Wandering through fairytale castles, meandering down rivers through the lush green countryside, exploring historic towns and their squares are just a few of the many things to do in South Bohemia. If you are after an active holiday South Bohemia has that covered as well. The region is perfect for hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing and water sports.
After spending time in South Bohemia we would like to give you some assistance in planning your visit to this region. We were hosted by the South Bohemia Tourism Board whilst we were in South Bohemia.
(Editor Update 2020)
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The fairytale castle of Cesky Krumlov had been on our ‘travel to-do list‘ for years and we finally made it there. It did not disappoint nor did Hluboka Castle, South Bohemia’s most visited monument.
Our recent travels in the Czech Republic was spent in Prague, the Moravian Silesian region, the Spa Triangle, Moravia and North Bohemia but nothing had prepared us for the magic of South Bohemia. Don’t get us wrong, every region we visited we were ‘wowed’ by all the region had to offer! The South Bohemia region had something that we could just not put our finger on.
The Czech Republic is a very special country to travel to and one that will stay in our hearts forever. Why is it so special? It is the Czech people, the culture, the history, the lush green landscapes, the local Czech cuisine, the spas, the fairytale castles, the architecture we can go on and on but we must not miss out the local Czech beer. There are so many places to visit in the South Bohemia region you may just run out of time, so plan your travels well allowing time to absorb all that is has to offer.
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Where is South Bohemia
South Bohemia Map
South Bohemia is located in the southern part of the Czech Republic and borders the countries of Austria and Germany. The largest city and capital is Ceske Budejovice but the most well known is the fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov.
To Travel Too Tip: If you are a keen photographer the best time to visit Cesky Krumlov is during late September as the sun is lower and the shadows are longer. The tip is from our local guide Bob from the Wiseman Free Walking Tour.
Things to do in South Bohemia
What to see and do in Cesky Krumlov
One of the most famous towns in the Czech Republic is Cesky Krumlov which was founded in the 13th century by the Vitkovec family. The castle of Cesky Krumlov is the 2nd largest in the country the first being Prague Castle. Cesky Krumlov was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 as well as 2 other cities Prague and Telc. We fell in love with the town even before we visited from the photos that we have seen over the past several years.
If you only have a day to spare why not take a day trip from Prague. Here are some suggestions for you from our partners Get Your Guide:
[su_box title=”Recommended Tour to Cesky Krumlov” box_color=”#0a8a74″]Full Day Trip to Cesky Krumlov from Prague[/su_box] [su_box title=”Recommended Tour to Cesky Krumlov” box_color=”#0a8a74″]Cesky Krumlov Private 2 Hour Walking Tour[/su_box] [su_box title=”Recommended Tour to Cesky Krumlov” box_color=”#0a8a74″]Full Day Coach Tour from Prague [/su_box]
It will take you at least a couple of hours to visit the fairytale Castle and the grounds, so make sure you allocate enough time and not rush it.
A short history of the castle:
- 1250 – the Gothic castle was founded by the Lords of Krumlov
- 1302 – the Lords of Krumlov died out and the Rosenbergs (relatives of the Lords of Krumlov) inherited the castle
- 17th Century – the Rosenbergs had died out (we can see a pattern here along the male lineage) and Emperor Ferdinand passed it to the Eggenberg Family
- 1717 – the male line of the Eggenbergs died out and it was passed to the Schwarzenbergs
- 1947 – The Castle was passed to the Czech Provincial Properties
- 1950 – The Castle became the property of the Czechoslovak State
- 1989 – Declared a National Monument
- 1992 – Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site
There are 7 tours available:
- Tour Route 1 (55 minutes) including the Castle Interiors (Renaissance and Baroque Periods), Chapel of St George, Eggenberg Hall and the Masquerade Hall
- Tour Route 2 (55 minutes) including a tour of the Cloak Bridge and the history of the Schwarzenberg Family. The Cloak Bridge is the longest corridor in the world and leads from the Castle Gallery to the Castle Gardens. Legend states that horses were ridden through the corridor.
- Baroque Castle Theatre (45 minutes) where you visit the Orchestra pit, the stage and see the props and the costumes. The Theatre is one of the best-preserved from the 18th century and it is located in the 5th courtyard.
- Castle Museum (unlimited timing)
- Castle Tower (unlimited timing) a climb of 162 steps for panoramic views over Cesky Krumlov
- The Stables (unlimited timing) The Baroque Horse Stables built in the 1750’s.
