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One of the best places to visit in Český Krumlov is the Cloak Bridge which dates back to the 15th century.
To locals, it’s known as Plášťový most and it forms part of the castle complex and the historic fortification walls.
Although seeing this bridge from the historic centre and Vltava River below is amazing. I would recommend visiting the top of this ancient footbridge as well.
From here, you can get one of the best panoramic views of this magical fairytale city in Czechia.
Here is a complete guide for the Cloak Bridge Český Krumlov including the history and how to visit!
What is the Cloak Bridge in Český Krumlov?
The Cloak Bridge is huge a passageway that connects the fourth and fifth courtyards of the west side of Český Krumlov castle.
It has five layers to it that fill a chasm between the castles and cliffs. It’s roughly 30 metres long and 40 metres high.
There are huge stone pillars at its foundations with archways that hold the upper bridge in place. These are similar in design to a Roman aqueduct.
Above these pillars is an outside walkway and the very top layers are covered Baroque corridors.
The very top layer would connect the castle with the Monastery of Minorities in Latran through the rafters. But, this is no longer possible today.
Then there is a covered passage beneath that linked the Masquerade Hall with the Castle Theatre. Years ago, the royal family would use this walkway as a ‘secret corridor’ to their Royal Box.
Then, below that is the outside passageway that links the Castle Gallery and courtyards with the Castle Gardens.
This provides an incredible vantage point over the city and has statues of apostles on either side of it. You’ll see Felix of Cantalicia, John of Nepomuk, Wenceslaus, and Anthony of Padua.
This is most likely where you will visit and it provides one of the best views of Český Krumlov!
Why is it called Cloak Bridge?
Funnily enough, the name of the bridge is not due to its appearance and the fact it looks like a giant cloak.
The reason why it’s called the Cloak Bridge is that this bridge spans the Český Krumlov castle fortifications that were used to protect the city from enemy invaders.
These fortifications, which had hundreds of soldiers patrolling them, used to be called Cloak which is where the name originates from.
In Czechia, the locals call this bridge ‘Plášťový most’ and “na plášti” roughly translates to “On the Cloak”.
Český Krumlov Cloak Bridge history
The first records of the Cloak Bridge were from the 15th century during the rule of Rudolf II of Habsburg. It was noted down as a “draw-bridge with gate and wicket”.
Then, Johann Christian I von Eggenberg commissioned a new wooden bridge to be built that would allow easier access to the new Castle Gardens in the 17th century.
The upper covered corridor of the Cloak Bridge would be built in 1706. In 1707, a lower passage was built between the Masquerade Ball and Castle Theatre for the Royal Box.
Unfortunately, a French invasion during the 18th century meant that these corridors were pulled down but they were shortly replaced in 1749.
Finally, this fabulous bridge that we can see today was finished in 1777 and it hasn’t changed much since.
It’s been beautifully preserved making it one of the top attractions in the UNESCO city of Český Krumlov!
How to visit Český Krumlov’s Cloak Bridge
It’s hard to miss the Cloak Bridge in Český Krumlov as it’s part of the castle complex that sits in a dramatic position above the historic centre.
You can see it all over the city and from the river bend that flows around the island peninsula.
But, if you wanted to visit the top of the bridge, you’ll need to navigate over to the Český Krumlov castle complex.
The easiest way to do this is through the Latrán District through the big red gates. Then, you can head up past the Castle Tower to enter the castle.
The ticket office will be on your left. You’ll enter an archway straight ahead of you which leads you to a tunnel. This has a steep wooden walkway to reach the top.
You’ll then enter the inner castle courtyards with the stunning yellow-painted brickwork and frescos!
Keep going straight over the castle entrance for guided tours, the gift shop, and washrooms in the direction of the Castle Gardens.
The path will then drop down and lead you over the Cloak Bridge. You’ll instantly notice it due to the white and grey paint with Christian saints on either side.
Do you need further help with directions? Click here for a Google Pin!
Get incredible views of Český Krumlov
The best part about visiting the Cloak Bridge is the breathtaking views you get of this fairytale city.
From here, you can see the famous U-bend in the Vltava River, colourful houses, historic attractions like the Church of St Vitus, and the rolling hills of the Czechia countryside.
I loved seeing everyone crossing the wooden bridges below and the small waterfall on the river. It was so quaint.
Although it was raining on my visit, it still looked completely magical like a city in a fantasy world!
Cloak Bridge opening times and prices
Visiting the Český Krumlov castle complex is completely FREE including the Cloak Bridge, viewpoints, and Castle Gardens. You only have to pay for tours of the inside rooms.
