Tailormade tour Czech Republic discovery rail tour Czech Republic

7 nights/8 days

Cologne or Berlin • Prague • Karlovy Vary • Cologne

This itinerary combines two distinctive places in Czech Republic: its dreamy, historical capital, Prague, and the lesser-known but previously famous spa town of Karlovy Vary. Travel there by rail from breaking up your journey with overnight stops in Germany.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,820 per person.

Luxury touring holiday by train to Czech Republic staying in Prague and Karlovy Vary

This 7-night luxury rail tour begins with your arrival in Cologne or Berlin by rail from London. You will spend 1 night here before continuing your journey to Prague the following day. We suggest spending 3 nights in Prague to give you two full days to explore the sights on offer before travelling to Karlovy Vary, a lesser-known town in Czech Republic. This resort town was famous in the 19th century as a health spa. Your journey home will take you from Karlovy Vary to Cologne where you will spend one night. After breakfast in Cologne, depart your hotel and travel to back to London via Brussels.

Highlights

Cologne or Berlin • Prague • Karlovy Vary • Cologne

Day by day

Begin your journey by travelling from London to Cologne by rail. Catch a morning Eurostar to Brussels. After a change of trains, board a direct service from Brussels to Cologne. Check in to your hotel for one night. (An alternative is to take the train on to Berlin and stay in Berlin for one night instead, travelling on day two from Berlin to Prague in about 4 hrs 30 minutes). Cologne is an important cultural and economic city straddling the River Rhine. Dating from Roman times, Cologne was also a thriving centre in the Middle Ages, from Charlemagne onwards. The Roman-Germanic museum is located near the Cathedral and explains the history of the city from Palaeolithic times until the Middle Ages. It contains precious articles in gold, glass and other treasures. The landmark of the city is the Gothic cathedral dating from 1248 and housing the Shrine of the Three Kings. Nearby are remnants of the city’s mediaeval past with the Rathaus dating from the 12th Century and reconstructed houses in the Old Town. Cologne is also home to numerous museums and galleries, as well as being an important musical centre with several orchestras. Cologne celebrates Carnival boisterously, produces its own beer, is famous for Eau de Cologne and also is renowned for its Christmas market.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before boarding a train to Prague. If you are travelling from Cologne, board an 08:00 train to Dresden, changing in Frankfurt. After lunch in Dresden, board a final train to Prague where you will arrive in the late afternoon. Stay in Prague for three nights.

You have two full days in Prague to take in the cultural highlights. Take a stroll across Charles Bridge as it spans the River Vltava and links the old town with the Mala Strana (lesser or little town) and continue uphill towards Prague Castle, one of the city’s most popular sights. St Vitus Cathedral is near to the castle and can be seen from around the city. Spend another day exploring Prague’s old town where you can enjoy Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock (dating from 1410 and the oldest astronomical clock in the world that is still working) and Wenceslas Square. Prague enjoys a cultural reputation of immense stature in Europe and there are numerous opera and concert performances that can be booked. Unique to Prague is the Laterna Magika where classical principles of non-verbal theatre mingle with dance, film images and black light theatre. Prague’s rich cultural heritage can be experienced in visits to any number of museums in the city: Czech museum of music, Mucha museum, Frank Kafka museum, Antonin Dvorak museum, the Narodni museum and the City of Prague museum. Be sure to taste traditional pork or beef and dumplings at a typical Old Town restaurant.

Check out of your hotel in Prague and board a direct train to Karlovy Vary just before midday. You will arrive in just over 3 hours. Check in to your hotel for two nights.

You have one full day to explore the resort town of Karlovy Vary, renowned as a spa town. Places of interest include the Hot Spring Colonnade which houses an impressive geyser that gushes 15m into the air. There are also some museums to visit which include the Karlovy Vary Museum, with extensive exhibits on the town’s history as a spa resort and Czech glasswork as well as the Moser Glass Museum with more than 2000 items on display. You could also hike to the Diana Lookout Tower situated at the top of a wooded hill offering views across the town.

