There is no denying the beauty of Prague. The city is famous for its eclectic mix of architectural styles, each cobbled street a perfect ‘wish you were here’ photo opportunity.
For my birthday this year, my mother surprised me with a trip to the capital. We stayed in the district of Malá Strana; the ‘little side’ of the river. I snapped the header for this post from the front of our hotel, right next to Prague Castle.
This peaceful district is the perfect place to explore. Grab a coffee and a Trdelník from one of the cafés and make your way up to Prague Castle to get an intimate view of the cityscape. Watch the changing of the guard at midday and wonder how they haven’t caught frostbite from standing in the cold. Or take a trip up to Petrín Tower for a 360° view of the city from 63.5 metres high.
Across the river lies Staré Mesto, or Old Town. Meander over to Charles Bridge and find the statue of St. John of Nepomuk. Not sure which one it is? Look for the one surrounded by tourists. Legend has it if you make a wish here it comes true, just touch the gold patch of the statue.
Old Town is home to some of Prague’s most famous landmarks, including the Astronomical Clock, the Jewish Quarter and the Church of our Lady before Tyn. If you’re on a budget, you can visit most of the landmarks for free. Catch the mechanical performance of the Astronomical Clock on the hour, witness the Gothic structure of the Church of our Lady before Tyn, or take a walk around the many backstreets. Most of the Jewish Quarter is free to walk around, though you’ll need to purchase tickets to enter the graveyard and the synagogues.
For a top visitor destination, Prague isn’t the tourist trap you might expect. Of course you have shops and restaurants designed with tourists in mind, but walking around the city feels, (for use of a better word), authentic.
You can visit most of the major landmarks in a single day, perfect if you’re on a bit of a time crunch. For more of a relaxed experience, separate the days by district, and hit up a different one each day. If you’re visiting in the winter months and want a break from the icy weather, look at which museums are holding exhibitions, or check out which theatre performances are running during your stay.
One of the highlights of the trip was watching a performance of Valmont at Národní Divadlo. If you’re looking to get cultural without breaking the bank, you should visit the National Theatre. The Czech government subsidises the arts, meaning a ticket for a private box at the ballet will only set you back around £25 per person. Look on the National Theatre website for performances during your stay, and choose from the ballet, a play or opera.
If you’re heading on your first ever city break then Prague is the place to go. It’s a city that doesn’t require much planning. Just choose a hotel or Airbnb in a central location, pack some comfortable shoes and you’re ready to explore.
You can reach most places on foot, or there’s an abundance of public transport options if you don’t fancy the walk. Ubers are also a cheap and easy way to get around the city. Most of the central restaurants are mid-range in price, with an average dinner and drinks setting you back around £35 a head. There are cheaper alternatives in chain restaurants and food stalls, as well as higher-end options for those wanting to splash the cash.
In terms of budgeting, you can be flexible based on what you do during your stay. Prague deals in Czech Crown, which you can exchange in the city for a decent rate. Always do your research prior to your visit to find the best exchange rate.
If you’re looking for more information on the city, check out the Prague tourism website here.
I hope you enjoyed the first instalment of my new travel series. Visiting new countries is something I’ve always loved, so this is a place for me to share my experiences.
Until next time!