South Bohemia, one of Czech Republic’s historical and geographical regions, will surprise you with the diversity of places it has to offer. There are quaint little villages, lovely towns, dreamy castles, beautiful nature parks. Whatever type of a traveller you are, South Bohemia won’t disappoint you. This guide to the day trips from České Budějovice will help you find the best activities or places to visit in South Bohemia.
Wait, why day trips exactly from České Budějovice? Why not from Český Krumlov or anywhere else in South Bohemia? Well, I think that the the city of České Budějovice is the perfect base for a short break to explore the region. The city itself is absolutely charming, with its lovely square and beautiful fountain. And when you had enough of the laid-back vibe, it’s time to discover the rest of South Bohemia.
All day trips from České Budějovice are organized in sections according to what your interests might be. Therefore, some of the places might appear in more than one category. To make the list complete, I have asked fellow travel bloggers to share their favourite places near České Budějovice, so some of the recommendations below aren’t mine, but this is clearly indicated.
- 1 Lovely towns near České Budějovice
- 2 Chasing castles near České Budějovice
- 3 Cute villages near České Budějovice
- 4 Day trips from České Budějovice for nature lovers
- 5 Day trips from České Budějovice for beer lovers
- 6 Sporty day trips from České Budějovice
Lovely towns near České Budějovice
Písek is a picturesque town in South Bohemia that is less than an hour away from Cesky Budejovice by train or bus. Located on the banks of the Otava River, the town was created thanks to the gold flakes that this river used to carry when gold used to be mined in Bohemia. Písek is famous for having the oldest bridge in the Czech Republic, called the Písek Stone Bridge, which is older that Prague’s famous Charles Bridge, and the second oldest in Central Europe.
Písek Castle, or what remains of it, sits within the town hall courtyard, so it’s easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It now houses the museum of the region, Prachen Region, and displays artifacts related to its history and nature.
It is a perfect day out for lovers of cute towns and architecture. The historic core has been declared a protected cultural monument by the country and it features a beautiful Baroque town hall from the 18th century, several old churches and picturesque townhouses belonging to various styles. There are plenty of photography opportunities in Písek!
Písek is recommended by Teresa from Brogan Abroad. I met Teresa earlier in 2018 in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and later the same year in Ostrava (Czech Republic). (I still owe her 5 EUR… Psst… 🙂 ) If you don’t want to miss her adventures just like me, follow her on Instagram.
Tábor, Czech Republic is a quiet town with a historic past & plenty of culture for its small size, making it a great day trip from Ceske Budejovice, which is just 45 minutes away. Tábor was founded in 1420 by separatists from the medieval Catholic Church known as Taborites. Due to this conflict, they were often under attack. A hilltop was a perfect place to defend, and thus Tábor was born. In addition to the defensive fortifications of the hill, the townspeople also constructed a system of underground tunnels beneath it. These tunnels stored food, beer and other supplies while also protecting the local citizens. Visitors to Tábor can now explore these unique underground tunnels via a tour.
Back above the ground, there is also plenty to eat & drink. The chocolate museum and beer museum are both interesting (and delicious!) Restaurant Goldie utilizes local ingredients & has been named one of the best restaurants in the entire Czech Republic. The town square is surrounded by other great bars, restaurants and hotels as well. Tábor is a pretty and relaxing town with unique history and great culture, so it’s the perfect place for a day trip, or even longer once you fall in love with it.
Tábor is recommended by Jonathan from Everybody Hates A Tourist. I am sure I have met Jonathan at at least one of the blogging conferences I went to. My bad I don’t remember anything in particular, but in my defence I will say that those conferences are attended by more than 500 bloggers… You can follow Jonathan on Instagram.
Český Krumlov is without a doubt the most famous place in South Bohemia and the 2nd most visited one in the Czech Republic after Prague. The little town is absolutely adorable, located along a horse-shoe bend of the Vltava River. It was founded in the 13th century by the famous Witigonen (Vitkovci) family who built a castle there, which became later the famous castle of Český Krumlov.
