One look at Cesky Krumlov’s castle and you’ll understand why the town is rightly proud of it. An enormous creation, within the Czech Republic it is second in size only to Prague’s Hrad?any castle complex. The sequence of courtyards here make for a striking tour: elaborate Renaissance facades in yellow and rose, Gothic outbuildings, fountains and formal gardens. The surrounding town, hemmed in by a graceful curve in the Vltava River, is a veritable medieval warren – a delightful confusion of timeless alleyways and streets. Come here during the Five-Petalled Rose Festival in June, when the downtown area is free of traffic and craftsmen, artists and musicians dress in medieval costumes, and the overall effect is like entering a museum with a pulse.