Hluboká Castle, one of the most visited castles in the Czech Republic, is probably the biggest tourist attraction of České Budějovice that is outside the city itself. It is located in Hluboká nad Vltavou, a small town 10km to the north and downstream the Vltava river from České Budějovice.
Bus from České Budějovice to Hluboká
Unless you have a car or a bike (there is a very nice cycling route along the river all the way from České Budějovice to Hluboká), bus is the best way to get to Hluboká. Connections are very frequent during the work week and somehow less frequent (but still available) on Saturdays and Sundays. If you can, go during the week anyway, as the castle will be less crowded.
You can search connections on a given date and time and plan your journey here (note: this website is very useful when searching bus and train connections all over the Czech Republic, including Prague local transport).
Bus Stops in České Budějovice
There are generally two places where you can board the bus in České Budějovice. The obvious one is the bus station (“autobusové nádraží” or “nádraží” in timetables), which has the advantage of the buses starting there, so there will be more time to find the right bus, better information and less stress. You can find more information about the bus station, including location and directions, here.
Another option is the bus stop in Husova Street (“U Zelené Ratolesti” in timetables), which has the advantage of being even closer to the old town (but the bus station is not far either). The downside is that you will have to locate the correct stop, as there are several different bus stops for different destinations in a small section of the street. They are well signed though and Hluboká nad Vltavou is quite a popular destination. The bus stop is situated across the street from the Medical High School (Střední Zdravotnická Škola), near the corner of Husova and Resslova streets. It is 6-8 minutes’ walk from the main square (Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II).
Travel time from České Budějovice to Hluboká is about 20-40 minutes. It is quite variable, depending on time of day and where you start in České Budějovice, because during peak times the buses tend to spend a lot of time waiting in traffic jams in the centre (so if you are starting in Husova, don’t be surprised if the bus arrives 10 minutes or more after schedule).
Bus Stop in Hluboká
In Hluboká the best bus stop to get off the bus is “Pod Kostelem” (which means “under the church” in Czech, but the church is not that well visible from there). For some buses it will be the first stop when arriving to Hluboká, while for others it will be the second stop, depending on the route.
The castle is about 1km walk from the bus stop and, of course, mostly uphill (here you can find detailed directions and local map). The church which gave its name to the bus stop (Kostel Sv. Jana Nepomuckeho – the Church of St. John of Nepomuk) is situated opposite the town hall and you will pass it on the way to the castle – it’s worth looking inside.
The bus from České Budějovice to Hluboká is very cheap; generally it will cost you less than 1 euro equivalent and less than a single ticket in Prague metro or trams. The exact price depends on where in České Budějovice you start, with the bus station being a bit more expensive than the subsequent stops (but the differences are negligible). You don’t need to (and can’t) reserve the tickets in advance; you buy them directly from the bus driver. There is no discount on return tickets. Have some cash ready – you can’t pay with a card on a bus. It is best to have coins or 100 koruna notes – the drivers are not very happy when given very large notes.
České Budějovice to Hluboká by Train
There are also trains from České Budějovice to Hluboká, but unless you want to take a really long walk to get to the castle, take the bus instead. There are actually two railway stations officially belonging to Hluboká nad Vltavou: Hluboká nad Vltavou Station on the České Budějovice – Plzeň line and Hluboká Zámostí Station on the České Budějovice – Prague line. Unfortunately, both these stations are very far (4-6km) from Hluboká town centre and the castle.