Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s like stepping into a Disney fairytale from the minute you arrive; gorgeous gothic architecture, castles and softly lit cobbled streets. Unsurprisingly, its beauty, culture and finesse for brewing beer makes it a popular destination for many travellers. Prague has a lot of offer, whether your thing is jazz, museums or beer tasting, so here’s how to ensure you make the most out of your visit.
If you’re like me then you’re likely to opt out of the hotel buffet in search of a little café or restaurant in the city. There are two really great places in Prague that I was fortunate enough to discover; Bakeshop Praha is one of the only places in Prague that still serve real sourdough, but they also have a wide breakfast menu to choose from. Equally, Café Lourve, in spite of the name, is somewhat of an institution in Prague and serves a fantastic breakfast. The Gran Moravia omelette is particularly tasty and great value for money.
Get stuck into the heart of the city’s culture in Old Town Square. Týn Church and St. Nicholas Church are just two of the points of interest and the square itself dates back to the 12th Century. The Old Town Hall Tower and Astronomical Clock are probably the biggest attractions and for a small fee you can climb up the tower and take in a panoramic view of the Old Town. Make sure you visit the clock on the hour to watch ‘The Walk of the Apostles’.
After you’ve got to grips with Old Town Square, head over the river towards the castle district. You can get the metro to Stare Zamecke Schody, but I walked up Petrin Hill. It is no easy climb, but the view over the city makes it well worth it. At the top, you can stroll through the gardens, check out Prague’s very own Eiffel Tower, get lost in the mirror maze and peruse the wooden Church of St Michael. The St Vitus Cathedral is situated within the castle compound and is an incredible display of gothic architecture. It is surrounded by a labyrinth of lanes, most of which host small boutiques and shops.
Lesser Town (Mala Strana) is situated right next to the castle district of Prague. U Zavesenyho, just near Hradčany Square, has plenty of restaurants offering all sorts of different cuisines for reasonable prices. Whilst still being on the tourist path, it isn’t excessively overcrowded and exudes the bohemian atmosphere that Prague is famed for.
Charles Bridge is a short walk from the centre of Mala Strana and is definitely a highlight on the tourist trail. The statues that line the bridge make for great holiday snaps and there’s an opportunity to buy some souvenirs from the street artists. For those that want to get to know the darker side of Prague, the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments is situated nearby and has lots artefacts from the city’s dark past. However, in my opinion the Torture Museum in Stare Mesto is much better value for money (150CZK per adult), but this is not a museum for the faint-hearted. The whole museum is set underground and you walk through a series of eerie, atmosphere streets complete with torture devises, gruesome descriptions and wax figures. I was convinced one of them was going to jump out of me. Prague Ghost and Legends museum is also well worth the trip if you are interested in learning more about the many ghosts that supposedly haunt the city to this very day.
Kolkovna is the perfect restaurant to cool your aching heels after a long day travelling around Prague’s greatest sites. Situated by the Spanish Synagogue, it serves an excellent Czech menu from goulash to duck, all dished up with traditional side dishes such a dumplings and cabbage. Or, if you’re looking for somewhere a little more romantic, then Cartouche is the perfect alternative. Lit by candles and fires, it showcases Prague’s rich history with a grand medieval theme. A little pricier, but definitely worth it.
There are few cities that can compete with Prague’s nightlife and live music scene. Jazz Republic on Rijna (by Wenceslas Square) is one of my favourite venues in Prague so be sure to head down there for an evening of free entertainment from some talented jazz groups.
Once the jazz has cooled head to the Batalion bar, which is conveniently located right next door the Jazz Republic. It is a trendy grunge bar that spans two floors and is open 24 hours a day. Stay upstairs and admire the cool comic-style artwork whilst sampling a cocktail before going downstairs into the basement club where you can dance the night away.
Prague is a city perfect for exploring by foot, but if time is pressed then getting a day travelcard is definitely recommended and at just 100CZK, it really is worthwhile.
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