Planning a Trip
From Ceské Budejovice, it's about a 45-minute drive to Krumlov, depending on traffic. Take Highway 3 from the south of Ceské Budejovice and turn onto Highway 159. The roads are clearly marked, with several signs directing traffic to the town. From Prague, it's a 2-hour drive down Highway 3 through Tábor.
The only way to reach Ceský Krumlov by train from Prague is via Ceské Budejovice, a slow ride that deposits you at a station relatively far from the town center (trip time: 3 hr. 50 min.). Six trains leave daily from Prague's Hlavní nádrazí; the fare is 336Kc ($16/£8) first class, 224Kc ($11/£5.35) second class. If you are already in Ceské Budejovice and you want to make a trip to Krumlov, several trains connect these two cities throughout the day. The trip takes about 57 minutes and costs 46Kc ($2.20/£1.10). For timetables, go to www.jizdnirady.cz.
The nearly 3-hour bus ride from Prague usually involves a transfer in Ceské Budejovice. The fare is 136Kc ($6.50/£3.25), and the bus station in Ceský Krumlov is a 15-minute walk from the town's main square.
Right on the main square, the Information Centrum, námestí Svornosti 2, 381 01 Ceský Krumlov (tel. 380-704-622; fax 380-704-619; www.ckrumlov.cz), provides a complete array of services, from booking accommodations to reserving tickets for events, as well as a phone and Internet service. It's open daily in July and August from 9am to 8pm; in June and September from 9am to 7pm; in April, May, and October from 9am to 6pm; and from November to March from 9am to 5pm.
Be warned that the municipal hall is in the same building, and it's crowded with weddings on weekends. If someone holds out a hat, throw some change into it, take a traditional shot of liquor from them, and say "Blahopreji!" ("Congratulations!") to everyone in the room.
After being banned during communism, the Slavnost petilisté ruze (Festival of the Five-Petaled Rose) has made a triumphant comeback. It's held each year during the summer solstice. Residents of Ceský Krumlov dress up in Renaissance costume and parade through the streets. Afterward, the streets become a stage for chess games with people dressed as pieces, music, plays, and even duels "to the death."
Ceský Krumlov also plays host to the International Music Festival every August, attracting performers from all over the world. Performances are held in nine spectacular venues. For details or ticket reservations, contact the festival organizer, Auviex, at Perlitová 1820, 140 00, Praha 4 (tel. 241-445-404); or in Ceský Krumlov at Latrán 37 (tel. 380-711-453; www.auviex.cz).
Though much quieter in the winter, the town comes alive on New Year's Eve when its spectacular setting is lit up by midnight fireworks shot from a hill next to the center of town. Hotels and pensions fill up quickly, so reservations are recommended. Most restaurants and hotels have a special dinner/dancing deal that is also recommended to ensure you have a place to party when you return from watching the fireworks.
Surrounded by a circular sweep of the Vltava River, Ceský Krumlov is easy to negotiate. The main square, námestí Svornosti, is at the very center of the Inner Town. The bridge that spans the Vltava a few blocks away leads to a rocky hill and the Latrán area, above which is the castle, Ceský Krumlov Château.