český Krumlov but at least 50 Euros in Prague. A guided tour of the Český Krumlov’s castle will set you back about 6 Euros while a tour of Prague’s castle will cost about 20 Euros.
While Prague has always been glorious and well-preserved (and very minimally damaged during WWII), Český Krumlov fell into severe disrepair during the Communist era. It took several decades after Communism for the town to regain its former glory and major historical buildings and places to be restored. If you’re interested in getting a closer look at how the past of the country shaped its cities, this is a great place to start.
Český Krumlov Castle is home to the only Baroque theater in the country (and one of very few in the world). Dating back to 1682, the theater maintains all its original moving stage pieces, curtains, orchestra pit, décor, and librettos. The theater is open to the public only twice a year and obtaining a ticket is the event of the century.
Latrán is a district within the town that looks like it belongs in the Middle Ages. Colorful yellow and orange buildings from the 1500s sit next to Gothic houses. The Budweiser Gate, the only gate left from a medieval fortification, the St. Jošt Church, and the Castle Brewery, are all great examples of partial medieval architecture.
Český Krumlov is less than 30km away from Czechia’s most beautiful castle, Hluboká Castle. A National Cultural Monument, Hluboká Castle is a Baroque marvel.
It remained an inhabited residence until the Gestapo seized it in 1940. The castle is now a museum, where visitors can tour a few of the 140 rooms and 11 towers, some of which are fully furnished. Perhaps the most impressive of all is the state-of-the-art 19th-century kitchen fully accessible through a tour.