- The Castle Garden (unlimited timing) – wander through the magnificent Rococo gardens after the 5th courtyard which are spread over 10 hectares and includes the Cascade Fountain.
Now, this is something different. The world’s first open-air summer theatre that revolves. Acting can take place anywhere in the performance area. A word of warning, do not try and sneak in and take a photo when they are in rehearsal. Bookings are recommended in advance, they have over 55,000 visitors during the summer period. Performances are of opera, ballet, drama and even puppetry.
For tickets and the latest performances during June and September click here.
Our recommendation A Wiseman Free Walking Tour:
April to October: 1030 and 1400
November to March: 1030
June to October: Evening tour 2100
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting Place: Infocentrum Office Svornosti Square – look for red shirts and red umbrellas stating Wiseman Walking Tours
For more information click here.
- Castle with 5 courtyards
- Castle Tower
- Renaissance Town Hall
- Former Jesuit Hall of Residency and Seminary
- Bear’s Moat
- Cloak Bridge
- Castle Baroque Theatre
- Former Prelate
- Jesuit Garden
- Gothic Church of St Vit
- Barber’s House
- Plague Column
- Former Rosenberg’s hospital
- St Jost Church
- Old Town Brewery
Snippets of information gleaned on our walking tour:
- The Mayor of Cesky Krumlov still works from the Town Hall which dates back to the 16th century
- There are 4 coats of arms shown on the building. To the left is the Eggenbergs Coats of Arm, Czech Lands, the town of Cesky Krumlov and the Schwarzenbergs on the right. The Schwarzenberg Coat of Arms is a bit gruesome. You will notice that there are ravens picking at the severed head of a Turk – it represents the defeat of the Austrian Hungarian and Turkish Army in the 16th Century by the Schwazenbergs.
- The bell of the Town Hall was used to call the councillors to their meetings as well as used as a fire alarm
- The word ‘bohemia’ means brewed beer
- In 1991 and 1992 you could have purchased a house around the square for around USD2000
- In 1991, a local from Cesky Krumlov was offered a house for CZK40,000 he decided to purchase a car instead. The house is now worth between 2-3 million euros.
- Population: 13,000 which 200 live in the old town
- Cesky Krumlov gets over 2 million visitors per year
- It has been called the ‘most beautiful town in Europe’
The 2nd tower that dominates the skyline of Cesky Krumlov belongs to the Church of St Vitus. The Gothic Church was the 2nd church to be built in this location, the first church became too small for the residents of the town. The Church was completed in 1439. The Church also holds various classical music concerts throughout the year. The church is open to visitors, we would recommend that you check out the Gothic ceilings inside.
Located in the centre of the Old Town, you just can’t miss it! It is busy from early morning to late at night. The Renaissance Town Hall located here dates back to the 16th Century.
Cesky Krumlov Card
One card that gives you entrances to 5 museums:
- Castle Museum and Castle Tower. The Castle Museum is located in the oldest part of the Castle. The Castle Tower is well worth the climb for breathtaking views of the Old Town.
- The Regional Museum – located in the old former Baroque Jesuit High School and contains the largest ceramic model of the Old Town
- Seidel Museum – the story of professional photography in the region
- Art Museum – exhibitions located in the Renaissance former Municipal Brewery
- Krumlov Monasteries – based in the former cells of the Poor Clare nuns and shows medieval monastery life
The card can be purchased here.
Where to Stay in Cesky Krumlov
We stayed at the Hotel Latran close to the Castle in one of their attic rooms. The location is quiet and perfect for sightseeing. The building dates back to the 15th century and it is a combination of two former burgher houses. The house is beautifully furnished and the rooms are very comfortable. Wifi is excellent. Breakfast is included in the price and is served at Cafe Strudel on the ground level. Check out the latest reviews from Tripadvisor.
For further options for accommodation in Cesky Krumlov:
Where to Eat in Cesky Krumlov
There is nothing like getting the insider scoop of where the best restaurants are from a local. Our two recommendations did not disappoint.
Papa’s Restaurant is where you can dine by the River Vltava in Cesky Krumlov. The food is excellent and the views are outstanding. Ask for an outside table when making a reservation.
The address: Latran 13, Cesky Krumlov.
For the best of local cuisine try Restaurant Na Louzi at Kajovska 66.
For a list of the top 10 restaurants in Cesky Krumlov click below.
