Český Krumlov: Day Trip and Self-Guided Walking Tour of the Magical Town in Winter

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Český Krumlov is an enchanting town nestled in the heart of the Bohemia region. This charming place transforms into a fairytale land during winter, and its breathtaking beauty will surely sweep you off your feet (either that or the icy streets – or maybe both).

If you visit during peak winter, there’s a higher chance of witnessing this town turn into a winter wonderland, blanketed in fresh snow covering cobblestone pathways, rooftops, and church spires. But fear not if the snow gods aren’t in a generous mood during your visit, especially in November or December. Trust me, snow isn’t the only magic ingredient in this place.

A week before my visit, the entire region experienced heavy snowfall. Now, if you know me, you’d be aware that I check the weather forecast for a place at least a dozen times a day, starting about a week (or maybe 2 or 3) before my trip—I may be a bit much. So, fueled by the recent snowy town pictures, I was super excited.

However, as fate would have it, the weather turned a bit warmer (actually, that was a good thing). The place looked almost like it had never seen a snowflake during my visit. To my surprise, I discovered it’s genuinely a fairytale land, snow or no snow. That’s Český Krumlov for you, and I see why it attracts people from across the globe.

Did I already make you excited enough? If not, I could go on and on about how beautiful Český Krumlov is. But I think you get the gist. So, moving on, I will tell you everything you need to know to plan your trip. I have also included a detailed self-guided walking tour of Český Krumlov, which should help you explore all that magic without breaking a sweat.

Why Visit Český Krumlov in Winter?

I think it’s already clear why visiting during winter is a brilliant idea (it’s so much more beautiful). But that’s not the only reason.


You won’t be shocked to hear that such a beautiful place can get crowded. Yes, this small town is bustling with many people during the summer, and that’s really not my thing. (If it’s not yours either, winter is your best friend.)

Plus, if you stay a day or two, it’s much cheaper during winter. It doesn’t mean it’ll be a deserted land in winter, as people visit Český Krumlov for a day trip (which is perfect, but I highly recommend staying the night and leaving the next day).

Christmas Markets

If these two words don’t get you excited enough, nothing will. If you’re visiting in December, Christmas markets are an added advantage. The entire town is decorated, and the markets in Český Krumlov are all about food and, of course, hot wine (a punch or two should definitely keep you warm).

There’s a cute little market in the town center with events almost every other day. They also host a lot of Christmas events, some fun ones where you can dress up in angel costumes and stroll around the town. If you have an angel costume, this is the time.

Good to know! You might wonder if winter is the best time to visit and why it is crowded in summer. The reason is river rafting and water sports. Yes, for all the adventure enthusiasts, please keep in mind that water sports in the Vltava River are closed during winter. And that’s why it gets super crowded in the summer, too.

How to Reach Český Krumlov?

If you are using public transport and want to reach Český Krumlov, the most popular advice is to take a train (I prefer trains too). Still, in this particular case, especially if you are coming from Prague, I suggest taking a bus. Nevertheless, I am listing down both options.

Bus from Prague

A direct RegioJet bus from Prague’s main bus station, Na Knížecí, takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes. You could also buy the tickets directly while boarding the bus, but it is better to book online as it has seat reservations, which means you can board the bus only as long as seats are available. The ticket costs around €9. The reason why I suggested the bus to be a better choice than the train is that the train station in Český Krumlov is about 2 km from the center, so it would be a 30-minute walk, whereas the bus stop is just a 10-minute walk from the old town.

Note! Czech uses Czech Koruna, so conversion charges might apply if you use a card. The Regiojet site allows you to pay directly in Euros.

Train from Prague

The train would take you about 2 hours and 35 minutes and mostly involves a transfer at České Budějovice. You can check the timetable in the official website.

You can also get to Český Krumlov by train from cities in Austria like Vienna or Linz. Some bus options are also available through Flixbus or Regiojet.

The Best Way to Explore Český Krumlov

Český Krumlov is a highly walkable town, so walking is the best way to soak in the place’s charm. The narrow cobblestone streets at the heart of the old town aren’t exactly car-friendly – just a couple of cars can turn the entire street into chaos. So, my strong recommendation is to explore Český Krumlov on foot. To make it even easier for you, I’ve put together a detailed walking guide below, covering almost all the essential places you’d want to check out in the town.

And because I’m all about making your experience as smooth as possible, I’ve thrown in loads of tips, along with recommendations for some of the best cafes and restaurants.

