Cesky Krumlov Itinerary – 10 Things To See In Cesky Krumlov In One Day

If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Czech Republic that isn’t Prague, then how about the fairytale-like town of Cesky Krumlov in South Bohemia? This is the second most visited place in Czechia outside of Prague, and for good reason.

There are so many things to see In Cesky Krumlov. The visually stunning town is sprawled across the meandering banks of the Vltava River, dispersed with colourful houses lining cobblestone streets, a gigantic multi-arched bridge and a castle perched on top of a rock.  

The city is compact enough that you can easily see all the best things in Cesky Krumlov in one day. Learn how to make the most out of your visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site listed Czech destination, and add all these things to your Cesky Krumlov itinerary.

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Cesky Krumlov view through Cloak Bridge

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Things To Do In Cesky Krumlov In One Day - At A Glance

No time to read this Cesky Krumlov guide right now? no worries.

Whether you plan to visit Český Krumlov in a day from a different city, or plan to stop overnight, here’s a quick glance list of all the things to put on your checklist. If you’re exploring more of the country, then download this free Czech Republic bucket list guide for more travel inspiration.

What To See Cesky Krumlov

      • Cesky Krumlov Castle
      • The Castle Gardens
      • Walk Over & Under Cloak Bridge
      • Climb The Castle Tower
      • Explore The Photogenic Cobblestone Alleys
      • Discover The Viewpoints From Seminární Zahrada
      • Ride On A Traditional Raft
      • Visit The Museums
      • See The Church Of St Vitus
      • Muse At The Quirky Artwork

What you can expect in this article...

I’ve partnered with South Bohemia Tourism to bring you this travel guide. This article is based on the destinations and experiences I took part in. All views and opinions are my own.

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Where Is Cesky Krumlov?

Cesky Krumlov is located in South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, not far from the Austrian border. If you’re planning on visiting Cesky Krumlov as a day trip from a nearby city, the closest one is Ceske Budejovice, just 25km away. 

However, if you’re visiting from Prague, the journey will take you around 2.5 hours. If you’re travelling around Europe, and you’re in Vienna, then Ceske Krumlov could be a convenient stop-off for a night as it’s also around a 2.5hrs drive from the Austrian capital.

Things To Add To Your Cesky Krumlov Itinerary

Here are my recommendations on the top ten things to do on your Cesky Krumlov one day trip. You’ll find information on the locations and tips for visiting to help you plan your Cesky Krumlov itinerary.

Cesky Krumlov Castle

Topping the list, and the number one must see in Cesky Krumlov is the 13th-century castle. 

It’s nestled on top of a rocky slope and dominates the skyline of the town, you can’t miss it and it’s visible from pretty much everywhere in the Old Town. 

I already mentioned at the start that Cesky Krumlov is the second most visited place in the Czech Republic outside of Prague. Cesky Krumlov Castle is also the second-largest castle in the Czech Republic, once again, trumped by Prague which has the country’s largest castle complex.

What you’ll see, in terms of architecture, is a whole smorgasbord of styles. The original Gothic castle was founded in the mid-13th century by a Czech noble family. Over the years, it was handed down to various families, each adding bits and renovating to leave their mark. 

Some parts of the castle date to the second half of the 16th century and are built in the Renaissance style with later additions being in a Baroque design. Two of the most striking elements that make up the castle complex are the ornate rotund bell tower and the multi-arched Cloak Bridge.

There are various parts of the castle that you can get access to. Tickets are available for just certain parts right up to an access-all-areas style pass. If you’re interested in finding out more about the castle, then book the Cesky Krumlov castle tour for an inside peek.    

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Cesky Krumlov Castle

The Castle Gardens

If you’re looking for free stuff to do during your one day in Cesky Krumlov, then explore the Castle Gardens. They are located on top of the rock and from the Old Town is a steep 15-minute walk to get up there, but it’s worth it!

The Baroque-style, well-manicured gardens are free to enter. They are filled with outbuildings, including a rather extravagant summer house as well as fountains. Towards the back of the gardens is the revolving theatre, for events throughout the year. 

During the summer, if the crowds of the Old Town are getting too much, this is a nice escape to find a quiet spot and relax. 

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Castle Gardens in Cesky Krumlov

Walk Over & Under The Cloak Bridge

Between the Gardens and the Castle, you’ll find another of the most recognisable Cesky Krumlov sights. Spanning the gap between the rock, which would have once been the moat, is the mighty Cloak Bridge.

The Cloak Bridge at Cesky Krumlov dates back to the 15th century, although it was thought to be made of wood and more like a drawbridge back then. Between then and 1777 various iterations of the impressive, multi-arched bridge were built. It’s changed very little since that date. 

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Cloak Bridge Cesky Krumlov

As part of your Cesky Krumlov day trip itinerary, plan to walk across it, as well as under it. Looking at the bridge from below, you’ll be able to get a sense of scale, it’s huge. You’ll also notice two levels of enclosed corridors above the bridge which contain rooms and hallways. If you stand on the bridge, get great views of the castle & the Old Town.

