Why You Should Go From Prague to Cesky Krumlov
Ask someone who has been to Prague how they liked it, and chances are they will rave about it and tell you what a beautiful city it is. And they would be right, Prague is stunningly beautiful and has become a very popular destination in Czechia. Due to the rise in popularity over the past several years, it has also become very crowded and not the “cheap” city break it once was. If you visit Prague, in the summer particularly, you will be with swarms of tourists, big bus tours, and stag/hen parties. The over-tourism is driving people to look for Prague day trips more and more.
To escape the masses a little and see something different, consider going from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. Cesky Krumlov is a charming Czech city that sits on the Vltava River about 170 km south of Prague. Here you can enjoy beautiful architecture, old world charm, and even some outdoor fun.
Cesky Krumlov has been one of the most popular day trips from Prague, but it is worth spending more time here. Consider staying 2-3 nights in Cesky Krumlov. Since it is mostly visited as a day trip, the city is much quieter in the late afternoon and evening once the day-trippers have gone home. You can easily spend closer to a week here when you add in neighboring Lipno, just 30 minutes drive away.
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GETTING FROM PRAGUE TO CESKY KRUMLOV
Cesky Krumlov is not too far from Prague. Most of the time people refer to Cesky Krumlov as a day trip from Prague, but it is well worth adding a few dedicated nights here to enjoy it fully. There are several options to reach the city easily from Prague.
Renting a car will give you the most flexibility in your schedule. The drive from Prague to Cesky Krumlov is just over 2 hours long. We found the drive to be very easy.
Driving on the freeways in Czechia requires a vignette. If your rental does not include a vignette or you will be driving in from a neighboring country, be sure and stop at a gas station to pick up the vignette. A 10 day vignette costs about 12.50 EUR. Parking can be an issue in the old town, so be sure and check with your hotel about the parking situation.
If you won’t have a rental car or don’t want to do the driving yourself, you can book a private transfer from Prague to enjoy the same convenience and not have to worry about the parking.
You can get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague’s main station on an express train in just under 3 hours. Tickets are fairly inexpensive at about 18 EUR from the Czech railway's website. The Cesky Krumlov train station is just outside of the old town, so you would need to take a taxi or bus to get to the old town or to your hotel.
There are several bus companies with regular routes from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. Some tickets are very inexpensive depending on what company you choose. The ride will take a little over 2 hours.
OTHER EASILY ACCESSIBLE CITIES
Salzburg to Cesky Krumlov is about 2.5 hours by car and about 3 hours by bus.
Cesky Krumlov to Vienna will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes by car.
Linz is just an hour and 10 minutes drive away.
Hallstatt is a 2 hour and 45-minute car drive away.
If you will not have a rental car, you can book transfers from CK Shuttle.
Read more about visiting Salzburg here.
THINGS TO DO IN CESKY KRUMLOV
In Cesky Krumlov, things to do are easy to come by. Enjoy a more relaxed pace and smaller area to traverse. Here are the best ideas of what to do in Cesky Krumlov.
WANDER THE OLD TOWN
Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a beautifully preserved town with much of the original architecture. The town somehow managed to survive World War II without any bombings. Cesky Krumlov’s historic center is easily walkable and is best enjoyed by wandering the cobblestone streets by foot. Enjoying the small side streets and hidden courtyards is one of the best ways to enjoy the city. Stop for a traditional tredlink, a Czech rolled dough pastry, and enjoy the charm of the city.
Want to learn more about the city’s history? You can hire a tour guide to meet you at your hotel and guide you through the city and the castle. Enjoy wandering, talking, and stopping for coffee all while learning more about Cesky Krumlov’s rich history.
TAKE IN THE VIEW
One of the best views in the city is from the viewing platform right across the street from Hotel Ruze (the only 5-star hotel in town). Make sure you stop by here to take a break in the park and take in the magnificent view of the castle. You can also spot the Vltava River below and watch the rafters going down the river.
When you’re done you can pop into the courtyard of Hotel Ruze and check out the local craft market. Or if you’re hungry you can enjoy a meal from the restaurant at the hotel which offers a stunning view from the terrace.