How to Use the Walking Guide?

If you’ve read any of my other walking guides (Bruges, Copenhagen, and Faro), you’re likely anticipating a big loop for your convenience—allowing you to kick off your exploration from any point along the route.

However, we’re mixing things up with three smaller circuits this time. Why? Well, the charm of Český Krumlov refuses to be contained in a single loop, and I’m all about making things easy. With this setup, you won’t find yourself trekking to the farthest end of the circuit just to start your walking tour. Flexibility is the key to my walking guides.

The possibility of these three mini-circuits owes itself to the unique geography of the place. Take a gander at the map of Český Krumlov. You’ll spot the river meandering in an “S” or, in my personal interpretation, more like an “Octopus” shape (just my two cents). Picture a giant head with two sprawling tentacles on either side.

Feel free to tackle these circuits in any order based on whichever is closest to you. Enjoy the stroll!

The Walking Route

Let’s put on some cozy and comfy shoes and get walking.


As the name suggests, this route mainly involves exploring in and around the castle of Český Krumlov.

How To Use The Map?

The locations from the walking route are numbered in the map. If required, zoom in and click on a number to view brief details about the location. Click ‘View in Google Maps’ to view the location’s complete details in Google Maps.

1. Castle Courtyard I and Red Gate (Kašna na 1. nádvoří zámku v Českém Krumlově)

The castle boasts different entrances, and wandering around the outer premises is free. However, you’ll need to snag a ticket to explore the castle’s interior and museum and ascend the castle tower (coming up next). The initial courtyard welcomes you just as you pass through the Red Gate.

Psst! When stepping into the second courtyard, take a moment to peek into the bear moat flanking both sides of the stone bridge. 

Currently, two bears call this moat home, although the bear count tends to fluctuate. In January 2000, the moat housed four bears and two cubs. Also, during Christmas, there’s a festive day when the public showers the bears with presents (do they get teddy bears, too?). The Rosenberg family originally brought the bears into the castle in the latter half of the 16th century. They might catch some Zzz’s indoors in winter, but we still saw one bear chilling in the moat.

Route Guide

The upcoming stops are nestled within the palace itself. If you’re opting out of purchasing castle tickets, feel free to skip the next stop, which involves ascending the castle tower. Upon entering, you’ll find yourself in the nádvoří courtyard II. To the left, the entrance to the little castle housing the castle tower awaits.

2. Castle Tower

This six-storied, rounded tower boasts a vibrant, illusion-painted facade visible from almost every corner of the town. Upon entering the building, head to the ticket booth, where you can purchase tickets for both the tower climb and the museum visit (it’s a combo ticket).

Tickets! Entry to the tower and museum costs Kč180 per adult. You can also explore options for full castle tours during your visit, either on-site or online. A convenient luggage storage system near the ticket counter lets you drop off extra baggage before your ascent.

As the tower is quite broad, the climb is easier than some other historic towers in Europe. At the top, two levels await – one indoors and the other an open platform offering an unrestricted panorama of Český Krumlov. The breathtaking view makes it one of Český Krumlov’s must-visit spots.

Psst! The sunset views are particularly stunning, so plan your visit accordingly if you are visiting on a clear day (a bit of a rarity in winter).

Note! The entrance to the castle museum is here, so if you’ve purchased a ticket, don’t miss exploring the beautifully curated museum.

Route Guide

The next stop awaits just outside the entrance to the castle tower, the same way you came in from Courtyard I.

3. Castle Courtyard II

The castle is neatly divided into upper and lower castles. Courtyard II – located in the lower castle, sandwiched between the little castle, the castle tower, and a few other cool buildings. Remember that stone bridge you strolled across from Courtyard I? Well, back in the day, it was a wooden drawbridge. Imagine that! (I’d pay to see one of those in action.)

And keep an eye out for the bastions at the courtyard’s entrance. These were built during the fortifications at the start of the Thirty Years’ War.

Route Guide

Now, at the far end of Courtyard II, there’s a corridor with painted ceilings. Walk your way through it, passing by smaller Courtyards III and IV, and voilà – you’ll find yourself on the cloak bridge, which happens to be our next pitstop.

Note! Courtyards III and IV provide access to the upper castle, which can be explored through the available castle tours. These tours are closed during winter, so visiting the castle’s interior in winter is not possible.

You can buy the tickets for these tours online and at the ticket counter at the castle tower entrance.

