Český Krumlov - A fairytale without end

Everyone who’s ever been to Český Krumlov will probably tell you that in the town’s narrow streets you can easily lose track of time and feel like you’ve travelled to another century. There are few towns that have kept their medieval and Renaissance character and a specific atmosphere of tranquillity that is hard to describe. This town, dominated by a monumental castle and chateau, guards many old secrets. On almost every step, you will encounter mute witnesses of times long gone. There also witnessed the stories one of the most powerful aristocratic families – the Rosenberg family with the five-petalled rose in their coat of arms, who turned Český Krumlov into a splendid Renaissance residence that was meant to be on par with the royal Prague.
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Title
For three hundred years, Český Krumlov was the residence of the Lords of Rosenberg, one of the oldest and most powerful aristocratic families in Bohemia. The members of this family are responsible for the construction of the extensive fish ponds, typical for the South Bohemian landscape, and for the unprecedented flourishing of the town in terms of culture and spirituality. The most prominent representative of the family, Peter IV of Rosenberg, studied at university in the Italian Bologna. Thanks to him, the ideas of humanism and the spellbinding charm of the Renaissance have made an indelible imprint on the face of the town. This legacy is clearly legible even now, after more than four centuries. The twilight of the Rosenberg family is associated with his great-nephew, the legendary Peter Vok of Rosenberg. According to legend, he was a generous and charming person, but he was also somewhat profligate. Surrounded not only by noblemen but also by young ladies, Peter Vok led a life of unrestrained entertainment. His friends warned him against such a lifestyle and advised him to get married soon. His libertinism lasted him almost until age 40, when he got married, but not even marriage was able to remedy all the financial and health consequences of his tempestuous youth. Buried deep in debt, the last descendant of the Rosenbergs left the family residence humbly, quietly and without any celebrations or dramatic goodbyes. The spirit of the Renaissance is, however, present until this day.


© Libor Sváček
 

Interesting thing

Five-petalled rose

The coat of arms of the famous aristocratic family of Rosenbergs, the owners of Český Krumlov, depicts a five-petalled rose. But how did it get there? The following legend may shed some light on this mystery. During his life in South Bohemia, Vítek I of Prčice, a representative of the famous house of Vítkovci, accumulated an extensive estate, which he decided to distribute among his sons. According to legend, he organized a ceremony, during which he bestowed on each of his five sons a symbol with a five-petalled wild rose. Together with it, they received their respective part of the estate. His sons then established their own lineages, which were collectively called the Lords of the Rose. The historical celebrations of the five-petalled rose commemorate the glorious history of the Rosenbergs and their rule over Český Krumlov.

Day 1

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We recommend starting the trip with a tour of the historic centre. You can begin in Horní street, where you will have a chance to admire three historic buildings – the former Jesuit College, the Prelature and the Parish Priest’s House. After sampling the atmosphere of the glorious past, you can proceed to the Fairytale House – The Puppet Museum and visit its exposition of puppets as well as a unique, well-preserved puppet theatre.
If you become hungry, you can move to the nearby Šatlava tavern, an interesting medieval-style tavern, which is recommended not only by tourists but also by the locals.
On your way to the castle, stop by the Wallachian Court.  
The largest part of the trip is devoted to the magnificent complex of the State Castle and Chateau Český Krumlov. If you take the first tourist route, you can peek into the representative as well as private chambers of its inhabitants. You will see the splendid golden carriage and the Masquerade Hall with a carnival party consisting of 135 figures painted on its walls. Can you spot the stock characters of the famous commedia dell'arte among them? The tour will take you to the 5th Courtyard of the chateau, where you can find the unique Baroque Chateau Theatre. Make sure you pay a visit to this unique building. There is only one theatre stage in Europe that is so well preserved as this one and you would have to go really far to see it, because it is the Baroque theatre in the Swedish royal palace of Drottningholm. 
After that, you can spend some more magical time in the Chateau Gardens. Do not forget to take a look into the Bear Moat. There is an almost three hundred years long tradition of bear-keeping. If you still have enough energy after this demanding programme, feel free to try out one of the many local cultural events or go see an open-air theatre performance from the unique Revolving Auditorium. You won’t regret it.

Common Tips

To the more adventurous among you, we also recommend to take the trail that goes through the Rock Garden (in Czech “Horská zahrada” – lookout terraces behind the 5th Courtyard). This trail will guide you through the nooks and crannies of the rocky slopes above the Vltava and it offers wonderful views of the town and the chateau.

Transportation

Český Krumlov is about 180 km away from Prague.
There is, however, no direct train route. With a transfer in České Budějovice, the train ride takes about 4 hours. A bus ride (private bus companies) takes 3 hours.  If you want to go by car, the best option is to take the D1 motorway towards Brno and exit to the E55 towards Linz (Exit 21). You will go through Tábor and České Budějovice.

Day 1

km
3
hrs
7
sights
6

Historic buildings in Horní Street

The Order of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit order, was invited to Český Krumlov in 16th century by William of Rosenberg in order to increase the education among the locals. Several buildings connected with their activities thus emerged in the Horní street, such as the former Jesuit College or the Parish Priest’s House. You will surely be captivated by the reconstructed seminary garden, too.

