If you are looking for a fairytale destination in Europe, Cesky Krumlov is the place for you. This small town in the Czech Republic is located in South Bohemia and is full of historical buildings and breathtaking scenery. In fact, the town’s center is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with cobblestone streets and Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. So if you are wondering what to do during your tour, here is a list of the 20 best things to see and do in Cesky Krumlov.
Things to Do in Cesky Krumlov
1. Explore Cesky Krumlov Castle
If there’s one Cesky Krumlov attraction you can’t miss, it is its Castle. And according to some travel guides, this Castle is among the best preserved in Central Europe and the second-largest castle complex in the Czech Republic.
The castle complex is made up of several buildings, all of which were built between the 13th and 17th centuries. There are 40 buildings and palaces in total, as well as five courtyards and three castle gardens. Highlights include the Castle Museum, the Baroque Theater, and the Castle Gardens.
While the Castle is undoubtedly the town’s most popular attraction, it can get pretty crowded during peak season. Therefore, I recommend visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon. But if you don’t mind the crowds, go ahead and explore the Castle at your leisure. After all, it’s one of the best things to see in Cesky Krumlov.
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2. Get the Best City Views from the Cloak Bridge
Connecting the Castle with the old town is the 3-story stone bridge known as the Cloak Bridge. The bridge, which took almost 100 years to build, is today one of the most popular Cesky Krumlov tourist attractions and a recognizable landmark.
The best part about the bridge is that it has a viewing platform on the top level, offering some of the most beautiful views of Cesky Krumlov and its Castle. I had the chance to explore the bridge vantage point twice, once during the day and once at night. And I must say that the views are pretty magical, no matter what time you visit.
I recommend coming here early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. But even then, you might still have to share this Cesky Krumlov viewpoint with a few others.
3. Climb Mount Klet
For the best views of Cesky Krumlov, make your way to Mount Klet. At an elevation of 1,084 meters (3,556 feet), it’s the highest point in the Cesky Krumlov region. The summit is accessible via a moderate hike or a chairlift.
Since I wanted to save my energy, I opted for the chairlift. The ride to the top was pretty quick, and we passed Klet Observatory along the way. Once at the top, we found Josef’s Tower, which has been in operation since 1885. The views from the top of the tower are absolutely stunning. And on a clear day, you might even be able to see the Austrian Alps in the distance.
After taking in the views, we rented some mountain bikes and rode down the hill. This was a great way to see even more of Cesky Krumlov’s natural scenery. I suggest doing the same if you want to get active during your adventure. It’s fun, it’s different, and it’s one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov.
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4. Visit the Cesky Krumlov Regional Museum
If you want to learn more about Cesky Krumlov’s history and culture, then a visit to the town’s Regional Museum is a must. This Cesky Krumlov attraction is located in a former schoolhouse and houses a permanent exhibition on the history of the town and the region.
The museum has a wide range of exhibits, including archaeological finds, Medieval and Renaissance artifacts, as well as paintings and furniture from the Baroque and Rococo periods. Highlights include a ceramic model of Cesky Krumlov and a collection of Gothic sculptures.
Guided tours in English are available, and I definitely recommend joining one. The tour lasts about an hour and gives you a great overview of Cesky Krumlov’s history.
5. Take a Walking Tour
There are several Cesky Krumlov tours on offer, but I think the best way to explore the town is on foot. You don’t need to join an official tour. Simply download a Cesky Krumlov walking map (you’ll find several options online) and explore at your own pace. But if you prefer guided tours, you can find several.
The tours take you to the most popular Cesky Krumlov attractions, such as the Castle, the old town square, and St. Vitus Church. But they also take you to lesser-known gems, such as the Cesky Krumlov Regional Museum. This is a great option if you want to learn more about the town’s rich history in a short amount of time.
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6. Indulge in Culinary Delights
Czech cuisine is hearty, filling, and often quite heavy. That being said, Cesky Krumlov’s food is some of the best I’ve had in the Czech Republic. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, each serving traditional Czech dishes with a unique twist.
Some of the best foods you must try include svickova (beef tenderloin served with cream sauce and dumplings), goulash (a thick beef stew), and knedliky (dumplings).
I also recommend stopping by one of many bakeries for a sweet treat. Cesky Krumlov is famous for its trdelnik, a cinnamon and sugar-coated pastry that’s grilled over an open flame. You can get trdelnik all over the Czech Republic, but Cesky Krumlov’s are definitely some of the best.
All in all, indulging in culinary delight is one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov, especially if you love to eat! After all, what’s a vacation without treating yourself to some delicious food?
