Ask the experts
Whether fleeing the masses in fairy-tale Prague, taking the slow road across northern Scotland or meeting your ‘nosey’ relatives in the jungles of Borneo – our experts have got you covered…
Escaping Prague’s crowds, driving in northern Scotland and meeting monkeys – our experts weigh in
SEE LESSER-SPOTTED PRAGUE
Q I’d like to visit Prague, but where can I escape the hordes that descend on the city? Amy Knight, via email
A One easy way to escape the crowds in Prague is to take refuge in one of the city’s tranquil gardens. Laid out on the steep hillside beneath Prague Castle are the lush Palace Gardens, with their winding stairways and terraces that offer fine city views, while for a relaxing stroll, try the beautifully landscaped Wallenstein Garden.
Away from the bustle of the city centre lie the peaceful Vltava islands. Pay a visit to Slovansky and its park, restaurant and palace; Strelecky with its summer cinema and café; Detsky with its green areas; and Kampa, which is pretty much all parkland at its southern end.
Prague’s suburbs are a short tram or metro ride away. Vinohrady and Zizkov border the New Town but receive a fraction of its visitors. Vinohrady’s top attraction is the weird and wonderful Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, partly inspired by Egyptian temples. Meanwhile, Holesovice is an up-andcoming area where abandoned factories are being transformed into hip galleries, bars and nightclubs.
The western suburbs hold some fascinating sights that most miss. The Sarka Valley is a sliver of bucolic Bohemia and follows the Sarecky Stream through forests, meadows and secluded villas, and feels like it’s a million miles from Prague. Finish in the south at the Brevnov Monastery, known for its impressive brewery. Alison Mcgil, editor of the DK Eyewitness Prague guide
GET BEHIND THE WHEEL IN REMOTE NORTHERN SCOTLAND
Q I’ve heard the North Coast 500 route around northern Scotland can get very busy. Is there a way around that? Ewan Clarke, via email
A The North Coast 500 circuit has been promoted with lots of success. Visitor numbers have risen dramatically yet the increase in traffic is not without complications for tourists and local people. Most only set a week aside to do it, though, and with travel to and from the Highlands requiring a day each way, visitors often hurtle along with little time to connect with the landscape.
My answer is to embrace the ‘Slow Travel’ experience, doing as little driving each day so as to avoid the frustration of missed deadlines. That way you also won’t miss out on secluded white-sand beaches, island boat trips, footpaths strewn with wildflowers, characterful heritage centres and much more.
The sight of a gorilla or a chimpanzee clattering through the jungle can’t help but send shivers down a visitor’s spine. Which is why we are so thrilled to see Wildlife Photographers United has turned its lenses on our closest relatives. Remembering Great Apes (£45; out now) is the third book in an ongoing series. Having already covered the plight of wild elephants and rhinos, some of the world’s top photographers are now focusing on dwindling populations of orangutans, chimps, bonobos and gorillas – including the eastern lowland gorillas of DR Congo, as seen here. Monies raised help support conservation projects by the Born Free Foundation.
To find out more about the project or order books online, visit rememberingwildlife.com