Fairytale House – Puppet Museum in Český Krumlov

Once upon a time, there was a little town. In that town, there was a house. It was not an ordinary house, though – it was magical. Many creatures lived in it, such as the water spirit ”vodník” with captured souls of drowned men, the bandits of the Blanský Forest and Šumava Forest, a giant or Doctor Faustus and the famous puppet “Kašpárek”. 

Address

Dlouhá 29, 38101 Český Krumlov
GPS: 48.811449, 14.315113

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 80 Kč

Family fee: 160 Kč

Senior fee: 30 Kč

Student fee: 30 Kč

Wallachian Court in Český Krumlov

The Wallachian Court represents a marvellous combination of several styles of architecture. This is also typical for other houses in Český Krumlov. 

Address

Dlouhá 32, 381 01 Český Krumlov
GPS: 48.811425, 14.314445

Český Krumlov State Castle and Chateau

On a rocky projection, fringed by the river Vltava, lies the second largest castle and chateau complex in the Czech Republic – the State Castle and Chateau Český Krumlov. Since 1992, this architectural gem has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the town’s historic centre.

Address

Český Krumlov, Zámek čp. 59
GPS: 48.812753, 14.313839

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 150 Kč

Children fee: 100 Kč

Family fee: 400 Kč

Senior fee: 100 Kč

Student fee: 100 Kč

Castle Museum in Český Krumlov

Sending you back in time to the era when prominent noblemen ruled Český Krumlov from the castle, the year-round exhibition can be found in the Castle Museum in the second of five courtyards.

Address

Zámek č.p. 59
381 01 Český Krumlov
GPS: 48.812589, 14.314271

Entry fees

Standard fee: 100 Kč

Children fee: 50 Kč

Family fee: 220 Kč

Senior fee: 70 Kč

Student fee: 50 Kč

Krumlov Auditorium

Nestled beside the splendid Baroque theatre at the chateau in Český Krumlov is yet another surprise: an open-air theatre with a rotating stage, situated in the middle of the grounds of the chateau, not far from the Bellarie Rococo summer palace, which serves a backdrop to the auditorium. The idea to utilise the summer palace and surrounding park for an open-air stage originated in 1958 with artists from the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice.

Address

K Zámecké zahradě, 381 01 Český Krumlov
GPS: 48.810488, 14.30764

Laibon vegetarian restaurant

The stylish vegetarian restaurant Laibon Česky Krumlov offers visitors a wide range of vegetarian and vegan dishes. You can choose from appetizers (guacamole, hummus), soups, main courses (sabdži, dhal, vegetable chili, burrito, quesadilla and many others), cakes and sweets healthy and of course wide variety of salads.

Address

Parkán 105
381 01 Český Krumlov
GPS: 48.8113439, 14.3159269

Papa´s living restaurant

It is one of the renowned companies in the Český Krumlov, there is a beautiful terrace, which is placed over flowing Vltava. You can enjoy views of the whole old town. Pleasant interior is complemented by excellent dishes of all the best ingredients. 

Address

Latrán 13
Český Krumlov 381 01
GPS: 48.8117431, 14.3168544

Le Jardin Gourmet Restaurant

A high quality designer interior and feeling of a celebratory atmosphere – you can expect all this together with pleasant service in the Le Jardin restaurant, which is specific in its offer of modern experience-oriented gastronomy and light Czech cuisine.

Address

Hotel Bellevue ****
Latrán 77
381 01 Český Krumlov
GPS: 48.8137583333, 14.3173805556

Švamberský dům

The atmosphere of the Middle Ages will be evoked for you by a stay in the Švamberský dům Hotel and visit to its cosy restaurant and terrace. This is to say that you will find yourself in one of the oldest buildings in Český Krumlov, which has retained its original Gothic character despite numerous conversions. 

Address

Švamberský dům ***
Soukenická 35
381 01 Český Krumlov
GPS: 48.8106805556, 14.3140916667

Hotel Bellevue

Hotel Bellevue is situated in a car-free zone of Český Krumlov’s historic centre and just a 2-minute walk from Krumlov Castle. This 16th-century building offers rooms with free Wi-Fi. The spacious rooms at Bellevue Cesky Krumlov have satellite TV, work desks and safety deposit boxes. All have been tastefully decorated in light colours.

 

Address

Latrán 77
Český Krumlov 38101
GPS: 48.8135900, 14.3173419

Gold Hotel

Lying on the left bank of the River Vltava and commanding a beautiful view of the centre of the picturesque Český Krumlov, the Gold Hotel is furnished in a romantic and historic style. Its peaceful atmosphere is enhanced by the adjacent Municipal Park, which once served as a garden of the Jesuit College.
 

Address

Hotel Gold Český Krumlov ****
Linecká 55
Český Krumlov 381 01
GPS: 48.8093025, 14.3168008

Hotel U Malého Vítka

Hotel U Malého Vítka is set in Gothic buildings just 30 metres from Český Krumlov’s main square. It offers free WiFi in the lobby and rooms with satellite LCD TV. Rooms are decorated with natural wood furniture and parquet floors. Each comes with a private bathroom. A daily buffet breakfast is provided. The Český Krumlov Bus Station is 1 km from the property. The Svachova Lhotka Golf Club is 5 km away. Parking spots are available in an area 5-10 minutes away.

 

Address

Radniční 27
Český Krumlov 381 01
GPS: 48.8112600, 14.3150614