Cesky Krumlov is a beautiful fairytale town in the Czech Republic. Following years of neglect, the town’s architecture has been restored to its former glory and is now a stunning example of a traditional Czech town. First off, I have to say that if you have more time to spare I highly recommend spending at least one night in Cesky Krumlov, but if you can only spare a day I’ve put together all the information you might need to see Cesky Krumlov in one day in this Prague to Cesky Krumlov day trip itinerary.
Where is Cesky Krumlov?
Nestled in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov is only a short distance from the border with Germany and Austria, and 2-3 hours away from Prague by train or bus. Cesky Krumlov’s location means it is a great stop off point between Prague and Vienna, Linz, Salzburg or Munich, so if you are travelling around Europe you can continue your journey easily taking an onward train, bus or transfer to these cities.
When to visit Cesky Krumlov
When I visited Cesky Krumlov in winter, (well a snowy March!), which is still low season, and many of the activities in Cesky Krumlov were closed – or not at all appealing in the snow! Although Cesky Krumlov in winter is very beautiful, if you visit from the end of April until November, you will have more luck with all the attractions being open. Other activities such as rafting are best enjoyed in the summer when the weather is much warmer!
How to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague
It is actually surprisingly easy to get to Cesky Krumlov from Prague. There are several ways of getting to Cesky Krumlov, including by train, bus, and shuttle transfer, or if you prefer to have a guided tour then there are several companies who offer day tours to Cesky Krumlov from Prague and other Czech destinations.
A Prague to Cesky Krumlov Day Trip by Train.
Getting from Prague to Cesky Krumlov by train is straightforward and comfortable. Trains leave Praha hl.n (the main train station in Prague) and arrive at Cesky Krumlov train station which is about 20 minutes’ walk from the main square in Cesky Krumlov, or 5-10 minutes by taxi.
The Czech Railways website is easy to use, and you can book train tickets online or directly at the station. If you book your ticket online they will send a confirmation which has a QR code on, so you can show it on your smartphone and don’t need to print it out. When I checked, there were direct trains which leave Praha hl.n at 8.01 every day and arrive at Cesky Krumlov at 10.55am, costing 195 CZK for a single second class ticket. The return direct Cesky Krumlov to Prague train departs Cesky Krumlov at 14.07, arriving back in Prague at 16.57, so isn’t enough time to enjoy the town in one day. However, there are other trains with changes that you can get back to Prague.
This website has details of the regional trains, where you change in České Budějovice, for example, there is a train which leaves Cesky Krumlov at 17.00, arriving back in Prague at 19.57. However, the ticket prices on this website are much more expensive and it doesn’t appear to be an official site, so I would suggest buying your outbound ticket online through the official Czech Railways website, and buying your return ticket at the train station when you arrive in Cesky Krumlov. The tickets do not sell out, but seat reservation isn’t possible. All the sites I have read about trains in the Czech Republic say that you will have no problem finding a seat – it seems that the trains aren’t that popular.
Getting the Bus from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
There are two main companies which run a bus service from Prague to Cesky Krumlov bus station, which is about 8 minutes’ walk from the main square. I went from Prague to Cesky Krumlov by bus and found it punctual and easy to do, and although it took longer than the train (up to 3 hours 30 minutes), the buses are more frequent so a day trip from Prague to Cesky Krumlov by bus is still possible.
Flixbus runs several direct buses a day from the different bus stations in Prague to Cesky Krumlov AN, calling at České Budějovice and other destinations along the way. You can reserve your tickets online, and again just show the confirmation on your phone to the driver. Any baggage is stored underneath the bus. Check the location of your nearest bus station before you book – Florenc was closest for me. The first direct bus from Prague to Cesky Krumlov leaves Florenc bus station at 07.45, arriving at Cesky Krumlov at 11.15. There are return buses leaving at 17.30 or 19.00, and tickets cost from £4.99 each way.
