Trip Number: 13640A
Staff: Martha Schultz
- Explore four UNESCO World Heritage sites and two Biosphere Reserves
- Hike the rolling hills of Moravia and Bohemia in the Czech Republic
- Visit stately Vienna and magical Prague on guided city tours
- Comfortable hotel lodging, most meals, and all gratuities, including
local guides and driver
- On-trip transportation and English-speaking guides
- Guest speakers in ornithology and botany, guided tours and entrance
fees at chateaus, castles, and museums
The focus of this trip is the Czech Greenways, a network of more than 250 miles
of trails and country roads along centuries-old salt, silver, and amber trade
routes that were closed off for 40 years behind the Iron Curtain. Traveling
along the Greenways is like taking a trip back in time to the days of medieval
towns, baroque castles, and Renaissance squares, all in an excellent state of
Our trip will begin in Vienna, the romantic capital of Austria, nestled on
the banks of the Danube River. It will end, thirteen days later, in Prague,
the “jewel in the crown” of central Europe and widely recognized
as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
On most days we will walk through deciduous forest, over rolling hills, across
meadows, and through small towns. We will learn about local history and culture
by visiting many of the well-preserved chateaus and castles along the way, as
well as an archaeology museum, Valtice Wine Cellars, and the Bohemian Tapestry
Center. We will hike two days with an ornithologist/botanist. We will spend
our evenings enjoying the local pubs and the fine Czech beer while talking about
various aspects of Czech history and culture with our local contacts.
Key for meals included in the trip price: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner
Day 1: (Vienna) Plan to arrive in Vienna by early to mid-afternoon.
We will provide instructions for getting from the airport to our Vienna hotel,
where your trip leader will be waiting to meet you. At 5 p.m. we will meet for
introductions and a brief overview of the trip. Dinner or music options will
be on your own. Overnight: Vienna.
Photo: Martha Schultz
Day 2: (Vienna) In the morning, we meet our Czech guide and
together we enjoy a city tour, taking in the impressive buildings of the Ringstrasse:
the State Opera, the Burgtheater, and the Hofburg, the imperial palace of the
Hapsburgs. In the afternoon, we board the U-bahn (metro) for the short trip
to Schönbrunn Palace, the magnificent royal summer residence of the Hapsburgs
on the outskirts of Vienna. This palace of nearly 1,500 rooms was completed
in the early 18th century as a smaller model of Versailles, and is surrounded
by a zoological and botanical park. This evening we enjoy a welcome dinner at
a restaurant near our hotel. Overnight: Vienna. (B, L, D)
Day 3: (Vienna-Mikulov) We board our private bus for the trip
from Vienna to the Czech Republic and spend the day in the Lednice-Valtice Area,
a UNESCO World Heritage site and the former estate of the Liechtenstein family.
We tour the Gothic Revival Lednice Chateau and hike five miles through the woods
with a local ornithologist. Along the way, we also see unique "follies,"
romantic structures such as a faux Arc de Triumphe set harmoniously into the
surrounding landscape. In the late afternoon, we visit the Valtice Wine Cellars.
Overnight: Mikulov. (B, L, D)
Day 4: We drive to a trailhead below the ruined castle of
Divci Hrady. From there we hike seven miles with an ornithologist through the
historic wine region of Pálava to Dolni Vestonice, home to a museum of
archaeology. The ancient Venus of Vestonice, estimated to be 26,000 years old,
was discovered near here. Upon our return to Mikulov, we do a walking tour of
the town. We also see the crypt of the Dietrichstein family, as well as a synagogue
and Jewish cemetery, where the oldest tombstones date to 1605. Dinner is served
in a traditional wine cellar. Overnight: Mikulov. (B, L, D)
Day 5: (Vranov-Podyji National Park) Today we drive to the
village of Cizov to see the last remnants of the Iron Curtain, then walk seven
miles to Vranov. Along the way, we stop at an overlook of the Austrian town
of Hardegg with its ancient castle and a sweeping view of the River Dyje Valley.
