If you’re looking for dreamy castles, colourful town squares and lots and lots of rafts, you’ll find all these and more on a day trip from Prague…
When we visited Prague last year, I was really keen to do a day trip from the capital to visit some of the more rural areas of the Czech Republic. I had visions of enchanted fairytale castles, towers, moats, a couple of singing Disney princesses, the whole works.
Initially, I was set on visiting Loket, in the northwest region of the country, made famous for being the casino town in Casino Royale. Basically, I wanted to sit here:
Arriving in an Aston Martin would have been an optional bonus.
Sadly (or perhaps not, given Plan B), Loket is extremely difficult to get to via public transport, and our student budget didn’t stretch to the Aston Martin rent-a-car which would have been my alternative suggestion.
So after a lot of research on beautiful towns in the Czech Republic (trust me, there’s a lot of them!), we decided on Český Krumlov, about a two hour bus trip from Prague.
We weren’t disappointed.
Český Krumlov is a gorgeous medieval town characterised by the Bohemian castle tower which towers over old Český Krumlov (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the river which meanders through the town.
The architecture is incredible, and looks like something straight out of a fairytale book. The most striking thing is how colourful the place is – pastel blues, greens, pinks and yellows ooze out of every street, most of which have amazing views of the castle tower.
As you wander through the streets towards the castle, you’ll pass over wooden bridges crossing over the river, and plenty of sunny cafe spots to soak up the sun and enjoy the peace and quiet of the place (which, for the middle of summer, was surprisingly not very busy).
Something else which is unique about the town is its popularity with rafters, and you’ll see plenty of them cruising along on the current, beers in hand (paddles appear optional, it seems!) and occasionally a dog on board. Rafting is apparently a really popular holiday for Czechs, and with the sun beating down, surrounded by beautiful scenery, I can see why!
The castle itself has loads of things to see, including one of the world’s most completely preserved Baroque theatres. If we had had longer than a day in Český Krumlov, this would have definitely been top of my list.
However, for a whistle stop tour of the castle, I would recommend admiring the views from its multi-tiered bridge…
Strolling around the castle’s gorgeous landscaped gardens…
And a trip up to the top of the castle tower for some spectacular 360 degree views of the old town.
Pro Tip: the tower is HIGH. If, like me, you are terrified of heights, try to avoid going up the tower when it’s busy – there is not much room on the viewing platform to shuffle past other people and my phobia was telling my brain I could easily make some more room for everyone if I got up onto the wall and jumped off (I didn’t, as you might have guessed).
Despite being such a small town, there is so much to explore in Český Krumlov, either in a day or longer. Whilst more suited to medieval carriages and rafts than Aston Martins, the charm of this little town will definitely not disappoint. One not to miss in the Czech Republic!