During our bike rides around Český Krumlov, we discovered a charming boating corner with a piece of history. The Vltava meanders around the Zlata Koruna.
Camp Zlatá Koruna
We discovered it on the cycle path around the Štekře Fortress, which vaguely reminded us of the film sets from Three Peanuts for Cinderella. (Tri oříšky pro Popelku) We didn’t get in. Instead, we took a steep parachute across the valley to the Vltava River. Here, the second walking team was waiting for us.
It is a pity that the cycling route does not lead back downstream along the Blansko Forest and the banks of the Vltava River. This place is reserved only for boaters on boats. The cycle path turns off the river.
So we had a beer in the peculiar boating camp Zlatá Koruna. We found some of the history here, too. Fashion exhibitions along the meanders of the Vltava River at the Zlatá Koruna campsite also occasionally offered historical artefacts. Firefighting artefacts were also surprised with their historical value.
Vltava River raft
For a while, we envied the paddlers and their rafts and canoes. During one of the Vltava weir crossings, my wife almost divorced me. I listened then to the talk of stupidity, irresponsibility and fools who behave like snotty teenagers and… we didn’t even go over; we just jumped off the weir into a two-metre waterfall. Beautiful times.
It’s been a long since we last rafted the Ohře through the Svatos Rocks, the Sázava past the Pikovice Needle or the Stvořidlo. The Vltava in this area is worth getting into a canoe. If only because it flows through these beautiful meanders around Blanský les and Kleť and through the centre of Český Krumlov, where there are several municipal weirs.
Zlata Koruna Monastery
At the foot of Mount Klet’ between České Budějovice and Český Krumlov, a historical treasure awaited us. From the campsite, all we had to do was walk up the hill through the village, have another drink and a beer, and we were up. It’s a piece of cake.
Thanks to its location in the deep Vltava valley, the Cistercian monastery in Zlatá Koruna retained much of its original atmosphere even after the order left in 1785. Today it is considered one of Central Europe’s most valuable complexes of Gothic architecture.
You can also sit under the Linden tree. It was planted in 1785 and nominated in the Tree of the Year 2021 poll. The tranquillity of the gardens of the monastery complex particularly struck me. We also slept in the grass.
History of the monastery
The Cistercians were called to the monastery of the Holy Crown of Thorns (Sancta Spinea Corona) from the Austrian monastery of Heiligenkreuz by the Czech king Přemysl Otakar II in 1263. The monastery was to prevent the possible expansion of the Vítkov family, who owned the nearby Český Krumlov.
In addition to the three sightseeing tours (the monastery itself, the Abbey Chapel and the lapidarium), I also discovered another treasure in the sanctuary:
Large and heavy books
An antiquarian bookstore where I discovered ancient, long-forgotten books printed in intaglio by the French Impressionists, Kubíček, Chagall, and Mánes and unique photographic prints of Plick’s Vltava and Sudek’s Old Prague that left me cold. They all ended up in my backpack.
I weighed an extra 10 kg with my backpack on the way back as a collector, and my wife still gives me mushroom soup where we will put the books.
By bike or by boat
We often opt for a two-part trip when we go on trips in South Bohemia. I am on the bike, and the girls (Natasha, Hanka and Lejdy) are hiking in the car. This often served me well as a shopping cart, rescue station and tow truck. They saw a lot and didn’t get wrecked in the process.
The meanders around the Vltava are perfect for rafting and biking. I’m intentionally writing about cycling because an XC/cross bike is ideal here. It’s slower than a road bike, but it also allows you to ride down dirt roads and cross bike paths, of which there are plenty in South Bohemia. The terrains are undulating, hilly, but nothing challenging or unmanageable. No extreme downhills are imminent.
Potential stops for hiking are, in turn, too remote. The only exception is Cesky Krumlov, where I wouldn’t drag my bike a second time among those crowds. If you are in the Czech Republic, I highly recommend discovering Vltava meanders around the Zlata Koruna.