Overnight: Vranov nad Dyje. (B, L, D)
Photo: Martha Schultz
Day 6: (Telc) In the morning, we tour a Baroque castle perched
on a rock 230 feet above the river Dyji in Vranov and then drive to the Renaissance
town of Telc, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After lunch, we meet with a representative
of the Phoenix Society, the nonprofit organization that protects the heritage
of the Telc area. Later in the afternoon, we walk five miles, including a trail
established as a memorial to Jewish painter Frantisek Nagl. Overnight: Telc.
(B, L, D)
Day 7: (Telc) This morning we tour the Telc Chateau and the
town of Telc. The afternoon will be free for relaxation and enjoying the Telc
square, one of the largest in the Czech countryside. Overnight: Telc. (B, L)
Day 8: (Slavonice-Landstejn-Jindrichuv Hradec) We transfer
by bus to the town of Slavonice, founded in the 12th century and famous for
its sgraffito facades and local pottery workshop. Sgraffito is a Renaissance
technique that uses two layers of plaster of contrasting color applied on the
wall. While still wet, the top layer is partially scraped off to create various
designs. We hike six miles from Slavonice to the ruins of Castle Landstejn.
Our bus then takes us to Jindrichuv Hradec, home of the third-largest castle
complex in the Czech Republic. Overnight: Jindrichuv Hradec. (B, L, D)
Day 9: (Jindrichuv Hradec-Trebon) In the morning, we tour
the historic town and castle of Jindrichuv Hradec and visit the Regional Museum,
home of the largest mechanical crèche in the world with several thousand
figures. It's quite spectacular and beautiful! Later in the morning, we drive
to Kojakovice, where we visit the Village Museum, which highlights the history
of common people in the area and traces emigration routes to North America.
We walk seven miles around the man-made lake of Svet, an engineering wonder
of the 16th century, to the town of Trebon, a 13th-century medieval town with
fortification walls. Trebon is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Overnight: Trebon.
(B, L, D)
Day 10: (Cesky Krumlov) Our bus takes us to Cesky Krumlov,
a UNESCO World Heritage site and the "jewel of South Bohemia," with
the second-largest castle complex in the Czech Republic. After a walk around
the town, we can enjoy an optional activity, an eight-mile rafting trip from
Cesky Krumlov to Zlata Koruna, or spend the afternoon on our own. Overnight:
Cesky Krumlov. (B, L, D)
Day 11: (Cesky Krumlov) We begin by touring the town, then
the unique Baroque Theater in the Castle in Cesky Krumlov. Then our bus takes
us to the base of Klet, the tallest peak in the region (3,200 feet). We take
a chairlift to the top of Klet, enjoy a local lunch at the top and take in the
great vistas, before hiking seven miles back to Cesky Krumlov. Overnight: Cesky
Krumlov. (B, L, D)
Photo: Martha Schultz
Day 12: (Kamenný-Privoz-Prague) Today we drive north
to Kamenný-Privoz and we hike seven miles through the Sazava River Valley.
After our hike, we drive on to Prague. Overnight: Prague. (B, L)
Day 13: (Prague) We begin the day with a city tour and a walk
through the historic center of Prague, known as the Old Town. We visit the Prague
Castle, Old Town Square, the Town Hall, and the Jewish Quarter. Our afternoon
is free to enjoy the many other sites of Prague. We meet at the end of this
day for a farewell dinner to celebrate the successful completion of our journey.
Overnight: Prague. (B, L, D)
Day 14: (Prague-Departure) Participants will depart individually.
The leader will provide instructions for getting from the hotel to the airport.
The trip begins in Vienna and ends in Prague. Many major international airlines
serve both cities, so it is possible to purchase an "open-jaw" ticket.
Or you may prefer to fly in and out of Vienna and take the train from Prague
back to Vienna at the end of the trip. Your leader will provide information
Accommodations and Food
We will be staying at small hotels, pensions, and country inns. All rooms will
have their own bathrooms, but many do not have telephones, televisions, or air-conditioning.
