I immediately loved Český Krumlov, from the start, and it was one of the prettiest small medieval towns I have seen in Europe. It is located in Southern Bohemia on the banks of the Vltava River and built around a 13th century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It has been named an UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its relatively untouched condition and in the quality of its buildings and townscape.
The town experienced its greatest prosperity during the rule of the Lords of Rožmberk (1302 – 1602), who chose Český Krumlov to become the seat of their kingdom.
It was fun exploring the shops, the winding streets of the town and its small plazas. It has wonderful stores featuring Czech glass, pottery and metal work. I liked the more contemporary pieces though I did buy a reproduction of a medieval glass.
To me the highlight was the Castle. It is dominated by its Gothic round tower. It was converted to a Baroque chateau with the addition of a garden, the Bellaire summer palace, a winter riding school and a unique Baroque Theater. This Baroque Theater is amazing and one of two remaining in Europe today.
I attended a concert one evening in the Hall of Masks in the Castle. This ballroom had wonderful and colorful paintings of a masquerade ball. I loved listening to Mozart and Dvorak in this beautiful setting! This was part of the annual International Music Festival.
My hotel was the Hotel Ruze (the rose) which was built in a 16th-century Jesuit Monastery. I felt I was living in the past particularly when I saw people in medieval dress dancing in the hotel courtyard.
As far as restaurants, the Hotel Ruze had a nice restaurant for breakfast. We also ate at the small Pension Regina, a charming converted 19th century farmhouse. A second dinner was held along the river at the Hotel Barbora.
Check out the website for Hotely Český Krumlov for their three hotel options inlcuding the Krcinuv Dum and the Latran, plus their restaurants Jakub and Café Štrúdl, known for its traditional Czech fare.
I would recommend a side trip to Vyssi Brod, a small village outside of town with its 13th century Cistercian Monastery with an exquisite library.
Also see Rožmberk castle near Rožmberk and Vltavou. Considered as one of the oldest castles in Bohemia, it stands on a promotory carved out on three sides by the river Vltava.