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…

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

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

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