Joe and I decided to kick-start our 2017 with a weekend getaway, and so after a bit of deliberation we settled on Prague: a city that neither of us had visited before and everyone had told us amazing stories about. Since exploring the place for ourselves, I can say that these raves are completely justified. Prague is full of pretty cobbled streets, dramatic architecture, stunning views, cool bars, casual pubs and so much more. And seeing it all under blankets of snow only made it even more magical! So, here’s a whistle-stop city guide of all the best bits from our trip…
How to Get Around
In terms of actually getting there, we found bargain flights on Skyscanner with Ryanair that got us a return trip for around £100 each. Getting from the airport to the centre of town looked easy enough on public transport. However, it was actually snowing when we arrived so we hopped in a taxi to save all the fuss, which cost around 600 CZK (or £20) to get us to our hotel.
We stayed in the beautiful Yasmin hotel just around the corner from Wenceslas Square, which I would absolutely recommend. The rooms weren’t huge, but they were clean and a great base for exploring everything the city has to offer. It was a couple of minutes walk to the nearest metro station and tram stop, and a walkable distance from the Old Town Square too.
Whilst most things tended to be within walking distance from one another, it was freezing during our visit (I’m talking -11 on some days!) so we did use the metro and tramlines a fair amount too. In our nearest metro station (Muzeum) there was a tiny newsagent where you could buy your travel tickets, which we found a lot easier to do than trying to figure out the machines! Tickets are valid on trams and buses as well as the metro, so we always purchased a 1-day pass, which if I remember rightly cost 110 CZK each – cheap as chips! You can also get a 3-day pass, which we didn’t realise until later on during our stay.
Where to explore
Although Prague is a relatively small city, there are a lot of things to explore. Lonely Planet’s ‘Pocket Prague’ guide was basically my bible for the weekend, and I used it to plan our entire trip. It gives you short, snappy yet insightful info on all of the landmarks and includes easy-to-read maps for when you don’t have Wi-Fi to hand, so I’d definitely recommend buying a Lonely Planet guide for your next trip!
Charles Bridge is one of Prague’s most iconic landmarks, running across the Vltava River with statues that line both sides. It’s generally quite busy with tourists, and there were loads of people gathered around one of the central statues rubbing the bronze plaques beneath it. We weren’t sure why at the time, but I rubbed it anyway just in case it was lucky! Turns out it was the statue of St John of Nepomuk, and tradition says rubbing the falling priest on the right-hand plaque is supposed to bring good luck and ensure you return to Prague… it’s just a shame I rubbed the dog on the left instead of the priest – a common mistake apparently, oh well!
Prague Castle & St Vitus Cathedral
Prague Castle is definitely worth a visit, and you can buy various entry tickets into the complex depending on how much you want to see. Joe and I went for a basic ticket that got us access to the Old Royal Palace exhibits and St Vitus Cathedral. But to be honest, the cathedral is the real star of the show. It’s just stunning with all its intricate detailing and colourful stained-glass windows. Even if you decide not to go inside the complex, you can still go and see the castle guards by the main entrance gate, and the views around the perimeter of the castle down to the city are beautiful.
Petrin Hill & Lookout Tower
Some of the best views of Prague can be seen from the Lookout Tower on top of Petrin Hill – a 62m tall Eiffel Tower lookalike with 299 steps (it kills me that they didn’t add one more step in!) Had it been a little less icy, we would have hiked up Petrin Hill to the tower and really made a whole morning of it. However, we decided to take the warmer option of the funicular railway instead, which saved us a bit of time and offered some more great views along the way.
John Lennon Peace Wall
It took us a while to find the John Lennon Peace Wall in the winding streets of Malá Strana, but we were glad we made the effort if only for the photo opportunity. It’s essentially a huge colourful mural commemorating the late Beatle, and there was a busker in front of it singing some of their most infamous songs, which made for a really lovely atmosphere whilst we perused all of the graffiti.
Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock
The Old Town Square is all cobblestones and candy-coloured buildings that wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy-tale scene. There are loads of places to eat and drink here (some pricier than others), and the main square is often filled with lively food and craft stalls around holidays like Christmas. The main attraction is the Astronomical Clock, which is quite cool I guess if you like that sort of thing!
We actually didn’t go shopping at all during our four-day trip. But there was one street of designer shops just off of the square that we couldn’t resist strolling down. We even popped into a few to swoon over all the things we will be buying when we win the lottery one day!
Where to Eat
There were so many restaurants and bars in Prague that we struggled to know where to begin! A friend of mine recommended we book a table at the Zizkov TV Tower one evening which has amazing views (you can see a running theme here!) across the city. It looked amazing at night all lit up, and although the menu was a bit fancy for us, the food was really delicious! This was the most expensive meal we ate by far, but even so, we paid around £30 each for 2 courses and drinks. So not far off what you’d pay in a UK restaurant.
At the other end of the scale, the very first meal we ate in Prague was in a quaint little restaurant we found in a courtyard just off of Wenceslas Square. Joe and I both had a massive pizza each (which we wolfed down in record time) and Joe had a classic Czech beer whilst I opted for a warming fresh ginger tea with honey. The entire bill came to around 400/500 CZK, so roughly £12-£15! We enjoyed it so much we even went back for our last meal there too – although this time we shared a pizza!
I had so much fun putting together this ‘city guide’ style of post, and would love to do more of this kind of thing for my future travels. So let me know if you enjoyed reading it! In the meantime, I’d love to know any recommendations you have for my next visit to Prague!