In the late 13th century, a small town was developed to accommodate the trading market that was growing along the Vitavia River. The area was built up between 1680 and 1682 under the reign of Prince Johann Christian I von Eggenberg. Because of its ability to retain much of its historic landscape and architecture, Old Český Krumlov is today a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Český Krumlov’s royal past is still visible when visiting its main attraction, Český Krumlov Castle. The House of Schwarzenberg owned the castle from 1719 until 1945 which still houses items, from art to furniture and other details original to the family, the time, and their life in what was their summer home.
There are tours that one can take to explore the castle, its many rooms, and its breathtaking baroque theater (which is still functioning today). My tour was a bit more exclusive because of the access offered to our VIP Insight Vacations tour group.
Walking into the village, just as it is when walking into the castle, is like stepping back in time. The small, winding, cobblestone streets exude history, more so depending on when you visit. During the busier seasons, when visitors tend to overcrowd the streets, it can feel very much like a tourist attraction. However, visit during a time when visitors have gone home, or during a season when the large number of visitors have yet to arrive, and you really get the sense of it.
A good way to really experience the village without the crowds is to stay in town. Hotel Ruze used to work as a Jesuite dormitory during the 16th century. Now, it’s a 5 star boutique hotel selected as a Signature Hotel experience for those traveling with Insight Vacations. In addition to its historic, unique, and sophisticated ambiance, the hotel offers easy access to all the village has to offer. It is centrally located which allows you to tour the village at your own pace, at any hour.
Many of the rooms in Hotel Ruze vary both in design and size. Here is one room view.
At night the pubs tend to host mostly locals, the serenity of the streets are enough to inspire the romantic and photography-loving traveler. During the early morning, the pace is slow making it perfect to leisurely enjoy small shops and eateries in town.
Evening view of Cesky Krumluv.
If there is something that I can say that I walked away with from my time in Český Krumlov it is how beautiful an experience it was to walk through a place so proud of its heritage and cultural influence and prosperity. At one point, alone in my room, I sat on my bed with the window open. The afternoon sun was gleaming off a beautiful building across the way. While the soft wind gently blew in, so did the beautiful sounds of classical orchestra performing somewhere in town, the echoes vibrating through the alleyways of the village and up into the corners of my room, embracing me and reminding me that I was somewhere really special.
It is possible to make a day trip out of Český Krumlov when touring the Czech Republic but I would highly recommend no less than two or three, just so you can also experience it at night and early morning, which in my opinion is just a wonderful time to take it all in and appreciate what the area has to offer.