House of Parliament, Budapest, Hungary Charles Bridge - Prague, Czech Republic

Self-Drive Czech Republic

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Exeter International White Glove Self-Drive Program Includes:

  • A pre-programmed GPS system for you to use while in Europe.
  • Every day will be set up for you and you can’t get lost!
  • 24-hours local help line available to you as you travel and manned exclusively by Exeter local staff.
  • Our expert advice in finding the perfect car for your trip. Your car will be waiting for you to pick up locally and will show you exactly where to return it when you are finished.
  • The freedom to deviate and explore on your own and then jump back into your planned itinerary at any time.

The following is just a suggested daily touring schedule. You will have complete control over your daily schedule and may change your plans at any time simply by telling your guide or by deviating from your Exeter-provided GPS itinerary. Your time in Europe is yours to enjoy as you like!

For custom luxury travel, tours and self drive programs to the Central European countries of Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czech Republic, please contact one of our travel experts.

Central Europe Downloadable PDF

White Glove Self-Drive Downloadable PDF

Download a PDF itinerary here.

Day 1
Arrival | Prague Czech National Gallery - Prague, Czech Republic

Arrival into Prague. Your driver will be waiting for you just after baggage claim and customs for your transfer to your hotel in the center of the city and in the heart of the historic district.

Perhaps more than any other city in Europe, Prague has kept its pre-modern charm. Spared the destruction of the Second World War, the ancient structures of the city still exist in their original state. Prague is a walking city as it was designed over many centuries for the pedestrian and the horse. The inner city lacks major avenues as found in Paris or Rome, giving the city its unique character.

The official check-in time of your hotel is 3PM. If your room is available, you can check in. If it’s not, you can leave your luggage and begin exploring. We recommend a walk to beautiful Kampa Island, not far from your hotel. You’ll find quaint shops and restaurants and the unique Museum Kampa featuring modern European art.

Exeter Services: Airport Transfer

Hotel: Aria Prague

Day 2
Prague | Prague Jewish Cemetery - Prague, Czech Republic

Today your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and take you through Prague’s famous Jewish Quarter and the Old Town. Visit the historic synagogues, including the stunning Spanish Synagogue and the ancient Old-New Synagogue, which was built in the late 13th century, making it the oldest synagogue still in use in Europe. While in the Jewish Quarter, you may decide to visit the Old Jewish Cemetery, founded in the late 15th century and still corresponding to its original medieval size. Over the centuries, more than 100,000 people are believed to have been buried here.

After your tour of the Jewish Quarter , your guide will take you through Prague’ s storybook Old T own. Y ou’ll want to see the beautiful expanse of the Charles Bridge but it’s a more magical experience to visit it very late or very early on your own, when it’s free of the souvenir stands and tourists. Your guide will give you a quick lesson of Prague’s history, evident in every building and small passageway of this 800-year-old city. Be sure not to miss the fairytale-like Old Town Hall Tower (1364) that stands above Old Town Square; you can even go to the top of the tower for a splendid view over the district.

Finally, you will enter New Town—which is new because it was only founded in 1348! Here you can visit Wenceslas Square, were over the many centuries demonstrations of civil discontent have taken place. At the top of the square you will see the imposing building of the National Museum and the Monument to St. Wenceslas, the patron of the Czech lands, by sculptor Josef Myslbek.

As you stroll, our guide will point out some of the interesting sculptures in Prague. There are several thought provoking and somewhat controversial sculptures around the city. You get little slices of Czech history and, in some cases, some interesting political commentary, too!

Note: All touring today is on foot – please dress for comfort.

 

Exeter Services: Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Aria Prague

Day 3
Prague | Prague Strahov Library - Prague, Czech Republic

This morning your guide and driver will meet you for an overview drive of some of Prague’s top sites. Drive by the famous Dancing House and through the historical area of Vysehrad, with its 10th-century fort. You will also observe modern local Czech life with a drive through the bustling residential area of Vinohrady, once covered by vineyards. You will then head towards the Castle District and Hradčany.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Today you have a VIP visit to the Strahov Monastery. Here, you will be invited into the two main halls of the library: The Philosophical Hall and the Theological Hall. These two halls are viewed by the public through a single narrow doorway, but you will be allowed to walk alone among the ancient books and artifacts.

