Recently I returned from two+ weeks in Prague. As I used this Forum for help and suggestions in planning my trip, I’d love to give back in terms of our experience.
Here are just a few thoughts. Hopefully they are helpful.
- Hotel - Residence Hotel Agnes: My daughter was at a music competition in conjunction with the Prague Conservatory, so for much of our trip, we stayed in their dorms. This said, we treated ourselves to a hotel stay for the first three nights, while my daughter acclimated to the time change and we learned our way around Prague.
After a lot of research, I chose Residence Hotel Agnes (a “boutique hotel” with maybe twenty rooms). Without question Residence Hotel Agnes is hands down, the absolute best hotel in which I have ever stayed in. I highly, highly, highly recommend it! I gave it a lengthy review on Trip Advisor (under the name NoelfromMA) that you can read over there. I just want to reiterate here that it is true what all the reviews say, the staff caters to the individual, and will do everything they can to make your visit to Prague easy and enjoyable.
- Wittman Tour: I am Jewish and wanted to spend a lot of time in Prague exploring the Jewish experience. (We had stopped in Amsterdam first, and had several amazing Jewish-oriented tours so I was hopeful as we made our way to Prague). Before leaving home in the US, I tried hard to arrange a tour of Terezin with Wittmann Tours. Although they have lots of good reviews I found them to be quite difficult to work with. Initially they didn’t return my emails. When they did, they often gave me only partial information (e.g. yes there is a tour, but they didn’t give me the time).
Ultimately, I did not take a tour of Terezin with them (see below), but decided to book a Jewish Quarter tour with them once I arrived in Prague.
Big mistake. Our guide was a young woman whose name began with “M” (can’t recall it, I'm sorry). She was absolutely terrible. Within minutes I knew that the tour wouldn’t be good and I asked the Wittmann administrator (who was also there collecting fees) if I could leave the tour and join another tour the following day, with a different tour guide. Strangely her answer was “no.” I reiterated that I wasn’t asking for my money back, just to join the same tour with a different guide, the following day. Again she refused my request. As it turned out, the tour only got worse. The guide’s knowledge was very limited and she found it difficult to explain certain information and ideas or answer any questions with any sort of depth or substance.
At the end of the tour, two other families came up to me and complained that she was the worst guide they too had ever had.
- Terezin: From the US, I booked a tour with Wittmann Tours. Unfortunately, two days before the tour, they told me that no one else had signed up and if I wanted to take the tour, my daughter and I would have to pay for a private tour rate.
I quickly cancelled and booked at tour with Pavel Batel instead. As everyone else has noted here, Pavel is amazing! He has committed his life to researching Terezin stories. As far as I can tell, he knows more about Terezin than anyone else. I would not hesitate to recommend Pavel. He is fascinating, knowledgeable, and a really nice guy.