Two days’ trip will take you from the ferry terminal on the Hook of Holland to the Czech Republic through Amsterdam and Hanover. Here the journey actually begins. Day one is Prague, a capital that’s among the many greatest for stop-and-stare structure. Standing on the 14th-century Charles Bridge, spanning the Czech “mother river”, the Vltava, wanting up on the metropolis’s fort, is a very memorable expertise.
Illustration: Bek Cruddace
Wander by means of Gothic streets across the Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti) and take a look at the wares of Nota Bene behind the National Museum, the place native craft lagers wash down a righteous pork schnitzel (about £four.90). Stay at Hotel Josef (doubles from £110 B&B) 5 minutes from the Old Town Square, with safe underground parking.
Tábor’s essential sq.. Photograph: Getty Images
In the morning, tog up at Prague’s Denim Heads, a bike style retailer run by bikers at Konviktská 30. Then take Highways 1 and three out of the capital into South Bohemia and the city of Tábor – the outdated fortress gateway to the area. Today fairly crimson rooftops tumble down from the city’s quiet market sq., but it surely has a bloody historical past of resistance. The Hussite museum, with its hand-dug tunnels, tells the story of Tábor’s days as medieval hotbed of revolutionary zeal.
Climb the city tower for a primary glimpse of Bohemian countryside, earlier than staying at Hotel Nautilus (from £88 B&B). Its restaurant, Goldie, is among the greatest within the nation and cause alone for staying right here; attempt the venison with foie gras and elderberries (£15).
The Bohemian forest of the
nationwide park. Photograph: Getty Images
On day three, take Highway three south, breaking for espresso at Hluboká Castle: as soon as home to Bohemia’s Schwarzenberg household it’s an OTT Gothic-baronial pile modelled on Windsor Castle. Then lower west alongside Highway 145 into the forested flanks of Šumava nationwide park, the place the surroundings will get higher with each bend. The panorama is straight from a Brothers Grimm fairytale, with pines crowding the aspect of mountain roads. At the village of Kvilda verify in on the Šumava Inn (doubles from £55 B&B) and feast on native trout and wild mushrooms, then trek a few hours up a path to drink from the supply of the Vltava river – a spring trickling out of Černá (black) mountain.
After breakfast saddle up and take the four and 39 highways by means of Horní Planá and alongside its lake to Český Krumlov (high image). This Unesco world heritage web site is among the most picturesque cities in Europe – a chocolate field mixture of baroque and renaissance structure stacked over the winding Vltava. The fort has great views, in addition to a maze of grand rooms, together with a preserved baroque theatre.
Andrew Almond along with his customized Jawa bike. Photograph: Rob Cowen for the Guardian
The city’s Motorcycle Museum is a shrine to basic Czech-made Jawa bikes, the place customized bikemakers like me can get concepts and inspiration. Follow the Vltava upstream for 20 minutes on Highway 160 to Kemp Branná campsite (tipi £19 an evening) on the bend of the river. Unwind beneath the celebrities and sink a couple of beers and pickled sausage (£three) in its little bar, earlier than snuggling into your sleeping bag in a tipi by an open hearth.
Teepees and campfire at Kemp Branná. Photograph: Rob Cowen for the Guardian
Day 5 is about South Bohemia’s capital, České Budějovice or Budweis in German – home to world-famous Budweiser Budvar beer. With a market sq. and baroque buildings straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, the city is an hour’s joyride from Kemp Branná. Park the bike and profit from town’s proud, 1,000-year brewing heritage. A tour of the Budvar brewery (£four) culminates within the semi-religious expertise of ingesting its unrivalled, unpasteurised, 90-day-aged beer deep within the brewery cellars. You’ll by no means take a look at lager the identical approach once more.
Brew kettles on the Budvar brewery. Photograph: Rob Cowen for the Guardian
Then stroll to Masné Krámy – a 13th-century former meat market transformed right into a bar – for contemporary pints of Budvar’s darkish lager (70p) with a dish of home speciality goulash (£5). If you possibly can bear to depart the bar stool, catch the solar setting over the city sq. from a room at Grandhotel Zvon (doubles from £44 B&B).
• More data at czechstories.com
Andrew Almond is the proprietor of London-based Bolt Motorcycles