The Fairytale Village in Bohemia: Český Krumlov
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov is famous for its Old Town, with 300 protected medieval buildings, and its castle complex, the second largest in the Czech Republic. This was our next stop, after Prague, and I cannot stress just how much we loved this gorgeous little town. It was like something out of a fairytale. Surrounded by rolling hills and the Vltava River, Český Krumlov’s cobblestone streets wind past centuries old townhomes, inns, shops, and cafes. Located in the southwest part of the Czech Republic, this picturesque city is home to about 14,000 residents.
Český Krumlov is a little like Prague in miniature form. You can walk from one side of town to the other in 20 minutes. There are plenty of lively bars and riverside picnic spots. However, in summer there are also tons of tourists! We heard that it is a magical place in winter, though, when the crowds are gone and the castle is blanketed in snow. Český Krumlov is best approached as an overnight destination. It is too far for a comfortable day trip from Prague. We only stayed one night, and there is no denying that we wished we could have stayed a few more nights. Ideally, we would have like to have spent one of the days hiking or biking in the surrounding woods and fields.
When we got to Český Krumlov, we had driven just over 5000km on our European road trip. It blows my mind to think how many kilometers were covered in those two months. I love love love that we made the decision to do this!
Arriving in Český Krumlov was a bit of a headache – firstly, we didn’t know much about the driving regulations. Someone told us that we weren’t able to drive into the center of town (which was not true). We therefore parked a few blocks out, paid for 24 hour parking, and then gathered our bags and made our way into town. Since the town was so small, we knew we wouldn’t need our car while we were there. However, we would have preferred not to have to unpack, and rearrange our bags, in a parking lot.
As we arrived at our guest house, we ran into another hiccup. We couldn’t get in, and we didn’t have a sim card that would work in the Czech Republic. We were stuck outside the front of the accommodation – and no one was opening the door. After asking someone in a restaurant nearby for help, we were treated like irresponsible children for not having a working phone. Yes, because the world didn’t even EXIST before cell phones, international roaming, and all of the modern day luxuries that we now have!! We had to smile and take his smack talk, while he called the owner of the guest house for us.
FINALLY – tired and annoyed – we got up to our room. Thankfully, it was spacious and beautiful, so we could relax for a bit, shake off the arrival frustrations, and prepare to head out for some afternoon explorations.
Here are some Trivia & Quick Points (source: Krumlov.com):
- The town was created around the castle, which was founded by the Lords of Krumlov (the Vítkovci family) around 1253.
- The architecture of the Castle and the town is a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.
- The name of the city comes from the German term “krumme aue” (crooked meadow). This evolved to Krumlov. In the 15th century, the adjective “Český” (Czech) was added to distinguish it from the Moravian city, Moravský Krumlov.
- The average temperature in July is 61 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature in January is 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The town experienced a period of decay from the end of World War II until 1989, when restoration efforts began in earnest, leading to its inscription into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992.
We absolutely FELL IN LOVE with Český Krumlov within minutes of arriving. Even as we battled the parking and guesthouse struggles, we couldn’t help but glance around and admire this incredible little town. Once we were settled in, and able to take a leisurely stroll around town, we were left memorized!
We spent hours just walking around, taking it all in…
Snack Time: Crepes
A definite snack-time must do in Český Krumlov, is a stop at MLS Creperie. Location: Latran 12, Cesky Krumlov 381 01, Czech Republic (the grey and white building in the image above). We grabbed a couple of crepes from the take-out window, but if you have time, sit down in the cafe and soak in the atmosphere.
What a gorgeous little fairytale-type village. I wouldn’t even need to think for two minutes about moving here. It is one of the most romantic, beautiful little towns we have EVER seen.
More on Český Krumlov HERE: