Bucket List This: Czech, Please

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Cesky Krumlov, along the banks of the Vltava River. Photo Credit: Vivian Vassos

Going medieval, Vivian Vassos journeys through Bohemia and discovers a hidden gem


Bucket list this: Inside the walls of Cesky Krumlov

If you find yourself in the Czech countryside, somewhere in Bohemia not too far from the Austrian border, say along the curving banks of the Vltava River, you must detour to Cesky Krumlov. Admittedly, it sounds like the moniker of a cold-war politburo comrade, but it is not. What it is, is a hidden gem, waiting to be polished and shown off.

When you arrive, don’t be deceived by the ominous welcome. There is something beyond the towering gates – structures that appear to be three stories of aqua ducts but suspended by sheer physics in mid air, and in truth hide only one of the many mysteries of Cesky Krumlov. This gateway is like something out of The Lord of the Rings – you are crossing into something mythical, something with a bit of magic. The rounded arches of the gate echo the curve of the river, one of the first things you encounter as you enter the city, and cross the bridge that brings you to the main parts of town.

If you go: Some coach tours and river cruise ships offer Cesky Krumlov as day excursion but Insight Vacations offers an overnight as a part of it’s the Bohemian and Highlights of Eastern Europe itineraries. Prague is also a stop on these itineraries, as well as Easy Pace Budapest, Vienna & Prague and Treasures of Eastern Europe. For more information, go to www.insightvacations.com or see your travel agent. Book now and take advantage of early bookings.

Enter the city’s castle through the Red Gate

The castle’s courtyards are embellished with exquisite details

The keys to castle, literally

Rich colours, such as this sorbet pink, decorate the castle’s interiors

The Golden Carriage, gilded in gold and silver, carried gifts to the Vatican and Pope Urban VIII in 1639

The interior of the Cloak Bridge

The Royal Box, the castle’s theatre, built in the 1600s

Walking here works up an appetite, for traditional goulash in a bread bowl

The courtyard at the Hotel Ruze, a five-minute walk from the town square, in a former 16th century Jesuit dormitory

The castle tower, as seen during the day

And again, the castle tower, at night

Cesky Krumlov by night, and the exterior of the Cloak Bridge and the walls of the city


Hungry for more of Central Europe and its food? Watch this video on making strudel.