Stroll along the cobbled streets and admire the colourful houses with lovely ornaments. Visit the Gothic Church of St. Vitus and the beautifully restored Minorite Monastery and its peaceful garden.
During the communist era the town was neglected and abandoned, but in the years after 1989 it has been beautifully restored. In 1992 it was included on the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The town Nové Hrady (can be translated as “New Castles”) is located directly on the Czech-Austrian border. It was established in the 13th century as a guard point. Then the Buquoy family acquired the dominion of Nové Hrady in the early 17th century and it became their residential town. The Buquoyas lived here until 1945.
The town of Nové Hrady offers a lot of cultural events and activities. Most famous attractions in Nové Hrady include the castle and the chateau, the church of St. Peter and Paul, the Monastery of God’s Mercy, Buquoy’s tomb, Buquoy’s residence converted into a wellness hotel, the old town hall, and the regional museum.
Chasing castles near České Budějovice
Located only 20-minutes ride away from České Budějovice, the Hluboká Castle looks straight out of a fairytale. The decorative white façade give the Neo-Gothic Castle a unique romantic appearance. The Castle owes that to its last owners – the Schwarzenberg family. Even though the Castle was originally built by the Bohemian kings in the 13th century in the Renaissance style, it was in the 19th century when the Schwarzenbergs carried out the neo-gothic modifications. The Hluboká Castle might as well be the most beautiful castle in the Czech Republic and it’s unarguably one of the most visited castles by locals and foreigners alike. Weddings are often held there too.
Hluboká Castle is recommended by Veronika from Travel Geekery. I met Veronika in the summer of 2018 on a press trip in South Bohemia. She’s a wealth of information about Czech Republic and her beloved Prague, where she lives. Follow her on Instagram.
The original name of Mitrowicz Castle is Koloděje nad Lužnicí Castle and it was built in the 16th century. Like many other historic monuments in the Czech Republic, this castle was also left to its own faith during the communist era, when it lost all its glamour and fell into disrepair.
The castle has been stylishly renovated recently and has a beautifully landscaped park. The castle has its very own Baroque chapel St. Anne. You can take a tour of the castle and visit its rooms and the chapel.
Červený Dvůr Castle
Červený Dvůr Castle was built in 1672 amidst a nature reserve type of a garden created in 1591 by the Rosenberg family. The first owners of the castle were the Eggenbergs followed by the Schwarzenbergs in 1719. Today, the castle serves as a psychiatric clinic for people with alcohol and drug addiction. It can be still visited but an approval from the clinic’s management is required. However, the beautiful Romantic park that belongs to the castle is open for public.
Although you might not do the extra effort to visit the castle itself, I highly recommend that you stop there and have a walk in the beautiful park and enjoy the quietness of this special place. There’s a special trail that will lead you along the most picturesque places in the park.
Nové Hrady Castle
The Nové Hrady Castle is the most visited monument in Nové Hrady and definitely worth a visit. The castle was probably from its founding a unique castle with two gates on two sides and protected by a massive bricked circular moat with trapping bridges. Nowadays, the castle offers the exposition about the Buquoy family. The portrait gallery represents the most distinguished members of the family from the founder of the Czech branch of Karel Bonaventura to Jiří August, who invented how to produce hyalite.
Nové Hrady Castle is recommended by Tomas & Eva from E&T Abroad.
Český Krumlov Castle
The beautiful Baroque town of Český Krumlov is dominated by its castle. Actually, the castle was built first and then the town grew around it. It was the Witigonen (Vitkovci) who built the castle somewhere around 1250. During the centuries the castle changed owners many times, passing from the hands of one powerful family to another. After the Witigonen line died out, the castle went of the Rosenbergs, then it was given to the Eggenbergs in 1602, who also died out without successors. The last owners of the castle, the Schwarzenbergs, inherited the castle in 1719 and lost it in 1947 with the nationalization in Czechoslovakia.
The castle is absolutely huge. It is the second biggest castle complex in the Czech Republic after the castle in Prague. An eye-catcher is the round, beautifully decorated, pink tower. You can climb the tower for an amazing view of the town. Another unique place at the castle is the multi-storied partly covered bridge. There are great views form the bridge to the town, as well.
