Europe > Central Europe > Czech Republic > South Bohemia > České Budějovice
České Budějovice (also known as Budweis in German or English) is in South Bohemia, in the Czech Republic. The town has since grown into the metropolitan centre. It is the largest town in South Bohemia region and it has got approximately 96,000 inhabitants.
Picturesque village of Holašovice just 16 km west of České Budějovice with a well preserved folk Baroque center is a UNESCO site.
This South Bohemian metropolis was founded in 1265 by the Czech King Premysl Otakar II on the confluence of the Vltava and Malse Rivers. The Square of Premysl Otakar II with its dimensions 133x137 m is one of the largest squares in Bohemia, with arcades and a range of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque burgher's houses. The other important town monuments include the originally renaissance Town Hall, the Samson's fountain and 72 m high the Black Tower which provides a beautiful view of the town and surroundings.
The town is an excellent place to visit if you want to escape the large numbers of tourists in Prague or nearby Cesky Krumlov. It's well developed transport links make it the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding region. There are many historic towns and villages nearby as well as numerous hiking trails and a vast cycle path network. The most famous cycle path is No. 12 which connects České Budějovice and Hluboká nad Vltavou.
- Buses leave frequently from "Na Knížecí" and "Roztyly" bus stations in Prague. The trip takes approximately two and a half to three hours. There is also the Yellow Bus line offered by Student Agency, which takes just 2 hours, 20 minutes for a similar price. The bus junction in České Budějovice is at the "Mercury Centrum", a two-story shopping mall with the bus station on the roof, located just outside the city center. It is 100m down the street from the train station. For rates and schedules, visit the official transport website IDOS.
- Shuttle bus transfer Budweis-shuttle operate comfortable daily bus service between České Budějovice and the following cities - Prague (1.5 hours, 1000 CZK): From Austria: Salzburg (3 hours, 1100 CZK), Vienna (3 hours, 1100 CZK), Linz (1.5 hours, 450 CZK),Hallstatt (2.5 hours, 1100 CZK). From other countries: Munich, Germany (4 hours, 1600 CZK), Bratislava, Slovakia.
- Trains connect from Prague to České Budějovice every hour. The trip from Prague takes 2h 40 min. Standard fare is CZK 222 for single person (CZK 133 second person, CZK 111 other). Price of the SporoTiket, sold online, starts at CZK 140.
- Přemysl Otakar II Square (Czech: Naměstí Přemysla Otakara II), the immense square in the middle of the town. Historical landmarks here include St. Nicholas Cathedral, the Black Tower, Samson's Fountain and the distinct yellow-colored Vcela Palace.
- The Town Hall with three towers, originally a renaissance construction from 1555. Today an elegant Baroque building from 1727-1730 built by A. E. Martinelli. It is decorated by Dietrich’s statues allegories of Justice, Courage, Wisdom and Caution and symbols of the Town and Bohemia.
- St. Nicholas Cathedral, originally a gothic building from the 13th century. However, it burned down in the 17th century and today’s appearance is Baroque. There are three statues at the frontage – St. Wenceslas, St. Nicholas and St. Auratian. The interior of the church is very simple. The most important part is the main altar from the 18th century.
- Next to the cathedral there is main dominant of České Budějovice, the Black Tower, it is 72 metres high. The renaissance tower was completed in 1577 and there are six bells in the tower, the largest of which is called Bumerin. Season 1 April - 31 October
- The Erratic Boulder is not far from the Samson’s fountain, marked with a cross. In the past, there was an execution scaffold here, and to this days legend says that anybody who crosses the Erratic Boulder after ten p.m. will not find his way home and will wander the city until the morning.
- In the middle of the Square there is one of the symbol of the town, the Baroque Samson’s Fountain. It was created in the years 1721-1726 by Zachariáš Horn and the statues were created by Josef Dietrich. On the top we can see the statue of biblical hero Samson.
- The Remains of the fortification, You will find them on the embankment of the Malše river. The Iron Maiden and Rabenštejnská Tower, parts of the old fortifications and the last remaining part of the fortifications of the middle-age Budějovice. The Iron Maiden dating back to the 14th century. It is named after the instrument of torture, which was located inside.
