7-Day Discovery: Prague


Discover the storied past of the "Golden City" of Prague with its Baroque churches and fairtytale vistas, as you take guided tours of the city's highlights and enjoy free time to explore at leisure.

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 Prague's cityscape: bridges, spires and fascinating landmarks. Credit: CzechTourism.com  The thick, star-shaped walls of the Small Fortress at Terezin served as a prison for many years after its opening in 1780. Credit: CzechTourism.com  Old Town Square, one of Prague's most popular destinations. Credit: CzechTourism.com  The ornate castle overlooking Cesky Krumlov. Credit: CzechTourism.com  St. Barbara's Cathedral, one of the most beautiful structures in the Czech Gothic tradition. Credit: CzechTourism.com
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Prague, the Czech “Golden City,” is renowned for its visual delights—baroque churches, medieval cloisters, and a skyline of delicate spires and fairytale vistas. Enjoy a week in this magical World Heritage site to discover its many treasures and learn about its turbulent history from our Smithsonian expert. An orientation tour of Prague’s historic center features the castle area of Hradcany and other sites, while a full-day excursion to Kutna Hora showcases the second most important town in Bohemia during the Middle Ages.

Take time to explore more of Prague on your own. Highlights include Charles Bridge, the Jewish quarter of Josefov, and Staré Mesto (Old Town) with its Old Town Square and astronomical clock. Consider an opera at the Estates Theatre, where Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni premiered, or visit some of the city’s museums. You’ll also enjoy the flexibility of optional excursions to Cesky Krumlov or the sobering fortress/prison of Terezin.

Special Value!
Our 7-Day Discoveries offer an incredible value, as they also include international airfare, first class accommodations, and many meals, plus the services of a tour director and Smithsonian expert!

Itinerary
Days 1-2 — U.S., Prague, Czech Republic

Depart North American gateway cities for the overnight flight to Prague, Czech Republic. Upon arrival, proceed to baggage claim; after clearing customs, you will be met by your local representative for the transfer to your hotel.

The capital of the Czech Republic has been called many things: hundred-spired, magical, the mother of cities. Since the Czech state’s beginnings, Prague (a World Heritage site) has been the center of its business, politics and culture. This modern city of history is over a millennium old, with charm in every season, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. After arrival at the hotel, enjoy leisure time to explore some of the city’s parks, shops and coffeehouses. On your first night in Prague, gather with other Smithsonian Members for a welcome reception at a local Czech brewery, with hors d’oeuvres, aperitifs, locally brewed Czech beer and live musical entertainment. (D)

Day 3 – Prague
After an introductory enrichment program, you depart for a city tour of Prague. The hotel’s convenient location in the city center affords a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with Prague on foot. The first stop on today’s walking tour will be Strahov Monastery, founded in the 12th century, with its library consisting of two baroque halls for theological and philosophical reading. From the terrace you have an outstanding view of Prague.

Continue on foot to Loreto Monastery and visit Prague Castle, and then to St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest of Prague churches, constructed over a period of six centuries. The Cathedral reflects the evolution from High Gothic to Art Nouveau architecture. You also visitSt. George’s Basilica and Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower. Tonight, dine with other Smithsonian Members at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 4 — Cesky Krumlov or Prague
Members may have the day at leisure to see even more of Prague itself, or choose to take a trip to historic Cesky Krumlov (a World Heritage site) – a medieval, South Bohemian town in the countryside. Called the Pearl of Bohemia, Cesky Krumlov has preserved the Middle Ages atmosphere with almost fairy-tale charm. UNESCO’s list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage has included this town’s historical center since 1992. Your tour features the Gothic Church of St. Vitus and the Renaissance Chateau, which houses rich collections of Flemish tapestries, antique furniture and historical weapons. The excursion includes an English-speaking guide, lunch in a medieval tavern, transportation to and from Cesky Krumlov, and visits to the city and chateau. Whether you leave Prague today or not, the evening and dinner is at your leisure. (B)

Day 5 — Kutna Hora
Following an enrichment program, depart this morning for an excursion to Kutna Hora (a World Heritage site). Home to bountiful silver mines, Kutna Hora was the Kingdom of Bohemia’s most important town – after Prague – during the Middle Ages. Take in theItalian Court – originally a royal mint – and some of Kutna Hora’s unique gothic monuments, especially St. Barbara’s Cathedral (1388-1565), one of the most beautiful structures in the Czech Gothic tradition. Also visit one of the world’s most interesting burial places in the nearby village of Sedlec. Called Kostnice – “Bone Church” – this chapel is decorated by more than 40,000 human bones. From lunch onwards, the rest of the day is yours at leisure. (B)

Day 6 — Terezin or Prague
Today you may take some more time to explore beautiful Prague, including Old Town – Stare Mesto – and the preserved Jewish town of Josefov. Or, perhaps, you choose to take an optional tour to Terezin Concentration Camp. The thick, star-shaped walls of the Small Fortress at Terezin served as a prison for many years after its opening in 1780. In 1914, it held the assassin of Archduke Ferdinand. Later, Hitler used it. Once it became an operational transit camp during the wartime years, many political prisoners and others were brought to Terezin. Jewish artists and writers held here famously stole paper and supplies to create writings, recording daily camp life and allowing the rest of the world to learn their Holocaust stories. As you prepare to depart Prague tomorrow, you and other Smithsonian Members are treated to a final night farewell dinner at Nebozizek on Petrin Hill, offering a panoramic view of Prague’s historical center as you dine. (B,D)

Day 7 — Departures From Prague
Depending on your return flight schedule, leisure time in Prague is yours until your transfer to the airport for the flight home. (B)