Europe > Central Europe > Czech Republic > South Bohemia > České Budějovice
České Budějovice [dead link] (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 approximately 96,000 inhabitants.
The picturesque village of Holašovice, 16 km west of České Budějovice, has a well-preserved folk Baroque center and 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 is 133 m by 137 m, and is one of the largest squares in Bohemia. It has arcades and a range of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque burgher's houses. The other important town monuments include the Town Hall, the Samson's fountain and the 72 metre-high 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 Český Krumlov. Its well-developed transport links make it the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding region. There are many historic towns and villages nearby, 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 to the 1 main bus station. The trip takes approximately 2½-3 hours. There is also the Yellow Bus line offered by Student Agency, which takes 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, just outside the city center. It is 100 m 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 (1½ hours, 1000 Kč): From Austria: Salzburg (3 hours, 1100 Kč), Vienna (3 hours, 1100 Kč), Linz (1½ hours, 450 Kč), Hallstatt (2½ hours, 1100 Kč). From other countries: Munich, Germany (4 hours, 1600 Kč), and Bratislava, Slovakia.
From Prague, train is probably better then taking a bus, as it is often more comfortable, cheaper, faster, and goes from centre to centre. Trains connect from Prague to České Budějovice 2 train station every hour. The trip from Prague takes 2-2½ hours. Standard fare sold at the ticket office is 222 Kč for single person (133 Kč second person, 111 Kč other), but it is often much cheaper when bought in advance or online. There are two types of train - rychlík (R) and expres (Ex), with the latter being faster and more comfortable (both are the same price). Another usuable destinations reachable by direct train are Český Krumlov, Jindřichův Hradec, Tábor, Brno, Třebíč, Plzeň and Linz in Austria (connections to Salzburg, Vienna and other cities in Austria). Timetables and tickets at the Czech Railways website.
The road from Prague is not very good, half of it is a new dual carriage highway, but the other half is heavily congested two-lanes road. Avoid travelling on this road on Friday and Sunday evenings. You have to pay for parking in the wider centre of the city, with amount demending on the part of the city you are parking at. There are parking machines on the street - you have to enter your license plate number when buying a parking ticket.
There is a small airport to the southwest of the city, Airport České Budějovice. However, there are no scheduled flights from this airport.
Historical centre of the city is completely walkable, but it is also possible to walk from the more distant parts of the city, even though it is likely to take more time.
The city is bike-friendly with many bicycle paths. You can rent the bike at the railway station or some hotel if you want it for a long term, but if you want it just for trips across the city, it is probably better to use bikesharing app Rekola. The best maps for cycling are mapy.cz in outdoor mode.
By public trasportation
There is an extensive network of public buses and trolleybuses that run quite frequently during the day. The ticket costs 16 Kč and is valid for one hour - there are ticket machines on the stops. Ticket inspectors are common, so it is better to have a valid a ticket. You have to validate your ticket in the bus. For timetable, you can use IDOS, if you want to find a route on the map, use mapy.cz.
The world-wide app Taxify is working in České Budějovice. The biggest legacy taxi company is Taxi Budějovice, 0042014014.
Common traffic jams and difficult parking zones make getting around by car a poor means of transport across the city.
- 1 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.
- 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 is a statue of the biblical hero Samson.
- The Erratic Boulder is not far from the Samson’s fountain, marked with a cross. It used by to have an execution scaffold, and legend says that anybody who crosses the Erratic Boulder after 22:00 will not find his way home and will wander the city until the morning.
- 2 The Town Hall. The building with three towers was built in the Renaissance style in 1555. Today it is 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.
- 3 st. Nicholas Cathedral. Built as a gothic building in 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, 4 the Black Tower. The 72 m high 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.
- 5 The Remains of the fortification (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. 09:00-16:00 (reservations required). Karoliny Světlé 4. Take a tour of the town's largest brewery and home of "Budweiser" brand beer sold in most of Europe. Make sure to call several days in advance to schedule a tour, or if that's not possible, tours for visitors without reservations take place each day at 14:00. The price of admission is 100 Kč/person and visitors aged 18 or over are also able to visit the beer-tasting cellar. 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" name.
- 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. The museum 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, Tu-Su.
- 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 8 km away. 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 can be seen at 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 fairs in Czechia. 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, wander 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.
- 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 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 option to experience this is to visit one of the pubs operated by the brewery itself as there you can find the widest selection of beers including any specials. Masné krámy and Malý Pivovar are located in the old city center near the main square. Pick one of these without doubt, the other choice: Budvarka pub is located within the 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 from which can choose, e.g., B26, and Fantom.
You can get free Wi-Fi internet connection in almost all places listed below as one of the local ISPs provides the internet connection almost everywhere.
- Kotva, Lidická 2110 - Café sharing the building with a small cinema.
- 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 café with Davidoff coffee and wide selection of cakes and other desserts.
- Manon, Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II. 11 - Café 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.
- Café 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.
- Café la Storia, Panská 26 - Café 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 the sun and where the temperature stays always comfortable. Take one of the Lavazza coffee magazines to learn something new.
- Café 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 Café, 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.
- 1 Hotel U Solné Brány, Radniční 11, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Between 1000 and 2290 Kč.
- 2 Hotel Budweis, Mlýnská 6, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This hotel has 60 rooms (including one suite), very near the Vltava River. 2100-3900 Kč.
- 3 Grand Hotel Zvon, Nám. Přemysla Otakara II. 90/28, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Offers a range of rooms, including family rooms and triple rooms. Rooms from around 1100 Kč.
České Budějovice 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, etc.
If you need hiking or cycling maps then a small shop on the east side of the main square (under Café 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 (32 Kč). Train is usually slower (55 minutes) and more expensive (49 Kč, 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 Vltava 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 105 Kč 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 45 min 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.