- Pivovar Budějovický Budvar (brewery Budvar), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Karoliny Světlé 4. 9AM-4PM (reservations required). Take a tour of the town's largest brewery and home of "Budweiser" brand beer sold in most of Europe. Call in several days in advance to schedule a tour, or if that's not possible, tours for visitors without reservations take place each day at 2PM. Price of admission is 100 Kc/person, and visitors age 18 or over are also able to visit their beer tasting cellar. Incidentally, this is not the same as the "Budweiser" beer sold in the United States and Canada; due to trademark disputes over the name with US-based Anheuser-Busch, this is sold in the Americas under the "Budvar" or "Czechvar" names.
- Museum of the Horse-drawn Railway, outside the historical centre, to the South of it in the Mánesova street, there is the Museum of the Horse-drawn Railway. Museum there is in the horse railway station. It is the first Railway station in continental Europe. The exposition of the Horse Railway is open from May to September. Daily, excluding Monday.
- The South Bohemian Museum from the turn of the 19th century. It has a rich collection relating to the history and nature of South Bohemia. Natural history collections of primeval South Bohemia, history of the Middle Ages, and Arts of the 17th and 18th century.
- Alš South-Bohemian Gallery belongs to the five largest institutions of its kind in the Czech Republic. A permanent exhibition South Bohemian Gothic paintings on wood and sculpture 13th – 16th century. Flemish and Dutch paintings of the 17th century. Part of the exhibits are housed in Wortner House in České Budějovice, U Černé věže 22 street.
- Zoo Ohrada can be found near Hluboká nad Vltavou and České Budějovice, which is the capital of the region, lies only 8 km away. The zoo has got more than 70 years tradition. The zoo can be reached very easily by train, bus or car and it is opened daily all year.
- Múzy na vodě, traditional festival which we can see on the confluence of the Vltava and Malše Rivers every year, at the beginning July.
- Bread Basket, international agricultural fair. One of the most popular agricultural fair in our country. In the year 2011 it was has already been 38th season. The Bread Basket offers: renewal and rural development technology, plant and animal production, agricultural technology, food production, forestry and water system, gardening and breeding, services for agriculture, other.
- Ema Destinnová - musical festival is a series of concerts of classical music taking place during August and September. The festival is organised in the centre of town and in churches, theatres.
- Traditional Christmas Markets take over the main square from the beginning of period Advent. There are free concerts and performances, warming foods and traditional crafts ranging from blacksmith-work to the finest beeswax and honey products and a lot more.
- Naměstí Přemysla Otakara II, wonder around the large old town square and surrounding streets to find many specialized stores (i.e. butcher, produce, tea & spices, fabric and so on).
- Lannova Tr, a pedestrianised street leading from the train station to the old town. Has various shops along its length including a Billa supermarket, useful for backpackers needing food.
- Mercury Centrum, a two-story shopping mall that shares space with the town's main bus terminal.
- IGY Centrum, a shopping mall which also contains a pool and fitness centre (includes gym, squash, solarium, sauna etc.) located about 20 min. by foot from the train station and is also right next to the Hotel Clarion Congress České Budějovice.
- Masné krámy, Krajinská 13 - „Butcher’s Market“ Famous local restaurant, formerly a butcher’s market. It was founded in 1364. It is your best chance to try the traditional food of region.
- Budvarka, a really nice little beer hall just off the main town square. It is owned by Budvar and has four of their beers on draft. The food includes lots of traditional Czech dishes and is cheap and very nice.
- Vendetta, an excellent value bar/restaurant on the main square and very nice freshly made pizzas.
- Restaurace Karla IV., Karla IV. 4 – stylish Czech restaurant with large choice and the interior is decorated with Middle Ages legends.
- Green House, Biskupská 3 – healthy bio cuisine including vegetarian dishes, vegetable salads and soups.
- Bar Lanovka, Lannova třída 2 – There is a climbing wall and popular healthy restaurant.
Knock back a pitcher of Budweiser beer, as this is, after all, its hometown. See also Pivovar Budějovický Budvar, above. The best choice for this is to visit one of the pubs operated by the brewery itself as there you can find the widest selection of beers including the specials. Masné krámy and Malý Pivovar are located in the old city center nearby the main square. Pick one of these without doubts, the other choice Budvarka pub is located within brewery complex further from the city center to the north.
- Singer, Česká 55 - Irish style pub in the old town. The name is derived from old school Singer sewing machines on the tables inside.
- Potrefená husa, Česká 66 - A branch of another Czech brewery Staropramen franchise pubs. Select the place on the roof top terrace during the hot summer days to sip the beer or cocktail while look over the river Malse to Stromovka recreational park.
