Once upon a time in Český Krumlov…
Nestled in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, the picturesque city of Český Krumlov is fitting for any fairy-tale. I stayed here for two days as a temporary Princess on a budget.
Its 13th century castle is the 2nd largest castle complex in Europe and is without doubt the ‘jewel in the crown,’ standing proud by the curving Vltava river. Taking photos are prohibited inside the buildings, but the views from the grounds and the gardens are stunning – enough to run any camera battery down.
Paying for a guided tour was worthwhile and is the only way to see inside. One of my favourite rooms was the Masquerade Hall, a theatrically painted room with walls adorned with characters from Commedia del Arte. Capturing the imagination of others since 1748, and now lucky students have their diploma ceremony in the same hall.
I recommend turning a blind eye when you cross the bear moat. There is a 26 year old beauty pacing slow circuits in the pit below. Especially sad knowing his fate is most likely as a rug, along with his ancestors on the castle floors.
To get to the castle, cobbled alleyways, bridges and faded frescoes offer breath-taking sights. It’s no wonder this place is a tourist trap. I pretended the constant flow of visitors were witches and goblins – it helped add to the ambiance.
Worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the terracotta roof tops, ginger bread shops and galleries offer a little piece of magic after the 3 hour bus journey from Prague.
Top tip: Do the Wiseman free walking tour. It starts at the main square twice a day during high season, and lasts 2 hours. https://www.wisemanfreetour.com/