Český Krumlov is a small town in the very southwestern corner of the Czech Republic, about a 3 hour bus ride south of Prague. It has become well known because it is exactly what people imagine a historic town in central Europe should look like: The streets are winding and cobbled. The small buildings are intricately painted, and all have pointed, sloping roofs. The little houses are painted in varying pastel tones. It is topped by an enormous and beautiful 14th-century castle. The Vltava River abruptly zig-zags through town, forming an exaggerated S. To top it all off, this maze of old-word alleys rests in the hills of the Blanský woods.
Besides being so beautiful, Český Krumlov actually says a lot about the Czech Republic more generally. Like the rest of the country, Český Krumlov fell into disrepair when the Czech Republic was an unwilling member of the Soviet Union. However, as soon as communism was pushed out in 1989, restoration began, and the town pushed forward, becoming one of the country's main attractions. It earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status, reflecting the resilience of its people and culture.
Visit Český Krumlov to walk its streets, stop in its small shops and art galleries, take the tour of its castle, go kayaking or just watch the kayakers (including many Czechs, who enjoy outdoor sports), and hike the surrounding hills. Many day-trips from Prague are offered, but this town deserves a couple of days at least.