You can see the Cloak Bridge from the historic centre of the city 24 hours a day but if you wanted to step onto the bridge itself it’s subject to opening times.
It’s always good to visit when the Castle Gardens are open and this is usually around 8 am – 6 pm.
But, in April, I visited the Cloak Bridge and Český Krumlov Castle viewpoint around 7.30 pm and it was still open! So, it’s always worth trying.
What is the best time to visit the Cloak Bridge?
Český Krumlov is an extremely popular city in Czechia. Although it doesn’t see as many crowds as Prague, that doesn’t mean it isn’t crowded.
As the Cloak Bridge is within the Český Krumlov castle complex, it can get very very busy.
Visiting this bridge will be magical throughout the day for the epic views you get from the top layer.
But, if you wanted to get photos of the bridge without crowds, then I would visit either early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Český Krumlov is very much a ‘day tripper’ city. So, it’s best to explore the castle grounds before/after the hoards of tour buses descend! Or, stay overnight for the best experience.
Cloak Bridge photography tips
The best places to take photos of the Cloak Bridge would be on the bridge itself.
As you walk from Český Krumlov castle area to the castle gardens, you can get some amazing photos on the top floor of the bridge with the apostles on either side.
Another great photography location is from the wooden bridge called Lávka pod Zámkem that takes you from the historic centre by Restaurace ZDROJ to the car park.
From here, you can walk under the lower tunnels of the bridge and get some amazing views of the city from the River Vltava!
I was here on a very rainy day so the bridge was empty as no one wanted to hang around. But, in summer, I would visit this bridge early to get photos of the Cloak Bridge without the crowds.
Look through the fortification wall windows
If you head towards the Castle Gardens from the Cloak Bridge, you’ll notice a fortification wall to your left.
This wall has many gaps in it that created were for soldiers to take aim at their enemies centuries ago. But today, they make amazing photo opportunities.
You can take some incredible photos of this fairytale city with the U-bend in the Vltava River and these ancient battlements provide perfect framing.
Visit the Castle Viewpoint next
At the very end of the fortification wall, just before the castle garden gates, you’ll see a wooden door that has been left open.
If you head through here you’ll find the incredible Český Krumlov castle viewpoint and one of the best photo spots in the city.
It’s on a balcony plateau and you can stand on this corner to get some amazing photographs of you and your loved ones with the city in the background.
From this view, you can get a panoramic vista of Český Krumlov castle and the Castle Tower too!
There is a small café inside this balcony area where you can buy coffee, soft drinks, or some light snacks. On a sunny day, there are some outside tables to relax on under the trellis vines!
Český Krumlov Castle Gardens
After you’ve visited this viewpoint, you can head up towards the Castle Gardens which are free to visit.
They didn’t look that great in April, and it was raining on my visit, but they make a great place to relax on a sunny day.
They have a hedge maze, historic fountains, and another amazing viewpoint from the balcony at the far end.
After, you can check out the Stables and Saddlery Museum. Or, why not book a tour of the Baroque Theatre that sits underneath the Cloak Bridge?
Don’t skip a Český Krumlov castle tour
A tour of Český Krumlov castle is one of the top things to do in this historic UNESCO city and you can buy tickets when you enter the complex.
It was the ancestral home of the Eggenbergs and Schwarzenbergs, one of the most powerful and influential families in the Kingdom of Bohemia.
Tours last for around 90 minutes and you get to see many of the medieval and Romantic staterooms inside.
In one of the rooms, you can see a giant golden stagecoach that was transported here. Plus, you get to see the most impressive room which is the Masquerade Hall. It looked like something from a storybook.
Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside the castle. Standard tour prices are 240 CZK for an adult and 190 CZK for children and concessions. Tours only run in English a couple of times a day.
If you can I would try to add on a visit to the Baroque Castle Theatre which is one of the best preserved examples in the world.
Looking for more things to do in Český Krumlov?
Český Krumlov is a magical place to wander around, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Every building in the historic centre is vibrant and tells a story!
Beyond exploring the castle complex, you should head into the main square. From here, you can visit the Chruch of St Vitus.
There are many museums you can visit and one of my favourites was the Museum of Torture. Unlike other torture museums, this one was quite immersive and so it was very creepy.
If you were looking for a traditional Bohemian restaurant then I would book Krčma Šatlava. You’ll dine in a medieval wine cellar that used to be an old prison! The grilled food and beer on tap were divine.
There are also plenty more viewpoints around Český Krumlov to find and a hidden gem is Seminární Zahrada. It’s a small park with a spectacular free vista.
Or, you could go shopping for traditional souvenirs. Český Pernik by the castle in Latran sells Old Bohemian Gingerbread and other treats like mead, jams, and honey.