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On top of the Cloak Bridge

Climb The Castle Tower

If you don’t want to do a full castle tour, and only want to enter one part, then make sure it’s this. Climbing the iconic Castle Tower should be on everyone’s Cesky Krumlov bucket list. The pinky-coloured Renaissance-style tower can be seen from most places across town, so it’s no surprise that it’s a great vantage point to look down from.

There are 162 rickety steps going up the tower, some of them have low overhanging beams so watch out for your head. Although the climb to the top of the tower is steep, it’s worth it.

At the top you can walk around the whole tower, so you’ll get a full 360 view of the Old Town below.

The ticket also grants you access to the Castle Museum where you’ll find various rooms filled with different artefacts from a bygone era ranging from textiles, furniture, tableware etc, you name it, it’s in there. There’s quite a bit to see inside the museum, so if you’re pushed for time on your Cesky Krumlov one day itinerary you might want to breeze over a lot of the contents. 

One of the things I found most fascinating was the painted boards that were used for target practice. These were hung up alongside other regular paintings, however, the ones used for target practice still had bullets lodged inside them!

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View from the Castle Tower
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Cesky Krumlov Castle Tower

Explore The Photogenic Cobblestoned Alleys

Like many other Medieval cities, Cesky Krumlov is a criss-cross network of streets going off in all directions. Although it’s easy to lose your bearing here, part of the fun is getting lost in the colourful building-lined cobbled alleys. You join a walking guided tour of Cesky Krumlov, or explore by yourself.

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Pretty streets of Cesky Krumlov

You’ll stumble across pretty courtyards, stairs, lanes and beautiful old buildings. If you want to find out more about the town, then do a Cesky Krumlov walking tour which will take you around all the important places such as the Cesky Krumlov castle theatre, music school and various lookout points.

Check Availability: Walking Tour of Cesky Krumlov

Discover The Viewpoints

Because this is such a photogenic town, you’ll probably want to know where the best Cesky Krumlov viewpoints are. If you’re waiting to take the best photos of the city, try to arrive either late in the day or early in the morning when the sun is less harsh. Annoyingly, the day I visited, the morning was cloudy. However, even with the clouds, the city still looks beautiful.

One of the prettiest spots in Cesky Krumlov to photograph from is at a courtyard called Seminární Zahrada. From here you’ll be able to get a great shot of the castle, a bit of the cloak bridge, the towers and the terracotta rooftops. This is one of the most iconic Cesky Krumlov photos, and the best bit, it’s free.

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Another free viewpoint with a totally different perspective is from the lane that connects the castle to the gardens. This viewpoint looks down on the river, and the Old Town and is framed on one side by the castle and the tower in the centre. It gives a more panoramic view compared to the one at Seminární Zahrada. Also just off this lane is a terrace, with a small cafe, which is another great free place to take photos from. 

If you don’t mind paying a small fee, then another great view of Cesky Krumlov view is from the Castle Tower. This gives a much closer bird’s eye view of the Old Town, this is also the view where you’ll get a 360 view of the city.

Ride On A Traditional Raft

Because the town is intertwined with the Vltava River, rafting in Cesky Krumlov is one of the best ways to see the city. Although there are kayaks for hire, the most fun way is by going on one of the traditional wooden rafts. 

The rafts don’t look much more than a load of logs tied together and a few benches put on top to sit on. You’re not wrong. The rafts also come with a guide who will point out various things along the way and also do the paddling for you. 

You might have noticed there are a couple of weirs along the river, and to the side of them, there are channels pretty much the same width as the rafts. This is how the rafts get down the river, going down them is a lot of fun, and always attracts quite a few spectators from the banks.

The Cesky Krumlov rafting experience is a pretty unique thing to do here. Also, like in a log flume at a theme park, the people sitting at the front get a bit wet as the raft hits the water. This is a really fun way to see the city, and certainly worth adding to your Cesky Krumlov 1 day itinerary. 

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Traditional rafting in Cesky Krumlov
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View from the river

Visit The Museums

If you’re visiting the city and the weather isn’t great, then you might be wondering what Cesky Krumlov attractions are indoors. I’ve already mentioned the obvious one earlier, the Cesky Krumlov Castle Museum which you get entry to with the Castle Tower ticket. However, there are several other great museums worth checking out. Here are three great options.

      • Ceský Krumlov Regional Museum covers the history of the city and its residents. It features a mix of folk art and objects 
      • The Museum of Torture it seems that every major town in the Czech Republic has a torture museum. It’s located in the cellars of the Town Hall and goes into quite some depth, with examples of the torture device, about how criminals were treated. 
      • Museum Fotoatelier Seidel is a great museum if you’re an avid photographer. You find examples of early photos along with equipment dating back to the 19th century.
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Target practice boards inside Cesky Krumlov museum

See The Church Of St Vitus

The Church of St Vitus is one of the oldest buildings in the city as well as it is one of the most recognisable. This is a Roman Catholic Church built in a Gothic style. It took more than 30 years to complete the building. 

The church holds historical importance and is the resting place of numerous members of the Rosenberg and Schwarzenberg families which were two of the main families that resided in the castle. 

If you’re a fan of classical music, something to add to your Cesky Krumlov to-do list is to listen to a concert inside the church.

