Is Cesky Krumlov worth visiting? I would say the answer is yes.
Cesky Krumlov is in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic and is around a 2.5hr bus ride from Prague. Alot of people do this as a day trip but I’m here to tell you no! Stay at least one night. It’s a VERY touristic town and I get the feeling that the town thrives off that. It’s simply an Old Town but it will charm your socks off. It’s a very pretty town that will make almost every picture you take instagramable.
I arrived in Cesky Krumlov by local bus from Ceske Budejovice and was so anxious about not knowing where to get off! I made it, 40 mins later with the ride only costing about $2-3 aud. I stayed just outside the main town area but CK is small so you can easily walk everywhere. The town is a scene from a fairytale surrounded by rolling green hills. I did a free walking tour ( free Wiseman’s walking tour ) later that afternoon. The free tour is a great introduction to the town’s layout and also the town’s history. I think it was the best place for town information and also showed us all the sights and perfect town viewing locations. Some of the buildings date back to the 18th century and are still standing today. How did they even built the castle so high?! Of course, you need to hear about the walking ghosts and all the cursing that went around back then. The main attraction in town is the Castle which will give you a sweeping views of the town.
The Vltava river snacks through CK and it is no surprise that there are a number of rafting companies. The place I was staying at recommended Malecek which I think also had some of the better prices around. You can choose which route you want to take that have an approximate duration time. I had wanted to do the 3-4 hour route but as it was mid afternoon already, the 1-2 hour route was the one to pick instead. The river isn’t deep so if you manage to not make a weir in the upright position, it’ll be ok. You need a minimum of 2 people for a raft which is recommended over a canoe for those of us who are novices as it’s more stable. The only capsizes I saw were from canoes. It was so tranquil on the water gliding past forest. The ‘stops’ are well marked so you can just pull over on the bank At the end point of the 1-2hr route, there was even a bar so we treated ourselved to some local beer afterwards. The rafting company brings you back into town from the stopping points.
I know there are many options to day do trips from Prague but CK is a great option to just revel in and enjoy the scenery. During the day, it is filled with tourists and tour groups so it’s nice to wonder early morning or evening for some more peace.
How did you like the town? Is there anything else that you would recommend doing?
I have officially left Prague and am now in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. So I thought it would be nice to reflect what I had learnt in Prague and the feels that I got whilst there. I’m not the one to be giving a history lesson but if you don’t know the history I can give you a brief run down. Formally known as Czechoslovakia, it was one of the most strongest European countries economically up until World War II where it was taken over by Nazi Germany. Hundreds of thousands of Czechoslovakian citizens and their jewish populations were sent to concentration camps, interrogated in prisons and/or were forced labourers. It wasn’t until 1945 before Soviet and American armies arrived to liberate the country from German rule and is now known as the Spring Uprising. The country was then a communist state up until 1989 when the Velvet Revolution occurred, where the country became a democracy peacefully in that year. History lesson over.
The 2 images above are of the John Lesson Wall, which is located in Lesser Town just off the Charles bridge. This wall was like your average everyday other wall until 1988 when the youngsters decided that they weren’t happy with the communist country and how it was being run. Apparently, authorities had tried cleaning the wall only to have it become graffiti-ed over again and again with world loving messages. Today, it is a vibrant addition to the city and is changing everyday judging from the people drawing with pen on the wall. I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I stood there looking at the wall. This is the sign of unhappy citizens in a country who wanted to be heard and change their country for the better (I hope). A country that had gone through so much from being one of the strongest countries in Europe to one whose Government was exiled during World War II. It gives me hope! So much so, it was making me teary.
This is a picture of the Zizkov TV Tower aka one of the world’s ugliest towers, which was built by the Nazi German’s to block radio signals from the east. I stayed close to this tower so got to see it lit up at night (Czech flag colours). War bunkers and communist-styled buildings dot this city. Adding something to the Gothic, baroque and cubic architecture. To me, it’s a blend of their history into the modern day Czech Republic and a reminder of their past so evidently everywhere. It makes me want to play a lament to the country and I hope they see additional good years to come.
Karlovy Vary (or Carlsbad) is approximately a 2 hour drive west of Prague. It’s known as a spa town and I’d seen pretty pictures of that town so that was enough to get me to book a day trip out. I went with Prague Sightseeing Tour (booked through Viator) for the 10 hour day trip. It’s a scenic drive out of Prague past hops plantations and fields of green and forest on each side. We passed through the Moser glass factory before setting foot in the Old Town. There are taps dotted throughout the promenade and nearby you can buy these VERY niche Karlovy Vary mugs. These mugs let you drink from the handle to try the assorted mineral water. Incase you had forgotten, let me remind you that mineral water contains more minerals than the average drinking water from the tap so let’s just say there were a lot of faces to suggest that the mineral water did not have a nice taste. Perhaps, it’s an acquired taste.
Other things that originate from Karlovy Vary are the Czech liqueur Becherovka and the Carlsbad wafer (Karlovarské oplatky). I have not tried the liqueur but you can buy it there (or any liqueur store in Prague) but I can tell you about the wafer. You can find them in boxes being sold on the promenade, you won’t miss it. Just look for the hoards of people infront of boxes. You can also buy them individually to eat straight away if you want to taste it first. Personally, I would get flavoured ones unless you like plain original flavours. It IS just a wafer. You have been warned. I would also stock up on it because since returning (a whole 24 hours ago), I have tried to see if I could find it in the local supermarket but have been unsuccessful. If anyone knows where to get them from in the city centre, let me know!
The town is very picturesque and I would recommend it. Personally, unless you want a spa treatment, the one day trip of the Old Town is ample to get a snap shot of Karlovy Vary.
I’m pretty bad at taking pictures of food. Once the plate hits the table, I’ve already reached for cutlery and cannot stand friends who prohibit you from eating until after they get their snaps. Part of a culture is their food so what better way to experience it than to eat it. If you’ve read anything about Czech cuisine, you will hear that it is heavy. This is correct. The traditional Czech foods involve some hearty meats served with dumplings. This is not to be confused with Asian dumplings, Czech dumplings are made from flour (can be anything from potato, what or buckwheat) which is then boiled and then sliced up and served with the hearty meat. I tried the beef goulash after getting over my sickness, delicious. No picture here as I had already eaten it before I thought about taking the picture.
First picture above. Smazeny syr aka fried cheese. This particular one was camembert cheese served with potatoes and cranberry sauce. Can I just say that this is the best thing ever invented after sliced bread? A friend had told me to go and try this and it was actually quite hard to find in the Old Town. It was heavy but the cranberry sauce was a nice addition and I almost finished it minus the potatoes. Tip of the day, always walk to surrounding streets of touristy areas to find the best deals. I will definitely try and hunt for more tonight!
Last picture is Trdelnik. Now I have eaten this back home in Aus at a Hungarian patisserie so was confused when I arrived here and found these everywhere. After alittle research (googling), turns out it’s just generally Slovak which each country claiming it as their own but it actually originated from the Hungarian-speaking Romanian town Szeklerland. It’s made from dough that’s rolled into a thin log and then spun around a pin. It’s covered in sugar and then roasted until golden brown. There are variations to how it’s garnished, sometimes just sugar on the outside, you can also have nuts and the option of nutella on the inside. Personally, I would go without nutella as it’s already quite sweet from the sugar. Perfect afternoon snack as you people watch.
What are some of your favourite Czech foods? Let me know!