7. Get Spooked at the Museum of Torture
Cesky Krumlov is a town full of history and character, so it’s no surprise that it’s home to a Museum of Torture. This Cesky Krumlov attraction is located in the medieval cellars of the old Town Hall, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
The museum showcases over 100 instruments of torture that were used in the Cesky Krumlov region between the 15th and 18th centuries. Some of the torture devices on display include the “Thumbscrew” and the “Spanish Boot.” In addition, there is a chilling display that shows witch burnings that took place.
While the Museum of Torture may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s still one of the most famous places in Cesky Krumlov. You’ll find that a lot of tours make a stop here, so if you’re feeling brave, go ahead and explore this spooky attraction.
8. Visit the Church of St. Vitus
The Church of St. Vitus is one of the town’s most important religious landmarks. Dating back to the 15th century, this Cesky Krumlov church is one of the oldest in town, and its Gothic design is pretty impressive. Its most distinctive feature is its tall roof, which is covered in colorful tiles.
The interior of the church is pretty simple, but there are some interesting things to see, including a Baroque altarpiece, beautiful stained glass windows, and an impressive organ. In addition, the church was used as a burial place for elite Cesky Krumlov families, so there are also some interesting tombs and monuments to check out.
9. Discover Museum Fotoatelier Seidel
Are you a photography enthusiast? Then you’ll be happy to know that Cesky Krumlov is home to one of the best photography museums in Central Europe, the Museum Fotoatelier Seidel. This museum is devoted to the work of Cesky Krumlov-based photographers Josef and Frantisek Seidels. They were highly influential in the field during the 19th century, and they managed to capture the town’s beauty through their photos.
Today, the museum is located in their studios, which have been faithfully preserved. Here, you can see their original photographs, glass plate negatives, cameras, and equipment.
A visit to this museum is definitely one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov for photography lovers. You’ll get to learn about the history of photography and see some beautiful black and white photos along the way.
10. Relax in Mestsky Park
After touring most of the Cesky Krumlov attractions, why not take a break and relax in Mestsky Park? This 6-acre park is located just a few minutes from the center of the old town. The park features more than 60 species of trees and flowers, a playground, and an outdoor music pavilion built before WWII.
In the summer, the park is a great place to relax, people-watch, or read a book. You can also bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the grass. If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll definitely enjoy the playground. Spend an hour or two here before continuing your tour to more sightseeing in Cesky Krumlov.
11. Raft down the Vltava River
The Vltava River runs through Cesky Krumlov and is one of the main things that make this such a beautiful town. In fact, the river and Cesky Krumlov Castle are what gives the town its fairytale-like appearance.
Rafting down the Cesky Krumlov section of the Vltava River is one of the best things to do in town, especially during summer. It’s a great way to see Cesky Krumlov from a different perspective and get some exercise in at the same time.
There are a few companies that offer rafting tours. I went with Malecek Rafting & Canoe and had a great time. The tour lasts about 2.5 hours and includes a stop at Zlata Koruna town, where you can explore a 13th-century monastery.
If rafting is not your thing, you can take a cruise instead. These cruises depart from Cesky Krumlov’s old town square and offer a different perspective of the town and Cesky Krumlov castle. So no matter how you choose to do it, you’re bound to enjoy this activity.
12. Tour the Minorite Monastery
The Minorite Monastery is another Cesky Krumlov landmark that’s steeped in history. Founded in 1350, the monastery was not completed until the end of the Baroque era. Today, it’s one of the Cesky Krumlov attractions that receive the most visitors.
This is because it combines unique sets of trusses of Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque styles. In addition, the monastery has an intricately carved entranceway that’s definitely worth a look. The interior is no less impressive, with beautiful frescoes and paintings adorning the walls.
While the monastery is interesting to explore on its own, I recommend joining one of the guided tours. These tours will give you a more in-depth look at the monastery’s history and its beautiful architecture.
13. Visit the Puppet Museum
Are you looking for the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov with kids? Then head to the Cesky Krumlov Puppet Museum. This museum is located in the old Church of St. Jobst, and it’s full of marionettes, hand puppets, and glove puppets.
The museum also has a number of interactive displays, which are perfect for keeping the little ones entertained. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a small puppet theatre, where kids can watch a traditional Punch and Judy show.
You can also purchase the puppets here, which make great souvenirs for the kids (and the young at heart). And being one of the most popular attractions in Cesky Krumlov for kids, expect it to be busiest during the summer months.
14. Tour the Moldavite Museum
If you’re interested in geology, then a visit to the Moldavite Museum is definitely in order. Moldavite is a semi-precious green stone that’s found in only a handful of places around the world. In Cesky Krumlov, you can find out all about the history and science behind this unique rock.
