The capital of the South Bohemian region is internationally famous for its good beer - Budweiser. The beer culture attracts many tourists, although the city has much more to offer than just the refreshing, tasty drink.
Founded by King Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1256, a day trip to the city offers history, stunning sights and good beer.
Here is everything you need to know to fully experience the biggest town in the South Bohemian region.
Přemysl Ottokar II Square
We parked our van pretty central on one of the streets around the main center, and the square was our first destination - the center of the Old town. The first impression was WOW, the square is enormous. To be precise, the southern side is 132.5 m wide, and the northern side is 137.4 m, which doesn’t make it a square but while standing on that big plaza one definitely forgets about those small details. Its size makes it the second biggest square in the whole of Czechia.
The Town hall (radnice)
The square's main feature is the remarkable radnice or the town hall in English. Due to fire, the old town hall was destroyed, and in the early 18th century, the talented architect Anton Erhard Martinelli created the new building in stunning Baroque style. The town hall impresses with three spires. As usual, the central one is accessorized with a clock.
Unfortunately, during our visit, half of the building was covered due to reconstructions, and we could not picture its entire beauty.
Fountain of Samson (Samsonova kašna)
Another highlight is the fountain rising in the middle of the enormous square. The fountain, a symbol of the city, was created during the reconstruction of the town hall. The main statue depicts the biblical Samson on a lion. As nice as it is, it is still just a fountain so after a short stroll and a few pictures we started walking towards the next historical landmark and tourist attraction.
The Black tower (Černá věž)
Located close to the main square, 72m in height, you don’t need exact direction to the black tower. Built in the 17th century and used as a watchtower and a belltower, now a top tourist attraction, the tower offers an incredible view over the city and its surroundings.
To enjoy the view from the top, you will have to climb 225 stairs. For a complete experience, you can visit the tower at 12:00 or 18:00 as that’s when you will hear the magical sound of the bells.
The tower has a fee of 30 CZK (1.20 euro) for adults and 20 CZK (0.80 euro) for kids.
I would definitely recommend climbing the tower not only because of the views but in the tower you will see many impressive bells, one of which weighs three and a half tons.
Cathedral of St Nicholas (Katedrála svatého Mikuláše)
The main Roman Catholic church in the city is located right next to the Black tower, again super close to the “square.” In fact, the Black tower was used as a bell tower for the church. The construction of the church started quickly after the foundation of the city. Completed in the mid-14th century, the church wasn’t looking exactly as it is nowadays. The Baroque style appeared after the reconstruction in the 18th century.
The streets of the Old town
The best way to appreciate the beauty of České Budějovice is by simply walking around and exploring the Old Town streets. Surely some of them outstand the others with more style and notable architecture, but all of them have their own charm. Walk around to wherever your intuition takes you and enjoy the maze of winding lanes.
Where two rivers become one
We found a lovely spot for our afternoon coffee by just walking and exploring the city. Close to the main square, we found a small tunnel leading to a green and nice park, hugged by two rivers. After crossing the bridge, we grabbed a coffee and turned left to enjoy the place where the Vltava and Malše rivers meet. If enjoying the view isn’t enough and you prefer being part of the scenery, you can rent a boat and experience the city from a unique perspective.
Beer, beer and beer
Everybody knows that Champagne is the name of the sparkling wine only produced in one particular region of France. But did you know that Budweiser beer can be made only in České Budějovice? In the European Union, Budweiser beer has a Protected Geographical Indication status. Meaning that it is illegal to produce the beer in any place but there, and it is impossible to obtain a permit to do so. Budějovický Budvar, the famous Budweiser brewery, was founded in 1896, and nowadays, you can book a tour and see where the magic happens.
The tours are available in several languages. You can even learn how to brew beer in their workshop.
České Budějovice and its tasty local beer should definitely be on your TO VISIT list if you are in south Czechia or around the beautiful South Bohemian region. The city will charm you with a nice atmosphere, outstanding architecture, history, a green park, and you will get to see where two rivers meet.