The Perfect One Day in Cesky Krumlov Itinerary

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by Maggie Turansky

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Planning a one day in Cesky Krumlov itinerary is something that is high on many people’s Central Europe itineraries – often right after exploring the beautiful old town of Prague.

Located in the South Bohemia region about 175 kilometres south of the capital of Prague, this charming town has often been a popular day trip destination for visitors to the Czech Republic.

However, Cesky Krumlov has also struggled under the pressure of overtourism in the years prior to 2020, often because tour groups rarely spend the time needed to really visit this town sustainably.

Cesky Krumlov is popular for a reason – it is absolutely beautiful – and there is a surprising amount to do that you can very much spend a day or two wandering around and getting the most out of this lovely destination.

So if you’re planning to visit this idyllic Czech town and are looking for the perfect itinerary, you’ve come to the right place.

How Many Days in Cesky Krumlov?

How many days should you spend in Cesky Krumlov? This may seem like a bit of a silly question when considering the fact that this town is the prime day trip destination from Prague, but if you’re interested in being a more conscious tourist and supporting the economy of the town, then planning to spend at least one night in Cesky Krumlov is a solid choice.

Cesky Krumlov is not a large place and the majority of the town and its sites certainly can be seen in just one day, but we highly recommend spending a night. For one, it will give you more time to, for lack of a better term, take your time in the town. You won’t need to rush and you can really just kick back and enjoy the scenery.

Beautiful Cesky Krumlov view from castle
Beautiful View of Cesky Krumlov

Secondly, you’ll have the time to support an array of local businesses. If you only have a few hours, you’re going to be able to patronise a lot of great places in the town. If you spend 24 hours or more, then you’ll be able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner along with hitting a pub or even a cafe or two.

If you happen to have 2 days in Cesky Krumlov, then you can use this lovely town as a base for exploring more of the South Bohemia region. You could opt to go to the nearby city of Ceske Budejovice, visit some castles or other sites close by or even go rafting down the Vltava River.

All in all, please plan to spend a night in Cesky Krumlov and avoid taking a day trip from Prague. You won’t regret it and it will also save you from having to travel 5-6 hours simply for a day trip.

Getting To and Around Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov is located about 175 kilometres (roughly 100 miles) south of Prague and it is easy to reach the town from the Czech capital by several different methods.

If you want to get to Cesky Krumlov via public transfer, the most frequent, quickest and often most affordable option would be to go by bus.

There are direct buses that go between Prague and Cesky Krumlov each day operated by RegioJet. If you’re travelling in peak season or on a weekend, it can be a good idea to book your tickets in advance as they do tend to sell out quickly. The bus takes about 2.5 hours. You can view schedules here.

Cesky Krumlov Castle
Cesky Krumlov Castle

The train is another great option. Fewer direct trains leave for Cesky Krumlov from Prague daily than the bus, however, there are plenty of options that include a transfer in Ceske Budejovice. The direct train takes about 3 hours total. Again, it can be a good idea to book in advance as the route is popular.

If you’ve rented a car, then driving from Prague to Cesky Krumlov will take about 2.5 hours. Keep in mind that the centre of Cesky Krumlov is closed to the majority of vehicles so you will need to find a parking space outside of the old town.

As Cesky Krumlov is located very close to the Austrian border, you can also reach the city easily from cities like Linz, Vienna or Salzburg.

If you don’t happen to be driving yourself, generally the easiest way to get there is by booking a shuttle service. For instance, CK Shuttles offer affordable transfers from Cesky Krumlov to Salzburg, Vienna, Linz and Halstatt among other destinations.

Wandering Cesky Krumlov's Streets
Wandering Cesky Krumlov’s Streets

One-Day Cesky Krumlov Itinerary

Though small in size, Cesky Krumlov definitely has enough to occupy visitors for an entire day. Follow this route to figure out what to do when you visit Cesky Krumlov.

Coffee at Non Solo Caffé

If you’ve arrived in Cesky Krumlov early or have spent the night, start your day with a caffeine boost at Non Solo Caffé.

This little Italian-style cafe is the perfect place to grab a coffee or tea before setting off and exploring Cesky Krumlov. There are a couple of seats outside and plenty of seating inside the shop.

If you’re looking for breakfast, a spot that comes recommended is Kolektiv Cafe & Wine Bar. Not a lot of places in Cesky Krumlov open before 10AM (due, largely, to the day-trippers that flock to the city) and these are two of the few that do.

