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The Elbe river is a well-loved cycling route and a treasure trove of stunning landscapes and fascinating cities. The route stretches from Prague, the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, to the beautifully restored palaces and churches of Dresden. Along the way, you’ll discover the region’s rich culture, cuisine and fine wines. We’ve picked out just a few of the highlights you can experience on our Exploring the Elbe tour.
Prague is a place of contradictions. Visitors come to admire its intricate Gothic spires and the fairy-tale architecture of Prague castle. But in the same skyline, you’ll also see imposing communist buildings like the Å½iÅ¾kov Television Tower and beautiful modern concepts such as the delightfully bizarre Dancing House. Wander along the river and across the famous Charles Bridge, or up to the castle on the hill and through the park, overlooking the Kafka Museum. Evenings should be spent sipping Pilsner Urquell beer in its home country and sampling treats from the many traditional restaurants and cafés. Try the dumplings at the Café Louvre, which opened in 1902 and counts Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein among its patrons.
The MÄlník region
The flat, easy-cycling region of MÄlník is full of joys. It’s the heart of the Bohemian wine growing region, so not only are the surroundings beautiful, the stop in MÄlník is sure to include some delicious local tipples. The best-known wine from this area is Ludmila, sold in squat bottles known as ‘ink pots’. The first Bohemian sekt, known as Chateau MÄlník Brut, is also made here. It’s popular for its fresh taste and high acidity. While you’re in MÄlník, you can climb the hillside to the Renaissance MÄlník Chateau, which looks down on vineyards and the confluence of the rivers Elbe and Vltava.
The Elbe National Parks
Along the Elbe, you’ll be lucky enough to cycle through two national parks, the Saxon Switzerland National Park and Bohemian National Park. Both are home to rich forests, jutting rocky outcrops and deep ravines which collect atmospheric mist in the early morning. It’s a truly breathtaking landscape. In the Saxony portion, there are also wide, lush meadows, home to many bird species such as storks. There are also beaver living along the riverside and, although they’re quite shy, you can sometimes spot evidence of their work.
Dresden is your final destination. It’s a very underrated city, sadly best known for the wartime bombings. But the city has an illustrious history and vibrant culture with much to see, so you might consider extending your stay here after the tour. The opulent architecture of the city has been rebuilt brick by brick in places. The Semper Opera House and the Zwinger Palace are superb examples of Baroque architecture. The Fürstenzug, or Wall of Princes, a mural of the rulers of Saxony, and the glorious interior of the Frauenkirche are well worth a visit. There’s a large museum of military history, or for the art lovers, a trip to the Old Masters gallery may be in order. Dresden also has a thriving art and foodie scene, especially in the Neustadt neighbourhood. This is home to plenty of architecture from its East German past, and in particular the colourful Kunsthofpassage.
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