I’ll admit that the last time I was at a Renaissance Festival I was probably 12-years-old. So, I was way overdue for my fill of Amateur Actors, Sultry Maidens and Drunken Fools. That’s why we decided to visit the Five-Petalled Rose Celebration in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. It is now one of our very favorite family memories.
Český Krumlov is about a 2-hour drive south of Prague and even without the festival this adorable and authentic medieval city would be worth the trip. If you don’t have a car, the best way to get in is by bus. It’s a 3-hour bus ride from Prague or 4-hours from Vienna. The festival is held Annually in the month of June on the weekend of the Summer Solstice. This year it will take place from Jun 19 – Jun 21, 2015. The festival lasts three days but on our trip we stayed in Prague and just made a day trip down to the Renaissance Faire.
For the duration of the festival, the entire historic section of the city closes to all outside traffic. You can park (for a small fee) at several parking lots just outside the center and walk in. We parked in the lot by the southern bridge. Tickets are sold, for cash only, at every the entrance into the historic downtown. When we arrived we received a little map of the city as well as a schedule of events (which can also be found on the official website). Once inside, the city itself is a fun place to wander. It is tucked nicely into a large curve in Vltava river. The historic town dates back to the 13th century and has been relatively untouched since then. Here were the highlights for us:
The Sights: The view of the faded but colorful castle tower is visible from all over the town. There are several great points where you can get a really great look at it. Across the northern bridge you will climb by ramp and road to the castle. It’s bumpy in places but fairly stroller friendly. If you continue up the hill past the castle, you will find the castle gardens as well as a great view of the city. The town is very small making it pretty easy to find your way around.
Shops and Venders: At the Castle base are booths where authentically dressed vendors sell all kinds of handmade goods. We came home with some local honey as well as some beautiful and fragrant lavender soap. Also, as you wander through the tiny streets you will find little shops that sell all kinds of children’s toys, trinkets, and treats. During the festival, in the main square, there are lots of food tents set up. It’s a street food kind of feeling but it’s all quite yummy. Make sure to bring cash as most places won’t take a credit card.
Performers: In the main square, you will also find a large stage. The majority of the performances happen here. However, as you meander in and out of the ally ways, you will likely run across some smaller performances. We happened upon a fantastic 2-man puppet show. The actors were over the top and very kid friendly. They were so animated and fun that it didn’t even matter that the performance was entirely in Czech. We also ran across some jugglers and other street performers that were hired by the festival. You can check the schedule for these performances as well as for larger demonstrations like sword fighting and jousting.
Kids Rides & Games: Just on the other side of the city wall, there is a great big children’s section. This was our very favorite part. Here we found all kinds of old timey carnival rides. The target age for this area is probably 2-8 but our 1-year-old did just fine. This section was full of all kinds of swings and games. There was also a medieval style merry-go-round. A large man pushes a large wooden arm as he runs side-by-side with the carousel to propel the children as they sit in little brown baskets. Our kiddies couldn’t get enough. We spent several hours here and it wasn’t long enough.
This festival is a perfect vacation destination for families. If you are looking for a fun European spot to take your kids this summer – look no further. The Czech Republic, that’s where it’s at. Can we come back and do this every year? Pretty pretty please!