VISIT THE CASTLE
The most striking feature of Cesky Krumlov is the castle. Visiting the beautiful Baroque castle is one of the most popular activities in town. The original castle was established before 1250. It is the second largest castle in the country after Prague castle. You can tour the interior with a guided tour, explore the gardens for free, visit the castle museum, and climb the tower for another commanding view over the city.
RAFT THE RIVER
In Cesky Krumlov rafting is one of the most fun things you can do when the weather is nice. We booked a short rafting trip from Malecek Rafting which had an office right outside our hotel. For a very affordable price (about $40), we were able to rent a blow-up canoe that fit our whole family. We were driven up the river a bit to a drop in point. The guide helped us load and launch our canoe, and we were on our way!
I was a little nervous about doing this with small children, but the river is very calm and the chutes were not so crazy that I was worried about anyone falling out. They gave us just enough excitement without being too scary. Our kids loved cruising down the river, swimming, looking for ducks, and doing the chutes.
It took us about a half day and it was just perfect for us. We started shortly after breakfast and finished up right around lunchtime. Along the river, you will see several campgrounds. This would be another option for enjoying the area. This was one of the best Cesky Krumlov attractions for us!
Get a dry bag to protect your camera, wallet, snacks, etc.
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
If you’re looking to splurge and get a unique view over Cesky Krumlov, consider a hot air balloon ride! We didn’t realize this was even an option until we were driving back to Cesky Krumlov from Lipno (see more below) and we saw the balloons in the air! We even pulled over off the road so we could get out and watch the balloons for a little while.
DAY TRIPS FROM CESKY KRUMLOV
Just 30 minutes drive from Cesky Krumlov is the resort area of Lipno. Lipno has many activities whether you visit in summer or winter and makes the perfect Cesky Krumlov day trip. Depending on the season you can enjoy skiing, the lake, an alpine coaster, the Lipno treetop walk, a forest playground, indoor pool, and more!
We were surprised by how many outdoor activities there were here for families to enjoy. There were hotels and campgrounds all over the surrounding area so staying out here is another option to extend your stay.
Visit the home of Czech Budweiser! Czechia is known for its pivo, or beer. This is the original Budweiser beer that inspired the name for the American version. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, touring the factory and learning about beer production is sure to be an interesting experience!
This striking castle is just over 30 minutes drive from Cesky Krumlov. Take some time to visit the fairytale castle and wander the gardens. Also, stop by the nearby village of Hluboka, have lunch and enjoy some local craft beer.
Visit another UNESCO world heritage site in the town of Telc, one hour and 45 minutes away by car. Telc is chock-full of more gorgeous pastel architecture. You can also explore the city’s underground tunnels, castle, and climb the watchtower for views over the city.
CESKY KRUMLOV HOTELS
To check available properties on your dates visit Booking.com
Here are some great ideas for hotels in Cesky Krumlov:
Garni Hotel Castle Bridge-Renovated modern rooms with a riverside location. Excellent reviews and superb location. Some rooms have balconies overlooking the river and even air conditioning units (a rare find in Europe). Breakfast included and also pet-friendly.
Hotel Grand-Located in the central square of Cesky Krumlov in a historic building. Rooms are modern and redone. The hotel offers a substantial breakfast buffet.
Hotel Ebersbach-Ornately decorated rooms will make you feel like you’re staying in a castle. Bathrooms are renovated and modern. Central location, free wi-fi, and continental breakfast are also offered.
I have loved visiting Prague in the past, but I am so glad we added Cesky Krumlov to our itinerary on our last trip. It was wonderful to get out into another area of Czechia and explore a new town. The rafting trip was a big highlight as well! It wasn’t part of our original plan, but it ended up being one of the most fun things we did. I’d happily plan a return trip to Cesky Krumlov and the surrounding area, and I hope you’ll consider adding it to your next trip itinerary as well!
While I do recommend giving Cesky Krumlov at least a couple nights to enjoy if you don’t have the time in your itinerary but would still like to visit, see these tours to help you book some Prague day trips.
Need more help planning your trip? Check out these guides: