Torah - Prague, Czech Republic Prague Jewish Cemetary Mikulov Jubilee Synagogue - Prague, Czech Republic

Jewish Heritage Czech Republic Self-Drive

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Whether you are researching your familial roots or just want to learn more about Jewish heritage in our destinations, Exeter International will make sure your journey is personal and meaningful.

Our local genealogy experts can also help you decipher the meaning behind your ancestors’ name and discover towns and villages you only know from stories passed through generations.

While this program is possible year-round, we highly recommend travel April through October.  Most countryside castles close for winter November 1 – March 31.

If you have more time, we can add in a route that also covers Plzen – with one of the largest synagogues in Europe. 

If you would like a custom culinary itinerary, please get in touch.  

PDF: Exeter Jewish Czech Republic Self-Drive

Day 1
Prague | Prague, Czech Republic

Arrival into Prague, where you will be met by your driver 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.

Exeter Services
Arrival Transfer

Hotel
Aria

Day 2
Prague | Charles Bridge - Prague, Czech Republic

Today your guide, will meet you in your hotel lobby and will 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 Town. You’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 passage way 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!

Exeter Services
Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel
Aria

Day 3
Prague | Strahov Library - Prague, Czech Republic

This morning your guide and driver at 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 always viewed by the public through the narrow doorways at the end of each room, but you will be allowed to enter the rooms to walk alone among the ancient books and artifacts.

Included today will also be a visit to the Prague Castle complex. Here Maria Theresa commissioned the famous architect of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Nicholas Pacassi, to design the interior of the 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 because of the security measures in place. Once in the castle territory, if the line is daunting, skip the cathedral. You can then visit Lobkowicz Palace, also on the castle territory.

We love a visit to the Lobkowicz Palace to view the interesting exhibition The Princely Collection. This is a special treat, as the audio guide that you will use is recorded by Mr. William Lobkowicz himself. After the confiscation by the Nazis and later, the Communists, the palace has 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 Lobkowicz restored the palace into a wonderful private museum. 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 the Malá Strana or Little Quarter, which is best known for the Wallenstein Palace and Church of St. Nicholas. Also, it is here in the Malá Strana that you will find many charming restaurants and unique shops full of Bohemian glass and the marionettes that are so famous in Prague.

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

Hotel
Aria

Day 4
Terezin | Terezin, Czech Republic

This morning meet your driver and guide at 10AM for a trip to Terezín, approximately 45 minutes outside of Prague.  On the way from Prague, if you’re interested, you can visit the New Jewish Cemetery. This Cemetery was established in 1891 when the Old Cemetery no longer had the space for the needs of the community. The cemetery is remarkable for its art nouveau tombstones with beautiful decorations. It is also here where the famous writer Franz Kafka was buried.

Just south of Terezín, you will visit the former Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt.  The buildings of the camp originally served as barracks for Austrian soldiers during the 18th and 19th centuries, before being used by the Nazis as a concentration camp. 

The Nazis used the town to influence international opinion; they tried to create the image of a “spa town” – renaming the streets, painting buildings, establishing stores and parks.  The Ghetto Museum tells the tragic story of this town.   

Exeter Services
Vehicle, Driver & Guide (6 hours)

Hotel
Aria

Day 5
Prague – Mikulov | Mikulov

Today you will check out of your hotel and use a taxi, payable locally, to get to the rental car facility.  Today you will be driving deep into the Czech countryside to the town of Mikulov. This drive will approximately take you approximately 3 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. The chateau is closed today, so you can only view it from the outside.  Most churches are open today if you want to stop in for a glimpse. For Jewish sites, there is a (relatively) new Jewish cemetery outside the city and a crumbling synagogue dating to 1904. 

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.

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, on the border of Austria, which is known for its wine. The town itself is full of charming winding streets with pretty Renaissance and Baroque houses. West of the Mikulov Castle is the Jewish Quarter, once the seat of the Moravian Chief Rabbi. The thriving community used to have a well-known yeshiva, many synagogues and a large graveyard where many of the famous rabbis are buried.

When you arrive in Mikulov, you have the rest of the day to enjoy at your leisure.

Exeter Services
No Services

Hotel
Templ

Day 6
Mikulov | Mikulov, Czech Republic

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 quarters, many synagogues and a Jewish cemetery, where many rabbis have been buried over the centuries. Furthermore, you will be seeing 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. 

 

This afternoon is at leisure for you to explore.  It’s possible to have wine tastings, explore the nearby cave system or simply rent bicycles for a leisurely ride.

For a castle exploration, we recommend a visit to Vatice 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.

Exeter Services
Guide (3 hours)

Hotel
Templ

Day 7
Mikulov - Heralec | Chateau Herelac prague

Today, you will be driving 145 km north towards Chateau Heralec nearby the village of Heralec. This drive will approximately take you 2 hours.  The GPS that was provided is programmed with the route to Chateau Heralec as well as other possible points of interest along the way.

If you want to do some exploring, you might want to drive towards Vatice 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 traces its construction to the 13th century.

Exeter Services
No Services

Hotel
Chateau Heralec

Day 8
Chateau Heralec - Kolin- Prague | Jewish Heritage

This morning, you will self-drive toward the medieval town of Kolín. Today a local Jewish-expert guide will meet you to explore the town.  You will find a picturesque main square but also a preserved portion of the Jewish ghetto and its jewel – a Renaissance synagogue, founded in the 14th and 15th centuries.  The priceless interior is worth the deviation.  In fact, Kolín was second only to Prague in its importance as a Bohemian center for Jewish life. 

To commemorate some of those lost in the Holocaust, the town has installed “stumbling stones” throughout the historic center.  Today this forms an educational trail that is a tribute to the Kolín Jews.

Continue onward from Kolín and arrive to Prague for last night in the Czech Republic. Your hotel is near the Prague Airport.  We recommend returning your rental car today, then walking to your hotel.  Your hotel is located in front of Terminal 1 and is connected to Terminal 2 via walkway.

Continue onward from Kolin and arrive to Prague for last night in the Czech Republic. Your hotel is near Prague Airport.  We recommend returning your rental car today, then walking to your hotel.  Your hotel is located in front of Terminal 1 and is connected to Terminal 2 via walkway.

Exeter Services
Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel

Courtyard Marriott Airport

Day 9
Depart from Prague | Jubilee Synagogue - Prague, Czech Republic

Today is your departure day. Walk on your own to the airport for departure.

Exeter Services

None

 

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