Ceske Budejovice means ‘beer and pencils’. We just had to find out why. Apparently, the famous pencil company Koh-i-Noor was located here from Vienna in 1847 and beer has been brewed here since the 13th century.
The Town Square
The town was founded in 1265 by King Premysl Otakar II as a Royal Town. One of the largest squares in the Czech Republic, over 1 hectare, is named after the King, is located here in Ceske Budejovice.
The Samson’s Fountain is located in the centre of the square and is surrounded by 48 Baroque and Renaissance buildings. It dates back to the 18th century and was the town’s main water supply.
The Town Hall dates back to the middle of the 16th century and is one of the most valuable original Renaissance buildings and later Baroque style in the square.
The Black Tower which can be seen from miles around stands in the corner of the square. You can climb the 225 steps for beautiful views over the city.
We love to find out unique stories as we travel. Up until 1956 the tower was home to a guard and his family. One of his responsibilities was to raise the flag in the direction of a fire and to raise the alarm by ringing the bell. The family raised a goat in the tower with them.
Church of St Nicholas
Besides the Church of St Nicholas stands the Black Tower. The church now stands on what was once a Gothic church that dated back to the 13th century. The original church was reconstructed in the 16th century but destroyed by fire in 1649. 1912 saw the last reconstruction take place.
Visit Two Breweries
There are two breweries in Ceske Budejovice – The Budweiser Citizens Brewery (formerly called Samson) and the Budweiser Budvar founded in 1895.
You can tour the Budva Brewery to find out how the beer is brewed and the history as well as a beer tasting. Click here for more details.[su_box title=”South Bohemia Beer Trail” box_color=”#0a8a74″]South Bohemia Beer Trail[/su_box] [su_box title=”A Day Tour to Cesky Krumlov and Ceske Budejovice” box_color=”#0a8a74″]Day Tour to both Cesky Krumlov and Ceske Budejovice[/su_box]
Where to Stay in Ceske Budejovice
We stayed at the Hotel U Solné brány in České Budejovice at Radnicni 11 centrally located a few minutes walk to the main Square.
The rooms were very comfortable and well sized and we even had a balcony. The wifi was excellent. We dined in the restaurant for dinner which offered European and Czech cuisine with options for vegetarians. The wine list was extensive. Definitely, it is worth a return visit.
Breakfast was also served in the restaurant with excellent options.
For the latest Tripadvisor reviews click here.
For further accommodation options in Ceske Budejovice:
Where to Eat in Ceske Budejovice
For the top 10 restaurants in Ceske Budejovice click our link below.
Hluboka Chateau is one of the most visited monuments in the Czech Republic. On first glimpse it takes your breath away, you feel as if you have been transported back to a land of fairy tales with prince and princesses.
In the 13th Century, the Chateau was once a sentry castle founded by the Bohemian Kings. During the years 1845-1871, the castle was reconstructed in the Gothic style by the Schwarzenberg family, their inspiration coming from their royal residences of the Windsor family in the UK.
To Travel Too Tip: You are not allowed to take photographs of the inside of the Chateau
We would recommend taking a guided tour of the castle.
The history is fascinating. The furniture is all original and is one of the best preserved in the Czech Republic.
Our tour comprised of visiting the morning room, reading room, smoking room, small and large dining room, the impressive library and the personal rooms of Princess Eleonore.
As we wandered through the private bedrooms of the Princess we noted there were no wardrobes nor private small dressing rooms or alcoves. Behind the walls there are smaller rooms that housed the Princess’s clothes. The corridors are vast which enabled the movements of the servants unseen by the family. Princess Eleonore was a remarkable woman and a very talented interior designer.
The castle is a mix of Gothic construction from the 13th century. In the 16th century it was completely rebuilt in the Renaissance style and later in the 18th century it was rebuilt again in the Baroque style. Today when you visit it feels as if you are visiting a modern castle built only a few years ago from the outside. The interior furnishings give the age away.
Some interesting facts:
- there is a stained glass window from Cesky Krumlov’s Castle
- the Castle consisted of 4 bathrooms which were more than the Emperor in Prague
- there are important tapestries from the 17th century and the Schwarzenberg owned the largest tapestry
- Chandeliers were made from Murano Glass from Venice
- Heating was from the ten boilers in the cellars. The boilers date back to the 19th century and they are still working. Hot air rises and it is certainly the case here.
- The reading room was impressive with walls adorned with paintings by the European Masters from the 16th to 18th century. The mirror over the fireplace took 5 carpenters 17 months to complete.