Afterward, visit the Prague Castle complex. This castle, designed with courtyards inside of courtyards, is a fascinating view into the lives of the Czech monarchy. You might want to step into the towering and wonderfully Neo-Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral inside the complex. As a side note, the castle complex and the cathedral are often very crowded with lines. Once in the castle territory, if the line is daunting, skip the cathedral. You can then visit Lobkowicz Palace, also on the castle territory.

The Lobkowicz Palace is one of our favorite visits in Prague. It’s one spot where we always recommend using the museum’s audio guide, as it is recorded by Mr. William Lobkowicz himself. After the confiscation by the Nazis and later, the Communists, the palace was been returned to the Lobkowicz family, one of the most powerful Czech aristocratic families whose history goes all the way back to the 14th century. The tour will give you an insight into their life and their collection of paintings, decorative art, porcelain sets, music scores (one with Mozart’s own handwritten notes), arms, and armors. Don’t miss the original score of Beethoven’s Eroica!

Your day will end in Malá Strana or Little Quarter, with its charming narrow streets. It’s also here that you will find many unique shops full of Bohemian glass and the marionettes that are so famous in Prague.

Note: Much of today’s touring is on foot – please dress for comfort.

Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (3 Hours); Guide (6 Hours)

Hotel: Aria Prague

Day 4
Kunta Hora | Kunta Hora

This morning, meet your guide and driver for a journey outside of Prague. Today your destination is the medieval town of Kutná Hora. This former silver-mining town has a beautiful collection of historic buildings in a UNESCO- protected Old Town. This was once the favored residence of several Bohemian Kings and you will find gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture.

Here you will find one of Europe’s most beautiful Gothic churches, the Cathedral of St. Barbara. It was designed by Peter Parler, the court architect and sculptor of Charles IV. You will also see the Wallachian Court, former home of the Royal Mint.

A highlight is a visit to the Sedlec Ossuary—a chapel decorated entirely in human bones located in Kutná Hora’s suburb of Sedlec. The chapel features over 40,000 human bones formed into a variety of decorative objects, including a chandelier and a coat of arms for a noble family.

Exeter Services:  Vehicle, Driver & Guide (6 hours)

Hotel: Aria Prague

Day 5
Prague - Cesky Krumlov | Prague - Cesky Krumlov Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Today, check out of your hotel and use a taxi, payable locally, to get to the rental car facility. We recommend picking up around 10AM to avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic.

After receiving your vehicle plug in your GPS and choose your first destination from the favorites. Today you will head into the Czech countryside to the town of Cesky Krumlov.

Along the picturesque journey, you’ll see ancient castles and prominent monuments – we suggest a stop at Hluboká Castle en route. This present-day Chateau was an early Gothic castle built around 1250. In the 16th century, the Lord of Hradec, who bought the castle from King Ferdinand I, converted it into a Renaissance stately home. The castle endured many changes throughout the century, but eventually became one of the most beautiful castles in Bohemia. Today, in the former castle riding school, is a gallery that holds an impressive exhibition of Gothic paintings and statues as well as Dutch and Flemish art of the 17th and 18th centuries.

If you like, you can also stop in the charming town of České Budějovice. Stop into an historic pub for a pint of the original Budweiser beer (for the passenger only!!)! Parking is payable locally.

Once, in Cesky Krumlov we will advise you where to park and leave your vehicle. It’s just a short walk to hotel.

Note: Cesk y Krumlo v has very specif ic parking rules. Y ou will park in a lot on the perimeter of the UNESCO-pr otected Old Town, then walk with your luggage to your hotel.

