The entire Czech Republic is just a little bit smaller than the state of Louisiana, and taking a 3-hour bus out of the central hub of Prague finds you in the small, fairytale město of Český Krumlov. The perfect town for a day trip, Český Krumlov is a UNESCO world heritage site. Neither the world wars nor any wars prior touched the town, meaning many of its streets and buildings are original from the 14th-17th centuries.
The first moment my dear friend Liz and I laid eyes on the town, we stopped dead in our tracks. Then, like the good millennials we are, we pulled out our phones and started snapping photos because we just couldn’t believe the town was real. Český Krumlov looks exactly like the places you picture whenever you hear the words “once upon a time…”
Our first stop was Laibon, a cozy, wood-paneled vegetarian restaurant on the Vltava River (the same river that runs through Prague!). I ordered a pasta dish called “butterfly dance” and Liz opted for some buckwheat pancakes—a unique cross between a savory crepe and American-style pancakes. We also both ordered hot chocolates which each had a delightful drizzle of caramel that we later found out was a local specialty!
Then, we stopped by St. Vitus’ Church, an over 600-year old Catholic church with bells that could be heard ringing throughout the entire town. It was such a peaceful and quietly beautiful church. It was also surprisingly well-lit, with gorgeous windows spanning around almost the entire building.
We then crossed the bridge to get to the Český Krumlov castle, where we purchased tickets to both see the castle museum and climb up the tower. The view from the tower completely took my breath away. I could see the entire town, with the rooftops covered in snow, and I felt like I was in another world.
After popping in and out of some of the local shops, we retraced our steps to find the Alfons Mucha exhibit we’d noticed earlier in the day. We were pretty much the only people in the entire museum, which made it such a pleasant, calming experience—we were alone with the art. Because Mucha was Czech, his work can be found all over Czech Republic. There’s this magical quality to his work that continues to enchant me every time I see it.
We’d been touring around in the below-freezing weather all day, so we worked up quite an appetite. For dinner, we went to Krčma U dwau Maryí to try some traditional Czech food. I was very grateful for the vegetarian section on the menu and got the baked millet casserole with cheese, while Liz got the chicken feast for one.
After dinner, there was still a lot of time before our bus back to Prague, and most everything closes at 18:00. Luckily, we found Kollektiv, a hip little coffee shop, where we grabbed drinks and dessert. I ordered (another) hot chocolate and Liz got hot wine (a Czech specialty). Then, because splitting dessert is what I do best, we shared some vanilla cheesecake and a chocolate muffin with some more of that local caramel both drizzled on top and stuffed in the middle. SO. YUMMY.
When you’re abroad, there’s this pressure to visit everysingleEuropeancountry, but what I especially loved about this day trip to Český Krumlov is that I got to explore more of my host country’s culture and understand more of its history. While Czech Republic as it is currently recognized has only been around for a few decades, the Bohemian region has been around for centuries, and I’ve yet to find any place quite like it.
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