Cesky Krumlov

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Crowned by a stunning castle, and centred on an old-town square, Český Krumlov'sRenaissance and baroque buildings enclose the meandering arc of the Vltava River.

During summer, pigeons dart through busloads of day-trippers exploring the town's narrow lanes and footbridges. Either side of July and August, the town is (slightly) more subdued and secluded. Come in winter to experience the castle blanketed in snow.

For too many travellers, Český Krumlovis just a hurried day trip, but its combination of glorious architecture and waterborne fun deserves more attention. Add in the rugged attractions of the nearby Šumava region,  and you can easily fill three days. If arriving by bus from České Budějovice,get off at the Špi čák bus stop, the first intown. The train station is located about 1.5km north of the old town centre; buses 1, 2 and 3 make the run from the station to the Špičák bus stop.

Deli 99 (Latrán 106; h7am-7pm Mon-Sat, 8am-5pm Sun) Offers wi-fi internet access.

Infocentrum (Tel 380 704 622; http://www.ckrumlov.info/docs/en/kaktualita.xml; nám Svornosti 1; h9am-6pm) Transport and accommodation information, maps, plus internet access and audio guides (100Kč per hour). Also a good source of information on the Šumava region.

Laundromat (Tel 380 713 153; Pension Lobo, Latrán 73; washing per load 140Kč; h9am-noon & 1-4pm Mon-Fri, 9-11am Sat, closed Sun) Shakespeare & Sons (%380 711 203; Soukenická 44; h11am-7pm) English-language paperbacks.

Unios Tourist Service (Tel 380 725 110; http://www.visitceskykrumlov.cz/?&lang=en&mode=normal; Zámek 57; h9am-6pm) Accommodation booking and an internet cafe with international calling.

Wander for free through the courtyards and gardens of Český Krumlov Castle (Tel 380 704 721; h9am-6pm Tue-Sun Jun-Aug, 9am-5pm Apr, May, Sep & Oct); guided tour 1 (adult/concession 230/130Kč) takes in the Renaissance and baroque apartments. The Castle Tower (adult/ concession 45/30Kč) provides superb views. The Theatre Tour (adult/concession 350/200Kč; h10am- 4pm Tue-Sun May-Oct) explores the chateau’s remarkable rococo theatre.

Rent canoes, rafts and rubber rings from Maleček (Tel 380 712 508; http://en.malecek.cz/Boat_rental/; Rooseveltova 28; h9am-5pm). A half-hour splash in a two-person canoe costs 350Kč. A canoe for a full day trip down the river from Rožmberk is 850Kč (six to eight hours).

Laibon (Tel 728 676 654; Parkán 105; mains 90-180Kč) Candles and vaulted ceilings create a greatboho ambience in the best little vegetarian teahouse in Bohemia. The riverside setting’spretty fine as well. Order the blueberry dumplings for dessert, and don’t miss the special ‘yeast beer’ from the Bernard brewery.

Nonna Gina (Tel 380 717 187; Klášteriní ul 52; pizza90-155Kč) Authentic Italian flavours fromthe authentic Italian Massaro family feature in this pizzeria down a quiet lane. Grab an outdoor table and pretend you’re in Naples.

Divadelní Klub Ántré (Tel 602 336 320; Horní Braná2; http://www.klubantre.cz/) This arty cafe/bar in the town theatre has a sprawling terrace overlooking the river. There’s free wi-fi, and it’s always worth dropping by to see if any music gigs are scheduled.

Also recommended:

Deli 99 (Latrán 106; snacks 50-80Kč; h7am-7pm Mon-Sat, 8am-5pm Sun) Bagels, sandwiches, organicjuices and wi-fi all tick the box ‘SlightlyHomesick Traveller’.

Potraviny (supermarket; Latrán 55) Self-cateringcentral.