4. Cloak Bridge

The massive three-story Cloak Bridge, standing on sturdy stone pillars, elegantly links Courtyard IV of the castle to Courtyard V. Owing to its majestic look, this is one of the popular spots of the castle and the town. You can get a sweeping panorama of Český Krumlov from the walking passage, which forms the basic level above which three levels connect different parts of the castle (there is no external access to the upper levels- at least none that I could find).

The topmost level connects the castle gallery to the castle garden. The corridor of the cloak bridge gets quite crowded during busy hours, even in winter.

It is free to access and is open for long hours. You could visit after the sun goes down to see the night view of the town.

Psst! Early mornings are golden for taking beautiful pictures in the corridor and capturing the wooden bridge below, which just so happens to be our next pitstop.

Route Guide

The castle garden awaits on the flip side of the cloak bridge. It is wise to check the opening hours if you plan to drop by. For the fastest route to our next destination, walk back to Courtyard I and saunter around the castle’s back until you hit the lower part of the cloak bridge, where you can take a stroll beneath its architectural brilliance. Sure, there’s another way, but it’s a tad longer. (The route’s scenic, though, and it’s all downhill – perfect if you fancy a change of scenery.)

5. Lávka Pod Zámkem

Behold the narrow bridge you glimpsed from the top of the Cloak Bridge. It’s like a major tourist hotspot – scenic, trendy, and everyone wants a picture. (Well, who wouldn’t? Have you seen the bridge?)

Capture the river Vltava doing its thing, the castle, and the majestic Cloak Bridge in the backdrop. Picture-perfect, right? But beware, this place could get crowded with the people from the different castle tours, so rise and shine early if you want that flawless shot.

Route Guide

The next stop is another bridge adjacent to this one, just a 220m walk.

6. Lazebnický Most

This is the next bridge that can be seen from the  Lávka pod Zámkem. It’s another charming spot, and the view is just as mesmerizing. But before you continue, swing by Drunken Coffee on your way for a heavenly hot chocolate (go wild with whipped cream and marshmallows – trust me, you won’t regret it).

Lazebnický means Barber, named after a former barber’s pre-bridge residence on the left bank.

Psst! Just in front of Drunken Coffee, spot a micro island with a tiny bridge connecting to the café. Benches are scattered on the island – a perfect spot to watch the sun go down or enjoy the night vibes.

Route Guide

The next stop is kind of optional. Check if the route gods allow it. It’s not a destination; it’s just about the route.

7. Náplavka Český Krumlov

This isn’t a stop, just a charming riverside trail (more of a mud path) along the river. After the Lazebnický bridge, you’ll need to meander through the streets a bit to reach Náplavka. The view along the river is amazing, but sometimes it’s off-limits due to weather or construction. It’s not exactly a road, so proceed with caution. If you’re feeling unsure, skip it and head straight to the next stop.

Route Guide

From the marked spot on the map, the next stop is around 600m away, mostly a scenic stroll along the river.

8. Budweiser Gate (Budějovická Gate)

Welcome to one of Český Krumlov’s original city gates. At present, this is the only standing city gate, as all other gates have disappeared over time during the improvement of transportation and industry. The Budějovická Gate has adjoining houses on the inner side. The facade is painted in a striking combo of red and yellow. It is one of the remarkable Renaissance landmarks in the town.

Route Guide

The next stop is about 300m away, nestled in the lively part of Český Krumlov. On your way, you’ll encounter shops selling local artisanal goodies.

9. Kláštery Český Krumlov

Hidden in the Latrán area is the monastery complex of Český Krumlov. Founded in the 14th century, it was a hub of religious and cultural activities for centuries. It was a dual monastery that comprised Minoritský Klášter (Monastery of the Minorities) and Klášter Klarisek (Monastery of St. Claire) along with a church. Now converted into museums, the monastery buildings are a must-“czech” – pardon the pun.

Route Guide

The final stop of the 1st circuit is the entire street outside the monastery museum, known as Latrán.

10. Houses along Latrán

The Latrán, stretching from Budějovická Gate to Lazebnický most, is a colorful spectacle. Check out the interesting houses with Gothic and Renaissance flair.

Near the marked location on the map (closer to the Red Gate), you might spot a ceremonial arch spanning across the Latrán. It houses a corridor connecting the castle interior with the monastery. This corridor, starting from the monastery, is around 900m long. It runs over the roof of the townhouses, connecting the castle’s first courtyard and continuing all the way up to the castle garden through the second courtyard, upper castle, and cloak bridge.

