One of the advantages of a European river cruise is being able to combine Eastern and Western countries in one vacation. The Czech capital of Prague is one of Europe’s hottest tourist spots and it’s easy to add this beautiful city to your river cruise as a pre or post-cruise stopover. Jana Frintova, CEO of Patriot Travel in Prague, is here to give us the latest information on this very worthwhile vacation option.
Q: What pre and post cruise stays would you recommend for those taking a river cruise in Europe?
We would very much suggest that we meet you at the cruise ship and take you to Prague with our driver and guide and arrive either at the evening in Prague having driven through the lovely countryside of south Bohemia and stopping in the charming town of Cesky Krumlov for sightseeing and lunch. The other possibility is to stay one night in Cesky Krumlov - when the weather is nice, it is possible to do bike trips and canoe trips there. The next day they would go on to Prague stopping at other historic places - Ceske Budejovice and/or Hluboka Castle.
It is possible to do both the above in reverse - start in Prague and drop off on the cruise ship.
It can be done two different ways - via Vienna or Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Once again, you can spend the night in Bratislava and then visit couple of towns - eg Trebic and/or Telc - on the way to Prague. If you spend the night in Vienna, then you go via Cesky Krumlov (described above). On the way from Budapest, they can visit Szentandre, Visegrad or Estergom in the Hungarian territory.
Q: You offer private car with driver/guide for going between European cities. Tell us more about this experience.
This is a delightful and informative way to travel! When you travel with a driver/guide instead of flying or going by train, you learn a lot from the guides about the country and places you are driven through. Of course there are always places of interest on the way where you can stop and explore. You can also experience village restaurants that are basic but with good local food which adds to your cultural experience.
Q: What special features do you offer visitors to Prague?
All clients on arrival receive a "welcome letter", small souvenir and an emergency phone number where we can be reached at any time. So I daresay the human touch and exclusive approach has always been here and will never disappear.
We are a small de-luxe family run company and we, myself or my son Jakub, still meet or at least speak with all the clients that come here. We have about 30 guides and about 20 drivers working with us.
Q: When combining a Western Europe river cruise with Prague, do you recommend people start or end their travels in Prague?
It really does not matter at all. Whether pre or post cruise, Prague, the Golden City, is a real gem and an idyllic spot to relax and explore before or after your cruise.
Q: How many days should visitors plan to spend in Prague pre or post river cruise to see it well and without rushing?
We usually recommend at least two full days but time permitting, three or more days are really better. There is a lot to do and see. The longer the better!
Q: While in Prague, what are the top sites you recommend visitors see?
Either of the tours is half a day and at least one walking is recommended.
We also offer lots of one day tours out of the city.
Q: What special food and wine/beer experiences can you arrange in Prague?
We can arrange a beer tasting or wine tasting tour - or combination of the two when they are taken to restaurants and can sample local food and local beer and wine.
Q: Describe the Prague Christmas markets for those wanting to visit in December.
Christmas is a very special time everywhere and also in Prague. The main and largest Christmas market is at the Old Town square but there are lots of other small ones around the city. There’s a Christmas tree at each of them and stalls with Xmas special sweets and foods and drinks, Xmas ornaments, food, drink, souvenirs and short performances with Xmas theme and Xmas carrols. Come and experience it!
Q: What time of year do you recommend for visiting Prague?
Some people love spring, some prefer fall while July and August being school holidays has the advantage of the lack of kids in the city if that is what you prefer. I don’t recommend November, January and February but even then there is a special charm as there are not so many tourists here. Any other month is great!
Q: What is the best time to visit if you want to take in cultural events like the ballet or concerts?
Any time except July and August which are the theater holiday months. The famous concert festivals are in May and September but the offerings are very rich throughout the year. Prices are very reasonable, too.
Please send us a message if you have any questions or comments about anything you see in the e-zine. We'd love to hear from you!