kicking off czech week with a spotlight on everyone’s favorite (myself included) little medieval czech town, the UNESCO heritage protected and perfectly picturesque český krumlov (chess-key kroom-loav), located in south bohemia. a czech friend once told me that all visitors to the czech republic should check out both prague and krumlov before heading out– how can you really get to know a country without visiting a different region and a piece of small town life? i also have to credit it with the main reason we decided to move down to this region– i had been here before and i knew south bohemia was beautiful and probably a good place to live in.
český krumlov is made to order of course, for exploring and wandering and filling the rest of the time with good eats and drinks. but sometimes the town can seem low on tourist attractions when you’ve already been to the castle a hundred times.
so! i’ve racked my brain to create a list for fun things to do and see for all seasons. spring, summer, and autumn are beautiful in krumlov as the surrounding rolling hills of south bohemia are not to be missed! but there is something about krumlov covered in snow in the winter time and the low number of tourists that will make you want to curl up with a hot coffee or wander the empty cobblestone streets.
IN COLDER DAYS / WINTER…
> explore the castle – go to the tower, or head the other direction and explore the art gallery labyrinth underneath, currently displaying sculptures from czech artist jan saudek.
> shop! krumlov is a fantastic place to shop for original clothing and accessories, souvenirs, antiques, fine chocolates, books, fine leather goods, and more.
> visit the egon schiele centrum. schiele was born nearby to a woman who came from a south bohemian farming family. although he lived most of his too-short life in what is now austria, he spent a year living in krumlov (1910-1911) creating some of his finest works… and the krumlov-ians do enjoy celebrating this fact! visit this fantastic center which houses a permanent exhibit featuring artifacts from his life as well as rotating exhibitions featuring prominent czech artists. tue-sun, 10:00-18:00.
> while away an afternoon in one of the many cozy cafes. both cafe ántré & café 99 are perfect for a winter afternoon with a hot beverage.
> get your old fashion portrait done at seidel atelier and museum. there’s also a photography museum of 19th and 20th century czech, german, and austrian photos and cameras if you’re into that kind of thing.
> did you know that south bohemia contains mostly all the moldovite on earth? this semi-precious green stone came from a chemical reaction to meteorites coming in contact with rock rich in silica. this new museum explains the phenomenon and showcases the beauty of moldovite– another rainy day option, especially for science or jewelry lovers.
IN WARMER WEATHER / SUMMER…
> book a horseback ride with the gals at slupenec stables, only a few kilometers away. you’ll ride through the bohemian wilderness and great views are guaranteed! you can book online and then catch a taxi there from the center. pro tip: arrange for a pick-up time before he takes off.
> boat down the wet vltava river– basically, a czech rite of passage. many companies such as inge tour depart from here and you can take a short paddle through the town or a 2-4 hour boat trip to zlata koruna, 15 km away. (just watch out for those weirs)
> hike to klet’! the highest hill in the region (1,084m) is just overlooking český krumlov and climbing it is a very popular pastime. if you go from český krumlov you’ll head up a nice, winding (not too steep) path to the observation center on the top– just follow the green (then the blue) trail markers uphill.
> go berry picking or mushroom hunting in the nearby forest. can’t personally recommend the latter as i’m a complete novice, but if nothing else, the woods near here are lovely.
> take a segway tour! i used to think segways were super lame until i tried out this tour on my birthday a while ago. it’s a fantastic way to “float” through the city with a friendly and knowledgeable english-speaking guide– you can choose beforehand what kind of route you’d like to go. perk: plenty of great photo ops.
> take in a play at the famous outdoor revolving theater! all plays (ranging from fairy-tales to dramas to musicals) are in czech, but could be a fun way to see a classic in a completely different light.
IN ANY SEASON…
> visit a festival! krumlov has them going literally year round. try the five-petalled rose festival (late june), the st. wenceslas festival (late sept.), st. nicholas eve (early dec.), and the burning of the witches (walpurgis, last day of april). there’s always something going on.
hope this inspires your south bohemia dreams! more from czech republic coming to you this week.