Cycle from Prague in the Czech Republic to Meissen in Germany, along attractive riverside paths in the Vitava and Elbe valleys. Wander the streets of Prague and soak up the atmosphere of one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Saxon Switzerland - Bike through sandstone gorges and wooded valleys Dresden - Traffic-free arrival into the heart of Germany's finest Baroque city Litomerice and Pirna - Attractive and characterful market towns.
Arrive in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. Once described as the most beautiful city in the world. Straddling the Vltava River, Prague's relaxed charm is immediately evident. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Prague at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Prague Airport (PRG), which is 40 minutes' drive from Prague. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose explore the labyrinth of old streets, wonderful palaces and bridges and architectural styles which cover everything from the Medieval through to Art Nouveau. This is a city that has, over the centuries, echoed to some of Europe's most dramatic events, from the Thirty Years War to the 'Velvet Revolution' that finally saw the end of communist rule, and the past centuries have left an indelible mark on the city, one that UNESCO has recognised as a jewel of cultural heritage.
Taking to the saddle after breakfast this morning we begin our journey by following the river towards the rolling landscape of the 'Garden of Bohemia'. Travelling across a countryside of undulating hills our destination for today is the small town of Melnik, located on a hill above the confluence of the Vltava and Elbe rivers. This is the centre of Bohemia's wine growing region and the town lies in the shadow of the impressive church of SS Peter and Paul and the magnificent adjoining chateau, which dates from the 16th and 17th centuries (The original castle was destroyed by Swedish troops during the Thirty Years War). ( Our total cycling distance today is approximately 50 kilometres
Crossing over the Elbe we cycle along the left bank, towards the town of Roudnice, where we stop for lunch. A small town built on the banks of the Elbe, Roudnice nestles around its impressive Baroque castle. We then continue to the vast fortress town of Terezin, which was built in the 18th century but achieved notoriety during World War II under the Nazis, who turned the town into a Jewish ghetto and the fortress into a concentration camp. Today the fortress remains a memorial to those atrocities, with a symbolic cemetery in front of the main entrance. A short distance from Terezin lies the town of Litomerice, our final destination for today, whose wide market square contains a number of attractive Baroque and Renaissance buildings. Our total cycling distance today is approximately 41 kilometres
We begin the day with a walking tour of Litomerice, including a chance to climb the chalice-shaped tower of the Town Hall, with its panoramic views of the town and valley. Taking to our bikes we return to the river and wind our way through a wooded valley, where rolling hills tumble down to the river. High above looms the mysterious castle of Strekov, standing on a precipitous basalt crag high above the river, a setting that proved irresistable to many of the great Czech Romantics as well as the German composer Richard Wagner, whose visit to the castle in 1842 inspired his great opera Tannhauser. We stop for lunch near the town of Usti nad Labem, then cycle past the Neo-Renaissance chateau of Velke Brezno en route to Decin, our overnight stop close to the German border. Our total cycling distance today is approximately 48 kilometres
Taking riverside cycle paths out of Decin we head for the German border, crossing close to the spa towns of Schilka and Bad Schandau. We continue west, passing bizarre sandstone cliffs and rock formations as we head for the impressive fortress of Konigstein, the largest fortification in Europe. Dramatically located 240 metres above the Elbe on a high plateau, we have panoramic views from the ramparts over the surrounding countryside. Continuing through the rocky terrain of Sachsische Schweiz (Saxony's Switzerland) we reach Pirna, a small market town just to the south of Dresden. Small restaurants and bars spill out onto Pirna's attractive, cobbled town square, which is also overlooked by the castle and church tower. Our total cycling distance today is approximately 44 kilometres
Our last day's cycling is arguably the most exciting, as we follow a route from Pirna past sandstone hills and through beautiful riverside meadows to the city of Dresden, the 'Florence of the North' as this Saxon capital was once known. Our journey takes us past the restored Pilinitz Castle, once the summer retreat of Saxon royalty, and the so-called 'Blue Wonder', Germany's first suspension bridge dating from 1893. As we approach Dresden the riverside mansions become ever more impressive and grandiose, until one final bend reveals the city's famous skyline of domes and towers (all re-built following the devastating allied bombing raids of World War II). We plan to stop in Dresden for lunch and enjoy some time exploring the Old Town on foot. The city boasts a remarkable collection of fine buildings, including the Zwinger Palace, the Semper Opera House, the Royal Palace and the Cathedral. Later we continue our journey along the river through rich winelands to the lovingly preserved town of Meissen. Famed for its porcelain and dominated by the magnificent medieval fortress of Albrechtsburg and the adjoining Meissen Cathedral, the town is the perfect place to end our journey and perhaps enjoy a celebratory glass or two of the local produce. Our total cycling distance today is approximately 46 kilometres
This morning we return to Prague by bus, a journey of about 2.5 hours. After checking into our hotel we have an afternoon walking tour of the Czech capital. Among the many points of interest are the Old Town Square and City Hall with its Astronomical Clock, set amid centuries-old houses and arcades. We walk across Charles Bridge, the oldest and most handsome of Prague's many bridges, and visit Hradcany (the Castle District) with its Gothic cathedral, immense castle walls and beautiful views over the city skyline.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Prague. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Prague at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Prague Airport (PRG), which is 40 minutes' drive from Prague.
7 Break Fast(s)
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