MY COUNTRY: The Czech Republic through a local's eyes
THE TRIP OVERALL
The Czech Republic is our home and where our heart is. Come with us to experience a unique tour of breathtaking scenery, exhilarating hikes, fascinating history, traditional culture, delicious food and the world’s best beer. The Czech Republic is a small country in the very heart of Europe, where we will hike in peaceful forests and exquisite countryside with scenic views everywhere we look, making 11 stops along the way. We visit charming Prague, the city of 100 spires and also Český Krumlov, a Renaissance pearl on the Vltava River and a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a fabulous castle in a fairy tale setting. Also included is the picturesque Moravian town of Velehrad, with an ancient history and one of the largest basilicas in Europe. We taste local Moravian wines in a traditional wine cellar and pour a perfect draft in a 14th century Bohemian brewery. All this and much more, on our “see, taste and touch” tour of the Czech Republic.
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Day 1. We meet in Prague in the morning and transfer to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kutná Hora, an ancient silver mining town, one of the most historically significant towns in the Czech Republic. Once second only to Prague in the ancient Kingdom of Bohemia, Kutná Hora has one of the most famous Gothic churches in Central Europe, the Cathedral of St. Barbara, and also an extraordinary, unique ossuary in the Chapel of All Saints. Afternoon transfer southeast to the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands for our overnight stay.
Day 2. We start with a morning hike in the beautiful, untouched countryside, along the former border between Bohemia and Moravia. Afternoon transfer northeast to the charming Moravian city of Olomouc, a university town with a rich and colorful history. The 18th century Holy Trinity Column in the main square is a perfect example of Central European Baroque and is also included in the UNESCO Word Heritage list. Evening guided tour and overnight in Olomouc.
Day 3. On this day we head south with a stop in the town of Kroměříž famous for one of the most beautiful castle gardens in Europe, another UNESCO world heritage list site. Later we continue to the small picturesque town of Velehrad, famous especially for its monastery and baroque basilica. This town is considered to be the spiritual heart of the Czech Republic and also a place where the thousand-year Christian history in the central Europe started back in 9th century, when two Slavic Apostles St. Cyril and Methodius arrived here. Velehrad is surrounded by lush nature with peaceful forests and rolling hills. The nearby royal gothic Castle Buchlov and the St. Barbara Chapel create natural dominants of this region.
Day 4. We hike from Velehrad through the Chřiby Hills, which are part of the Central Moravian Carpathians. This nature reserve offers historical monuments, natural features, rock formations, sandstone cliffs and dense deciduous forests. We end our hike on the 1670 feet high Buchlov Hill, with its 13th century royal castle. On a clear day, this site offers a breathtaking view over the whole of southeast Moravia, as far as the White Carpathians, the natural border with Slovakia. In the afternoon, we drive back to Velehrad and enjoy a short guided tour of the Basilica. Overnight in Velehrad.
Day 5. In the morning we transfer to another UNESCO town, Lednice, and tour an enchanting chateau and one of Europe’s most beautiful and largest complex of gardens in the English Neo-Gothic style. The chateau and gardens were founded by the Liechtenstein family in the 13th century. Overnight in Lednice.
Day 6. In the morning we transfer to the little village of Pavlov, the gate to the Pálava Hills. A Landscape Protected Area and UNESCO biosphere reserve, this area is a perfect place for our hike, with blossoming hills, limestone cliffs, wonderful views and castle ruins. In the afternoon, we transfer northwest to the Renaissance town of Telč. Overnight in Telč.
Day 7. Telč is a charming fairytale of a town, representing a perfect example of Italian Renaissance architecture. It boasts one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and has earned its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. After a morning tour of its romantic castle, we will hike in the surrounding countryside, filled with ponds, meadows and forests. Overnight in Telč.
Day 8. We continue our adventure heading southwest to the little spa town of Třeboň, very closely connected with a long tradition of fish farming. This South-Bohemian town was founded in the 12th century but the greatest period of prosperity was the 16th century when most of the artificial canals and man-made fishponds were established. They create a unique protected landscape area and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve very popular for hiking and cycling. After our hike here we continue moving south to another astonishingly beautiful and well-preserved medieval town, Český Krumlov. Overnight in Český Krumlov.
Day 9. A Day in Český Krumlov.
This day we spend in this amazing and picturesque little city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a renaissance pearl on the Vltava River. Its castle district is as big as the Prague Castle and the unique Baroque Theatre is the best preserved of only three theatres of this kind in the world. Enjoy a guided tour in the morning and the afternoon on your own, to explore all the nooks and crannies of this never-to-be-forgotten town.
Day 10. In the morning, we transfer to Prague, considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Europe. On our arrival, we will have a guided tour of some of the city’s highlights. This UNESCO city offers hundreds of historical sights, spectacular architecture, music, art, dance and theatre, and breathtaking views of the city skyline, Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge and the Vltava River.
Day 11. Today we take a day trip southwest of Prague through the countryside of deep forests, to the large Gothic Karlštejn Castle, founded in 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. This castle served for centuries as a safekeeping place for the Czech crown jewels, holy relics and royal treasures. After a castle tour we hike in the surrounding countryside before we come back to Prague for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Prague.
Day 12. Departure from Prague.