This museum is located near the center of town and is easily accessible on foot. It’s small but mighty, and I found it to be one of the most interesting museums in town. We watched a short film about the formation of moldavite (which, by the way, is formed from meteorites!) and then browsed the displays. The interactive exhibits are particularly fun and informative.
Although it’s a small museum, it has gained a reputation as one of the most famous attractions in Cesky Krumlov. So, if you want to learn something new and different, be sure to check it out.
15. Enjoy Cesky Krumlov’s Nightlife
Cesky Krumlov is a small town, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do at night. In fact, Cesky Krumlov’s nightlife scene is surprisingly vibrant for a town its size. This is likely due to a large number of hotels and hostels that cater to tourists, as well as the town’s large student population.
The main nightlife area in Cesky Krumlov is centered on the old town square. This is where you’ll find most of the town’s bars, pubs, and clubs. I enjoyed just spending a few hours walking around, popping into bars for a quick drink, and then moving on to the next. You can also find live music in some bars, particularly on the weekends.
Therefore, if you want to experience something truly unique, why not go for a night out? It’s one of the best Cesky Krumlov things to do, especially if you want to experience the town like a local.
16. Rediscover history at the Wax Museum
The Cesky Krumlov Wax Museum is one of those places you never knew existed but turned out to be fascinating. This quirky museum is housed in a Renaissance building and contains over 100 wax figures that recreate Cesky Krumlov’s history.
The figures are incredibly lifelike and are set up in various historic scenes. Some of the most popular replicas include the re-creation of the royal courts of Emperor Rudolf II, the Alchemist’s shop, and the blacksmith’s workshop.
If you’re traveling with kids, then a visit to this museum is a great way to keep them entertained. So be sure to include it on your list of places to visit in Cesky Krumlov. It’s fun and educational!
17. Egon Schiele Art Centrum
Cesky Krumlov is not only a pretty town, but it’s also home to some interesting museums and galleries. One of the most popular is the Egon Schiele Art Centrum. This Cesky Krumlov museum is dedicated to the work of Austrian painter and expressionist Egon Schiele. You can find his works on display, including dozens of photographs, personal letters, and graphics. The museum also features rotating exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.
The museum is located in a renaissance building that used to house the town’s brewery. Today, the building has been beautifully restored, and it now provides the perfect setting to display Schiele’s work. Even if you’re not a huge fan of art, a tour of this museum is still one of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov, and I’d highly recommend it.
18. Pamper Yourself at a Cesky Krumlov Spa
Every now and then, we all need to take a break from sightseeing and pamper ourselves. And while Cesky Krumlov may not be as famous for its spa culture, there are actually a few spas worth visiting.
Some popular spas include Bellevue Hotel Diamond Suites, Wellness Hotel Svachovka, and Gold Hotel. All these spas offer a variety of treatments, ranging from massages and facials to body wraps and scrubs. They also have saunas, steam rooms, and Jacuzzis, so you can really spend a whole day here relaxing.
19. Live a fairytale in the State Chateau of Hluboka Castle
While Cesky Krumlov might get all the attention, Hluboka Castle is another amazing castle in the Czech Republic that shouldn’t be missed. This Castle is often called the “Czech Windsor” because of its grandeur and fairytale-like appearance.
Hluboka Castle was built in the 13th century to serve as the residence for the Bohemian ruling family. However, it was later remodeled in the 19th century into a Romantic castle.
Today, the Castle is open to the public, and you can explore the interiors, learn about its history and even go on a horse-drawn carriage ride around the grounds.
And being considered the most beautiful Castle in the Czech Republic, a visit to Hluboka is definitely one of the best things to do near Cesky Krumlov. You can easily reach Hluboka from Cesky Krumlov by car or bus.
20. Shop for Cesky Krumlov Souvenirs
No trip to Cesky Krumlov is complete without picking up a few souvenirs. There’s no shortage of Cesky Krumlov shopping options, from traditional Czech dolls and glassware to puppets and paintings.
The best place to start your Cesky Krumlov shopping spree is at one of the town’s many markets. Many markets are located in Old Town Square and offer a wide variety of goods, including fresh produce, flowers, and handmade goods. And if you’re looking for something a bit more unique, head to one of Cesky Krumlov’s many art galleries. You’ll find a wide selection of paintings, sculptures, and other artwork pieces from local and international artists.
These are just some of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov that should be on your radar. Of course, there are plenty of other things the town has to offer, but these are some of the highlights. So choose whichever activity/attraction that sounds most appealing to you and start planning your trip!
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic)