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Czech Out Prague with Santa Barbara Travel

Vacation in Central Europe – Part 1

5 Countries, One Ship – Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovakia & Hungary

Voiced by Santa Barbara Travel’s Marketing Manager, Cynthia:

Considering a visit to Central Europe?  Why not a river cruise where one can see some of our world’s most historic sites.  Buildings dating back to the early middle ages and towns that speak a thousand stories.  My husband and I decided to take a 7-night AMAWaterways river cruise down the Danube from Vilshofen, Germany to Budapest, Hungary.

Prior to the cruise, we decided to tour Prague in the Czech Republic on our own.  We stayed at the Augustine Hotel, a Luxury Collection hotel that was originally built as a monastery in 1284 AD.  The eclectic hotel decorated with hints of Czech Cubism is ideally located in the quiet Malá Strana neighborhood, just below the magnificent Prague Castle and less than a 10 minute walk to the famous Charles Bridge.  Most of the monastery was converted to a luxurious hotel, however 4 monks still keep residence on the property.  Our room was located at the front of the hotel.  If you keep the windows open you can hear the electric street car; however the windows are triple-pane glass and when closed, you can enjoy a good night’s sleep. (Some rooms have a view of Prague Castle or the inside courtyard/sundial garden). The king-sized bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was enormous and luxurious. The marble bathroom had heated floors and heated towel racks (we had three), plus a large soaking tub . . . a perfect solution for a day’s end of cobblestone walking. The hotel sales manager, Pavla gave us the grand tour of the hotel, including other rooms and suites, the downstairs multi-function room (once the monk’s private brewery) is used for private events and receptions, and the hotel’s hip “Refectory” bar offers the delicious St. Thomas Beer (this beer can only be purchased at the Augustine and is a must for beer lovers).  Next door,  just on the other side of the bar’s wall is the beautiful and ornate St. Thomas Church, part of the Augustinian monastery.  The ceiling frescoes are beautiful!

Augustine Hotel at night

St Augustine Hotel at Night

 

 

st thomas

 

 

 

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The Church next door – St. Thomas Church

 

st thomas beer

St. Thomas Beer

The restaurant is managed by Czech celebrity chef,  Executive Chef Marek Fichtner.  The daily breakfast buffet was amazingly delicious with the freshest of ingredients.  We also enjoyed a relaxing lunch on the outdoor patio overlooking their small garden of herbs.  Check out my mango salad.

mango salad

 

Augustine Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic, breakfast

Attractions:

Charles Bridge – Spend the day and evening on the historic Charles Bridge, crossing the Vltava river, commissioned by King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, to connect Prague Castle to the city’s Old Town.   Enjoy spectacular views of the fully lit Prague Castle in the evening and the Baroque statues that line the pedestrian walkway during the day. The bridge towers on each end of the bridge also offer great views of the river and city.

Here are some of our highlights:

Prague Castle –

  • Take either a guided tour or self-guided with audio or map.  Tickets can be purchased right at the castle if not during peak tourist season; otherwise book with the hotel concierge.  Be sure to visit St Vitus’s Cathedral and see the impressive tomb of St John Nepomuk made of 2 tons of silver; the architecture of the Old Royal Palace; and “Golden Lane” a narrow street of archer homes who defended the castle.  If weather permits, take the trail through the vineyards down to the main street – a 15 minute stroll downhill, unless you decide to stop at the different wine stops.  And if you decide to walk, visit the marvelous Wallenstein Garden at the bottom of the hill – A baroque style palace that is now the House of the Senate with a brilliantly landscaped garden that includes an artificial grotto with stalactites.
Prague Castle

Prague Castle

 

Old Town – Every morning at 10am (double-check with the Tourist Office in the square) – free tours are given in the Town Square

  • Old Town Square – Jan Hus Memorial
  • Astronomical Clock/ Old Town Hall
  • National Gallery
  • Municipal House is a famous Art Nouveau building and home to one of Prague’s finest concert halls.  We attended a concert performing Mozart and Vivaldi, plus opera in the grand Smetana Hall.  You will pay quite a bit less than you would for a similar concert in Vienna. Perhaps when you visit Prague, you may hear the music of one of  Bohemia’s most famous composers, Antonin Dvorak, who was born very close to Prague.

