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Independent Prague: Architecture and the Arts

Program Number: 9952RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/19/2015 - 9/27/2015; 4/16/2016 - 4/24/2016; 5/28/2016 - 6/5/2016; 6/11/2016 - 6/19/2016; 9/17/2016 - 9/25/2016; 10/1/2016 - 10/9/2016; 11/5/2016 - 11/13/2016; 11/19/2016 - 11/27/2016; 12/3/2016 - 12/11/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Czech Republic
Price starting at: $1,266.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 11; 7 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

The sun glows pale orange on the hazy silhouettes of the Charles Bridge statues, casting humble light on the centuries-old emblem of this medieval city. Marked by the marriage of old and new, a position enhanced over the past decade by the ongoing influx of ideas and innovations brought on by the fall of Communism, Prague is a living archive of architectural styles and artistic inspirations. Expert-led and independent explorations, as well as intriguing lectures, introduce the heart of Central Europe.


• Local scholars and resident experts contribute to detailed and personalized guides for use during independent exploration.
• Enjoy a classical music concert in one of the many beautiful churches near the Charles Bridge.
• Lectures address composers Janacek and Dvorak, the Hapsburg Empire and the European Union.

Activity Particulars

Walking on uneven terrain and cobblestone streets.

Included in the Program Only Price: Seven nights hotel accommodation, breakfasts during the program, two dinners and two lunches, six lectures by local experts, two escorted field trips, detailed outlines for four self-directed excursions, substantial free time. Not included: Airport transfers.

Date Specific Information

9-19-2015, 4-16-2016, 5-28-2016, 6-11-2016, 9-17-2016, 10-1-2016, 11-5-2016, 11-19-2016, 12-3-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Prague, 7 nights; departure

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Prague
7 nights

With expert input from Dr. Zdenek Barta, Dr. Jiri Holub and other local guides, the “Paris of Central Europe” lies at your feet, waiting to be discovered. Insider tips and detailed documents augment your independent explorations in and around Prague’s historic squares, castles, art museums and 21st-century surprises. Professors and art historians present lectures on Prague architecture, from Gothic and Art Nouveau to the new economy. Guides introduce the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle, while self-guided excursions may lead you to Petrín Hill for an unforgettable view of the city, or to Malá Strana, the charming eighth-century quarter. Wherever you go, indulge in the abundance of cuisine, both traditional Czech and new European, and make sure to enjoy the locally brewed Pilsner.

Czech Republic

With more than 1,000 years of human history involving princes and tribes, oppressive regimes and an ongoing struggle for national definition, the Czech Republic was finally established in 1993. Liberated from Communism by the Velvet Revolution, the country today can boast freely about its sacred and secular architecture, pristine mountains, artistic and folk traditions, and since 2004, its membership in the European Union.

Family-style hotel in a quiet part of Prague, only 15 minutes walking distance or two tram stops from the city center and famous historical sites such as the Charles Bridge and the National Theater. The hotel was built in 1910 and has been beautifully restored.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Petr
  Prague, Czech Republic 7 nights
 Hotel Petr
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Petr is located in a quiet part of Prague only 15 minutes walking distance or two tram stops from the city center and famous historical sites such as the Charles Bridge and the National Theater. The hotel was built in 1910 and was beautifully restored in 1995. It was newly furnished in 2009, welcoming you for a peaceful night's rest.
  Contact info: Drtinova 17
Prague 5,  150 00 Czech Republic
phone: +420 257314068
  Room amenities: Each room has a telephone, safe box, satellite television, laundry services, air conditioning, coffee & tea making facilities, refrigerator, free WIFI Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers 24-hour reception, bar, safe box, free WIFI Internet access, a free computer with Internet in the bar, laundry services (for a fee) and a fax machine (for a fee). Tickets to best cultural events bookable at the front desk via on-line terminal.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Prague, Czech Republic. 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Hotel Petr that night.
  End of Program:
Prague, Czech Republic. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Hotel Petr the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available at the hotel for a fee.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: From the airport to the hotel, you can take bus 100, then change to Underground B at Zlicin. Get off at Andel. Costs approx. 26 CZK. It is a 10-minute walk to the hotel from there.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Prague
  Nearest city or town:  N/A
  Nearest highway: Highway D5
  Nearest airport:  Ruzyne-Prague International Airport
  Transportation to site: Take shuttle bus arranged by hotel (costs a maximum of 900 CZK, but will likely be less as it is often possible to share the transfer with other participants). To arrange the shuttle contact the hotel in advance at Please make sure to include your arrival date, flight details and the Road Scholar program you are attending.
  From End of Program
  Location: Prague
  Transportation from site: Take shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport, arranged by the hotel.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit
(Saturday, September 19)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada for international overnight flight to Prague.

