Practical Travel Tips: Prague, Czech Republic

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We spent a few days in Prague this Summer, a city that we haven’t visited in a while. We forgotten how much fun it is. Go visit.

Neema, from the blog Adventures of An African Dutchess, who last wrote about Croatia, Douro Valley, Porto, Melbourne and Auckland, recently went to the Prague and here are her practical tips.

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Do you remember Passport to Europe show when Samantha Brown walked through the cobblestone streets of Prague and described its unique style? I knew after that episode that I had to find myself in Prague at some point in my life. And through her show, I have been able to visit countless cities in my quest to quench my thirst for traveling.

Prague is colorful, unique, delightful and full of character with magnificent architecture. I was in awe! I had about 4 days to get to see as much as I can and I wanted to experience it all.  Walk the famous Charles Bridge, take pictures of the red roofs, see the change of guards at Prague Castle, get lost in the gorgeous streets of Mala Strana, gaze at the historical Astronomical Clock, spend some time admiring the beauty of Old Town Square and find time to check out the Wenceslas Square found in modern part of Prague. And I was not going to let the cold winter in January spoil my adventure.

Getting in:

I flew in directly from SFO with Swiss Airlines with a brief stop in Zurich. Other airlines such as British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa all have services to this beautiful city. Depending on your arrival time, a taxi can take between 25-40 minutes to get to Old Town with prices between $30-$50. You also have an option to take Bus 119 that runs every 15 minutes to the Veleslavin metro station and from there, you can take any of the train lines to centre of the city where you are staying.

Accommodation:

I love staying in city centers. And in Europe, Old Towns are my first choices because they offer a lot of history. Old Town gave me a good base to explore a lot of the attraction sites but you c an also stay in Jewish Ghetto, Mala Strana, New Town all very close to alot of the touristic sites. I arrived late in the evening and checked into Savic Hotel (a 3-minute walk from the Astronomical Clock) and was surprised to find a card, champagne and a beautiful birthday message waiting  for me in my room (how thoughtful).

Things To Do:

Praha known by the Czech and Prag by the Germans, is one of the 14th largest cities in Europe. A little history gives account of it being founded during the Romanesque and the Gothic eras and originally the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Having endured two civil wars, this country is now one of the best cities for anyone to visit in Europe. Now, Praha is home to some of the most beautiful attractions with its center being included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. I will share with you some of the best things to do and see when you visit this engaging city.

Old Town Square

Old world charm and true heart of Prague lies in the beautiful square of Old Town also known as Stare Maesto with gothic and baroque colorful architecture styles. Located between Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge, your trip is not complete without having this place as your first stop. And during Christmas and Easter, this square transforms to the biggest market in the whole of Czech Republic and known all over the world and visited by people from all over Europe and the world. In the summer, restaurants are opened around the square and its perfect for just relaxing and people watching.

  • The beautiful Astronomical Clock: You would wonder why people would want to see something that only takes 45 seconds? Maybe its because it’s historic (built in 1410) and photogenic nature. Its mounted on the southern wall of Old Town Hall. Ohh and it has really interesting facts one of them being if the city neglects it, the city will suffer. Marvel at the little details on the clock such as astronomical dial representing sun and moon.
  • FYI: For anyone visiting Prague, the clock is out of action until sometimes in the summer of 2018 as it is undergoing renovations.
  • Old Town City Hall: With Gothic towers, it host the main tourist attraction office, art exhibitions on the ground and 2nd floor, it also hosts the spectacular Astronomical Clock. If you have time, take a tour of this place and see the cellars underneath the building and head up to the tower for panoramic views of Old Town.
  • The Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn: She is a beauty to behold from the 14th century. With decorations of Virgin Mary, it has twin gothic spires. Step inside and you will be greeted by baroque architecture,  a vast altar and a tomb.
  • Old Jewish Cemetery: This place felt so dead to me even though it has not been used for the last several years. Its  one of the oldest surviving Jewish graveyard. There are several notable people buried here and beneath it, thousands and thousand of graves.
  • Powder Tower: Is one of the original 13 city gates and for just 100 CZK, you can enjoy the magnificent views of Prague’s red roofs. It was once used as the gunpowder store and now, separates Old Town from New Town.
  • Spanish Synagogue: One of the newest synagogues  and the most beautiful of the Prague Jewish Town,  it has colorful stained glass and oriental motifs and covered in gold. Get your tickets online if you wish to visit this place.

Jewish Quarter

Mysterious with unique charm and home to six synagogues, Jewish Ghetto is one of those areas that leaves you wanting more. Walk the streets of the Prague Ghetto and be marveled by the numerous stories this place highlights – the history of Prague Jews, architecture, traditions and customs. It is located between Old Town Square and Vltava River.