Depart your hotel and board a train to Cologne just after midday. You will change trains in Cheb and Nuremburg before you arrive a little after 7p.m. in Cologne. Check-in to your hotel for one night.

After your final breakfast, check out of your hotel and travel to Brussels by rail from Cologne. This journey will take just under two hours. Board the Eurostar from Brussels and arrive back into London in the evening.

Holiday price guide From about £1,820 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £380 per person.

Holiday Code EEBR10

Luxury touring holiday by train to Czech Republic staying in Prague and Karlovy Vary

Begin your journey by travelling from London to Cologne by rail. Catch a morning Eurostar to Brussels. After a change of trains, board a direct service from Brussels to Cologne. Check in to your hotel for one night. (An alternative is to take the train on to Berlin and stay in Berlin for one night instead, travelling on day two from Berlin to Prague in about 4 hrs 30 minutes). Cologne is an important cultural and economic city straddling the River Rhine. Dating from Roman times, Cologne was also a thriving centre in the Middle Ages, from Charlemagne onwards. The Roman-Germanic museum is located near the Cathedral and explains the history of the city from Palaeolithic times until the Middle Ages. It contains precious articles in gold, glass and other treasures. The landmark of the city is the Gothic cathedral dating from 1248 and housing the Shrine of the Three Kings. Nearby are remnants of the city’s mediaeval past with the Rathaus dating from the 12th Century and reconstructed houses in the Old Town. Cologne is also home to numerous museums and galleries, as well as being an important musical centre with several orchestras. Cologne celebrates Carnival boisterously, produces its own beer, is famous for Eau de Cologne and also is renowned for its Christmas market.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before boarding a train to Prague. If you are travelling from Cologne, board an 08:00 train to Dresden, changing in Frankfurt. After lunch in Dresden, board a final train to Prague where you will arrive in the late afternoon. Stay in Prague for three nights.

You have two full days in Prague to take in the cultural highlights. Take a stroll across Charles Bridge as it spans the River Vltava and links the old town with the Mala Strana (lesser or little town) and continue uphill towards Prague Castle, one of the city’s most popular sights. St Vitus Cathedral is near to the castle and can be seen from around the city. Spend another day exploring Prague’s old town where you can enjoy Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock (dating from 1410 and the oldest astronomical clock in the world that is still working) and Wenceslas Square. Prague enjoys a cultural reputation of immense stature in Europe and there are numerous opera and concert performances that can be booked. Unique to Prague is the Laterna Magika where classical principles of non-verbal theatre mingle with dance, film images and black light theatre. Prague’s rich cultural heritage can be experienced in visits to any number of museums in the city: Czech museum of music, Mucha museum, Frank Kafka museum, Antonin Dvorak museum, the Narodni museum and the City of Prague museum. Be sure to taste traditional pork or beef and dumplings at a typical Old Town restaurant.

Check out of your hotel in Prague and board a direct train to Karlovy Vary just before midday. You will arrive in just over 3 hours. Check in to your hotel for two nights.

You have one full day to explore the resort town of Karlovy Vary, renowned as a spa town. Places of interest include the Hot Spring Colonnade which houses an impressive geyser that gushes 15m into the air. There are also some museums to visit which include the Karlovy Vary Museum, with extensive exhibits on the town’s history as a spa resort and Czech glasswork as well as the Moser Glass Museum with more than 2000 items on display. You could also hike to the Diana Lookout Tower situated at the top of a wooded hill offering views across the town.

Depart your hotel and board a train to Cologne just after midday. You will change trains in Cheb and Nuremburg before you arrive a little after 7p.m. in Cologne. Check-in to your hotel for one night.

After your final breakfast, check out of your hotel and travel to Brussels by rail from Cologne. This journey will take just under two hours. Board the Eurostar from Brussels and arrive back into London in the evening.

Holiday price guide From about £1,820 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £380 per person.

