Castle View Apartments (Lodging)
Address and Website: 140 Satlavska St., Český Krumlov 38101; www.castleview.cz/en
Location: The hotel’s location was great, right off of the main square (Namesti Svornosti) in the compact Old Town. Everything was within easy walking distance. It’s a joy to walk around town because no vehicles are allowed in the historic center. You can get a better idea of the hotel's location on a map here. They also have parking nearby if you are coming by car (look for details under "How To Get Here" on their website). We used their recommended driver to get there from Prague (Mike’s Chauffeur Service - see that review) which was great.
Overall: Overall, this was a great choice. The location, decor, cleanliness, and staff all rated well with me. It was exactly as advertised. They even had stocked our room with the makings for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate for when we came back from walking around in the chilly air. The only slight negative I have to say is about breakfast. Included in your rate is breakfast at the hotel across the street. The breakfast was very good, but the people running it were extremely rude. The entire dining room was full (with their guests) when we arrived at 8am (our voucher said breakfast 8am-10am). They told us they would not be able to serve us and to try to come back later and maybe they could fit us in, and the person was rather rude about it. We had to leave the city in a few minutes, so we asked a pair of tourists at a table for 4 if we could sit with them; otherwise I guess we could not have had breakfast. The food itself was great and they had a nice selection.
Hotel Staff: The person at reception when we checked in was very friendly. We had a little bit of trouble with our safe, and she helped us get it fixed. She also held English tour tickets for the Krumlov Castle that our guide got for us earlier in the day so they would be there for our arrival.
Room: We stayed in the Attic Castle View Room. I felt the price was reasonable. If you are tall, watch out for some of the rafters in that particular room, though. The room was cutely decorated, had a nice clean bath with a heated tile floor (loved), and a little kitchenette area–mini fridge, microwave, and some basics to make hot drinks. There was a little table that you could sit at and eat or have a cup of tea. The room itself was spacious and as promised had a view (the window with the view was pretty small, though).
Papa’s Living Restaurant (Restaurant)
Address and Website: Latran 13, Český Krumlov 38101; www.papas.cz
Location: The restaurant is located on the Castle side of Lazebnický Most (bridge). If you cross over from the main part of town and follow the road (Latran), it is a short ways up on your right.
Overall: I wasn’t sure about this restaurant initially, but we went on the advice of our tour guide, and I was happy that we did. The prices were very reasonable, and the food was great. I had the homemade tagliatelle with salmon in a basil cream sauce which was delicious.
Atmosphere: The restaurant had a great little atmosphere inside. It was bright and airy feeling with simple, classic decor. It also had a terrace outdoors to dine alfresco in nicer weather.
Tavern in Šatlavská Street (Restaurant)
Address and Website: Horni No. 157, Český Krumlov 381 01; www.satlava.cz
Location: The restaurant is located off of the town’s main square on Šatlavská, across from Castle View Apartments.
Overall: I went here for a drink and dessert after dinner. We tried the warm mull wine that is a specialty in Cesky Krumlov (it was good, but nothing sensational) and had some kind of an apple dessert that would have been better had it been warmed. We actually even thought about trying an entree (even though we had already eaten dinner) because the roasting meat smelled so good, but the server never came back to see if everything was ok or if we wanted anything (it was very difficult to even get the check), so we decided not to have anything else.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere was the big draw here. I would probably go back and eat a meal just for that. Seeing the big fire grilling the meats in the center of the restaurant and smelling it was definitely the highlight. It has the feel of an old, candle-lit cellar. We sat in the front room which I felt had better atmosphere than the back.
Slupenec Horseback Riding Club (Entertainment)
Address and Website: Slupenec 1, 381 01 Český Krumlov ; www.jk-slupenec.cz/1/en/normal
Location: The horseback riding club was located a little over a mile and a half outside of town (up a steep hill–probably a good half hour or more walk). I highly recommend having a taxi take you (our hotel called for one and arranged a time for it to pick us up in the main square–Namesti Svornosti–a few feet away). It cost us $5 and was well worth it. When we were done riding, the riding instructor called another one to pick us up (by then it was dusk, so we definitely would have wanted one). They had nice facilities, and the trails we took across the countryside were very scenic.