Cute villages near České Budějovice
Holašovice is a real gem of a place. It’s a sleepy super tiny village famous for its Folk Baroque architecture. There is a direct bus line from České Budějovice to the village which makes it a perfect destination for a day trip. If you are travelling by car, then you can be there in less than 30 minutes.
Holašovice is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is enough of a reason to visit this little place.
Plástovice is another small village where the South Bohemian Folk Baroque architecture is well preserved. Although it’s not that famous as Holašovice, the place is equally beautiful, minus the occasional tourist.
Already fan of the pastoral beauty of South Bohemia? Then you should stop by at Malé Chrášťany. This is one more tiny place with well preserved houses in Folk Baroque style.
Hluboká and Vltavou
Most people who go to Hluboká and Vltavou don’t even stop in the village and go directly to its famous castle. Big mistake. The castle is really beautiful, but yet the village deserves more attention. Take your time to walk around and explore the place. You will be surprised how colourful and full of life this small place is. If you like outdoor activities, there are many opportunities near the town, but you can read about them in the section about sporty day trips from České Budějovice below.
Day trips from České Budějovice for nature lovers
Šumava National Park
Šumava National Park, also known as the Green Roof of Europe, is about an hour drive away from České Budějovice. If you like being in nature then it’s the perfect day trip. You can bike or hike various trails all day long while soaking in the lush landscapes all around you. In the winter months, cross-country skiing is a popular activity while camping is common in the warmer months. There are also numerous visitor centers you can visit before or after a day of exploring to learn more about the park or to ask any questions you might have.
Šumava National Park also shares a border with Austria and Germany, so depending on which trail you take you might end up exploring part of another country. The park is incredibly large and doesn’t have shops or facilities very often so be sure to pack some snacks for the day, but make sure to take your trash with you! Šumava National Park is a beautiful area and shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the region.
Lipno Lake and Treetop Walkway
Lipno Lake is another great option for nature lovers. It’s actually an artificial dam reservoir. You can sail on the lake or go fishing or take a boat cruise.
A great activity for the outdoorsy travellers is getting to the hilltop above Lipno and climbing the Treetop Walkway. Your breath will be literally taken away by the stunning views of the surroundings and the lake. For the daredevils there is a toboggan from the top of the tower to slide down. Those who aren’t adrenaline-seekers per se, can just walk back.
Day trips from České Budějovice for beer lovers
If you are a beer lover, you’ve come to the right place. Besides the big guns like Budweiser (not the American one), Urquell and Staropramen, there are hundreds of microbreweries that brew craft beer. in the Czech Republic. My advice is to take a tour in those breweries, although you might have already taken the one in the Budweis Budvar Brewery in České Budějovice. You will learn each time new things and of course you will taste their range of beers.
I have visited these two micro-breweries, which I can recommend:
Hluboká nad Vltavou is not only about the castle and and the outdoor activities. They have a lovely local brewery, where you can taste their creations.
Svachovka / Glockner
This complex is located some 30 km from České Budějovice. The local beer is great and the tour was very educative. The owners and the master brewer are so passionate about everything they do, that it was a pleasure to talk to them and ask them questions. Besides the brewery, Svachovka has got also a distillery. You can opt for a tour of the distillery, which ends with a tasting of their range of spirits. Always wondered how rosehip brandy tastes? This is your chance to try their Šípkovice. And if you love it, you can buy a bottle at their shop. I did.
Svachovka has also a great restaurant where you can try traditional Czech cuisine.
Sporty day trips from České Budějovice
OK. I’m not a sporty person myself. I would rather go to a museum than slide down on a zip line from a tower. To be completely honest I’ve done sporty things just to get out of my comfort zone and of course for the adrenaline rush, but let’s say they just aren’t my cup of tea. Anyway, in case you would love to get a bit active after so much beer and Czech comfort food, here’s my recommendation.
Sport areal Hluboká
This is a huge recreation complex which offers like 30+ activities – from zip line to bungee trampoline and a swing. There are also baseball, beach volleyball, badminton and tennis courts. You can also rent a bike or a push scooter and explore the surroundings.