České Budějovice is a sweet kernel of medieval town inside a tough shell of industrial sprawl. It was built in 1265, and its history has been connected with beer since the beginning, when citizens brewed lager for the Holy Roman Emperor. In the seventeenth century war and fire devastated the town, but it was lavishly rebuilt by the Habsburgs. Today its elegant arcades and winding backstreets are the perfect place to enjoy a Budvar beer – which is, after all, the reason most people come here.
The compact medieval town centre forms a grid around magnificent Přemysla Otakara II Square, one of Europe’s largest marketplaces. Just off the square is Black Tower (Černá věž), which you can climb for good views.