 

old town prague clock old town prague

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Municipal House - Art Noveau, Smetana concert hall

Municipal House – Art Noveau, Prague, Czech Republic, Dvorak, Mozart, Vivaldi

 Old Town Prague

 

New Town – Wenceslas Square for shopping.

  • National Theatre- Famous Opera House

Visit Café Louvre for coffee and pastries (also opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner). Built over 100 years ago, this café has been a gathering place for the town’s luminaries, such as Franz Kafka, Albert Einstein, and Czech/German intellectuals.

And of course try a Trdelník, a snack sold throughout the Czech Republic and Hungary – pastry dough wrapped around a metal rod is dusted with sugar, spice and nuts, and then grilled over an open-flame.  Some shops sell them filled with ice-cream or Nutella.

AmaWaterways River Cruise and Budapest experience coming shortly – Part 2 and Part 3.

Click here for Augustine Hotel special amenities and AmaWaterways specials.

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For more information, please contact Erin Zetter or Tina Slimp:

Erin Zetter, Leisure Travel Advisor

Email: ezetter@sbtravel.com

Phone: (805) 869-1140

Erin Zetter, Santa Barbara Travel

Erin Zetter, Santa Barbara Travel

 

 

 

Tina Slimp, Leisure Travel Advisor

Email: tnordholm@sbtravel.com

Phone: (805) 869-1112

Tina Slimp Santa Barbara Travel

Tina Slimp, Santa Barbara Travel

Rocky Mountaineer Celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday…and you keep the gifts.

rocky mountaineer                                                                           Rocky Mountaineer Train

Rocky Mountaineer Celebrates and Is Giving Back To You!

Receive a FREE HOTEL NIGHT in the city of your choice when you book a 2017 Rocky Mountaineer Tour by 7/7/17

It’s your lucky day. Rocky Mountaineer train tours is offering a free hotel night in the city of your choice, applicable to 2017 packages of 5 days or more. It’s not too late to book a Fall vacation. Experience the crisp air of the Canadian Rockies and the vibrant colors of autumn.  Keep your eyes open for bears and eagles attracted by spawning salmon…from the comfort of a luxury train car.  The bi-level, all-dome fleet offers panoramic views wherever you sit. Enjoy gourmet meals designed by an award-winning culinary team while watching nature’s wonders whiz by, all on the way to your world-class luxury hotel for the night. See the cities featured in this special:

Vancouver

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A world-class city nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountains. The only downside to staying an extra day, is wanting to stick around even longer.

Victoria

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A unique blend of old world charm and new world experiences. From afternoon tea at the famous Empress hotel to outdoor adventures, an extra day in Victoria is a day well spent.

Calgary

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A beautiful city perfectly balanced between prairies and mountain peaks. Calgary’s restaurants, entertainment and outdoor activities make an extra day, extra special.

Seattle

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This is a city that has it all. Art, music, culture, outdoor activities and exceptional cuisine are just the beginning. In Seattle, your extra day could end up being the best day yet.


Contact Tina Slimp or Erin Zetter for more information or to book your trip:

*Must book by July 7, 2017

Tina Slimp Santa Barbara Travel

Tina Slimp, Leisure Travel Advisor

Email: Tnordholm@sbtravel.com

Phone: (805) 869-1112

Erin Zetter, Santa Barbara Travel

Erin Zetter, Leisure Travel Advisor

Email: Ezetter@sbtravel.com

Phone: (805) 869-1140

*Offer valid on new 2017 GoldLeaf Deluxe, GoldLeaf or Silverleaf Service bookings made by July 7, 2017. Select dates only. Offer must be requested at the time of booking. Restrictions may apply.