We will be arriving at the Prague airport around 11 AM on a Wednesday. After clearing customs our RS travel advisor suggested taking the bus to Cesky Krumlov because you can get it at the airport and not have to go into central Prague as you would if you took the train. How much time should we allow to clear customs? Also, we did search this website - http://jizdnirady.idnes.cz/vlakyautobusymhdvse/spojeni/ - but cannot figure out a way to limit the search to bus only. Right below the main search box on the right hand side is a small link to select "English" if you arrive at the Czech site. Has anyone taken this bus? If so, can you share any details such as where you found it at the airport, did you purchase your tickets in advance, is this a direct bus to Cesky Krumlov or will we need to change, etc. I appreciate any guidance you can give us. Our trip is in May.
We used Rick's book advice about getting to C.K. from downtown Prague, after our four days there. Have you already seen Prague? I just mean, Krumlov is very nice, but it's not the most important destination in Czech Republic. And it's really far.
Thanks for your reply. We are arriving several days early before our Prague visit so we actually have the time to go there. We plan to stay three nights. When you went from central Prague, did you go by bus or train?
If you are not flying to Prague direct from the US (only from NY and Atlanta) then you go through immigration in the first European airport you land. Customs in Prague is total formality. You simply walk through the gate with the green light. The sign says "nothing to declare". In my 20 plus visits I never saw anybody to be stopped there. On your website click on select timetable and then click on buses and your search is limited to bus only. There is no direct bus from the airport to Cesky Krumlov. There are many options how to get there. The cheapest would be these two: Go by city bus # 100 to Metro station Zlicin then by Metro train 9 stops to Metro station Andel. Take escalators toward bus station Na Knizeci. Bus to Cesky Krumlov leaves from there. If you don't have tickets ahead you run a chance that the bus will be full. Google Student Agency bus Prague to Cesky Krumlov and book it ahead. Or you can go from the airport by Airport Express bus which takes you to the Main Train Station and from there you go to Cesky Krumlov with train change in Ceske Budejovice. Advantage is that you don't have to book train ahead.
Rick provides several ways in his book, mentioning that the train is one of the longer time transfers. Because we wanted to do a one-day runout, we booked the round-trip car service he recommended, which booked a local guide for the first 90 minutes of our visit. That worked out well because the guide went to the town ticket office and booked (in Czech, I mean, because I had no success with the older lady at the window, who was unable or unwilling to speak Engish, French, or German) the ONLY English Baroque Theater tour of the day. You have more flexibility if you're staying more than one day.
The car service (six years ago) cost was similar to two commercial tourism company bus day-trip-with-guide tickets, so we didn't feel the comfort was a sin. I'm sure the public busses mentioned in another reply are much, much cheaper.
Although I could see that there were lots of kayak/hiking sorts of things to do near the source of the Vltava River, we wouldn't have spent three days in Krumlov, unless we were visiting the beer brewery city and the Three-T towns, which we didn't have time to do. Having been to both of the two, I would suggest (of course, it's a personal opinion) that neither Bruges nor Cesky Krumlov requires three days of residence.
We intend to do the same thing when we visit in late September: go directly to Cesky Krumlov, then return to Prague for the remainder of our stay. To save time and headaches fussing with mass transit when we're dealing with jet lag etc., our plan is to reserve a taxi online with Modry Andel, recommended in another post on the forum (www.modryandel.cz/en) to take us from the airport directly to the Na Knížecí bus depot. (The website requires a street address; we're using Za Ženskými domovy 124/3.) We believe this should take 20 minutes, rather than the 55 or so that mass transit would take. Any feedback would certainly be appreciated! (Edited to add: the Student Agency bus website in English is here.)
Thank you very much to everyone who shared their knowledge. We will be flying in from London so knowing ahead that customs shouldn't take too long will make booking our transporation easier. Dave, that is a great idea to book a cab in advance. We will plan to do the same and I will post any followup suggestions when we return in June. We shouldn't be on too much jetlag but we also know we have another 2 hours to drive before arriving at our hotel and we would prefer to make the transfer as easy as possible while still having a chance to use public transit and get a feel for local life. Tim, you are correct as to the activities. Our first day we won't arrive until mid afternoon or later so I am not counting that day. One full day we plan a three hour raft ride and a bike ride to return. The second full day we will tour around as you did. We will have to adjust our plans if the weather isn't good for rafting or biking. The third day is really only a half day as we need to be in Prague by 3 PM or so. We enjoy walking around and just relaxing, too. I really appreciate everyone's advice.
I should add that the street address I specified above is actually across the street from the bus depot -- "Za Ženskými domovy 3" seems better, but I'm not sure the website will accept it. Modry Andel lets you request an English-speaking driver, so either one puts you in the ballpark. Our 20-minute drive-time estimate is from Google Maps.