thewanderlust_wanderlist_praga

Underground Prague and the Lands of Bohemia with Ricardo Ribeiro

Czech Republic

Prague is arguably one of the finest towns in Europe. Its vast historical center is covered with a magical atmosphere and its narrow cobblestone streets are surrounded by centuries old houses and the whole thing looks like a scene of fairy tale. However, that side of Prague is well known and easily accessible to the tourists. Although we will shortly approach it in out tour, it won’t be our focus.

The Prague we want to share with you is genuine and intimate, it’s the city where Praguers live, where they grow up, where they spend their free time, where they fall in love… the lovely quarters of Vinehrad and Zizkov, the parks of Stromovka and Troja, the sidewalks by the river front, the late afternoon festive atmosphere in Naplavka by the Vltava….

Nursing a beer or a coffee we will discuss the stories and the history, legends and culture, books and movies, the country and its evolution, the era of Communism and its fall and how all this made the city we be discovering

As we have eight days to enjoy, we will do something most visitors of Prague don’t do: we will be out for a couple of day trips. We will hike on the mountains, exploring castles built in the most amazing locations, abandoned quarries transformed by the Nature in ponds of deep blue waters, and we will cross dense forests stopping in the way for a picnic by the lake.

We will pause for a drink and a plate of local cheese in remote village pubs where probably no other foreigner ever entered.  We will visit the fortified town of Terezin, where an old Austro-Hungarian jail was transformed by the Nazis in a concentration camp.

And when the farewell time comes, nobody will tell they just came to walk around the old town like millions of other visitors did before. It will undoubtedly a different experience!

Highlights

  • Marvel yourself with the architecture of Classic Prague, its Old Town square, the old bridge over the Vltava, the palace from where the country has been ruled for centuries;
  • Hike in Cesky Raj Natural Park, discovering amazing rocky formations, crossing woods, observing historical countryside houses and making a picnic by the lake;
  • Feel the beat of the real Prague, where tourists won’t go, walking through the neighborhoods of Vinehrad and Zizkov, visiting the city parks and the riverside out of the beaten path;
  • Come and eat a Czech grill washed down with a cold beer in the Beer Garden in Vysehrad, the historical root of the city, beloved by all Praguers;
  • Walk up the trail leading to the village of Svaty Jan Pod Skalou, passing by old abandoned quarries, creeks of crystal clear water majesties peaks and a lot of Nature;
  • Spend a day exploring the fortified town of Terezin and visit the former Nazi concentration camp established there during the Second World War.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Praguesee

We will meet at the airport proceeding to the hotel in the centre. It’s a day dedicated to introductions, between us and Prague. Once the luggage is dropped in the hotel, we might go for a stroll, to feel the beat of the town. We will definitely have time for something more and drink a beer.

Accommodation: hotel

Meals: -

Day 2 - Essential Praguesee

We will start really early, by dawn, so we can avoid the crowd which populates the most touristic spots of the town. Let’s walk the Royal Route, followed for centuries by Bohemian kings in the crowning ceremony. It starts in the Old Town square, the heart of classic Prague, surrounded by magnificent buildings which could keep us entertained for a good part of the morning. From there, we will proceed to Karlovo bridge, the first cross of Vltava, built in the middle of the 14th Century. On the opposite bank of the river, we will walk up to the Castle, which we will explore.

For lunch, we suggest a goulash, served in a very specific place, not far from Wenceslav square, the functional centre of the “new town”.

After the meal, we will visit a couple of the Vltava islands, stretching our legs in Naplavka, the popular riverside walk, which became in the last years an important social gathering area, flanked with cafes, both on land and in boats, and even a floating theater. A pause will follow for a late desert: probably the best ice cream in the world.

We will walk up to Vysehrad then. This is the historical root of Prague, later transformed in a fortress and a very loved spot. From up there we will enjoy the views, visiting the most important cemetery in Czech Republic, which is used as the National Pantheon. Before we head back to the centre, there will be time for a nice cold beer in one of the most beautiful beer gardens of Prague.