Holiday Code EEBR10

Our prices include ● Rail travel throughout in second class and standard class on Eurostar (first class can be booked at a supplement)
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Superior double room at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst, Cologne
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Hotel BoHo, Prague
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Hotel Quisisana Palace, Karlovy Vary
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Classic double room at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst, Cologne
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential, and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros/Czech koruna 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers

Luxury touring holiday by train to Czech Republic staying in Prague and Karlovy Vary

About Czech Republic

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Prague will capture the imagination of tourist, particularly during the winter months, when it becomes something of a sublime, icy wonderland. Its streets tell of magnificent dynasties, impressive battles, and a warm and welcoming culture that is ever-evolving. But this interest extends beyond the Czech Republic's capital, into the towns and cities beyond, with their colourful buildings and majestic squares, and the Gothic castles and chateaux that keep watch over the hillsides. Despite the emerging innovation of the Czech Republic's food scene and the modern, urban twist to the cities, this is a country that is firmly rooted in long-standing tradition and folklore. South Bohemia is the best place to experience this, with the plentiful summer festivals that take over towns such as Cesky Krumlov. Ancient traditions take to the streets once more, and the locals enjoy wonderful Czech food, music, and entertainment. One of the country's more famous exports is its beer. Urquell, Budvar, and Staropramen are just some of the names that visitors may recognise. Alongside the increase in gourmet restaurants and eateries across the country, there has been a return to tradition brewing methods and establishments, meaning that a visit to a Czech pub is essential whichever town you stop in. Whether you are drawn in by the history of the country, or attracted by the prospect of sampling Czech cuisine, we are able to offer tailor-made holidays to suit every traveller.

Highlights of the Czech Republic

Just under 20 miles out of the centre of Prague is the 14th century Castle Karlstejn. This Gothic fortress was once home to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Moulding to the shape of the hillside, it is split across three terraces, each relating to a different level of importance; at the bottom is the Imperial Palace, then the Marian Town, and finally the Big Tower at the top. The Big Tower was left vacant for God, with just a chapel inside, while the Empress lived in the Marian Tower, and the Emperor and Knights lived in the Imperial Palace. For an authentic taste of traditional Bohemia, head to Cesky Krumlov, situated further along the Vltava River. The town itself has been brilliantly preserved since the 18th century, with terracotta roofs, cobblestone streets, brightly coloured walls, and a stunning Bohemian Castle. The main pleasure of this town comes from simply wandering along its picturesque streets, stopping in local restaurants and cafes for some of the local food. To the east of Prague, is Kutna Hora, a town that began as a Bohemian monastery in the 12th century. The surrounding mountains were rich with silver, which lead the town to flourish. Today, Gothic buildings from a time of German rule are set beside a five-naved cathedral, the Italian Court Royal Residence, the Stone Haus, and the St Barbaras Church, all of which add a further dimension to a trip to the Czech Republic. Built around a hot spring reputed to have healing properties in western Czechia is Karlovy Vary. The colour and quaintness of this town is almost unparalleled across the country. The ice cream colours of each of the houses are brought to life by the dense forested areas all around. The highlights of this town, however, are its opulent spas, first commissioned by Charles IV. Many of these buildings were in part destroyed in the 18th and 19th centuries, but one prominent spa remains, dating back over six centuries. In the south-east of the country, your cultural and geographical exploration will continue, be it in the stunning underground caves and gorges of the Moravian Karst or in the waterside Renaissance palace at Telc.

Cultural highlights of the Czech Republic

One of Europe's most popular cities, Prague is the Czech Republic's capital city. Clustered around the banks of the Vltava River, Prague is also the capital of the historic and charming region of Bohemia, and was once the seat of the Roman Empire. Its streets are rich in both Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the balance of which gives it its unique, enchanting atmosphere. The Charles Bridge is one of its most popular attractions and has crossed from Old Town into Lesser Town for over 600 years. As well as bustling with pedestrians, the Charles Bridge is the workplace of many musicians, artists, and vendors. Prague is a city of many squares, but none are more impressive than the Old Town Square, lined with magnificent townhouses that demonstrate everything from Rococo to Romanesque architecture. From here, you can appreciate the Tyn Cathedral, the St Nicholas Church, as well as the Old Town Hall. On the horizon is Prague Castle, which sprawls out across the city's highest point. Once a wooden fortress, it now encompasses the St Vitus Cathedral, a basilica, a monastery, beautiful gardens, and royal stables. For those looking for something slightly off the beaten path, it is worth seeking out the house in which Kafka lived, as well as the peaceful cemetery in which he was buried.

