Prague – Vltava River, St. Vitus's
Cathedral, and the Castle, and Malá Strand
... and Vienna!
September 12 - 24, 2015
Our 2014 autumn "getaway" to Prague was
a huge winner and we are thriilled to be able to offer it
again this year! If you have heard about this trip from
friends, rest assured that we have reserved rooms at the
same hotel they appreciated so much - "location, location,
location! - enabling you to enjoy the same experience that
gave them so much pleasure, from the moment they arrived
in Viennathe ideal place to begin an insightful
exploration of Prague, given the close historical and cultural
connection of these two beautiful cities. Between them,
near the Austrian border is enchanting Český
Krumlov, in its entirety a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Let us welcome you to a wonderland of medieval,
Renaissance and Baroque architectureall very
Prague has everything that makes a European
city special: a stunning natural setting along a river dominated by a great castle; a vivid history; a magnificent cathedral; lively open squares; narrow winding streets; literally hundreds of
historic houses; centuries-old spires
piercing the sky; formal gardens; inviting restaurants; and wonderful music.
Once again, our unrushed sojoum will take place during the
Prague International Music Festival, which draws
outstanding performers from all over Europeand our top
first-class "boutique" hotel for six nights,
overlooking the Vltava River and the Charles Bridge, is situated
comfortably among Prague’s most outstanding concert
halls and theaters!
Prague - Charles Bridge and Staré Město,
in the 21st century!
In recent years, there have been exciting restorations in
Vienna, enabling visitors to take in the fabulous art collection
in the Albertina and to enjoy dining in the former
Imperial Greenhouses, very popular with the localsall
within easy walking distance of our hotel!
Our distinctive small group tour will begin
in Vienna on the
afternoon of Saturday, September 12th, at
our top first-class hotel in the heart of the old city,
founded by the Romans on the banks of the Danube River in
the latter half of the 1st Century AD. In fact, excavated
Roman walls and foundations can be seen today, just outside
the entrance to the Hofburg, the former Imperial
Palace of the Habsburgs.
Among the highlights of our three full days in Vienna, in
the company of our top-notch Austrian local guide, will
be a tour of the breathtaking Schatzkammer –
Imperial Treasury – which contains some of Europe’s
most precious objects, such as the crown of the Holy Roman
Empire. We'll also take in the awe-inspiring Court Library,
famous for its superb collection of Renaissance globes.
Belvedere Palace - with our top-notch
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
|Of course, no visit to Vienna would
be complete without taking in the magnificent Schönbrunn
Palace and its grounds, on the outskirts of the city.
At the same time, Vienna is
full of surprises, including sophisticated contemporary architecture
in the midst of historic buildings, a testimony to the city’s
On Wednesday, September 16th, we"ll
travel through the peaceful Waldviertel ("forest
quarter") north of the Danube, along the same route that
Mozart traveled in 1787, from Vienna to Prague. This remote
area of northern Austria, little touched by tourism, is a
land of wooded hills, castles, sleepy villages, farms, abbeys,
and beautiful historic churches spanning centuries.
Our destination, a short distance across the Czech border, is enchanting Český Krumlov, a medieval-Renaissance town in a remarkable state of preservation, hence its designation in 1992
as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated
in a loop in the Vltava River, it is a delight to explore.
|Our first-class hotel
(for two nights) – in a building dating back to the
mid-16th century – is near the Zámek
(Castle), an amazing feat of architecture, representing
several centuries of rule by noble families that made Český
Krumlov the center of their economic empire in Bohemia. Among
them, the Rožmberks (1302-1611) discovered
silver in the nearby hills, established a mint, and transformed
the Castle into a splendid Renaissance residence, today filled
with an impressive collection of decorative arts. In 1748,
the Schwarzenbergs commissioned a painter
to transform the Castle’s Masquerade Hall into
a trompe-l’oeil fantasy of 18th century Carnival
characters.Of great importance is the Castle Theater,
the most completely preserved Baroque theater in the
On our journey north on Friday, September 18th,
we’ll pause to explore the old Hussite town of Tabor,
with its expansive main square lined with meticulously restored
Renaissance and Baroque houses, their adjoining roofs creating
a horizontal zig-zag against the sky.
hotel in Prague - inner courtyard
Upon arrival in Prague, we’ll check
into our intimate, first-class hotel,
a former private home
- an 18th century palác - overlooking the
Vltava River and the iconic Charles Bridge. Its inner courtyard
of Mozart’s Prague.