Accommodation: hotel

Meals: breakfast

Day 3 - Hiking in Cesky Rajsee

Today, we will do a day trip. Cesky Raj it’s an area of unparalleled beauty, characterized by the spectacular rocky formations, by the tall trees forests and by its natural lakes... to all this, the humans added a handful of palaces and castles. Not surprisingly the Czechs named this region The Czech Paradise.

This is a 17 km long hike, with start in Któva, about 80 km north of Prague. The train will drop us in the railways platform and from there we start the walk, reaching the overlooking castle of Trosky.

From there, we have a slight descent until we reach a dirt road which crosses a residential area with some centuries old homes.Here we can pick up the apples and pears from the trees flanking the trail, if we visit it in the right season. And how tasty these fruits are! A bit farther we leave the main trail, climbing a boulder to enjoy some views over a lake.

After a short rest, we will walk for about 2 km through a forest of tall trees. If there is time, we might take a look at Adamovo, a complex labyrinth of narrow passages through rocks and boulders. From there we will enter the most popular area of Cesky Raj. We will be in the heart of the Park, where the most interesting rocky formations can be observed.

Before the last leg of the walk, which will lead us to the small town of Turnov, we will pass near Valdstejn palace. And finally the last descend. Once in Turnov we will look for the train station or the bus terminal and soon we will be returning to Prague.

Accommodation: hotel

Meals: breakfast

Day 4 - Hidden Praguesee

After the long hike of the previous day, we will have a free morning. Some might feel the need of offering some rest to a battered body, while other may opt to revisit some of the places we’ve been before or even venture into some autonomous exploration of the city.

After lunch we will go for a stroll in a “different” Prague, really out of the beaten path. Starting in Letna, a quarter with a cosmopolite atmosphere very appreciated by the foreign residents, we will penetrate into the huge Stromovka park, crossing the river and visiting the gardens of Troja palace, near the zoo and the Botanical Garden of Prague.

From there we will walk on the riverside, using a fine trail very popular amidst Praguers, who love to skate or biking here. We can observe some interesting sights on the opposite bank of the river and suddenly, looking around, we will find out we are not in the city anymore. It will be time for a pause, with a drink in a picturesque local kiosk. Not far, we will find the bus which will bring us back to the centre.

In the evening, let’s go to the jazz. An underground small and intimate club, where some fine musical moments can be enjoyed.

Accommodation: hotel

Meals: breakfast

Day 5 - From the Amerika quarries to Svatý Jan Pod Skalousee

We leave Prague in a bus heading to Mořina, a tiny village in the surroundings of Prague. From there, we will start the walk, taking a trail which will bring us to the first quarry, “Big Amerika”. Works in this complex of quarries started in the early 19th Century, and stopped in the 60’s of the 20th Century. As a silent witness of all the human efforts, it remains the huge crater filled with blue water, as deep as 60 meters.

We walk around Big Amerika, enjoying the observation spots, and we proceed to the second quarty, “Little Amerika”. We go deep into the woods, enjoying the coolness of the tall trees forest, crossed here and there by streams of fresh water delivering the relaxing sound of the running liquid.

We will visit Karlstejn castle. Definitely the outside and, if a tour will depart soon, the inside, where the Crown jewels of Bohemia are kept.

In the village there is wide offer of food and drinks so we can even have our lunch there. After visiting a spot featuring the best views of the castle, we walk back a bit so we can resume our trail.

We keep walking through the woods until we reach the top of the massive rock under which it was built the monastery of Svatý Jan Pod Skalou. The views are impressive, specially of the village, down there, almost vertical to our position. Once we descend to the village we will have access to a spring of deliciously cold water. This will be the end of today’s walk and we will take the bus back to Prague.

