Czech Republic

Independent Prague: Architecture and the Arts

Discover an insider’s appreciation for Prague, gaining a comprehensive understanding of art, architecture and history as you explore this city with local scholars and resident experts.
Rating (4.84)
Program No. 9952RJ
9 days
Starts at
Special Offer
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Flights start at

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 3 miles and 3 hours per day with periods of standing, many times in crowded areas. One day you may walk up to 4 hours throughout the day. Getting on and off public transportation/motorcoach. Terrain includes cobblestones, and it is partly hilly. Some stairs to negotiate.
Independent City Discoveries
Independent City Discoveries
Learn with a Group Leader and enjoy educational programming while also getting independent time to explore on your own. Most Independent City Discoveries include lectures, self-guided excursions and passes for public transit and museums.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • 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 the best examples of Czech Art Nouveau, composers such as Antonin Dvorak and the transition of the Czech Republic after World War II and the fall of the Iron Curtain.

General Notes

Give us a call to combine this learning adventure with select dates of "Independent Budapest: Hidden Gems in the “Pearl of the Danube”" (#23250) for even more learning in Eastern Europe! We’ll even transfer you for free between locations.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Tomas Brychta
A native of Prague, Tomas Brychta has been a coordinator, leader and instructor of Road Scholar programs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia since 1992. He is the owner and CEO of Scantravel, an agency focused on educational services for foreign visitors to the Czech Republic, and is also the owner of the Hotel Petr in Prague. Travel is a passion for Tomas, and he has not only visited almost all of Europe, Egypt, Turkey, Uganda, India, North America, the former Soviet Union, and New Zealand, but speaks Czech, English, German, and Russian. When not spending time with his family, Tomas enjoys hiking, skiing, swimming, yachting and, of course, Road Scholar programs!

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Tomas Brychta
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Anna Pivonková
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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.
The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War
by Jaroslav Hasek, Cecil Parrott (Translator)
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.
Life with a Star
by Jiri Weil, Philip Roth (Introduction)
A fictional account of the Holocaust told through the story of a young Czech Jew.
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.
The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain
by Peter Sis
With his usual flair and attention to detail, illustrator Peter Sis deftly sketches the events, experiences and history of his youth in Prague.
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.
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,
Lonely Planet Czech Phrasebook
by Lonely Planet
A palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary.
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.
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.
Gottland, Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia
by Mariusz Szczygiel
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.
Danubia, A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
by Simon Winder
Winder, author of Germania (GER270), considers the legacy of the Habsburg Europe in this charmingly digressive history and travelogue.
Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance
by Charles Novacek
Novacek recounts his life from his birth in Czechoslovakia in 1928 through his time fighting the Nazis and communists as a member of the Czech Resistance up to his immigration to the United States in 1956.
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.
Prague Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A laminated, detailed map of the center of Prague at a scale of 1:10,000.
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 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.
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.
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.
Conversations With Kafka
by Gustav Janouch
The young poet sketches his friend Kafka and his world in this revelatory brief portrait, now with an appreciative preface by Francine Prose.
by Claudio Magris
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.
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.
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.

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