Unpack and settle in for
a six-night stay!
The view from our hotel
No other city in Europe has such a wealth of unspoiled
architecture from so many periods,
from the early Middle Ages to Frank Gehry’s wonderful “Dancing
House”, shimmering on the river bank amidst a row of handsome
Art Nouveau residences. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities
in the world, and enjoyment of its riches – and the friendly
atmosphere of its cafés, restaurants, pubs and wine bars
– takes time.
Our well-appointed hotel is superbly located for exploration
on foot of Prague "Old Town"
Staré Město, the nucleus of the
city with its iconic landmarks,
such as the double-faced Astronomical Clock on
the façade of the bell tower of the Town Hall.
Also within easy walking distance of our hotel is the Estates
Theater, where Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”
was first performed in 1787. We plan to attend a performance
in this historic theater—a truly memorable experience!
We'll spend the next several days enjoying an unrushed
and below-the-surface exploration of “The City
of One Hundred Spires" by way of a series of meticulously-planned
walking tours in the expert company of our outstanding
and welcoming Czech guide, a native of Prague, with
whom we have worked for 20 years and who has endeared
herself to many past travelers!
In the luxury of a small group, you will discover
hidden corners of Prague that you very likely would
not find on your own, as well as gain insight impssible
to find in a guide book.
|A hidden corner of
Malá Strana, below
Not to be missed while strolling through Malá
Strana are several attractive gardens, which one by
one have been restored over the last two decades, since
The amazing historic center of Prague actually comprises
four formerly independent towns that were joined
together in the late 18th century. Nové
Město ("New Town"), south of
Staré Město ("Old
Town"), established in the mid-14th century by native
son and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, is a superb example
of medieval urban planning.
Across the Vltava from Staré Město,
and linked to it by the magnificent, pedestrian-only Charles
Bridge, is Malá Strana ("Lesser
Quarter"), a delightful maze of narrow streets and aristocratic
palaces built after a great fire destroyed the original town
in 1541. It is no wonder that many embassies are in residence
One of Malá Strana's gardens, with
St. Vitus's Cathedral above
|Towering above the
mansions and gardens of Malá Strana is Hradčany
(“Castle District”), dominated by
the delicate spires of the magnificent St. Vitus’s
Cathedral, within the vast walled Prague Castle complex,
which has a thousand-year history. Here, an expert guide is
Prague Castle - Vladislav Hall
18th Century Strahov Library - private
visit, Sept 2014
Royal Gardens and Belvedere
Outside the castle walls, we’ll find what are arguably
the best examples of Italian Renaissance architecture north
of the Alps, more gardens, and breathtaking views of the city—and
we’ll be treated to a special, behind the scenes
visit to the extraordinary Strahov Library,
which dates back to the late 18th century, when Mozart worked
Music plays a major role in Czech culture, and our unique
sojourn has been timed to coincide with the critically acclaimed
Dvořák Prague International Music Festival,
which we will attend on one evening during our sojourn.
You may also wish to take in an additional performance
on your own—easily done, given the proximity of our
hotel to concert venues.
Prague also begs to be explored serendipitously, and there will be time during our stay for just that! Whether it be to have a coffee in an Art Nouveau period kavarna, or to wander this fascinating city’s enchanting back streets, there is always something memorable awaiting to be discovered in Prague!
Our singular small group tour will conclude at our hotel
in Prague on Thursday,
September 24th after breakfast, with individual
departures for the airport – just minutes from the
city center – thereby facilitating individual air
Throughout the trip we will enjoy delicious regional cuisine, with menus for our meals together arranged personally. There also will be opportunities for you to dine out on your own, to try out the variety of restaurants and brasseries in both Prague and Vienna. Not to be missed, of course, is the renowned Czech Pilsener – perhaps at a table overlooking the Vltava River! – and fine Austrian and Czech wines.
To ensure the highest quality experience for all tour participants,
space will be limited to a maximum of 15/16 persons.
To receive detailed tour information, please contact Travel Designs at: Tel. 607-587-8324, or write to us at
Be sure to include all of your contact information!
…and if former travelers recommended us to you, please
include their names!
Travel Designs P. O. Box 782 Alfred, NY 14802
All photographs by Travel Designs