The saying goes: a journey through the Czech Republic is a journey through the history of Europe itself. While the country’s borders have technically only been in place since 1993, the Czech Republic’s ancient kingdoms of Moravia and Bohemia have been the stomping ground of Europeans throughout history—from Czechs, Germans, Jews, and Slovaks, to Italian stonemasons, French tradesmen, and deserters from Napoleon’s army. Centuries later, the joint influence and innovation of these people have resulted in a treasure trove of ancient castles, stately chateaus, and tiny towns, which are in and of themselves comprehensive historical artifacts. It seems almost impossible that such a small country could house a whopping 12 UNESCO monuments and historical cities, but the ability to make the past come alive is perhaps why the Czech Republic has earned its designation as one of Central Europe’s most popular destinations.
The Czech Republic’s magical atmosphere of winding lanes, medieval ramparts, and romantic corners is best represented in its capital of Prague, The City of a Hundred Spires, rightfully touted as one of the world’s most excitingly beautiful and cultured metropolises. Here, the ancient and modern live side-by-side: in the legendary Kafka-steeped Jewish Quarter, in the fairytale houses of Golden Lane, and in the unavoidable Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world where the Baroque, Renaissance, Neoclassical, Gothic, and ultramodern all stake their claim.
If there’s one thing to learn from traveling through modern-day Moravia and Bohemia, it’s to throw out any preconceived notion of what the French may have misled you to believe about the “bohemian” lifestyle. This is not a land of poverty-stricken, free spirited artists fighting conventionality. This is a land of beautifully forested and river run countryside, incredible architecture representing layers of time, and a proud, patriotic people who just so happen to consume more beer per capita than any other nation in the world —the Irish included!— and there’s no better way to experience it than on a custom Czech Republic journey with Ker & Downey.