Rooms are double-occupancy, with a roommate provided for those traveling alone.
The cuisines of Austria and the Czech Republic are heavy on meat and potatoes.
However, various types of dinner salads are available from every restaurant,
and vegetarians can be accommodated. On several evenings, we will have opportunities
to engage in "beer meditations" -- evening discussions held at a local
pub on such topics as the Iron Curtain and the Cold War, fish ponds and fish
farming, and the Czech culture. Your participation in these evenings is entirely
voluntary, and you will be responsible for purchasing your own alcoholic beverages.
Photo: Martha Schultz
This trip is designed for hikers in good health who are used to walking five
to seven miles a day for several consecutive days. The terrain is moderate,
with trails consisting mostly of well-groomed dirt tracks winding through forests
or open meadows, country roads, or occasionally on town streets. Elevations
are also moderate and changes in elevation are insignificant. The highest peak
in the area, Klet, rises 3,200 feet, and we will be taking a chairlift to the
top and walking down. Our support bus will be available in case of illness,
exhaustion, or injury. The length of any day's hike may vary from the itinerary,
depending on the route selected. July can be quite warm, but we may also encounter
rain and cooler temperatures. We will adjust the hikes as necessary, taking
weather conditions into account.
Austria and the Czech Republic are modern countries, but they do some things
differently than we do. Critical to your enjoyment of this trip is a relaxed
attitude and a willingness to accept the inevitable surprises that travel has
in store for us.
Equipment and Clothing
Sturdy walking shoes and a day pack are essential; otherwise, your normal
travel gear will do. Be prepared for both heat and rain. A complete list of
equipment will be provided prior to the trip.
A valid passport is required for travel to Austria and the Czech Republic,
but U.S. citizens do not need visas. Citizens of other countries should check
with their embassies or consulates.
- Steves, Rick, Rick Steves’ Vienna, 2009.
- Agnew, Hugh, The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, 2004.
- Capek, Karel, Tales from Two Pockets, The War with the Newts, Catbird
- Any books, plays, articles by Václav Havel, the Czech writer,
philosopher, and dissident who was imprisoned during the Soviet era and who
later became the first president of Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Iron
- Czech Phrasebook, Lonely Planet, 1st ed., 2001.
- Ash, Timothy Garton, We The People: The Revolution of '89, Granta/Penguin,
- Steves, Rick, Rick Steves' Prague and the Czech Republic, 2010.
The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about
conservation and sustainability of resources both locally and globally. Our
work is accomplished by volunteers, aided by a salaried staff, and encourages
grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants in understanding
the parallels between environmental concerns at home and abroad.
The modern Greenways were created by a group of preservation enthusiasts --
Czechs and Americans -- after the 1989 "Velvet Revolution." This Greenways
group realized that under the new free market economy, with its rapid and environmentally
careless economic development, architectural monuments and the surrounding countryside
of the region were in need of protection. They formed a nonprofit civic organization,
Greenways-Zelene stezky, in 1992. Following the model of the Hudson River Valley
Greenway, they created a partnership of 12 mayors and their towns, and inspired
and supported grassroots initiatives. Greenways-Zelene stezky is a member of
the Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development (Nadace Partnerstvi),
which is working to promote sustainable regional development through projects
that preserve the natural and cultural heritage that make each community unique.
We will have the opportunity to visit some of these projects.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Growing up in a remote Sierra Nevada village in California, Martha Schultz's love of wilderness was nurtured from an early age. She is an avid hiker, cross-country skier, and sea kayaker. Over the past 27 years, she has led several sea kayaking trips in Alaska and backpacking trips in California for the Sierra Club. She especially likes to combine traveling with outdoor adventure-trekking in Nepal, "hut-hopping" in the Alps or kayaking in New Zealand. This will be her third trip to the Czech Republic.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips