ČESKÝ KRUMLOV, CZECH REPUBLIC – HIDDEN, BUT NOT TOO MUCH

After a few weeks on the road in relatively expensive European cities such as Amsterdam, Munich, and Berlin I was ready for a budget friendly option. While in Berlin I started looking for my next destination, which at the time I was convinced would probably be Vienna, Austria. After researching the city more I decided I wanted a place that was smaller and more affordable where I could get some editing work completed in peace.

Because I am making my way south into northern Italy I knew I wanted something between Berlin, Germany and Salzburg, Austria. Looking at the map Prague looked like the best option, but I had just come from there to Berlin and going back to a city I had just seen didn’t interest me. It was too big and it wouldn’t be anything new. That’s when I started researching more places in the Czech Republic. The accommodations tend to be cheaper, as does just about everything else, and their food is good. That’s when I stumbled upon Český Krumlov.

Český Krumlov is a small city in the south Bohemian region of the Czech Republic about 20 miles from the Austrian border. There is a large castle overlooking the city, whose historical center lies in a horseshoe bend in the Vltava River. The city of Krumlov was first mentioned in 1253. In 1992 the city was put on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

The city itself has a very medieval feel. Almost every street is cobblestone and leads to the main square, many of the houses date back more than a few centuries, and it has survived two world wars and communist rule. Most of the buildings in the city fall under three styles (Gothic, Renaissance, or Baroque) and many include more than one due to the inhabitants trying to keep up with the times.

The castle on the hill is very picturesque with its tower overlooking the city below. It also displays many different architectural styles used by the ruling families over the centuries.   Behind the castle is an approximately 1km long garden that houses revolving theatre seats, which make use of all 360 degrees during plays.

The free walking tour provided a lot of interesting information about the history of Krumlov. The only reason the city is so well preserved is the lack of any wartime fighting within the city and being largely ignored by the communist regime.

Not to say that Krumlov hasn’t had it hard times. After the Second World War the German speaking population was expelled from the city, leaving a large portion of the city uninhabited for a while. The following communist regime left the city in disrepair. Some say if Velvet Revolution of 1989 had not taken place the city might not have been salvageable. Since then the city has been restored to its former glory.

Being the tourist destination it is today it is easy to get to Krumlov by bus. My bus from Prague to Krumlov was approx. $8.40. My bed each night at the Hostel Postel near the river was only about $12. Last but not least roughly $7 will get you a full meal and a beer. All in all I think I spent around $40 – $50 a day while here. That is considerably less than anywhere else I have been in the last month.

This city is beautiful, walkable, and affordable. If you have the chance I would suggest a few days in Cesky Krumlov for yourself.

Fun Facts

  1. As a Christmas tradition Czech people buy a Carp and put it in their bathtub for a few days before cooking it. They change the water a few times a day to help clean the fish from the inside out. I guess European Carp are somehow different from North American Carp.
  2. In the month of May all of the street signs in the main town square are changed to the Czech world for love. This tends to confuse tourist whose maps do not show the change.
  3. The bell located at the top left corner of the town hall had its rope shortened because people would ring it in the middle of the night after a few drinks.