Activity Details: Our one hour ride went through the beautiful Czech countryside. We rode through the woods and across meadows and were even accompanied for a short ways by some deer running with us across a meadow. We went later in the day so it was just hitting dusk as we finished (very pretty). At one point, we came to a spot at the top of the hill with a great view of Český Krumlov below us. The price was so reasonable. It cost us a little under $15 each for a 1 hour private ride. You cannot beat that. We set our ride up ahead of time (prompt responses via email), and I also confirmed before we left for our trip. However, somehow our reservation was lost, and when we arrived, they were a bit surprised to see us. They quickly set up a ride up for us, though. I would warn you that they ride English only here (so don’t expect the typical trail riding Western-style saddle). Also, the people working when we were there didn’t speak much English. Despite these little things, it was a great, recommended experience.
Krumlov Tours – Karolina Kortusova (Guide)
Guide Info: Karolina Kortusova – Krumlov Tours, e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.krumlovtours.com
Tour Info: Booking a guide in Český Krumlov actually started with my wanting to see the inside of Krumlov Castle. The castle can only be seen on a guided tour, and the English tour can sell out if not booked (at the castle) ahead of time. We weren’t arriving in the town until early afternoon, so I wanted to find a way to have tickets reserved ahead. I read in my Rick Steves’ guide book that Karolina could secure these tickets for a $5 fee. I contacted her for this purpose. I don’t think she appreciated being in the book for this actually (she explained that if people didn’t show up she would be out the ticket costs). She also offered her guide services, and they were very reasonable, so I took her up on it. We booked a 1.5 hour private tour. I figured with the private tour we could work around our limited schedule in town. Karolina was nice enough to drop our castle tour tickets off at our hotel the night before and left notice that she would meet us outside after the guided tour to begin ours. An hour and a half was enough time to get a good overview (the town is relatively small). We saw some things that we may not have otherwise seen if we had toured on our own, and she gave us a good restaurant recommendation (Papa’s above). Overall, I think the little town is definitely capable of being comfortably explored on your own or with a guide book. However, if you want a guide and to have someone show you around and add some local tidbits, this is a good option. I found her pricing to be quite reasonable. Her company has several other guides, as well, and they have daily small group tours that you can opt for around Český Krumlov, as well, for a little cheaper than private.
Mike’s Chauffeur Service (Transportation)
Contact Info: Mike’s Chauffeur Service (based in Prague), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.mike-chauffeur.cz
Experience: This chauffeur service came recommended by the hotel we stayed at in Český Krumlov. The owner, Michael Jakubuv, was very responsive to all of my back-and-forth emails and questions. I believe his father was the one who actually ended up driving us. We decided to do the transport from Prague to Český Krumlov with stop-offs in Hluboká Castle and České Budějovice enroute. I think it was a good decision. We didn’t spend a lot of time at the stop-offs, so it didn’t limit our time in other places too much. Hluboká Castle, however, was definitely the more interesting of the 2 stop-offs. I wish we had made time to go inside there (it’s designed to be a mini Windsor Castle), but we had plans to meet up with our guide in Český Krumlov at a certain time. Either way, though, the outside was impressive, and the grounds were beautiful. It was worth seeing. České Budějovice was ok, but not a place you should go out of your way to see. It was on our way anyway, and the main square was pretty. Also, there were several good bakeries and coffee shops around it. We just took the opportunity to relax and have a capuccino and dessert after a quick exploration of the area. Our driver was friendly. He even offered to take our picture in the main square of České Budějovice before we left so that we could have a picture together. I actually wish we had used them to take us from Český Krumlov to Vienna, as well. I wanted to save a bit of money so I opted for the shuttle (below), but this was definitely the more comfortable way to travel.
Shuttle Lobo (Transportation)
Contact Info: Shuttle Lobo (based in Český Krumlov), e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.shuttlelobo.cz
Experience: This shuttle service came recommended in one of my guide books. They run shuttles from Český Krumlov to Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, and Prague (and vice versa). We were headed to Vienna. They picked us up right in the main square (the closest you could get to our hotel when driving–half a block away). I was a little bit nervous that we would somehow miss them or they would leave without us (no deposit required ahead of time), but we had no issues. (You can also catch it in front of the Lobo Guest House which is run by the same people.) There were 2 other couples in the van traveling with us. The van wasn’t uncomfortable, but someone really needed to put on some deodorant (either one of the employees or a passenger), and that can make a long car ride very unenjoyable after a while. Otherwise, though, we had no issues. The price was reasonable, and the person we contacted to book it was prompt, helpful and friendly. They dropped us right at the West Bahnhof Train Station in Vienna where we easily hopped on the Metro to get to our hotel (took less than 10 mins).