Parts 1 -3 of my trip report can be found here:
and here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/3-weeks-in-east-central-europe-part-3-prague
On Day 16, we had breakfast and checked out of the Questenberk. Our shuttle to Cesky Krumlov, Lobo Shuttle, arrived right on time. We booked a private shuttle, because we wanted to make a couple of stops at castles en route. When we made the request, we asked the shuttle company for suggestions for stops, and of their suggestions, we chose Castle Hluboka and Divci Kamen.
Traffic was heavy leaving Prague, so it was almost 11 am by the time we arrived at Castle Hluboka. Pavel, our driver, dropped us off at the bottom of the walkway to the castle and we arranged to meet back at that spot at 12:30. We walked up the very steep hill to the castle and were rewarded with the sight of the prettiest “little” fairy tale castle we’d ever seen. It had the requisite towers and crenellations, and there was a lovely flower garden in front.
Inside the courtyard, we noticed a lot of deer heads mounted on the wall, some of them mossy with age. Plaques indicated the date they were killed and who killed them. We climbed the tower to see the fabulous views of the surrounding countryside, and on the way, there were dozens more mounted deer heads. We surmised that this must be the castle of Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast. ;^)
We were delighted with this stop, because the castle was such a storybook cliché.
We met Pavel right on time and rode further along, almost to Cesky Krumlov. We took a side road and Pavel stopped in a small parking lot that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. He led us to a sign and showed us the markings we must follow in order to find our way to Divci Kamen, and then he turned back and walked toward the parking lot. Because of this, we thought he would wait for us at the shuttle, although I thought he did say something about coming along. Off we set. The sky was threatening, and there was thunder rumbling in the distance. I was worried about being caught in the woods in a thunderstorm, so I hurried. We went past some farms on one side, with the woods on the other, and then went deeper into the woods. The path was rougher here, with some obstacles, but I was motoring along, intent on getting to Divci Kamen before the storm. After a while, we heard a sound behind us, and there was Pavel. We laughed and apologized for not realizing he was behind us before. We all continued, and then Pavel stopped and showed us a point where we could see Divci Kamen. What a sight! On a hill is a brooding and romantic ruin of an 11th century stone castle that was ruined in the 12th century (I think). We continued toward it and arrived about 10 minutes later. We paid our admission and were allowed unfettered access to the ruin. There were only a handful of other people there, and a few goats climbing around the ruin. We loved it. This was like nothing we had ever seen before, and it was interesting to imagine what the castle must have been like before it was ruined.
When we left the ruin, we walked back along a paved pathway to the parking lot. This afforded us different views of the ruin and the countryside. Gorgeous!
We got back to the shuttle without getting rained on. The storm had passed us by, and in short order we arrived at Cesky Krumlov, not far from Divci Kamen.