Exeter Services: None

Hotel: Hotel Ruze

 

Day 6
Cesky Krumlov | Cesky Krumlov Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Today, you will be met by your guide in the hotel lobby for a tour of Cesky Krumlov and of the castle that looms over the city in the center. The center of this South Bohemian town offers stately Gothic and Renaissance houses, a wonderful square where the life of the town thrives – narrow, winding cobbled-stoned streets, dignified monasteries and churches and of course, the 13th century Rožmberk Castle – rich in history as well as arts and crafts that have been preserved throughout the centuries. Don’t miss the splendid view in the castle garden of a large Baroque theater with period furnishings.

We also highly recommend a visit to the unique space that is the Egon Schiele art center. They have a collection of works by Schiele, of course, but each year they have a special exhibition based on a changing theme.

This afternoon is at your leisure. You can enjoy the picturesque town or perhaps venture out to explore in the countryside.

Note: All touring today is on foot in largely pedestrian only areas.

Exeter Services: Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Hotel Ruze or similar

Day 7
Cesky Krumlov - Mikulov | Cesky Krumlov - Mikulov Tabor, Czech Republic

Today, you will be driving west towards the small town of Mikulov. This drive will approximately take you approximately 3.5 hours if you drive straight through. The GPS that was provided is programmed with the route to Mikulov as well as other possible points of interest along the way.

If you want to deviate a bit, one interesting stop en route is Telč. The UNESCO-listed Telč is a picturesque little town in Moravia. After a fire that destroyed the city in 1530, the governor of Moravia brought in Italian architects and master builders to rebuild the town and its castle. The main square is surrounded by colorful arcaded houses and leads to the magnificent renaissance chateau.

Along this same route is Třebíč. This UNESCO-listed town is worth visiting for its well preserved Jewish Quarter and the old Jewish cemetery. The extraordinary complex features a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets with more than one hundred Renaissance and Baroque houses of the former Jewish Quarter. You should not miss the interiors of the Rear Synagogue decorated with inscriptions of lithurgical texts and the old cemetery that bears testimony to the remarkable funeral art of this region.

If you’re an art lover, one other stop you could consider is in the small town of Moravsky Krumlov. As of summer 2020, it’s due to receive Mucha’s massive Slav Epic – a cyle of 20 large Art Nouveau paintings depicting the history of the Slav people. It’s arguablly the greatest work of art in the Czech Republic. If you have a chance to see it – take it!

Upon arrival in Mikulov, you will have a parking spot reserved for you at your hotel. Mikulov is a picturesque little town in the Southern Moravian region, which is known for its wine. The town itself is full of charming winding streets with pretty Renaissance and Baroque houses. When you arrive in Mikulov, you have the rest of the day to enjoy at your leisure.

Exeter Services: None

Hotel: Templ

Day 8
Mikulov | Mikulov

Today, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you for a tour of the town of Mikulov and the castle nearby, Mikulov castle.

The town traces its founding to the 13th century and has been a home for the Jewish people since 1421. As such, in the town, you will find the old Jewish quarter, synagogues and a Jewish cemetery, where rabbis have been buried over the centuries. You can also visit the Mikulov castle, formally known as Nickolsburg castle. The castle that you see now was built in 1719 after the great fire that destroyed the original. This castle has been home to numerous treaties that has shaped the politics of this area and the surrounding countries.

Afterward, a driver will meet you to take you and your guide for wine tasting in the countryside. In Mikulov, this is a local taxi service and it’s covered in your price.

After your tour, you have the rest of the day to enjoy at your leisure.

Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (2-3 Hours); Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Templ

Day 9
Prague | Prague

Today, you will be driving north towards Chateau Heralec nearby the village of Heralec. This drive will approximatelytakeyou2hours. TheGPSthatwasprovidedisprogrammedwiththeroutetoChateauHeralec as well as other possible points of interest along the way.

If you want to do some exploring, you might want to drive towards Valtice and Lednice, a beautiful UNESCO- listed complex that features two magnificent chateaus and several artificial ruins, temples, arches and colonnades. The two chateaus are linked by a 7-kilometer avenue of lime trees. Valtice Castle also offers wine tasting of a selection of Moravian wines. Castles are only open during the week with an appointment, so advise our local staff if you wish to visit. The wine salon is open daily.