RegioJet is a technically a student agency bus, but anyone can use the service, not just students. I took their bus from Cesky Krumlov to České Budějovice and back, and was impressed with the service and in-bus entertainment – there were individual screens in each seat so you could choose to watch a movie (in English with Czech subtitles) or listen to music. The seats seemed a bit dirtier than the Flixbus though. Regiojet runs an hourly service with buses leaving from Prague Na Knížecí bus station on the hour to go to Cesky Krumlov AN, scheduled to take around 2 hours 50 minutes with the first leaving at 6am. The return buses leave Cesky Krumlov on the hour again, with the last one departing at 20.00, scheduled to arrive back in Prague Na Knížecí bus station at 22.55. The cost of a one-way ticket starts from 129 CZK, and gets more expensive as the bus fills up. They also offer free cancellation or changes up to 15 minutes before the scheduled departure.
Taking a Shuttle from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
There are several companies offering shuttle bus services which can be a good option for a Prague to Cesky Krumlov day trip. I haven’t used any of these companies, so can’t comment on their reliability though. The Cesky Krumlov tourist information website has several companies listed here including Czech Shuttle and Bean Shuttle. Prices start from 35 euros per person, or you can book a 3 seat to 8 seat vehicle for a private transfer from Prague to Cesky Krumlov . The journey takes around 2 hours 15 minutes depending on the pick-up point.
Day Tour from Prague to Cesky Krumlov
Day tours to Cesky Krumlov typically leave Prague around 9am, often from a central pickup point so hotel transfers are not usually included. You will travel by coach to Cesky Krumlov, have a guided tour of Cesky Krumlov castle (the interior of the castle is only open from April – October, although you can still walk around the grounds all year), visit the Church of St. Vitus and have free time to explore the old town centre on your own. Some tour companies include lunch, others do not, so check your itinerary for what is included. You will then return to Prague by coach, with the whole tour taking around 10-11 hours start to finish.
Check these options for Cesky Krumlov Day Tours from GetYourGuide, including options for private tours from Prague to Cesky Krumlov.
Prague to Cesky Krumlov Day Trip:
Things to do in Cesky Krumlov in One Day
There are a lot of things to do in Cesky Krumlov to keep you occupied for at least a couple of days, so the hardest thing will be deciding what to do in Cesky Krumlov if you only have one day. These are my highlights of Cesky Krumlov:
Wiseman Free Walking Tour of Cesky Krumlov
This free tour leaves from outside the information office every day, come rain or shine at 10.30am, and from April till October there is also a second daily tour at 2.30pm. Our guide Bob (Bobaz) was really knowledgeable about Cesky Krumlov and clearly enjoyed sharing its history with us. The tour lasts around 2 hours and covers the old town, special architecture of interest, the Church of St. Vitus, the outdoor area of the castle and more. See more… Alternatively, you can arrange a private tour of Cesky Krumlov here.
Cesky Krumlov Castle
The second largest castle complex in the Czech Republic (Prague has the number one spot) is fascinating. You can walk through the castle outdoor areas for free, and there is a charge if you want to visit the indoor areas, which are open from April to October. You can also go up in the tower for 100 CZK, which is worth it for the wonderful views of Cesky Krumlov. Watch your step though, the stairs up are uneven, and there are some low ceilings waiting for you to crack your head on!
The Cesky Krumlov Castle Gardens were sadly also closed when I visited in March (open from April to October) but visit them in the spring or summer to see them in full bloom. You also get a great view of the town from the garden walls too!
The Baroque Castle Theatre is the best preserved Baroque theatre in Europe, which still has most original features. You can take a tour of the theatre from May to October, or if you can manage to get tickets there are special events where you can see live performances in the theatre, including the weekend of the Festival of Baroque Arts in September.
Cesky Krumlov Castle Opening Hours
The various sections of the castle have different opening times. You can walk through the castle grounds all year round, including in the evening, and the castle museum is open from at least 9am to 3pm most of the year. The castle tower is also open for most of the year, but is closed on Mondays in the winter months. The Cesky Krumlov Castle website has detailed opening times here, so check for the dates and times you plan to visit.
Cesky Krumlov Castle Entrance Fee
To simply walk around the outside areas there is no admission fee, you can come and go as you please. Each section of the interior of the castle has its own entrance fee, varying from 100 CZK per person for the castle museum, to 320 CZK for Tour Route 1, and there are discounts for children, students, seniors, and family tickets. Check the official website for the up to date prices for tickets.
I don’t think you can buy Cesky Krumlov castle tickets online unless it is through a tour company – I tried on the official website but the purchase tickets page is only in Czech.
