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10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov
Cesky Krumlov
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The beautiful walled city of Český Krumlov is the second most popular tourist attraction in the Czech Republic after Prague. The center of the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and well deserves the designation: a visit is like stepping back in time to the 14th century as you stroll this perfectly preserved labyrinth of laneways with its many Renaissance homes and buildings. Highlights include a number of well-preserved religious sites, including the Minorite Monastery and the exquisite Church of St. Vitus, along with a number of interesting art galleries and museums. In addition to its quieter pursuits, the city also boasts an abundance of fine restaurants, while the adventurous can hike nearby Mount Klet' or take a kayak or boat ride along the River Vltava.

1 Český Krumlov Castle

Český Krumlov Castle
Český Krumlov Castle
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The massive Český Krumlov Castle dominates the old town and offers a fascinating look into the lives of the aristocratic rulers of Bohemia through the centuries. Although tracing its roots back to 1240, much of what's seen today was built in the 17th century, including the fine Rosenberg Ballroom, the splendid Chapel of St. George, the Renaissance Hall, and the Royal Apartments. Another feature of note is the castle's wonderful Baroque theater, built in 1682 and with still-operating stage equipment and props dating from the 18th century. A highlight of a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the chance to view a variety of important collections of paintings, tapestries, and exquisite period furnishings. All told, the site consists of 40 buildings and palaces, five castle courts, and a park, so be prepared for a little walking. (English language guided tours are recommended).

Address: Zámek 59, 381 01 Cesky Krumlov

2 The Church of St. Vitus

The Church of St. Vitus
The Church of St. Vitus
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The other structure to dominate the Český Krumlov cityscape - the largest being the old castle - is the Roman Catholic Church of St. Vitus, which can trace its origins back to the 13th century with the building of the first place of worship on the site. Adding to the church's distinctive profile is its tremendously tall roof, which is equally as spectacular when viewed from the building's sumptuously decorated nave. The church is also notable as the burial place of a number of important Bohemian families, including the Rosenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs, the tombs of which contain the remains of many generations of each family. Add to this mix an impressive 19th-century spire and a stunning façade, and there's little wonder the church is so often photographed. Try to time your visit to coincide with one of the church's classical concerts, an unforgettable experience.

Address: Horni, 381 01 Cesky Krumlov

3 Art City: Fine Frescoes and the Egon Schiele Art Centrum

Art City: Fine Frescoes and the Egon Schiele Art Centrum
Art City: Fine Frescoes and the Egon Schiele Art Centrum
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A highlight of a visit to Český Krumlov is simply walking its many old streets and soaking up the splendid artwork that is everywhere around you; the city is famous for its many frescoes, a tradition that dates back centuries. It's also home to the Egon Schiele Art Centrum, a large gallery featuring classical and contemporary 20th-century artwork. Established in 1993, this superb privately owned gallery features an ever-changing roster of works by such renowned artists as Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. Another highlight is the permanent exhibition of works by Viennese painter Egon Schiele, as well as an interesting overview of the artist's life and his time in Český Krumlov. Other highlights include regular lectures, workshops, and concerts.

Address: Široká 71, 381 01 Český Krumlov

4 Český Krumlov Regional Museum

Another must-visit when in Český Krumlov is the Regional Museum (Regionální muzeum v Českém Krumlově) with its excellent exhibits relating to the history of both the city and the region of Bohemia. Highlights include numerous archaeological exhibits and artifacts, fine arts and folk arts, weaponry, furnishings, and a number of ethnographic displays. Two particular highlights are a fine collection of Gothic sculptures and a huge ceramic model of Český Krumlov built in stunning detail in 1:200 scale. Also worth a visit is the nearby Museum of Architecture and Craft, which traces the history of the city's design as well as local trades and crafts.

Address: Horní No 152, 381 01 Český Krumlov

Official site: www.muzeumck.cz/english/

5 The Minorite Monastery

The Minorite Monastery
The Minorite Monastery
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Construction of the Minorite Monastery, one of Český Krumlov's oldest surviving buildings, started in the mid 14th century and continued off and on until the end of the Baroque era. Still in use, the monastery is best visited during one of its memorable religious concerts or recitals. One of the most interesting aspects of this vast property - it also includes the Beguine Convent - is a unique set of trusses of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque origin. Other highlights include the intricately carved entranceway, along with fine statues of saints, a high early Baroque altar and a number of old organs.

