Recently, I had 4 whole days in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. As I’d never been to the Czech Republic and 4 days of city sight-seeing seemed a bit much, I wanted to take a day trip from Prague. I researched a bit on the great interwebs and discovered a day trip to Český Krumlov is THE things to do when you visit Prague. So.. Off I went. In good tradition, I didn’t opt for a tour or bus, but I decided to take the train to Český Krumlov.
What is Český Krumlov and why should you go?
Český Krumlov is a small town, in south Bohemia, a province of the Czech Republic, 3 hours from Prague. Unesco added Český Krumlov in 1992 to their World Heritage List to ensure to sights for the generations to come. Check the beginner’s guide to Český Krumlov.
The main draw of Český Krumlov is the castle. Perched up on the hill, overlooking the rest of the orange roofed town, the Krumlov castle shows many generations of royalties and royal building styles. It is like walking through history in a cute little village.
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Some people call Český Krumlov “little Prague” which I do not agree with. Yes, it is just as busy as the capital but Český Krumlov is cute and small. The old streets ooze with cuteness and small town charm, where Prague is hitting you with grandeur and urban hip-ness. In my opinion, a day trip from Prague to Český Krumlov is really a nice addition to your city trip.
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I loved to zoom across the country side of the Czech Republic and I wandered the streets of Český Krumlov for a whole day. It is a great way to learn more about the complex history of the Czech Republic and the Bohemian region and who doesn’t like to see a real life castle!
How to get from Prague to Český Krumlov?
There are several ways to travel from Prague to Český Krumlov and back in 1 day.
There are numerous tours on offer that leave Prague, drive you to Český Krumlov, show you around and feed you lunch along the way. As I find these tours too massive and too expensive, I looked into my options to travel to Český Krumlov independently. You can take a bus but as soon as I learned you can also take the train to Český Krumlov, I was sold!
Read more: Free walking tour or paid tour in Prague?
Train to Český Krumlov
As I liked to be prepared, I booked and paid my train tickets to Český Krumlov in advance. I didn’t want to be puzzled on a big crowded train station while my train is leaving, so I researched the schedule online.
I went to cd.cz, the national train website of the Czech Republic. At the top, you can select the English language. I easily found trains from Prague (select Praha) to Český Krumlov with their prices. I was able to book online and pay with my credit card.
Prague Central Train Station
All trains to Český Krumlov leave from Praga hl.n. This is the main train station in Prague, connected with all the trams and metro lines. It took me 5 minutes on the tram from my hostel to the train station. Everything is indicated in English and really easy.
Direct train to Český Krumlov or change trains?
Just a few years ago, you could only travel from Prague to Český Krumlov by train if you switched trains in České Budějovice. Just recently, a direct train from Prague to Český Krumlov was added to the itinerary. This is very new and even local people from Prague do not know this all the time, so don’t be surprised if local tell you it is not possible on a direct train.
Direct train to Český Krumlov
The direct train from Prague to Český Krumlov takes 2 hours and 48 minutes. You hop on the train in Prague and you do not need to get off until you arrive at your final destination: Český Krumlov.
This train only runs once a day (at the moment). At 8.02 am (arriving at 10.50 am) from Prague to Český Krumlov and return at 2.02 pm and you’ll arrive in Prague at 4.57 pm.
As I found this is a bit too early to return, I decided to return on the train with a change in České Budějovice.
Train from Prague to Český Krumlov via České Budějovice
The regular service runs much more often per day but takes between 3 to 3.5 hours depending on which train you’ll take. This is also pretty straight forward as the station of České Budějovice is not that big.
The train calls out to the station and you need to leave the train and change the platforms. It might take 5 minutes for the connecting train to arrive but everything runs fairly smooth.
Reserved seating on the train to Český Krumlov
I thought it was a bit extreme to reserve seats on this train to the tourist village in the south, but it was at no extra charge and it turned out to be necessary.
You can reserve seats on the stretch Prague to Český Krumlov if you take the direct train and on the stretch from Prague to České Budějovice. It is not possible to reserve seats on the train between České Budějovice and Český Krumlov.
I travelled on the Monday after Easter, the end of a long weekend and on the train back to Prague, it was absolutely packed! I was happy with my reserved window seat as the journey takes quite some time.
TIP: Make sure to make seat reservation providing the right details and bring your passport or ID. The train conductor does check and asks for your passport.
Arrive at the train station of Český Krumlov
I looked at the map of Český Krumlov and I thought the train station was rather far from the historical centre of town. But it turns out, it is a very easy stroll. Just head to the main path way on your right (when you leave the station) and follow it. You’ll find some steps that lead down towards the movie theatre that give you the first sights of Český Krumlov. (On the way back it is a lot less fun as it feels like a gruelling Stairmaster workout; especially if you’re afraid you’ll miss your train!).
It took me maybe 10 minutes to walk from Český Krumlov train station to the town and castle of Český Krumlov.
Prices for a day trip from Prague by train
I booked my train tickets a week in advance online. I paid 199 Kč per journey, which totals to € 15 ($16) for this day trip from Prague by train. If you book further in advance, you might be able to save a few Krona. I tried a few searches and you can book 60 days in advance for 189 Kč.
Read more: Train to Machu Picchu- a non hiking guide.
Best time to visit Český Krumlov
You take a day trip from Prague and visit Český Krumlov any time of year. But the Krumlov castle is the mean draw of the little town, I suggest you visit Český Krumlov when the castle is open. The castle tours are every day of the week, except Mondays from 1 April till 31 October. They take about 1 hour and take you through the interior of the castle. I paid 260 Kč for my tour (€9,50 or $10).
The Castle museum and castle tower are open year round but it is more fun to visit the grounds and the gardens when everything is open. For more detailed information, check the website of the castle of Český Krumlov.
Day Trip from Prague – Train to Český Krumlov
All in all, I was glad I took the train to Český Krumlov and got to see more of the Czech Republic on this day trip from Prague. Although 6 hours on a train in 1 day is a bit much for me, it was worth it to see this Unesco Heritage site and I got to snooze a bit on the train.
If you have a little bit more time in Prague or visit Czech Republic for a longer period of time, I definitely recommend to pay Český Krumlov a visit! The best way, in my train lover’s opinion, is to take the train from Prague and explore the little town on your own. It is easy, fast and cheap, so why not?
More useful links
- Find hotels in Český Krumlov
- Find hotels in Prague
- Book railway tickets in Czech online via cd.cz website
- Český Krumlov tourism website
- Website of the castle of Český Krumlov
Have you visited Český Krumlov? What did you think of the little village? How did you travel there from Prague? Let me know in the comment section below!