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Czech Republic

New Year's Eve in Prague

Program No. 19240RJ
Celebrate New Year’s in one of the world’s most treasured cities, discovering rich cultural history, magnificent art and traditional Czech food both with the experts and on your own.

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DATES & starting prices
Dec 26 - Jan 3, 2024
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Dec 27 - Jan 4, 2024
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Dec 26 - Jan 3, 2024
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Dec 27 - Jan 4, 2024
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At a Glance

Ring in the New Year in Bohemian style and explore the amazing city of Prague from every angle. Discover Old Town, the former Jewish Ghetto, and the lively Christmas Markets where the smell and taste of traditional Czech delicacies awaits. Learn about the beautiful buildings of this city known for its breathtakingly diverse architecture and step inside 9th-century Prague Castle and 14th-century Karlstejn Castle. Toast the dawning of 2023 during a celebration at an authentic Prague restaurant.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Periods of standing, walking mostly on city streets with some cobblestones and uneven terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy the Christmas markets in the Old Town and Wenceslas Squares, where musicians perform and mulled wine, chestnuts, potato pancakes and sausages are among the delicacies you’ll find.
  • Marvel at Prague’s historic sites on expert-led walks that bring you over the Charles Bridge, into picturesque Lesser Town and through the Jewish quarter.
  • Greet the New Year in a traditional Bohemian restaurant with Czech folklore, food, music and dancing.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Prague in Black and Gold, Scenes from Life in a European City
by Peter Demetz
Both a history and an accessible guide to the neighborhoods and architecture of the city.
Baroque and Rococo Art
by Germain Bazin
An excellent illustrated survey of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, this volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series is a good companion to the golden age of Middle Europe.
A Traveller's Companion to Prague
by Jan Kaplan (Editor)
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.
Lonely Planet Czech Phrasebook
by Lonely Planet
A palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary.
Prague, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Paul Wilson (Editor)
This anthology of 24 vivid stories by Czech writers, both contemporary and well-known, brings the city, history, spirit and people to life.
The Czech Reader, History, Culture, Politics
by Jan Bazant (Editor)
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.
Eyewitness Guide Prague
by Eyewitness Guides
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.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan Kundera
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 Complete Stories
by Franz Kafka
All of Kafka's stories, including The Metamorphosis, A Hunger Artist and In The Penal Colony.
Open Letters, Selected Writings: 1965 - 1990
by Vaclav Havel, Paul Wilson (Editor)
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 Tales
by Jan Neruda, Michael Heim (Translator), Ivan Klima (Introduction)
A collection of stories set in the Little Quarter of 19th-century Prague. Neruda has been referred to as the Charles Dickens of Czechoslovakia.
Dvorak and His World
by Michael Beckerman
A fascinating view of the Czech composer's personal life and his influence on the world around him.
The Magic Lantern, The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague
by Timothy Garton Ash
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.
I Served the King of England
by Bohumil Hrabal
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,
Prague Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A laminated, detailed map of the center of Prague at a scale of 1:10,000.
The Coasts of Bohemia, A Czech History
by Derek Sayer
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.
Beyond the Chestnut Trees
by Maria Bauer
Bauer interweaves recollections of her youth in Prague with an account of a return visit 40 years later in this affectionate, classic memoir.
Frommer's Prague Day by Day
by Mark Baker
This handy, compact guide includes a separate fold-out map of the city center and detailed itineraries for experiencing the best of Prague.
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9 days
8 nights
14 meals
7 B 3 L 4 D
In Transit to Program
In Flight
Arrive Prague, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Hotel Petr

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Orientation: 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Prague Castle, Free Time
Hotel Petr

Activity note: Getting on/off a private bus. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We'll board a private bus and head on an expert-led drive around the city. We'll stop at Prague Castle, the largest resident complex in the Czech Republic and – according to Guinness World Records – the largest ancient castle in the world. This palace has been a home and a working space for Czech kings, Holy Roman Emperors, and Czech presidents since the 9th century. The Old Royal Palace and the Cathedral of St. Vitus are breathtaking architectural treasures.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

