So I’m pretty sure Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I spent a few days here with Lizzie, the gorgeous girl behind From Europe and Beyond, after a 3 year period without seeing each other. It was the best reunion we could have had.
After a snuggly hello and a rushed pint at Stansted Airport, we ran to our gate and boarded our budget airline flight, at opposite ends of the plane from each other. Reminder: always online check-in together if you want to sit together.
We had prebooked our accommodation in the brand new and perfectly located Hostel Ananas. It was big, clean and the staff were lovely. The downside (especially if you’re British, probably) was the see-through shower doors. Zero privacy. Deal with it. We also met the best group of people imaginable, and that made Prague even better.
There is so much to see in this gorgeous city, and thanks to Google Maps and my obsessive planning we had the most efficient route planned out to see as much as we could.
Our first stop was the crowded Old Town Square. It’s easy to spot because you’ll see the Gothic spires of the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn peaking up above the tall, colourful buildings.
The atmosphere here is contagious, and you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the street performers. In the southwest corner of the square is the majestic Astronomical Clock, catch it on the hour for a surprise.
From the Old Town Square head north to Josefov, the Jewish quarters. A ticket will grant you entry to four different synagogues, the Ceremonial Hall and the ancient Jewish Cemetery. If you choose not to do this you can still wander the streets lined with stalls and buy yourself a little souvenir.
From Josefov, head east towards the river and you’ll stumble across the massive Rudolfinum, an impressive building that houses a music auditorium and art gallery. We also happened to crash a movie set while we were here and the street was filled with rioting protesters and police, so that was fun.
As you first cross the Vltava river on Manes Bridge you’ll have your first view of the famous Charles Bridge to the south. You’ll also see the castle that isn’t a castle perched on a hill high above the city. It’s a castle complex by the way, just so you’re not as confused and disappointed as we were.
It’s two redeeming qualities are the incredible views and the absolutely wonderful St. Vitus Cathedral. Take the time to explore the “castle” and cathedral, it’s surprisingly peaceful up there.
Be sure to stop by the Loreta, a historic monument just as grand on the inside as it is on the outside. I would also definitely recommend stopping for a very expensive beer with probably the best view in Prague at Restaurant Bellavista.
Take a stroll through the trees and you’ll eventually find yourself at the base of the 60m tall Petrín Tower. This is one of the few things we actually paid for and it’s well worth it for 50CZK (£1.50).
Once you climb all 299 stairs you are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city below you; a sea of red, yellow and green with the river winding through it. We also paid to visit the Mirror Maze… It was a strange and hilarious experience. I still don’t know how I feel about it.
It’s a lovely walk back to the city, take a stroll past the Church of Our Lady Victorious, step inside to admire a random collection of nativity scenes from around the world.
To the west is the famous Lennon Wall, covered in colourful graffiti constantly being added to. Across the tiny “love locks bridge” is the John Lennon Pub, the perfect place to stop for another beer.
After all that walking you finally cross the famous Charles Bridge. I was so excited about this, and despite the crowds, it did not disappoint. The cobbled street, the statues watching over you, and the huge towers at either end, one of which you can climb for even better views. It was just as I imagined, again and again, reading “Daughter of Smoke and Bone“, it’s even more magical at night.
Once you have seen the sights why not explore a little more? Take a boat tour, try out a Segway, drink a ton of cheap beer and eat your body weight in Goulash. If you want to treat yourself then head to Grosseto Marina, an Italian restaurant on a riverboat with perfect views of the city.
I honestly fell in love with this city, partly because of the city itself, and partly because of the great company. Put it at the top of your bucket list right now!
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