Fantastic Ride from Prague to Dresden
Great fun, bonus being that it mostly followed the Elbe River downstream to Prague so wasn't very strenuous, just a few hills here and there. Our guide Milan was great - definitely worth having along as (1) he spoke Czech which none of us did ! and (2) added in some side tours which would have almost certainly missed had he not been along. Also, our support lady Jitke was really helpful and very useful to have on hand, she moved our luggage every day effortlessly ! Great scenery, great beer (some of the wine was a bit ordinary) and great food. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Prague to Dresden Along the Vitava and Elbe Rivers July 30-July 7th 2017
Overall great trip! Guides were great. Needed better handouts (not self guided for guided tour) and would cut the brewery where you pour your own beer.
Beautiful, Romantic, Historic, Adventurous
This trip was a blast! It was especially cool to see how the geography and culture changed as we moved out of Czech Republic and into Germany. This tour has a little bit of everything to satisfy everyone's tastes. Our favorites were the last two days: Hrensko, thermal bathes in Bad Schandau, Fortress in Koenigstein (well worth the hike to the top), and Bastei in Oberrathen (do the hike and visit the medieval fortress). Also, as far as navigation, we used the maps.me app and mounted our smart phone to the bike, which made getting around super easy. We had turn by turn directions throughout the tour.
A couple tips I wished the tour company had provided, major sites along the route are closed on Mondays. We traveled from Litomorice to Decin on Monday. Unfortunately the Strekov castle and restaurant was closed (we found that out after climbing to the top of the hill). Additionally when we reached Velke Brezno to visit the brewery we found out it also is closed on Mondays. Therefore, if a day of your tour falls on a Monday it would be good to prioritize scheduling one of the hiking days (e.g. Decin to Bad Schandau or Bad Schandau to Dresden). In general, it would be nice to know in advance what days the points of interest are closed, so the group can manage their time at other sites better. If the tour company does not provide this info, I would recommend looking it up in advance.
Responses from Biketours.com
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Good variety, just enough challenge, 2 amazing cities
We really enjoyed this trip — this was our first guided tour. Overall, it was a comfortable pace, a few big hills but lots of flat areas, and plenty of stops.
Most of the riding was on paved bike paths, but some bits were on roads with cars, where the guides kept everyone safe and comfortable. Some of the riding was on dirt roads, but this was only a challenge one time, when the road was muddy and slightly uphill. Climbing big hills was always rewarded with amazing views & castles. Our group did all of the challenges, even if they had to walk and push their bikes up part of the hill. It was fine with everyone, and no one took advantage of the van (but you can if you want).
The route took us along the rivers, through small picturesque villages and towns, farmland and forests. The poppies were in bloom when we went, in early June. We took quick ferry rides across the river a few times, which was fun.
The biking started around 9am after a big breakfast. There were plenty of stops, snacks at the van by the side of a road, and coffee at a nice cafe in a beautiful town square. We would usually get to the hotel around 5-6pm and dinner was around 7pm. There was one day with less riding, where we had the option of spending the afternoon visiting the “Bohemian Switzerland National Park” (in the Czech Republic) or spending the time in Bad Spandau — a nice town on the river with hot baths and spa and cafes. We hiked and it was gorgeous.
All of the guides were Czech, and spoke English, some were fluent. They helped translate in restaurants and hotels when needed. They gave us lots of info about sites along the way. One was a “physical geographer” and had lots facts about the geology of the area. We had discussions about the communist history of both Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany. One guide would ride with us, and one drove the van, and they switched off every day. They were professional, polite, always willing to help — no request was too big or too small. They had funny Czech senses of humor.
The accommodations were different each night, ranging from very fancy to basic, but always located in a beautiful historic town. Lunch and dinner locations were well chosen, the food was always good. We had lots of local specialties, and tried the local beers and wines. There was a vegetarian and a gluten-free person in our group, and their needs were accommodated.
Wonderful way to see the Czech Republic
We did the self guided trip (more on that option later) and the actual bicycle trip was fantastic. The cities we stayed in were great - Melnik was amazing - and the route along the Elbe was just stunning. The experience was just wonderful. Food, beer, wine, lodgings, villages - all perfect. The only caution is if you opt for the self guided trip. Although the bike paths were generally well marked, it was sort of stressful always having to watch for the twists and turns. A guide would have made the whole experience far more relaxing and enjoyable. And we would not have found ourselves lost quite so often.
A lovely ride down the Vltava and Elbe Rivers
Cycling along the major rivers of Europe is always a pleasure and this trip was no exception. Much of the path is asphalt-paved and hugs the river's edge. There are several small ferries and some bridges which allow cyclists to cycle on either side of the Vlatava and Elbe as one goes north from Prague towards Dresden.
The bicycles supplied were well suited for the tour and the GPS, cue sheets and maps guided you on each day's ride. There are a few places where the path has been damaged or destroyed by floods so there are a few steep hills and "single track" sections to navigate. Our lodgings, except in Prague and Dresden, were always in the historic city centers so it was easy to walk around and learn about each place.
Along the way, we discovered the history of these rivers and the importance of our stopping points - Melnik, Terezin/Litomerice, Decin, and Bad Schandau. We also had booked an extra day both in Prague and Dresden and easily could have spent more time in these special cities. We found the careful reconstruction of the historic buildings in these cities to be especially impressive.
This was my first bike tour and I cannot say enough positive things about my experience. Our group was small with 5 bikers and 2 guides. The other bikers were very friendly and we all got along well. The guides were incredible and I could not have asked for more supportive, friendly, helpful people to enjoy this experience with. The accommodations each night were very comfortable and in perfectly safe areas.
While it was definitely a physically demanding trip, it was attainable and we all completed the trip perfectly fine. While I do bike regularly, I'm certainly not the ideal specimen of fitness. I bike around 30-50 miles a week and found the trip a little more difficult than I anticipated. But again, I would not let this discourage you from going.
The guides were all from the Prague/Dresden area and so were able to share historical and relevant information about the sites and cities along the way. This trip was more than a bike tour--it was also a cultural tour. In addition, the sites are absolutely breathtaking. I'm giving myself a few weeks to recover and then planning my next one!