Coffee from Non Solo Caffé
Coffee from Non Solo Caffé

Wander the Old Town

After you’re sufficiently fed and caffeinated, take the time to wander around the lovely old town before the hordes of tour groups descend upon the town. The centre of Cesky Krumlov is very small and you can walk from one end to another in about 10 minutes, however, there is a fair bit to see in this area and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Start by wandering in the Latran area below the castle and take in the beautiful buildings and winding streets.

Cross over the Lazenbnicky Most (one of the largest bridges over the Vltava) and meander over past the small island in the river to the Lávka pod Zámkem, where you can view the Cloak Bridge of the Cesky Krumlov castle.

Then, head deeper into the town and visit the main square of Cesky Krumlov. The square is also home to the tourist info centre where you can opt to purchase the Cesky Krumlov Card for 400 CZK.

Cloak Bridge
Cloak Bridge

This can be a good option if you plan to visit a few museums as it includes entry into five of the town’s most popular sites – the Castle Museum and Tower, the Regional Museum, the Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, the Egon Schiele Art Centrum and the Cesky Krumlov Monasteries.

From the square you can head up one of the side streets to get to one of the best viewpoints of the town – in the gardens just across from the regional museum. From the viewpoint, you can also wander up and visit the beautiful St Vitus Church, another iconic piece of the Cesky Krumlov skyline.

Take in these sites, but let your feet lead you and plan to wander a bit on your own with no destination in mind. The town is so small it is virtually impossible to get lost and you’re sure to uncover a beautiful little side street if you’re simply bold enough to explore on your own.

If you want some insight into the culture and history of Cesky Krumlov, we recommend going on the Cesky Krumlov free walking tour run by Wiseman Free Tour. The tour runs daily, however, it is necessary to book in advance. If the free walking tour doesn’t suit your schedule, you can also opt for a paid walking tour of Cesky Krumlov.

Cesky Krumlov Viewpoint
Cesky Krumlov Viewpoint

Cesky Krumlov Castle Complex & Gardens

After wandering the town, it’s time to head to the main attraction – the Cesky Krumlov Castle! This is the second-largest castle in all of Czechia and it is only dwarfed by the one in Prague. The castle is massive and there is a lot to see here so make sure to set aside adequate time.

The first thing you will notice as soon as you cross the drawbridge to the castle is that the moat is home to some residents of the castle – three brown bears! There is a centuries-long history of keeping bears in the castle moat that still lasts to this day.

Of course, one of the main draws of visiting the castle is climbing up the tower to get an incredible view of the town. Entry into the castle tower is 240CZK per person and keep in mind there are a number of winding steps to get up.

Castle Tower
Castle Tower

The castle grounds are free to enter, but if you want to go inside the castle you do have to pay for that. There are multiple tours and routes you can take in the castle that include different things – including the staterooms and the iconic Baroque Theatre.

The castle does close during the winter, so if you are interested in visiting the interior of the castle, make sure that it is open during the time you’re there.

Make sure to also wander through the castle gardens, which are free to enter and open all year long. You can also get some spectacular views of the entire town on your way up to the gardens.

Castle Gardens
Castle Gardens

Lunch at Jelenka

After a morning of exploration, head down from the castle and have a delicious and hearty Czech lunch at Restaurant Jelenka.

Located in the car park just below the castle, this restaurant doesn’t fall into the same tourist pricing that many others in Cesky Krumlov do – so don’t be alarmed by its unconventional location!

This is a great place to sample hearty Czech cuisine and gulp down a frosty half-litre of beer before heading out again. The restaurant has extensive outdoor seating along with a cosy interior.

Svíčková from Restaurant Jelenka
Svíčková from Restaurant Jelenka

Cesky Krumlov Monasteries

Once you’ve eaten your fill at lunch, wander back into the old town and visit the Cesky Krumlov Monasteries. Located at the base of the castle, these monasteries were established in the 14th Century.

Today, they house several different exhibitions that can be interesting to visit including both art and interactive exhibits that can be entertaining for the whole family.

Cesky Krumlov Monasteries
Cesky Krumlov Monasteries

Walk to Křížová hora

If you’re up for a bit of a walk with a lovely view of the entirety of Cesky Krumlov at the end, put “Křížová hora” into your navigation app and get walking!

This hill is home to a small chapel and it will take about 25-30 minutes to walk there from the monasteries. When you’re there, you will be greeted with some of the best panoramic views for the entire town – including the castle and St Vitus Church.

If this walk is a bit too much for you, then consider taking a gentle stroll along the Vltava instead. There are plenty of places to stop and rest should you need it and the riverside ambience is unbeatable.

Pastry at Café Synagoga

Venture just a bit away from the photo museum and you will come to the edge of the Cesky Krumlov old town and also find the Synagogue.