- There are Delft plates from the Netherlands showing each month of the year.
- The Small Dining Room is decorated by Prince Jan Adolf II. He had an argument with Princess Eleanor and decided to have the room decorated with scenes of hunting and fishing.
- The Waiting Room – the first room that guests saw on entering the castle. It was here that they would wait before seen. The wallpaper is made from leather and gilded in gold.
The Great Dining Hall used to be used for dancing and balls. The Renaissance-style ceiling has been moved from other castles in the Czech Republic.
72 guests can sit around this table. There is 1 tablecloth that covers the length. The valuable tapestries in this room were woven in Brussels in the 17th century.
The Library is the biggest room in the castle and the most impressive and our favourite. There are over 12,000 books in the cabinets most of them in German, there are some French 1st editions and a 1st edition German Book Die Biene Maja (adventures of Maya the Bee).
One of the most unusual items that we saw was the 20th century Bohemia Vacuum Cleaner. It took 2 men to work it one to roll the handle whilst one hoovered. The vacuum cleaner had no wheels.
As part of the tour, you can view the Armoury collection which is believed to be the most valuable in the Czech Republic. There are small cannons, guns, rifles and metal-plated knights armour.
For ticket prices and information on the guided tours available click here.
Where to Eat Near Chateau Hlbuka – Solidni Sance
You certainly work up an appetite wandering through a chateau. At the bottom of the hill that leads up to Hlbuka is the very popular Solidni Sance (means solid chance). You may have to wait for a table at lunchtime. 300 years of tradition and the restaurant is still serving up excellent cuisine and they now even brew their own beer as well as blueberry beer. We can recommend trying both. For the latest reviews from Tripadvisor click here.
Trebon is known as the city of culture, history, spas and the ‘city of ponds’. Trebon is a 30-minute journey by car from Ceske Budejovice. It is perfect for a day trip.
Our guide, Mary, was passionate about Trebon and its history. We spent 3 hours in her company and learnt so much. It was a very busy Saturday in Trebon due to the market in the main square. The market is held every 2nd Saturday. We can recommend getting there early as parking can be difficult. It was fun listening to the sounds of trumpets played by the medieval hunters with their hunting dogs by their sides. There were many stalls from food to handicrafts.
Trebon has four well-preserved entrance gates, and it depends where you park which gate you enter Trebon by:
The long rectangular square of Trebon contains many Renaissance and Baroque houses.
The Old Town Hall sits prominently on the square with its 16th-century massive tower and gallery. You can purchase tickets for the 100 step climb to the top of the tower. It is well worth the climb for the view.
The Marian Column dates back to 1781 and sits proudly on the square as a monument to those who died in the plague.
Visit the Famous Trebon Theatre
The theatre was originally built in 1832 and is one of the oldest burgher theatres in the Czech Republic. The theatre is known as the J K Tyl Theatre and is famous for the oldest surviving curtain in the Czech Republic. Over the years the theatre has been enlarged and now seats 289. The Royal Box shows the Coat of Arms of Trebon and the colourful ceiling is of small angels holding musical instruments. The blue that is used in the decoration of the theatre reminds us of the famous Tiffany blue.
Mary our guide has been attending performances at the theatre since she was in High School. She can remember paying 10 crowns for each performance.
The Marionettes of Trebon
In the same building as the J K Tyl Theatre is the 100 seat Marionette theatre established in 1833. It has been a tradition since 1931 to hold performances twice a month.
Schwarzenberg Tomb in Trebon
The Schwarzenberg family crypt was built in the Neo-gothic style from 1874 to 1877 and is a 2 storey octagonal-shaped tomb. Since 1877 26 family members have been buried here the last in 1939.
You can reach the tomb from Trebon it is a 1.5km walk through the park by the Svet Pond.
Trebon Chateau and its history:
- 1366 The House of Rosenberg were the owners
- 1611 The castle inherited by the Schwarzenbergs and reconstructed due to fire in the Renaissance style
- During the 30 years war, the Chateau belonged to the Hapsburg Family
- The Castle today houses the State Regional Archives
- One of Trebon’s main tourist attractions
Sightseeing Routes of the Trebon Chateau
- The Rozmberk Renaissance Interiors
- The Private Schwarzenberg Apartment (19th Century)
- The Dog Kitchen and The Castle Stable
Opening Hours: April to October daily except Monday from 0900 – 1600
During the months of June to August, the Chateau closes at 1715.