In the main square Přemysla Otakara II. there are a lot of pubs and visitors can choose e.g. B26, Fantom…
Note: You can get free WiFi internet connection in almost all places listed bellow as one of the local ISPs provides the internet connection almost everywhere.
- Kotva, Lidická 2110 - Cafe sharing the building with a small cinema where you can get a caffeine dose to "survive" long movie or sip the drink and discuss what you just have seen.
- Cafe au chat noir, Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II. 21 - Small cafe right on the main square near with awesome views on what's happening on the squre as it is on the first floor (don't give up and walk through the stores on the ground floor to the stairs if you want to enter).
- Cafe Placidus, Na Mlýnské stoce 11 - Modern styled cafe with Davidoff coffee and wide selection of cakes and other desserts.
- Manon, Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II. 11 - Cafe on the west side of the main square with highly decorated interior purely in black & white tones. Good coffee, views of the square, but a bit lack of atmosphere.
- Cafe Plaza, Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II. 7 - "New kid on the block" right next to the city hall. One of the pluses here are particularly quite late opening hours every day.
- Cafe la Storia, Panská 26 - Cafe in one of the oldest buildings in the city near city walls. In the hot summer day don't sit outside, but try to find your chair inside in small yard between the buildings where you can avoid deadly sun rays and where the temperature stays always comfortable. Take one of the Lavazza coffee magazines to learn something new.
- Cafe Ionia, Plachého 16 - Small place with a bar, two tables outside during the summer and less frequent coffee brand which also gives a name to this place.
- Rolo and Cafe, if you want cake then head here! There is one opposite the train station, another on the main square and another just off the main square on the way to Tesco.
- Modrý dveře, Biskupská 1 - Trendy styled pub/restaurant with occasional live jazz music.
- Velbloud, U Tří lvů 4 - Small alternative music club near city center. The program contains mainly rock, punk & alternative, but it is regularly mixed with other modern styles.
- Horká vana, Česká 7 – café and club in modern space and it organizes regular performances every month.
- SUD, Hroznová 8 – small theatre which is very popular among university students.
České Budějovice itself is a nice place to stay, its good connections with the surrounding region make it an excellent place from which to explore South Bohemia. The buses and trains run on time and are cheap and relatively easy to understand. The bus station is on the roof of Mercury Centrum and tickets are bought on the bus. Train tickets can be bought before boarding.
The tourist information center (the Square of Přemysl Otakar II, inside the Town hall) provides promotion and presentation materials, a map and plan of the town České Budějovice and its environs. Tourist and topographic information, a calendar of cultural and social events. Sale of tourist literature, maps, souvenirs and tickets Cbsystem. Guide services, accommodation and etc.
If you need hiking or cycling maps then a small shop on the East side of the main square (under Cafe Chat Noir) sells everything that you'll need.
- Český Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage landmark and an extremely popular tourist destination. Buses to Český Krumlov leave every half hour or so from the main bus station at Mercury Centrum and takes about 45 minutes (32Kč). Train is usually slower (55 minutes) and more expensive (49Kč, although you get discount from the second passenger).
- Hluboka nad Vltavou, nearby village with large 'Windsor-style' castle up on the hill and an old church. Follow the cycle path 12 along the Vlatava River north of the city (about 10 km) and it will bring you right into Hluboka.
- Holašovice is a small rural village which is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List for being the best preserved traditional Central European village. Its square is lined with unique Houses decorated in the 'Folk Baroque' style. There is also a small pond and chapel. Two of the buildings house pubs and there is also a Tourist information office.
- Kleť. This is the highest point in the nearby region and offers relaxed forest walking, cycling and 360 panoramic view of South Bohemia from the top. It also has an observatory on top. To get there take the train from main station to Holubov village, from where you will see the mountain. The train goes from the main station and you need to be in the end carriage to be able to get off at Holubov. On the way back visiting the ruins of gothic Divci Kamen castle is a few kilometers short trip in the area below the mountain (see Get Out section of Český Krumlov).
- Telč, a UNESCO World Heritage small but extremely charming city. Around 2 hours and 105Kč by local bus.
- Trebon - a picturesque town with a castle, the Regent brewery, fish lakes and a lovely town square. There are also various walking and cycling paths. It takes about three-quarters of an hour on the bus from Mercury Centrum through some lovely scenery.
- Zlata Koruna, this beautifully-restored monastery is set in a stand of ancient oaks. The bus to Cesky Krumlov stops here.