A walk in the Woods, Český Krumlov

Before my trip to Czechia, I did a quick search for ‘beautiful towns’ in the country, thinking I might find a few. In the end, rather than a list of 10 or so, I found one of 30, and promptly decided not to even try to surf across a sample, sticking to just Český Krumlov. It is a beautiful city, with a large castle looming over medieval buildings, sited on various almost-islands on a river with tight S-bends. If you just follow a river here, you might go round in circles.

Red-tiled grooves and trees are gathered around the bend of the river, viewed from a highpoint
First sight, as you walk out of the bus station.
Red-rooved buildings gathered on an island surrounded by the river
This panoramic view shows how the river bends.

I spent a couple of days walking the streets and taking in the view. Frankly, in a couple of days walking you’ll either be heading up the hill to the new town (which has supermarkets and the like) or covering the same ground more than once. It is very pretty, mind, and worth a good look but I am sure the tour groups that come through by bus feel they get a good feel for the place in a couple of hours.

 

By day three, I fancied some different sights, so took myself off into the trails that head out of town. They are clearly marked and easy to find, mostly. I recommend maps.me, a freely downloadable app, if you have a smart phone. Not only does it allow you to download offline maps for navigation, but it is very good at pointing out trails.

Tall, thin trees line a flat-packed mud trail
Typical trail.

I followed some markings, but at one point found myself in a quieter area. I walked down a faint trail, avoided what was definitely someone’s private pond, but wasn’t sure what the jaunty sign with a person in a red circle meant, so continued till I found a bigger trail out. “Prohibited”, is what it meant, so I shouldn’t have taken that turn.

 

Back on the trails you are meant to walk on, there are information boards to show you what wildlife you might find. Spin the board round for info in Czech.

Colourful information board, illustrating local insects
Insects.

I recommend heading out and following a trail. There are websites with suggestions, though most appear to be GPS traces of people’s walks, including around town, which isn’t very helpful, while the best cover some distance and stay in the countryside but are point to point (not circular), so you’ll end up away from town. I didn’t find a site I could recommend. Lots of results, but not much that is useful.

Better, perhaps, to download maps.me and pick trails from that, though be prepared to change your plan if it turns out one of the trails marked there heads into a backyard. Be prepared for hills, with views over countryside once you’ve put in the work. My best advice – go out and back on the same route. Sure not to end up anywhere you shouldn’t be, and you see the route in both directions.

Pine trees on a sloping hill, looking down from a height.
View over trees.

Some pictures from my day walking.

Don’t forget the views. So many views.

View. Hills in the distance, entirely green in the foreground, trees and fields everywhere.
View of distant hills.

Assuming you lose sight of town on your walk, coming back in view of those buildings and that winding river is a huge pleasure, and a reward for getting back to where you started.

Cesky Krumlov; river wending between red-roofed buildings
Cesky Krumlov.

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