Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
A quintessential fairytale town, Cesky Krumlov is situated roughly two hours south of Prague, and just over an hour from the Austrian city of Linz. Home to the second-largest castle in the Czech Republic, it is a picturesque maze of Renaissance-style buildings and cobblestone streets, bisected by the winding Vltava River. Almost untouched during World War II and the subsequent Soviet occupation, Cesky Krumlov has a precious beauty that makes a visit here an absolute must.
What We Love
It’s Accessible: Even if your river cruise itinerary doesn’t include Cesky Krumlov as an excursion, you can easily reach this beautiful little town on an all-day tour from Prague or Linz. Plan to use bus or rail transportation unless you feel like renting a car.
Multiple-Choice Museums: If you're the museum type, this port will be a pleasure as you wander in and out of its numerous museums, which highlight the history of things as divergent as architecture and instruments of torture.
Best Known For
Cesky Krumlov State Castle: The town's most frequently visited tourist attraction, this UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1992) was built over a period of six centuries (from the 13th onward — the castle tower is in the 16th-century Renaissance style) and houses a series of palaces and castle courtyards. You can walk through the complex for free, but to get the most out of your visit take the inexpensive guided tour — it’s worth it.
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Who It's Best For
Shutterbugs: You can barely walk down a street here without spotting a perfect photo op.
Café and Pub Lovers: They’re everywhere, and on a hot summer day, what could be more enjoyable than a refreshing Czech beer on one of the town's many outdoor patios?
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Beware of Summer Crowds: Because of its picturesque beauty, Cesky Krumlov is ridiculously overrun with tourists during the peak summer season.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.