I genuinely believe that Český Krumlov, in southern Bohemia of the Czech Republic, is one of Europe's best keep secrets. Sitting by the Vltava River, the cutesy houses with red brick roofs will remind you of Czech Republic's hottest tourist destination, Prague. This miniature version (it takes less than about 20 minutes to get to just about anywhere in town) is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The meandering river dotted with riverside picnic spots, open-air cafes and bars all built around a 13th-century castle, add to the magical, fairytale-like feel of the place, making it ideal for romance. The feudal town founded in the Middle Ages (from the 5th to the 15th century) underwent transformations in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. It gives you an idea of what a typical well planned medieval town looked like. Český Krumlov has managed to retain the charm of its old streets and also many of its historic buildings including details such as the roof shapes, Renaissance and Baroque (a building style of the era that began in late 16th-century Italy) facades and vaulted spaces.
Top things to see and do: Explore the sprawling courtyards and opulent halls of the stunning Český Krumlov Castle, while a guide tells you about its history, dating back to 1240. You can take a romantic walk in the landscaped gardens around the castle or watch the sunset and savour the stunning views of the city from the top of the castle. Visit the Baroque Theatre inside the castle and get transported to another world. The unique mechanisms for changing the scenes and other decorations were prepared by the Viennese carpenter Lorenz Makh, while the wall paintings, ceiling mural and curtains and wings were created by the Viennese painters Hans Wetschel and Leo Märkl; steal a quiet moment of prayer at the Church of St. Vitus; walk around the historic town centre; enjoy a meal or drink at one of the many cafes by the Vltava River.
How to get there: Český Krumlov is easily accessible from Prague. A roundtrip from New Delhi to Prague will cost you around ₹50,000. A bus ride from Prague to Český Krumlov takes about three hours. The drive is scenic and offers beautiful views of the picturesque countryside. It is a 10-minute walk from the bus station to the centre of town.
Daily budget: Expect to pay around ₹3,800 per day including meals, commute and entertainment.
Best time to visit: Summer (June to August); Temperatures are comfortable during summer at about 13 degrees Celsius at night and 26 degrees Celsius in the day.
Where to stay: Stay in Pension Athanor, a restored, period building, located 300m from the city centre for ₹5,371 per night 0r in the Hotel Peregrin, located 50m from the main square of Český Krumlov. For more options, check here.