Old Town, Jewish Ghetto, Free Time
Hotel Petr

Activity note: Getting on/off a private bus; driving about 9 miles, approximately 40 minutes driving time. Walking about 2 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Our field trip will start in the Old Town, a unique area of Prague with the impressive Old Town Square, the center of all events since the Middle Ages. The stone houses, churches, palaces, and monasteries in combination with twisty narrow streets and alleys create a very special atmosphere. We will also explore the Jewish Town. The former Jewish Ghetto is a noteworthy quarter of Prague that boasts worldwide significance. Extensive historical records trace the existence of Prague's Jewish community back to the 11th century. The Old Jewish Cemetery is Europe’s oldest and best-preserved Jewish burial ground, its history dating back to the 15th century. The graves form a chronicle in stone of the history of the Prague ghetto. Next, we will enjoy Christmas markets at the Old Town and Wenceslas Squares. Other than traditional Christmas and New Year's handcrafts, we will also find various Czech delicacies here, including sausages, potato pancakes, fresh sweet pie, Trdelnik, roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, hot punch, and mulled wine. These, along with performances by musicians on market stages, help to make our visit unforgettable.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: On own.

Evening: At leisure.

Trade Fair Palace, Free Time, Bohemian New Year's Eve
Hotel Petr

Activity note: Getting on/off a private bus. Walking and standing for approximately 2.5 hours at the museum. Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We'll head out by bus on an expert-led trip to the Trade Fair Palace, the largest gallery space in Prague with the city’s finest collection of paintings, objects of art, statues, and other exhibits of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Here, we will view many works by French artists such as Delacroix, Courbet, Sisley, Pissarro, Monet, Seurat, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse, Chagall, Rousseau, Picasso, and Rodin. We will also become familiar with Czech Fine Art featuring works by Kuaka, Drtikol, Filla, Zrzavy, Spala, Lada, Trnka, Sudek, Knizak – present director of the gallery, Pistek – bearer of the Oscar for the costumes of the movie Amadeus, and many others.

Lunch: We'll have a light lunch at the Grand Café Orient on the first floor of the House of the Black Madonna. Completed in 1912, this building symbolizes the unique Czech contribution to the cubist movement. Once serving as a department store and office space, it now houses a museum dedicated to cubism.

Afternoon: Free time. You may wish to visit the Museum of Czech Cubism in the House of the Black Madonna.

Dinner: We'll head via private bus to a traditional Bohemian restaurant. There, we'll celebrate the end of the year with a folklore program, music, and dance.

Evening: We'll remain at the restaurant to celebrate New Year's Eve, Bohemian style!

New Year's Walk, Charles Bridge, Lesser Town, Concert
Hotel Petr

Activity note: Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice. Walking about 1 mile, approximately 1 hour in the afternoon. Getting on/off a private bus for dinner and concert.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Free time. Relax or enjoy some fresh air in the nearby gardens.

Lunch: At the Three Centuries Restaurant.

Afternoon: A traditional New Year's walk of Prague sites will lead us to the Charles Bridge, one of the oldest extant stone bridges in Europe, adorned on both sides with a total of thirty Baroque statues. Our field trip continues in the Lesser Town, a picturesque quarter with monumental noble churches and palaces.

Dinner: In the restaurant of the Municipal House, decorated by Art Nouveau tiles. Enjoy the pre-war Czechoslovakian atmosphere.

Evening: Happy New Year! Together, we will enjoy a New Year's concert at the Municipal House, the pearl of Art Nouveau style.

Karlstejn Castle
Hotel Petr

Activity note: Getting on/off a private bus; driving about 40 miles, approximately 1.5 hours riding time. Walking uphill for 30 minutes, approximately 130 steps during visit to Karlstejn Castle. Walking and standing for approximately 3 hours total at the castle.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We will depart on a field trip to Karlstejn Castle. The Gothic castle, founded in 1348 and completed in 1365, was built by the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV as a place to store royal treasures, especially collections of holy relics and crown jewels. We will explore not only the castle but also the village of Karlstejn and the Museum of Nativity Scenes, highlighting the famous Karlstejn Royal Nativity.

Lunch: At a restaurant near the castle.

Afternoon: We'll have some time after lunch to relax and explore Karlstejn independently before reboarding the bus and returning to Prague.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

Contemporary Life in the Czech Republic, Free Time
Hotel Petr

Activity note: Getting on/off a boat; riding approximately 2 hours. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice. Getting on/off a private bus for dinner.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: At the hotel, our Group Leader will cover contemporary life in the Czech Republic. We will discuss the political and economic changes after 1989, the new global role of the Czech Republic, and the everyday life of ordinary Czechs.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: Aboard a Vltava riverboat. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes, In Transit From Program

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.