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  • Writer's pictureKristin

The Fairy Tale City of Cesky Krumlov

Looking for a fairy tale village in real life? Then Cesky Krumlov is your place! The beautiful castle sitting over the town, the river rounding around the Old Town and the colorful and vintage buildings in the town centre, make you think you are exploring a medieval village in real time! It was like we literally stepped into the pages of a children’s storybook. You can get a good sense of the town in one full day, but if you enjoy these type of places, then it would be worth it to spend more time there. We spent one full day in this unique and charming town in the South Bohemian region of southwestern Czech Republic – a truly fairy tale city!

River bending around the Old Town of the fairy tale town of Cesky Krumlov
View of Old Town Cesky Krumlov from the Castle

To be honest, this town was a little bit out of the way. However, of all the guidebooks and information we read about Czech Republic, they all said, ‘Don’t miss Cesky Krumlov!” So instead of driving over 2 hours to from Brno to Prague, we drove 3 hours down to Cesky Krumlov and then the 2 hours up to Prague from Cesky Krumlov. However, it was worth the extra hours of driving!

Cesky Krumlov in September

Because it is such an iconic spot in Czech Republic, we did run into a fair number of tourists from other parts of the Czech Republic and Europe. However, coming in mid-September the crowds were definitely smaller than they would be during peak season, so it ended up being a great time to visit – the weather was nice – not too hot – and smaller crowds. However, even in September affordable parking was limited. We waited a few minutes for some people to leave one of the cheaper lots just on the outskirts of the Old Town; as the other lots we came across were much more expensive – almost 50 Kc per an hour of parking. However, we only paid about 50 Kc for the first 90 minutes and then 30 Kc for each additional hour in this cheaper lot.

Cesky Krumlov Castle & Bear Moat

One of the iconic spots in the town is the Cesky Krumlov Castle, which was built in 1240 by the Rosenburg family and is the second largest castle complex in the Czech Republic. The castle footprint was incredible, especially when starting to think about the timeframe in which it originated and that it was built on the rockface that runs up against the river. There are guided tours of the indoors of the castle, as well as tickets for the tower and museum. However, we opted to just explore the castle grounds on foot and absolutely loved our time there.

There are a couple unique features of this castle as you make your way into the castle yard – one is its incredibly beautifully painted tower. It was the most colorful and vibrant castle tower we have seen. And on the tower, as well as several buildings, they actually hand painted the outside walls of the buildings to look like stones!

The second – and a top hit for our kids – was the castle moat. This moat actually has BEARS in it! The bears have traditionally been part of the castle since the 16th Century when the Rosenburg family ruled, and have been here ever since. The bears were an important part of the family, as they were actually included on their family coat of arms. It is believed that the brown bears started to live in the moat in 1707.

The moat has been improved overtime to resemble the bears’ more natural habitat and we spent so much time watching them, especially when on the way out of the castle they had just been given their lunch. It was so much fun to watch them sort the food that was given to them – a big pile of vegetables and fruit, as well as some leftover bakery items! We joked that the one bear who was sitting over the vegetables was ‘Connor Bear’ and then the one eating all the bread was ‘Clara Bear’, as Clara refuses to eat vegetables, but Connor loves them!

There is also a unique tradition each Christmas when visitors and residents of Cesky Krumlov can enter the bear enclosure (with the bears secured of course!) to leave them some different treats for their Christmas presents. The bears are then released back into the enclosure to enjoy their Christmas feast!

Definitely don’t miss going out all the way to the top of the castle grounds – including the castle garden!

There are several incredible viewpoints from the areas past the stables that provide wonderful views of the river and town below. We had an amazing view of the canoes going down the chute in the river that we spent several minutes just stopping and watching that! [Canoes are another popular way to explore the Old Town from the water.]

Two children with Cesky Krumlov Old Town and Castle in the background.
Viewpoint of the Cesky Krumlov and Castle from the upper Castle area - Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Wandering the Quaint Streets of Cesky Krumlov

One of our favorite parts of exploring Cesky Krumlov was just walking around and exploring! There are several cute stores, including traditional Bohemian gingerbread and handicrafts. Plus, riverside restaurants, parks and even a monastery with a garden, where we learned a new game that was called ‘Russian Skittles’ that was traditionally played by the priests who lived there.

One suggestion by our Airbnb host was to check out the Brewery Garden (Pivovarská Zahrada) – they had a huge open green area with a cute little garden café located towards the back, children’s playground equipment (including a trampoline) and a beautiful backdrop of the town. The kids played while we were able to enjoy a drink and watch!

There was just so much to see and explore, that in summary, I'll leave you with a few more photos to show you this amazing place.

River and waterfall of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
The Vltava River runs curves around the Old Town for beautiful views and the opportunity to canoe on it.
Mom & 2 children with Cesky Krumlov castle in the background. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Exploring the streets & bridges of Cesky Krumlov Old Town.

Cesky Krumlov didn’t disappoint! If we had more time in the area, we would have enjoyed every extra minute of it! We’re so glad that we took the time to head to this gem in southwestern part of Czech Republic! If looking for magic during your visit to Czech Republic, make sure to include a visit to Cesky Krumlov!

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