For more information click here.
The Spas of Trebon
Trebon is famous for spas. The air is cleaner, the town is surrounded by forest and there is no industry to pollute the air.
There are two main Spas – Berta and Aurora. Berta is the oldest being established in 1883 and Aurora in the 1970s. The town achieved its spa status in 1960 and on average receives over 13,000 visitors a year.
The peat from around Trebon is used for the treatment of:
- rheumatic diseases
- convalescence after operations of the joints and spine
- convalescence after car accidents
- painful conditions of the spine
The Trebon Fishpond System
The ponds are connected with small canals along the Luznice River.
The Luznice Rover connects the golden canal, the Old River, the New River, the largest pond Rozmberk and other pond sites. They are 47.8km in length.
The ponds produce over 3,000 tonnes of carp per year. Carp is a speciality dish in the Trebon and South Bohemia region.
The ponds were created in 1505 and they are still in operation today even though it was a primitive system over 500 years ago.
The town of Trebon celebrated 500 years in 2018 of the construction of the Golden Canal.
The Fishpond Network is important to South Bohemia and currently is under consideration from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Inclusions are:
• The Golden Canal
• The New River a 14 km long artificial canal built in the 16th century
• The Rozmberk Pond – the largest fishpond in the Trebon Basin, built in the 16th century
• The Svet Pond – the pond in the immediate vicinity of the town centre of Trebon
• The historic centre of Trebon
Enjoy a Beer in Trebon
The Regents Brewery was founded in 1379 and produces beer under the trademark of Bohemia Regent. They run regular beer tours and on a Friday and Saturday night, you can enjoy a mysterious walk through their underground brewery.
Where to stay in Trebon
Trebon has a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets. We stayed in Ceske Budejovice and visited Trebon as a day trip. For the latest prices and availability in Trebon click our link below.
Where to eat in Trebon
For a unique setting for lunch or dinner in Trebon try the U Kellyho Restaurant at 1/110 Trebon. We enjoyed local cuisine and local beer at lunch in this uniquely decorated restaurant. The restaurant is named after a local alchemist and you can see some of the tools and containers that were used in his mystical practice.
For the latest reviews from Tripadvisor click here.
For a list of the top 10 restaurants in Trebon click below:
The town of Jindrichuv Hradec was founded at the beginning of the 13th century. The Renaissance Castle dominates the town. The castle was originally built in the 13th century in the Gothic style and it is the 3rd largest in the Czech Republic.
Wandering through town you will see a number of houses constructed in the Renaissance style. The Town Hall dates from the end of the 15th Century.
The 20m tall 18th-century sculpture of the Holy Trinity is the largest Baroque column in South Bohemia.
Where to stay in Jindrichuv Hradec
Our accommodation was at the luxurious 4 star Hotel Florian Palace located a few minutes from the main Square and the Castle. We had a very comfortable night stay in one of their deluxe double room with breakfast included. The wifi was excellent and our room had every amenity that we could have wished for.
For other accommodation options in Jindrichuv Hradec:
Gastronomic Delights of the Region:
- Trebon Carp
- Wild game
- Kulajda (creamy soup made with wild mushrooms)
- Cmunda – south bohemia styled pancakes
- Blueberry Dumplings
- Blueberry liqueur
- Czech Beer
Active Holidays in South Bohemia:
- hiking – over 5000 kms of marked hiking trails
- water sports on Lipno Dam – largest water area in the Czech Republic
- 6 golf courses
- Cross Country Skiing in the Sumava region
We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and pay deposits on any cruises, tours or hotels.
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Do You Need a Visa
Getting to South Bohemia
Airports Close to the South Bohemia Region:
- Prague – Vaclav Havel Airport
- Vienna – Vienna International Airport
- Munich – Munich Airport
Driving Distances to South Bohemia:
- Prague – 150km
- Vienna – 200km
- Linz – 95km
- Munich – 330km.
GETTING IN BY PLANE
Ceske Budejovice Airport: 6 km from the city
For the latest flight deals click here.
Travel by Bus to South Bohemia
We travelled to Cesky Krumlov with Regiojet Buses. Click here for details.
For more information on the Czech Republic see our latest articles below:
We visited the South Bohemia region as guests of Jiznicechy (South Bohemia Tourism Board) and Czech Tourism. We thank Jaromir, Klara, Petra and Zuzana for taking good care of us. Our opinions as always are our own.
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