Try spotting it from different viewpoints; it’s like a scavenger hunt over the town’s rooftop. The Latrán is a treasure trove of interesting houses with fascinating facades and interiors. Enjoy the stroll!


The second and third circuits are rather small, but you can wander off and explore further. Getting lost here is as challenging as finding a bad meal in Italy.

For continuity, let’s start with the Lazebnický Bridge.

How To Use The Map?

The locations from the walking route are numbered in the map. If required, zoom in and click on a number to view brief details about the location. Click ‘View in Google Maps’ to view the location’s complete details in Google Maps.

Route Guide

The initial stops on this route offer some of the Český Krumlov’s best views. From the Lazebnický Bridge, the first viewpoint is just around 300m away. Stroll along Masná and take a left onto Horní.

Psst! If you find yourself in Masná and want a burger, Můstek Beer&Burger is your go-to. Trust me; they’ve got the best burgers in Český Krumlov.

Photo Spot

As you turn left onto Horní, glance back towards the road you just traversed. From here, capture a framed view of the castle tower against the backdrop of the downhill cobblestone street—a snap-worthy moment.

1. Seminární Zahrada

This is actually a small park, but it definitely doesn’t look like one; this place offers a spectacular panorama of Český Krumlov. Although the view from the castle tower is more beautiful, being on top of the most picturesque tower in Český Krumlov means it won’t be a part of the view (or the pictures you capture from the tower). For this reason, this viewpoint is more special and offers a different perspective.

Good to know! This viewpoint is right outside a popular hotel in Český Krumlov, which is perpetually crowded. For a chance at solitude, consider an early morning visit.

Route Guide

Moving on to the next viewpoint, which provides a similar vista but may come in handy if Seminární Zahrada is bustling. It’s just about 80m from here.

2. Vyhlídková Terasa

This viewpoint, a mere 2-minute walk from the previous one, is consistently less crowded. The view is practically identical (no surprises there), but both are still worth checking out.

Route Guide

The next stop is the final viewpoint in this circuit, which offers a broader view and is just 250 m from here.

3. Vyhlídka

Accessible and charming—typical of Český Krumlov’s viewpoints. No uphill climbs or muddy paths here. You might have already stumbled upon this one on your way to the old town from the main bus stop of Český Krumlov. Beautiful and a personal favorite, it’s perfect for sunrise or sunset views. A clear sky might be a challenge in winter, but if luck is on your side, expect magical views.

Route Guide

The next stop is Český Krumlov’s second jewel, adorning the town’s skyline, following the castle tower. Just a short 450m walk—head back through Horní.

4. Church of St. Vitus

The church of St. Vitus is an architectural gem of Český Krumlov, adding to the town’s medieval charm. Dating back to the 15th century, this Gothic beauty may not match grand cathedrals but possesses its own allure. Inside the church, you can hear the water flowing through the Vltava. It is quite soothing.

The majestic spire, painted in pink and white, adds a fairytale touch—especially magical when rooftops are dusted with fresh snow.

Route Guide

The next stop is just a short walk of around 140m. You will be there before you know it. 

5. Vltava Bridge

It is not surprising that Český Krumlov has numerous bridges. The Vltava bends into a ‘U’ shape in multiple places in the town, so the reason for the bridges is quite obvious. The Vltava Bridge is one of the many in Český Krumlov and is pretty picturesque. You can see the church of St. Vitus standing tall in the backdrop.

Psst! Feeling hungry? Hanoi Memories, a Vietnamese restaurant beside the bridge, serves delicious, affordable food—just the right spice and warmth for a chilly day.

Tip! Take a detour and walk by the river beneath the bridge. Beautiful views await, with benches for a perfect riverside pause. (You could spot the detour on the map as well.)

Route Guide

If you skip the detour, the next stop is just 130m from the bridge. (But the detour is worth it!)

6. Fountain and the Plague Column

The stone water fountain dates back to the 16th century. It is complemented by the Plague Column, erected between 1714 and 1716. A tribute to overcoming the Plague epidemic of 1680-1682, it features sculptures of saints and town protectors. Town squares across Europe boast such columns, blending art with gratitude for surviving plagues. Currently, Český Krumlov’s main Christmas market is held here.

And that concludes our second circuit. Feel free to explore the old town’s narrow streets or follow the suggested route back to the starting point. Don’t hesitate to try the cozy cafes.

Good to know! If you decide to stay overnight (highly recommended), ensure you have dinner before 8 pm. In this small town, restaurants tend to close earlier than Google suggests, mainly catering to day-trippers during winter especially.


