Many people hit Prague in Czech Republic and move on – this is a BIG mistake. A bus ride a few hours south, for just €7.75 you can relax and enjoy the beautiful UNESCO Heritage site of Český Krumlov. Known for its 13th Century Castle and situated along the Vltava River, this town looks straight out of a fairy tale. So picturesque, Český Krumlov is often used as a location setting for many movies, including the ever famous Hostel horror movie and the Illusionist.
I’m sure there are plenty of great accommodations in the town but I will forever recommend staying at Skippy’s guesthouse. Skippy has owned and operated the guesthouse for over 30 years, she plays live music in the town a few nights a week and you can often hear her playing guitar and singing in the kitchen while you sip a delicious coffee on her terrace. We had the privileged of catching her play one night in a local cafe and she draws a solid crowd and smiles the entire time.
Perhaps the biggest attraction that draws you to Český Krumlov is the river. Kayaking down the Vlatva river is a must if you have good weather. There are many rental spots in the city and for the two of us in a kayak for hours it only set us back €25 total, 100% worth it. There are plenty of shacks and restaurants along the way to dock your kayak and have a beer or grab some food. We came prepared this day, hooked a waterproof speaker up to our kayak, brought along some sandwiches and a few beers to start off and loaded up on sunscreen. However a flaw in our preparedness became clear as we learned Bry’s phone had only downloaded one album off my Spotify account, so we had the same Tribe Called Quest album streaming off our speakers for hours down the river.
There are a few rapids you navigate on the river and depending on inebriation and experience level, many people tip over; happy to report we successfully stayed afloat on our trip. As if life couldn’t get better, we happened to stop at a small sign on the river just after the city walls, where you only saw a stone wall with an archway. The arch opens up into a greenspace, surrounded by some dilapidated walls, but trees, flowers and a small shack bring the place to life. Next to a cage of finches, a small shack offers an array of beverages and small plates, including €1 prosecco, which we happily indulged while relaxing on yoga balls in the grass and watching people on a nearby slackline. It was a great end to our river adventure and a beautiful way to spend the day.
Before hitting the castle around sunset, we stopped at, Laibon, a vegetarian restaurant Skippy recommended where her friend David, an avid traveler worked. Situated right on the river, we enjoyed an amazing meal with great conversation about eastern Europe and David’s upcoming adventures. We were beyond full by the time we set out to walk up the town’s renowned castle for beautiful views of the city. Oh, last but not least – do not feed the bears that guard the castle in the moat! With a town perfect for hikes, kayaks, cheap beers, and a great host, we naturally extended our stay in Český Krumlov for an extra night before heading out of the country.
Without a doubt, this is a town I would fully recommend not missing on a visit to Czech Republic. Oh, and where else can you get a Penicillin cocktail for less than $5 USD? Apotek was a hidden gem in the town of Český Krumlov that I would not have wanted to miss!