Honestly, it’s not so critical that you have an inside visit to either palace, but the park here is worth a stop and a visit. However, if you’re going to choose one, we recommend the interiors of Lednice.

After seeing these two beautiful Chateaus, you will be staying in one as well that has been converted to a hotel. The Chateau Heralec traces its construction to the 13th century.

Exeter Services: No Services

Hotel: Chateau Heralec

Day 10
Chateau Heralec | Chateau Heralec

At leisure in Heralec. You could spend the day with active pursuits at your resort (Nordic walking or bike rental (with routes already laid out)). The chateau has an extensive spa for the use of guests. If you’re interested, there are small towns nearby to explore and the hotel will prepare a picnic basket for you. All are stored on your GPS. We used the chateau in each town as the basis for the GPS.

Pelhřimov is a 13th century town with buildings of different colors, from yellow to green. In the earlier days the town was wealthy because there were silver mines not too far. Today, the town’s main industry is tourism and the production of a beer called “Poutnìk” – popular because it’s free of chemicals. The town has a lovely chateau of the lords of Ricany built in the 15th century.

Another nearby village features a Czech medieval castle dating back to 1310—Lipnice nad Sázavou. This is the heart of the Czech glass industry—Světlá nad Sázavou. If you like you can visit a local manufacturer who will introduce you to the craftsmanship of glassmakers that produce world-famous crystal. You can then meander along the Sázava River through the picturesque landscape of the Czech-Moravian highlands.

It’s also possible to drive to nearby Třebíč or Telč if you missed either on your previous drive.

For active guests, there is much to discover in the region. You can swim in a nearby quarry, golf near the town of Telč, go hiking or horseback riding in the Vsyočina region, and enjoy fishing in nearby streams and ponds.

Exeter Services: No Services

Hotel: Chateau Heralec

Day 11
Chateau Heralec | Chateau Heralec Beer - Prague, Czech Republic

Enjoy another day at leisure at Chateau Heralec.

Exeter Services: No Services

Hotel: Chateau Heralec

Day 12
Chateau Heralec - Prague | Chateau Heralec - Prague

Today, you will be driving back towards Prague. This drive will approximately take you just under two hours. The GPS that was provided is programmed with the route back to Prague as well as other possible points of interest along the way.

If you haven’t had your fill of castles, it’s possible to explore Konopiste, one of the Czech Republic’s most famous castles. Originally a Gothic castle later refashioned in Renaissance style, this manor was home to the unfortunate archduke Franz Ferdinand d’Este whose assassination in 1914 in Sarajevo brought about the beginning of the World War I. The manor keeps an extraordinary collection of art and one of the richest and most interesting armories in Europe. After exploring the castle’s interior, you may enjoy the beautifully manicured gardens where quails, pheasants, and peacocks roam freely.

Another option is Karlštejn, an exceptional castle not only for its historical significance but also due to its robust structure and architecture. It was established in 1348 by the Czech and Roman King Charles IV who gave it a role of the treasury for the coronation insignia and the most valuable relics of the Holy Roman Empire. The Chapel of the Holy Cross features a unique collection of wall paintings by Master Theodoric dating back to the 14th century. Visitors can also view the replica of St. Wenceslas crown, the coronation crown of the Czech Kings, as well as many of the original furnishings that were used by King Charles IV himself.

Another castle directly on your route is the bohemian Cesky Sternberk Castle, built in the 13th century. During the communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia the castle was taken from the royal families that at one point owned it. Jiri Sternberk, the former owner of the castle, gave tours of the castle until the fall of the communist government, when he was able to give the castle to his son. Today it’s still owned by its founding family – almost 800 years of history!

Your hotel is near the Prague Airport. We recommend returning your rental car today, then walking to your hotel. Y our hotel is in front of T erminal 1 and is connected to T erminal 2 via walkway.

Exeter Services: No Services

Hotel: Courtyard Marriott Airport

Day 13
Departure | Departure

Walk on your own to the airport for departure.

Exeter Services: No Services

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