The third and the last circuit will complete your entire self-guided walking tour, which covers all the important things to do. So you are covered either way. This is a rather very small route covering Český Krumlov’s less touristy part. Most day trippers don’t even get time to visit this part of the town. So, if you are looking for a quiet place to be, then this is it.

For continuity, let’s start with the Vltava Bridge (it wasn’t the last stop, but you know where it is).

How To Use The Map?

The locations from the walking route are numbered in the map. If required, zoom in and click on a number to view brief details about the location. Click ‘View in Google Maps’ to view the location’s complete details in Google Maps.

Route Guide

All the stops on this route are on the other side of the Vltava bridge. The first stop is just about 200m from the bridge.

1. Museum Fotoatelier Seidel

This is a must-visit place for anyone interested in photography. This was once the studio of Josef Seidel, a renowned photographer in the Bohemian region. He was one of the pioneers of the professional photography era. He created a lot of postcards from the landscape photos he captured, which were huge hits during the time. It is not something to see just for photography enthusiasts; the house itself is an architectural gem worth checking out, even if photography is not your thing.

You can also dress up in period costumes and have your photos clicked. If you want to try this, it is advisable to pre-book your session session pre-booked through their website.


The museum’s basic audio tour ticket costs around Kč170 per adult. The detailed prices are on the official website.

Route Guide

The next stop in the route is about 170m from the Josef Seidel museum.

2. Synagogue of Český Krumlov

The synagogue, built in 1909, boasts some neo-Romanesque features in its architecture and has gone through a lot over time. It was used in its original form until the Second World War, after which it briefly served as a prayer house for the soldiers (US Army). It was also used as a storage place and then returned as a town property later in the post-war period. It was renovated in 1990 and now serves as a center for local and regional culture.

Route Guide

The next place is optional as it is a temporarily closed art gallery. Just walk along the path that stretches out in front of the synagogue, and you will find a garden to your left. It is a rose garden, but if you visit in winter, you won’t see any blooms. On the other end of the garden, you can find the stairs that lead to the gallery.

3. Egon Schiele Atelier

You will find a red/pink colored small garden house at the end of the staircase, which is the art gallery. It is currently closed. However, it is a cute place to capture a picture if you are interested. It was the house where the painter Egon Schiele lived and painted for several months in the early 20th century.

Route Guide

Walk back until the synagogue, from where you will find the next stop in about 100m.

4. Kaple Svatého Martina

Saint Martin Chapel is a tiny little chapel with a striking light blue facade. The cemetery connected to the chapel was decommissioned in 1892. There is a garden which is now part of the town park (coming up next). You can spot various unique statues in the garden around the chapel.

Currently, the chapel is used only for religious concerts and wedding ceremonies.

Route Guide

The next stop is right behind the chapel. Yes, that’s right, it is the park.

5. Český Krumlov Town Park

The town park is just behind the Saint Martin chapel. There is a small pavilion in the center, and an open park where kids play or locals take their dogs for a walk. It is a hideout from the sun during summer, and in winter, if the snow gods are cheery, you might have found a nice place to play throwing balls of snow. Walking in the park along the Vltava in the golden hour was pretty peaceful and romantic.

I have marked the route along the river that takes you back to the Vltava bridge from where we started. That marks the end of the final circuit and our walking guide.

I hope this gives you enough information about everything to see in Český Krumlov in a day. As I have mentioned probably more than once, spending the night here in one of the cozy pensions and being woken up by the church bells at 7 am is worthwhile. It gives you time to enjoy all the food in the Christmas market in the main square, Svornosti. Having you stay right next to the Christmas market gives you the confidence to try all the punch flavors available.

Where to Stay in Český Krumlov?

Here are some of the best stays in Český Krumlov.

Want to explore more options in Český Krumlov? Check out more stays in Booking.com. We use Booking.com to book all our stays and have always had a good experience.

Hope you all enjoy Český Krumlov as much as we did. Do not forget to get some locally made souvenirs and click many postcard worthy pictures. Also, if you have time, visit the Christmas markets in Vienna too.

Kiki from RooKiExplorers posing in a field of pink hyacinths in the Netherlands.
The Face Behind the Post

Hey, I am Kiki! A full-time software developer and hardcore travel enthusiast who is always up for a new adventure and the author of RooKiExplorers. I love to travel the world and enjoy talking about it, helping everyone around me plan their trips, and avoiding making the mistakes I made.

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