Day 2: Arrive, Check-in, Orientation Welcome Dinner
(Sunday, September 20)
 Morning: Arrival at Prague International airport (PRG).
 Afternoon: Arrive at hotel and settle in. Meet in the hotel lobby for an orientation and general information meeting at 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Hotel Petr
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Lesser Town / Charles Bridge / Old Town
(Monday, September 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Learn about some of the oldest styles of architecture in Prague during a discussion and lecture with slideshow. See visual examples of everything from Romanesque via Gothic and Baroque architecture to present day. Hear the stories that surround these incredible Prague monuments. At this time, you will be given detailed information about the many buildings you will see during your guided and independent explorations of Prague.
 Lunch: Light lunch in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Witness the historical center of Prague for the first time on a bus excursion through its city streets. We will pass the elegant Paris Street (Parizska Street) with its art nouveau houses, the fascinating Jewish Ghetto, and even enjoy a short break in front of the Astronomical clock. We will also see the historic Charles Bridge, which was once the only way to cross the Vltava River and connect the Old Town to Prague Castle. Learn how to use the public transportation.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Petr
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Czech Republic 20th Century to Present, Prague Castle
(Tuesday, September 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Get acquainted firsthand with the impact of communist rule and the changes following the fall of the Iron Curtain, during a discussion and lecture entitled "Challenges of European Integration." The personal experiences of your lecturer will deepen your understanding of this time period.
 Lunch: Light lunch in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Discover the wonders of Prague Castle, home of Bohemian kings and a textbook of Prague architecture itself! Standing tall amidst the magnificent Hradcany District, or Castle District, it is said to be the biggest castle in the world. Let generations of Prague architecture unfold before you as you explore the Prague Castle complex, including the Saint Vitus Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Petr
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Czech Fine Arts / National Gallery
(Wednesday, September 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Follow the trail of Czech Fine Arts from ancient times to present day, and learn about the many personalities of the Czech Art School, during this morning's guided exploration of the National Gallery. The gallery includes exhibitions on Czech Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Cubism.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. You will be given a detailed handout with options on where to go during independent excursions. Perhaps you would like to take a walk through the Old Jewish Cemetery, Europe's oldest Jewish burial ground. Dating back to the 15th century, this cemetery gives account to generations of Jews who lived in the ghetto of Prague. Or visit the Old-New Synagogue, a surviving monument of Prague's Jewish Town and one of Prague's first Gothic buildings. Marvel at the Gothic gables and buttresses alongside those who still gather here to worship.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Petr
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Independent Activities
(Thursday, September 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take a full day to discover Prague on your own. The Group Leader will assist you in planning your time according to your interests and make sure you get the most out of your day as possible.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Continue self-guided excursions.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Petr
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Explore the Municipal House, a jewel of Art Nouveau
(Friday, September 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning your program staff will transfer you by underground to enjoy an expert-led visit of the Municipal House. You will see the Smetana's concert hall, and the reception rooms that are not open to the public.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. Use this time to explore Kampa Island located near the Charles Bridge in the center of Prague. Separated from the Lesser Town by a channel called Devil's Stream, Kampa is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon. The old mills that are preserved here, and the charming houses that border the water's edge, are worth the visit.
 Dinner: Explore area restaurants on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel Petr
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Czechs - A Nation of Musicians / Classical Concert
(Saturday, September 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take in a stimulating discussion and lecture entitled "Czechs - A Nation of Musicians." Your lecturer will introduce you to such Czech composers as Smetana and Dvorak, and give insight on Mozart's stay in Prague. Ponder what you have learned as you listen to various musical works by Czech composers.
 Lunch: Explore area restaurants on your own.
 Afternoon: Self-guided excursion. Use your last afternoon to explore an area of Prague you have yet to encounter. In the late afternoon, we journey to St. Salvator Church near Charles Bridge where we enjoy a classical concert!
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy a short walk after dinner.
Accommodations: Hotel Petr
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Departures
(Sunday, September 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to the Prague International airport (PRG) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Prague Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia
The Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia is a wonderful exhibition of medieval art in Bohemia and Central Europe, spanning from 1200 to 1550 AD. For additional information, visit
  Mucha Museum
Situated in the 18th century Kaunitz Palace, the Mucha Museum displays the work of Alphonse Mucha, most widely known for the posters he made for Sarah Bernhardt in the fashionable world of fin-de-sičcle Paris. On display are over 100 paintings, photographs, charcoal drawings, pastels, lithographs and personal memorabilia celebrating the life and work of this Art Nouveau artist. For additional information, visit
  Sternberg Palace
The value of European art from the Classical Era to the close of Baroque is seen on permanent display, at the Sternberg Palace. For additional information, visit
  Trade Fair Palace
The Trade Fair Palace holds magnificent art from the 20th and 21st centuries. An English audio-guide is available, and a glass panoramic elevator enhances your view of this art all the way to the 5th floor. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Traveller's Companion to Prague