Facts in brief

Capital Prague
Airport Prague-Ruzyne
Size 78,865km²
Population 10 million

Luxury touring holiday by train to Czech Republic staying in Prague and Karlovy Vary

About Germany

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Germany enables travellers to experience a fascinating and richly varied country. Germany is replete with regional quirks and personalities - a strong feature of German life and a hangover from the days, not too long ago, when the country was once a patchwork of independent states. Today, to travel from the ancient ports of the north, across the open fields of the German plain, and down through the Ruhr and onto the forests, mountains and cosmopolitan cities of Germany’s Bavarian south, you’ll experience an intriguing variety as great – and appealing – as you’d find anywhere else in Europe. Several of Germany’s cities have the air of national capitals. Cologne, though enmeshed in one of Europe’s most intensively industrialised regions, is rich in monuments. Bavaria’s capital, Munich, is another star attraction, with great museums and galleries. Berlin, the nucleus of the turmoil of reunification, is now one of the most sophisticated, artistic and exciting cities on the planet, while Nuremberg is thrillingly ancient, with the most charming of winter markets in the 11th century square, and summer festivals when the cobbled streets come alive with street artists and musicians. Scattered between these city big-hitters, quieter, utterly charming cities and large towns abound, with medieval old towns straight out of fairy-tale picture books. Heidelberg, the oldest university town in Germany, is an absolute gem, nestling between wooded hills on the banks of the Neckar river, a setting that has seduced visitors ever since the days of the Grand Tour. But from Trier to Bamberg, Marburg to Meissen, Regensburg to Rothenburg, enchanting old towns abound. Beyond Germany’s beautiful cities and towns, the Bavarian Alps, right on Munich’s doorstep, are a spectacular playground for hikers and bikers, horse-riders and skiers. The Rhine and Mosel are both littered with castles and vineyards, offering an enchanting backdrop for the cruise boats that drift serenely along their waters. And stretching more than 100 miles north to south, and 45 miles from east to west, the Black Forest is awash with pretty spa towns and exquisite health resorts, crisscrossed with walking trails. The Black Forest also boasts some of the most spectacular rail journals on the planet. A beautiful, intriguing country vastly at odds with its stiff stereotype, Germany is a wonderful holiday destination for active outdoorsy types and city-breakers alike.

Highlights of Germany

Berlin’s world-class museums, bustling bars, galleries and monuments; Rugen Island, with its rugged chalk cliffs, windswept beaches, Romantic-era spa architecture and tree-lined country roads; Dresden, with its baroque beauty on the banks of the majestic Elbe; Cologne’s magnificent cathedral; the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg; the sandy dunes of Sylt, a North Sea island with fabulous beaches and surf; the beer halls of Munich, ideally in September during the Oktoberfest; Lubeck, a Hanseatic gem; Muritz National Park, where you can go paddling and camping in a paradise teeming with birds; Bremen, a metropolis in miniature, with lovely red-brick and Art Nouveau architecture; the Alpine resorts of Bavaria, including Berchtesgaden, with dramatic peaks, dreamy lakes and superb walking trails; drive or cruise along the Rhine or Mosel, visiting castles, medieval villages and superb vineyards along the way; the walled medieval towns of Rothenburg and Trier, both with wonderful Christmas markets; the Christmas market at Nuremberg, oldest – and still most picturesque – in the world.

Facts in brief

Capital Berlin
Airport Several airports are served from the UK, including Berlin, Bremen, Cologne-Bonn, Dortmund, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart and Munich.
Size 137,000 sq. miles
Population 82 million
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