Address: Latrán No 50, Český Krumlov

6 The Marionette Museum

The Marionette Museum
The Marionette Museum
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A short walk from the old town center, the Marionette Museum makes for an interesting diversion, especially for those traveling with children. Housed in the former Church of St. Jost (the interior of which is also of interest), this fun attraction features numerous fascinating displays which provide insight into the evolution of this centuries-old form of entertainment. Exhibits include stages and puppets from the 19th century, complete marionette theaters, as well as modern collections from the National Marionette Museum in Prague. A highlight of any visit is the chance to catch a performance of a classic opera such as Don Giovanni or The Magic Flute.

Address: Latrán No 6, Český Krumlov, 381 01

7 Climbing Mount Kleť

Climbing Mount Kleť
Climbing Mount Kleť
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On the outskirts of Český Krumlov, the 1,804-meter-high Mount Klet' makes for an excellent diversion after all that sightseeing in the historic old city. Getting there is half the fun, and reaching the summit can be done on foot by following the well-marked trails, or aboard a fast chairlift. Not far from the top of the mountain is the Klet' Observatory, while at the summit itself is Josef's Tower, an excellent observation tower built in 1885 and from which, on a clear day, you can see as far as the Alps. Klet' also serves as an important conservation area, and a hike back down the mountain offers many great opportunities to enjoy local flora and fauna. Alternatively, rent an all-terrain scooter to make the descent back to town.

Address: Vyšný 59, 38101 Český Krumlov

8 Museum Fotoatelier Seidel

A top attraction for those with an interest in photography, Museum Fotoatelier Seidel traces the history of the art form back to its roots in the 19th century. Located in the studios of photographic pioneers Josef and Frantisek Seidels, this fascinating museum houses a wealth of information regarding the early years of European photography, countless historic photos and postcards, glass plate negatives, and a great deal of old artifacts including cameras and darkroom equipment. Left much as it would have been when the couple lived and worked here, the museum features other highlights such as personal artifacts and belongings, as well as original furnishings. (English language guided tours are available.)

Address: Linecká 272, Plešivec, 381 01 Český Krumlov

9 The Wax Museum

The Wax Museum of Český Krumlov, in a fully restored Renaissance house, makes for a fun excursion, particularly for those traveling with kids. The museum boasts many interesting wax figurines in costumes and situations that would have been common in medieval Europe. Highlights include replicas of a blacksmith's workshop, an alchemist's shop, a medieval tavern, and a fascinating re-creation of the royal courts of Emperor Rudolf II. Also on display are wax figurines of famous people of the 20th and 21st centuries, including rock stars, movie stars, and royalty.

Address: Kájovská 68, 381 01 Český Krumlov

10 The Museum of Torture

While certainly not for everyone (particularly the squeamish), Český Krumlov's Museum of Torture (Museum Tortury) provides a fascinating look at the cruel ways in which criminals - and often the wrongly accused - were mistreated throughout the centuries. In the medieval cellars of the old Town Hall on the main square, this dark and atmospheric museum provides more than 100 grisly artifacts and instruments of torture, including a chilling display showing details of the horrendous witch burnings that once gripped Europe.

Address: Náměstí Svornosti 1, Vnitřní Město, 381 01 Český Krumlov

Where to Stay in Český Krumlov for Sightseeing

We recommend these delightful hotels with easy access to Český Krumlov's medieval old town:

  • Hotel Ruze: high-end hotel, medieval feel, old town views, panoramic terrace, indoor pool, wellness center.
  • Hotel Bellevue: mid-range pricing, convenient location, homey rooms, L'Occitane toiletries, quaint decor.
  • U Maleho Vitka: affordable rates, old town location, rustic charm, wonderful staff, huge rooms.
  • Hotel Konvice: budget-friendly rates, heart of the old town, historic building, multilingual staff.

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