The South Bohemian Region is home to some of Czechia’s most beautiful sights. Český Krumlov is not only a must-see UNESCO World Heritage town, but it is also a perfect base for exploring the region. We picked our favourite places, where history meets fairy tales.
After a short, about 35 kilometres (22 miles) long drive northwards from Český Krumlov, you’ll reach Czechia’s third most visited castle – Hluboká chateau.
The current look of the castle resulted from the last reconstruction, which took place in the middle of the 19th century. The then owners, the noble Schwarzenberg family, chose Windsor Castle as an inspiration for the romantic neo-Gothic makeover. The family resided in the “Bohemian Windsor” until 1939, when they fled from Nazi rule. The castle is surrounded by vast agricultural land, forests and fishing ponds, formerly estates owned by the family. Climb to the top of the highest tower to get a great view of the area.
Good to know: For information about tours and opening times, visit the castle’s official website: www.zamek-hluboka.cz.
There are several tour rounds of the castle. Besides the representation rooms, enthusiasts shouldn’t miss private apartments. The family used Hluboká as their residence until the late 1930s and rebuilt the private rooms accordingly. For example, there is a goods and passenger elevator from the early 20th century.
Tip: On the way to Hluboká, you’ll pass the political and commercial capital of Southern Bohemia – České Budějovice called Budweis in German. It is home to the famous Budweiser Budvar National Brewery. The beer brewing tradition there dates back to the 13th century. The brewery offers beer tasting & tours: www.budejovickybudvar.cz.
Enthusiasts of longer road trips will appreciate a visit to Červená Lhota castle located around 80 kilometres (roughly 50 miles) to the northeast from Český Krumlov. The picturesque Renaissance water chateau stands on a rock in the middle of a fishpond. The name “Červená“, meaning “Red” in Czech, comes from the bright red colour of the facade & roof tiles.
A popular activity is renting a rowboat and rowing around the castle. Unfortunately, the pond was empty during our visit due to a water pump malfunction.
Good to know: Check the opening times in advance. In 2021, the castle interiors were closed from November through May: https://www.zamek-cervenalhota.cz/en.
On the way from Červená Lhota to Český Krumlov make a detour to historic Třeboň. Throughout centuries the noble Houses of Rosenberg and Schwarzenberg possessed the town. Photogenic Baroque and Renaissance facades encircle its central square.
Since the 16th century, Třeboň has been the carp farming capital of South Bohemia. A sophisticated system of canals and artificial creeks connects the ponds and forms a ring around the urban area. Therefore, in Třeboň, try one of the many carp dishes. Whether you prefer it deep-fried, grilled, or in a traditional fish soup, there is a carp recipe for every taste.
Český Krumlov is only a half-an-hour-long drive away from another UNESCO World Heritage Site of South Bohemia – the historic village Holašovice. For its “exceptionally complete and well-preserved state,” Holašovice represents an example of a traditional rural settlement in Central Europe. The village is home to a significant number of historic U-shaped farmhouses, whose gables face the central village area with a small fish pond. Their colourful facade decorations are a fine example of “South Bohemian Folk Baroque.”
A walk through the village reminded us of a fairy-tale background. Thankfully, only a wooden vodník (Czech fabled water spirit) guarded the fish pond. Who knows, maybe the full moon makes it come alive. But you’ll have to find out for yourself.