This fairytale town is the best small town in Eastern Europe. It’s Czech Republic’s Rothenburg. From Vienna, it’s a four-hour, two transfer train ride through the Czech countryside. Cesky Krumlov and Prague are Czech Republic’s greatest tourist destinations. We were excited to visit both in our last couple weeks in Europe.
The train station is a 20-minute outside of town but an easy downhill walk. Bridges with high arches welcome you to town as you pass through them. You have to watch your step as the cobblestones streets are uneven and often some stones missing making your walk treacherous and entertaining. Pastel colored shops and small pension-style hotels line the streets. There is really only one main street through the city and small pedestrian-only alleyways make up the rest. All the while, a castle looms above you across the twisty Vltava River, which makes a perfect S through the town.
Cesky Krumlov is a sleepy town, most shops close around 8pm making it extra quiet and peaceful. We were very excited to slow things down and bit and relax. We were staying at the tiny, five-room U Zamke Pension and were lucky to have a massive two room suite overlooking the cobbled staircase alleyway leading to the main square.
Walking to the town square, Cesky Krumlov had its own small Christmas market, a breath of fresh air after the craziness of Vienna. In a much more personal way, the market stalls sold hot wine, cinnamon chimneys, artesian cookies, cured meats, hand made sweaters, hats and gloves. There were a few picnic tables to taste brats and down a few pints of Czech beer. A huge Christmas tree with lights and ornaments stood at the top of the square.
The best views of the town can be seen from the castle. Before entering the castle, you must pass a bear fill moat to enter. Yup, bears. Two brown bears call this moat their home – although we weren’t lucky to see them. To tour the castle you must have a guide with you, so for us we walked the grounds and took in the views.
We enjoyed pizza (it sounded good) and red wine at this small restaurant just above the square across from Cesky Krumlov’s tallest building, the St. Vitus Church and called it a night shortly thereafter. We caved and bought a cinnamon chimney before making it to our hotel.
The biggest sight is the town itself. Its easily one of our favorite towns visited in Europe and we were so happy we decided to spend a sleepy four nights here.