Charles Bridge

I had to wake up before dawn to experience the real beauty of Karluv Most. This is a favourite place for everyone to stroll through packed with artists, tourists, musicians and hawkers. It crosses Vltava river and connects Old Town from Lesser Town of Mala Strana. It is decorated with 30 statues and statuaries and in the evening, go to the towers for gorgeous sunset and views of Prague Castle and river.

Hradcany and Mala Strana (Lesser Town)

My favourite part of Prague. Charming, decorative and has beautiful narrow lanes and some of the most beautiful houses I have ever seen. Get lost along the alleys as you try to find the John Lennon Wall. From here, you can easily reach Prague Castle and Pretrin Hill. It also has a lot of restaurants and cafes to try.

Prague Castle: Get your ticket to visit the various parts of this place such as the St. Vitus Cathedral,  museums, galleries and the Czech Crown Jewels. You can reach the castle by foot or by taking the tram. And look for the Golden Lane, it’s a picturesque alley that offer perfect instagram moments. The houses are built in Mannerism style (think Michelangelo) and are so small that normal people cannot fit in. Read of up the history, very educating.

Saint Nicholas Church: Don’t get it confused with the other St Nicholas Church in Old Town but this church is located in Mala Strana is one of the finest baroque buildings in Prague. Climb to the bell tower for amazing views of the city.

Petrin Hill: I had to climb 299 stairs to to get to the lookout tower for the view of Charles Bridge and the magnificent city of Prague. While here, also see the Mirror Maze and Petrin Funicular.

Admire the Lennon Wall: It is filled with John Lennon inspired graffiti and located in Mala Strana.

New Town:

And while Old Town might be the heartbeat of Prague, New Town offers a modern architecture, business, home to Wenceslas Square and the National Museum and can easily be reached by foot or tram 3, 9 or 24. For those who love shopping, this is the place to be. While here, walk to the The Dancing House built in 1996.

Gastronomy in Prague

After a long day of wandering the streets of Prague, have a beer.  This city if known for it’s Czech Beer Festival held for 17 days every year in May. But before you could have a glass of the beer, Praha invites your taste buds to enjoy some of the various cuisines this city offers – come hungry. You can enjoy a meal at Michelin Star Alcron or spend time at my favorite restaurant in Old Town offering traditional Czech food U Modre Kachnicky II: order the yummy duck leg. Dobrou Chut! After a delicious meal, visit Prague’s brewery pubs such as U Fleku or the Staropramen brewery.

Honestly, even with my four days, It was not enough. If you have more days, stop by some of the museums (Prague has 10 major museums), the other St. Nicholas Church in Old Town, Kinsky Palace, Old Synagogue, Municipal House, Clam-Gallas Palace, Church of Lady of Victorious and Infant Jesus of Prague, Pisek Gate, Kampa Island, Vysehrad National Cultural Monument, Lobkowicz Palace, State Opera, Kostel Panny Marie Pred Tynem and the Vrtba Garden.

I really love Praha. I knew this city would hold a special place in my heart especially walking the history alleys that led to the Old Town Square or the Jewish Ghetto. I still dream of its beauty and unusual charm. It’s in my top 5 cities to visit just after Melbourne and Cape Town. Frank Kafka said it best, “Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws” and he was right, there is something so addictive about how alluring and artistic Prague is. And let me not forget to add how picturesque it is. Every corner I turned to offered me a perfect Instagram worthy picture and memories to last me a life time.

About the Author

I am a Kenyan-American who is adventurous, foodie, wine lover, shoe addict, photographer, yogi and a runner. I also consider myself extremely blessed child of God. I enjoy traveling on a cheap budget by subscribing to the Flight Deal and other deal websites. I spend my days dreaming and planning my next trip. I enjoy traveling as a local. I love sharing stories of the places I visit and I do so through photography. I currently work in the Bay Area as a Marketing Professional. My free time is spent catching up on my favorite TV shows, reading, running and yoga. You can follow me on Instagram and my blog Adventures of An African Dutchess.

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2 Responses to "Practical Travel Tips: Prague, Czech Republic"

  1. Myriem S. says:

    I absolutely loved Prague – visited four springs ago, and I can’t wait to return some day. I spent about the same time as you – 5 days. A solid experience, but I easily could have enjoyed 15 days there. It was such a relatively inexpensive trip as well – we stayed literally steps away from the historic Charles Bridge for less than $70 a night. Loved all the places and things you mentioned, and would add the library at the Strahov Monastery was also beautiful and worth trekking over from Prague Castle to check out.

    Reply
  2. Brandy says:

    Great article! It makes me think I could maybe enjoy a trip in the winter (even though I hate the cold). I know I’ve read how crowded it gets during the spring/summer/fall so January might not be a bad time to go!

    Reply

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