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Church of St Vitus
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View from the river

Muse At The Quirky Artwork

If you’re near the town centre and looking for something a little bit quirky to add to your Cesky Krumlov itinerary, then take a look at some of the unusual street installations and artwork on show. There’s a nice little collection down an alleyway, look for an archway (it’s number 16) leading to a cobbled lane just off Latrán.

Along this alley, there is a house that belonged to a local artist. On the ground, there are cobblestones with the names and dates of people who visited the artist, and the whole facade of the house is covered in unusual, but quite fun-looking sculptures. Keep following the lane around, and you’ll find more quirky art installations, including a bench with two giant feet on it.

Although not typically included on the walking Cesky Krumlov tour, it was a fun and modern addition to the Medieval streets. This lane often gets overlooked, so you’ll probably have the street to yourself.    

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Unusual artwork in Cesky Krumlov

Restaurant Suggestion in Český Krumlov - Topinka

There’s no shortage of restaurants in Cesky Krumlov, the majority will be serving traditional food. If you’re after something with a modern twist, then check out this adorable little bistro-style restaurant called Topinka. It’s located a few streets away from the main tourist trap places in the city.

The decor inside is stunning, and wouldn’t look out of place on a chic Instagram feed. The food is just as well presented.

It’s not just about the presentation, the food here is delicious too. Topinka specialises in little open-topped sandwiches. They don’t have an extensive menu, but what they do offer are locally sourced ingredients and thoughtfully prepared platters. They also have a very good selection of Czech wines to accompany the food.

I ate the Mediterranean-inspired Topinka and had a slice of their cheesecake for dessert. This is one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted. I was in heaven for a few moments here as I savoured every mouthful of it!!

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Opentop Sandwich at Topinka
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Cheesecake, Topinka

Cesky Krumlov Travel Guide FAQs & Travel Tips

Here are some useful tips and answers to questions to help you plan your Cesky Krumlov itinerary.

How Far Is Cesky Krumlov From Prague?

In terms of distance, it’s just over 170km. It’s a reasonable distance, but still doable as a day trip. You could drive your own vehicle, alternatively, there are dozens of tours each day from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. If you don’t have a car but don’t want to go on an organised tour, there are also public transport options. For public trasnport, use Omio App to compare prices.

Prague Day Trips To Cesky Krumlov

If you want the stress of making your own way there, then you might be interested in this Cesky Krumlov day tour from Prague.  Take a look at these day tours to Cesky Krumlov.

Getting To Cesky Krumlov from Prague (By Public Transport)

If you want to do your own independent day trip from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, then trains and buses go several times a day. Use Omio to check and compare prices.

There are several trains from Prague to Cesky Krumlov departing from the main stations in each. On average, the journey takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

An alternative option is going by bus from Prague to Cesky Krumlov. Several companies run this route, including FlixBus which does 5 direct buses per day. The journey takes on average 2 hours and 30 minutes. 

From Ceske Budejovice To Cesky Krumlov (By Public Transport)

The nearest city to Cesky Krumlov is Ceske Budejovice, which is less than 30 km away. You could stay in Ceske Budejovice and make the easy journey to Cesky Krumlov with much less travel time and therefore more sightseeing time, than if you were coming from Prague. 

The bus to Cesky Krumlov from Ceske Budejovice goes up to 20 times a day and takes on average half an hour. Going by bus is the better option. The train to Cesky Krumlov from Ceske Budejovice takes an average of 45 minutes.    

When Is The Best Time To Visit Cesky Krumlov?

Cesky Krumlov looks beautiful all year round. However, the peak time for visitors is during the summer, and also during the European school holidays around Easter and Christmas. These times will see an influx of crowds. 

Because it’s a relatively small town, at these peak times, it can feel a bit crazy. If you’re visiting during peak times make the most of the early mornings to get out and see things. Tour buses from other cities arrive from about 11 am onwards.

How Long To Spend In Cesky Krumlov

If you’re not sure how many days in Cesky Krumlov, you can see all of the highlights in one full-on day. However, it can feel rushed, especially if you want to spend time taking photos, enjoying the castle gardens, or having time for a leisurely lunch. 

If you want to enjoy the city at a more relaxed pace then stay one night. Plan for 2 days in Cesky Krumlov based on everything listed in this 1 day in Cesky Krumlov guide, but add in more time at each landmark instead of dashing from place to place 

Cesky Krumlov Card – Is It Worth It?

This depends on what you want to see, so may or may not be of any benefit. It costs 400 CZK (around €16) and gives you access to five different attractions. These are the Castle Museum and Castle Tower, Regional Museum in Český Krumlov, Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, Egon Schiele Art Centrum and Monastery Museum.

Ready to visit Cesky Krumlov?

So, now you know what to do in Cesky Krumlov. Whether you’re on a weekend break, or you’re limited to seeing the highlights of Cesky Krumlov in one day, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. It truly is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of central Europe 

If you’re travelling around the Czech Republic, then take a look at these other inspirational articles.

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If you found this Cesky Krumlov travel guide useful, or know someone who will, then like, share and Pin for later. 

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

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