Cesky Krumlov Monasteries
The monasteries occupy the second largest premises in Cesky Krumlov, after the castle. The convent of the monks and nuns of St Francis was founded in the mid-14th century, and later a third monastery was also added, creating a unique three monastery compound. The monasteries are now a museum and cultural centre where you can learn about life in the monasteries and see various exhibitions related to the culture, history and art of the period, as well as interactive exhibits of human skills and crafts.
The Church of St. Vitus
The neo-gothic Church of St Vitus is an architectural gem, and is the other major landmark in Cesky Krumlov. It is occasionally used as a venue for classical concerts, or you can go inside to take a look when there are no services going on.
Cesky Krumlov Regional Museum
As its name suggests, this museum has exhibits about Cesky Krumlov and the surrounding area, including historical pictures and documents, fine art paintings and a unique ceramic model of the historical old town. It was closed for renovations when I was in town, but has recently re-opened.
The Egon Shiele Art Centrum
This museum is about the life and work of the Austrian figurative artist Egon Sheile, whose mother was from Cesky Krumlov. He was a protégé of Gustav Klimt, and the museum has displays of his work, furniture and other personal items, as well as temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art. There is also a café here too.
The Seidel Photographic Studio Museum
Open all year round, this museum charts the progress of professional photography, and has a large collection of historical photographs from local photographers.
Other Museums in Cesky Krumlov
Other museums in Cesky Krumlov include a Wax Museum, a Museum of Torture, a 3D Museum and Puppet and Marionette Museums, so there is something for every taste!
Why You Should NOT Take a Prague to Cesky Krumlov Day Trip
This little gem in the south of the Czech Republic is bombarded by day tours from Prague who just come for a few hours to visit Cesky Krumlov and then leave. Cesky Krumlov is definitely worth more of your time if you can spare it, and in the evenings when the tour groups and day trippers leave, you can enjoy a more peaceful stroll around the town. Cesky Krumlov also has a special charm after dark, especially by the river and the castle.
As you can see from above there are lots of museums and historical monuments to visit in Cesky Krumlov, far more than you could do in a day. Other activities in the warmer months in Cesky Krumlov include rafting when you float down the river on wooden rafts to give a unique perspective of Cesky Krumlov from the river, or on whitewater rafts if you’re feeling more adventurous. Horseback riding is popular too, and most hotels will be able to arrange horse riding excursions for you.
The area around Cesky Krumlov also has plenty to see and do, and you can take days trips from Cesky Krumlov to Ceske Budejovice and the Budweiser factory, Hlubloka Castle and other historical towns and buildings, and the Lipno Hydro Plant, Treetop Walkway and various activities on the lake.
The Cesky Krumlov Card
If you have time to visit various museums in Cesky Krumlov, then the Cesky Krumlov Card is a great way to save you money on the entrance fees. The card costs 300 CZK and includes free entrance to the Castle Museum and Castle Tower (usually 200 CZK by themselves), Český Krumlov Regional Museum, Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, Egon Schiele Art Centrum and the Český Krumlov Monasteries. You can buy the card at any of the attractions here except the Monasteries, or at the Tourist Information centre in the main square. You can find more details about the card here.
Where to Eat in Cesky Krumlov
I found that even in the winter off-season some restaurants in Cesky Krumlov were fully booked with tour groups at lunchtime, so if you know which date you will be here, call and book a table at your favourite. In the evening, when the day trippers have gone for the day, there is a lot more choice. Good value, traditional Czech restaurants include the Two Marys aka Krcma U dwau Maryi and Cikanska Jizba, and vegetarians might be glad of Laibon, although it is more expensive than perhaps it should be. Check Tripadvisor for reviews of all Cesky Krumlov restaurants.
Where to Stay in Cesky Krumlov
If you do decide to stay overnight there a plenty of hotels in Cesky Krumlov to choose from. For budget travellers, there are some great budget hostels like Hostel Merlin, which is centrally located and gets great reviews on Hostelworld. I stayed at Hostel Skippy which was rustic, but good value.
What do you think, have you been to Cesky Krumlov? Would you recommend spending more time here or just taking a Cesky Krumlov day trip? I’d love to hear your views, please leave a comment below.
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