Accommodation: hotel

Meals: breakfast

Day 6 - A Day in Praguesee

After the breakfast, we will explore Petrin hill, which raises from the West bank of river. We will discover delicious details lost in the woods covering this hill, many surprises and adequate spots for the perfect picture of Prague. The highlight has to be the old wooden Orthodox church which was moved, tile by tile, from the Charpathian range.

Once we are done in Petrin we will walk a bit around Narodni avenue, observing not so obvious details in the buildings and streets. We will rest in one of the classic cafes of Prague, the Louvre, where people like Einstein and Kafka spend a fair part of their free time.

In the afternoon we will visit two iconic neighborhoods of Prague: Vinohrady and Zizkov. The former, highly cosmopolite, it’s one of the must valuable areas to live in the city. Many of its streets are flanked by trees, which creates a lovely atmosphere, reminder of the romantic quarters of Paris. There are plenty of cafes in the area, each of them with its own personality. And farmers markets as well as flea markets. There are pubs, but the tough pure Czech pubs are somewhere else: Zizkov.

In this neighborhood one can still feel the proletarian nature of its heritage. It’s a rough quarter, traditionally a stronghold of the communists, as opposing to the bourgeois Vinohrady.

Accommodation: hotel

Meals: breakfast

Day 7 - Terezinsee

We will dedicate this day to a trip to Terezin. The small town was founded as an Austro-Hungarian fortress, built from 1780 following the command of Joseph II who named the place after his mother Maria Therese. The strategical function of the fortress would be to contain a threat coming from the north: Prussia. In war time it could host a garrison of eleven thousand men.

During the Second World War, Germans transformed Terezin in a Jewish ghetto and used the old jail as a transit concentration camp. After the war the same jail was used to keep the resident Germans before extradition to Germany.

The bus will take about a hour to get to Terezin. It will drop us in the main square, from where we can easily reach the walls of the fortress. We will cross a short tunnel where inscriptions carved by Jewish prisoners made it to our days. And we will explore the complex of moats and walls of the stronghold.

We will walk in the picturesque streets where half a century ago the Jewish lived, visiting the exhibit dedicated to the burial rites and the crematorium and crossing the rails once used to transport the human cargo to the death camps.

We will carry on towards the “Minor Fortress”, the name of the small concentration camp. The buildings of the compound are there basically as they were by the Germans. The basic furniture and nothing more. We can visit the cells, the dormitories, the little hospital, the yards, the communal toilettes. Outside we will spot the swimming pool, built for the leisure of the guards. We pass near the Commander’s house and the guards barracks, where a thematic museum exists. We will cross a 400 meters long tunnel in which the prisoners, about to be executed, were led and we will take a look at the gallows.

We will take the bus back to Prague from outside the “Minor Fortress”, which is great considering it will be a long day and an extra effort wouldn’t probably be welcomed .

Accommodation: hotel

Meals: breakfast

Day 8 – Return from Praguesee

In the farewell day we will have breakfast together and then, depending of the flights time, we might still go for a last walk together seeking a last little surprise. There is always something new to see and experience and considering the unknown time of departure we will find something to keep us entertained in this last day. Those who would like that, can go for a last private moment, alone with Prague.

Accommodation: -

Meals: breakfast

What is included?

  • Days: 8
  • Accommodation: 7 nights in hotel
  • Transports: 2 train journeys, 4 bus journeys, all the transfers on the dates of the program
  • 7 Meals: 7 breakfasts
  • Activities: All the activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • Travel insurance on the dates of the program
  • Monitoring and guidance throughout the whole trip by Ricardo Ribeiro
  • Groups: 5 (minimum), 11 (maximum)

Wanderluster

What is not included?

  • International airfare
  • Visa: non applicable
  • Single supplement: 300€
  • Unspecified meals
  • Extra activities
  • Unspecified meals
  • Expenses of personal nature
  • Tips

Next Dates

9 to 16 October 2018 900€ Available

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