Author: Jan Kaplan (Editor)

Description: A portrait of the city, its neighborhoods, architecture, society and culture as seen through the eyes of writers over the centuries, including Petrarch, Hans Christian Anderson, Graham Greene and Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Conversations With Kafka

Author: Gustav Janouch

Description: The young poet sketches his friend Kafka and his world in this revelatory brief portrait, now with an appreciative preface by Francine Prose.


Author: Claudio Magris

Description: Mixing history, personalities and literature, Magris traces the course of the Danube from its source in the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire through the Balkans to the Black Sea in this anything but conventional travelogue, first published in 1986.

Danubia, A Personal History of Habsburg Europe

Author: Simon Winder

Description: Winder, author of Germania (GER270), considers the legacy of the Habsburg Europe in this charmingly digressive history and travelogue.

Dvorak and His World

Author: Michael Beckerman

Description: A fascinating view of the Czech composer's personal life and his influence on the world around him.

Eyewitness Guide Prague

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb guide features color photography, dozens of excellent maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the celebrated city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.

Gottland, Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechosovakia

Author: Mariusz Szczygiel

Description: A cultural history told through a collection of stories about human survival during Czechoslovakia’s 80-year existence. Szcygiel focuses on artists, writers and performers who responded with craftiness when confronted with the absurdity and pressures of their eras.

I Served the King of England

Author: Bohumil Hrabal

Description: A rollicking trip through the history of 20th century Czechoslovakia, Hrabal's comic masterpiece follows the misadventures of a simple but hugely ambitious waiter in pre-World War II Prague, who rises to wealth only to lose everything with the onset of Communism,

Life with a Star

Author: Jiri Weil, Philip Roth (Introduction)

Description: A fictional account of the Holocaust told through the story of a young Czech Jew.

Lonely Planet Czech Phrasebook

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: A palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary.

Open Letters, Selected Writings: 1965 - 1990

Author: Vaclav Havel, Paul Wilson (Editor)

Description: This inspired anthology of writings by the Czech poet-president Vaclav Havel collects 25 essays, letters and speeches written between 1965 and 1990, including those that directly influenced the Polish Solidarity movement.

Prague Map

Author: Berndtson & Berndtson

Description: A laminated, detailed map of the center of Prague at a scale of 1:10,000.

Prague Tales

Author: Jan Neruda, Michael Heim (Translator), Ivan Klima (Introduction)

Description: A collection of stories set in the Little Quarter of 19th-century Prague. Neruda has been referred to as the Charles Dickens of Czechoslovakia.

Prague in Black and Gold, Scenes from Life in a European City

Author: Peter Demetz

Description: Both a history and an accessible guide to the neighborhoods and architecture of the city.

Prague, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Paul Wilson (Editor)

Description: This anthology of 24 vivid stories by Czech writers, both contemporary and well-known, brings the city, history, spirit and people to life.

The Coasts of Bohemia, A Czech History

Author: Derek Sayer

Description: A sensitively written and lively portrait of the highs and lows of Czech history over the past century with special attention to the fate of Prague in war and peace.

The Czech Reader, History, Culture, Politics

Author: Jan Bazant (Editor)

Description: A fascinating survey of Czech history, culture and politics, part of the World Readers series, and composed of the writings and impressions of luminaries, leaders and ordinary Czechs. Among the highlights are Joan of Arc’s letter to the Hussites, the composer Antonin Dvorak’s letter from the New World and literary selections from Kafka, Kundera and Vaclav Havel.

The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War

Author: Jaroslav Hasek, Cecil Parrott (Translator)

Description: The deeply funny story of a hapless Czech soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, dismissed for incompetence only to be pressed into service by the Russians in World War I, then captured by his own troops.

The Magic Lantern, The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague

Author: Timothy Garton Ash

Description: With a chapter each on Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague, this eyewitness account by an astute journalist and historian shows these vibrant cities during a time of great change.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Author: Milan Kundera

Description: Kundera's intriguing novel, praised for its meditations on the nature of men and women, and on the fearful emptiness of life in Prague under Communist rule. We also carry Kundera’s collection of short stories The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

Author: Peter Sis

Description: With his usual flair and attention to detail, illustrator Peter Sis deftly sketches the events, experiences and history of his youth in Prague.

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