Though this isn’t an active synagogue and there is not a Jewish community in the town today, it remains a great piece of history. The building itself houses an exhibition about the history of Jewish culture if that interests you.

Around the side of the synagogue lies a small cafe, aptly called Café Synagoga. This is not a Jewish bakery, but they do have several delightful local pastries and coffees to enjoy.

If you want to sample a Czech sweet speciality, grab a koláč from the cafe. This is an excellent alternative from the ubiquitous trdelnik stands that line the streets of the old town.

Cesky Krumlov Synagogue
Cesky Krumlov Synagogue

Museum Fotoatelier Seidel

We’re nearing the end of our time in Cesky Krumlov, but the day is not complete without making a stop at the Museum Fotoatelier Seidel.

Once the home of a famed photographer, the house and gardens have now been turned into a museum. Here you can see a number of photography exhibitions and also, if it interests you, get some old-timey style photos taken of you and your loved ones – complete with early 20th Century clothing!

Czech Craft Beer at Bistro 53

After a busy day of sightseeing, it’s time to do like the Czechs do and grab a beer. And contrary to the overpriced tourist-centric pubs and restaurants that line the Vltava where you will pay extortionate (for the Czech Republic, at least) prices for a half-litre of Pilsner, why not grab a local microbrew?

Bistro 53 is an excellent option to try some smaller breweries’ beer in a cosy setting. They have several beers on tap, including both Czech-style lagers along with locally brewed IPAs, APAs and other styles of beer. This is an excellent place to have a unique drink in Cesky Krumlov.

Dinner at My Saigon

While recommending a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner may seem a bit odd in such a “Czech” town, please bear with me.

There is a massive Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic and cuisine from this Southeast Asian country can be viewed as local in its own right. And if you want some of the best Vietnamese food in Cesky Krumlov (yes, there are multiple options!), head to My Saigon.

This place has a range of dishes and is absolutely delicious and reasonably priced, especially compared to some of the other nearby restaurants.

Pho from My Saigon
Pho from My Saigon

Have 2 Days in Cesky Krumlov?

If you are planning a 2-day Cesky Krumlov itinerary, there are a few things that you could do in the town to keep yourself occupied.

Head to the Museums

If you’re a history buff, then you can use your second day by taking in some of the museums situated in the town.

The Regional Museum is a popular option where you can learn about the history of the area and there is also the Egon Schiele Art Centrum that is of interest, as well.

Raft on the Vltava

If the weather allows for it and you want to spend some time on the river, it is a popular option to raft or kayak on the Vltava.

There are plenty of outfitters in the town where you can organise something independently. It’s worth noting that the Vltava is a very calm river and the rafting is definitely “beginner friendly.” If you prefer to let somebody else do the rafting, join a short cruise instead!

View of the castle from the Vltava
View of the castle from the Vltava

Enjoy some Czech Castles

Though the Cesky Krumlov Castle is the largest in the region, there are a number of other castles nearby that you can choose to explore should you have the time.

A bit along the Vltava, for instance, lies Rozemberk Castle which is striking and beautiful. Or, if you’re up for a hike, you could opt to go to Mount Klet’ and climb up to Josef’s Tower.

Visit Ceske Budejovice

Cesky Krumlov makes for a great base for exploring more places in the region, so you could opt to head to Ceske Budejovice if this interests you.

Ceske Budejovice is a major city in the South Bohemia region and deserves a bit of time to be explored in its own right, but it is only located about 30 minutes by bus, train or car from Cesky Krumlov so it is incredibly easy to reach.

Where to Stay in Cesky Krumlov

Pension Kristian – Located just steps from the castle, this luxury hotel has plush rooms on offer and there is also parking available for those who have arrived in Cesky Krumlov by car.

Pension Faber – An excellent mid-range option, this hotel is perfect for those looking for a central place to stay in Cesky Krumlov. They have a range of rooms and an apartment available along with a prime location in the centre of the Old Town perfect for exploring.

Luxury Apartments No. 91 – If you’d rather have your own place to stay rather than a hotel, then this apartment is a great option. It is spacious and equipped with a large, comfortable bed and modern furnishings.

Hostel Postel – Located in the centre of the old town, this hostel is an excellent choice for budget and solo travellers. They have a range of private and dorm rooms available along with great common areas that make meeting other travellers a breeze.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Cesky Krumlov hotels!

Cesky Krumlov's Main Square
Cesky Krumlov’s Main Square

Planning a trip to Cesky Krumlov can seem daunting considering, despite its popularity, there isn’t a lot of information about what to do in this idyllic Czech town. Though extremely popular with tourists, Cesky Krumlov still retains its charm and is absolutely worth visiting for a night or two!

Are you wondering about the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie


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