Looking back on our Prague visit, I can still say that my feeling about the city has not changed much. I stand by my conclusion that Prague is very much like a chocolate Easter egg. One of those ones that look gorgeous on the outside and is completely hollow on the inside. Not the best, but certainly good. I just prefer the ones with even more chocolate on the inside. I realize that this isn’t a popular opinion and Prague lovers are probably cussing me out already :-). Here are some of our Prague highlights of the best things to see, eat and do in the Czech Republic capital city.
Prague Highlights (Best of Prague):
You might remember our postcard from Prague in which l mentioned that Federico and I had differing opinions. He liked the city a lot more than l did, he thought it was more cosmopolitan. The one thing we both agree on without question is that Prague is one of the most beautiful cities we had ever seen. Perhaps for that alone, it is worthy of a visit. Guaranteed that you wouldn’t get tired of the views.
The best things about Prague:
In no particular order, here are some of the places we enjoyed visiting in Prague. This capital city is humongous!. Most of the sites are located in Praha (district) 1, so you can easily walk from one place to the next. Most of the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Center.
The castle complex dates back to the 9th century. The views are simply stunning from every angle. We didn’t tour the castle though. We were content with checking out the buildings, admiring the architecture and watching the changing of the guard ceremony. My tip? If you’re taking a taxi or Uber, have them drop you off at the National Gallery entrance side. Our Uber driver was Satan’s child and dropped us off on the other side, meaning we had to climb a gazillion steps to get up to the castle. Pretty, but tiring. Much easier to walk down than go up! We knew better the second time :-).
Prague has a lot of bridges, but the Charles Bridge is the most famous one. Building of the bridge started when Charles IV reigned, and was completed in the 15th century. I loved the statues that lined the bridge and it reminded me of the Castel Sant’ Angelo bridge in Rome. Charles Bridge was the only means of crossing the Vitara river until 1841. It therefore played a big part in making Prague a very desirable trade route. It is usually packed to the gills with tourists, but we got lucky for the most part, especially when you walk the full length, and not just for Instagram photos :-).
St. Vitus Cathedral:
Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop in Prague. This Cathedral is part of the Prague Castle too. It’s a pretty cool Gothic building.
The old Jewish ghetto. Lots of designer stores and cool but pricey looking restaurants in the area. I liked the funky vibe. We had been looking forward to checking out the museum, but felt the price of entry was too high at $15 (350 kč a person and being told by three people who were leaving saying it wasn’t worth it. We’ll never know :-) ). You can see some of the tombstones from outside though. We spent the money on nice cocktails at a bar close by.
National Technical Museum:
This was hands down, the best place l visited in Prague. I can’t tell you how much l enjoyed this museum, which I wrote about on a separate post. I have said if anything could persuade me to revisit Prague, it would be this museum. There are of course other great museums in Prague, such as the National Museum, Kafka Museum and the National Gallery.
Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti):
Dating back to the 10th century, it is nestled between famous Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge. Pretty as a picture! The center of the square has a memorial to Jan Hus, a religious reformer who was burned at the stake for his beliefs. This again reminded me of one of my favorite areas, Campo de Fiori square in Rome and the Bruno stature.
Vyšehrad (My second favorite place):
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An old historic fort. It’s about 2 miles away from the castle, on the right bank of the Vitara river. Most definitely worth visiting in my opinion. It has the awesome Vyšehrad Cemetery, final resting place of people such as the composer Antonin Dvorak, poet Jan Neruda and even a top scoring football player Josef Bican ( a nice and special treat!). The headstones and vaults are so ornate and frescoes that rival what you might see at the Vatican. The church is also insanely beautiful, as are the views from the fort. So worth it! Park a lunch and enjoy. The best thing is that it seems very few tourists make their way over there, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
We stayed in District 4 for part of our stay in Prague and it was pretty close to this park. We really enjoyed the neighborhood. It was far enough away from the touristy part of town, but was only a 15-20 minute walk cutting through the park to get to the center. Letna Park is a very popular area for kids to hang out and drink at the beer gardens. I liked the views from the top a lot.
The second biggest park in Prague famous for its vineyard, and very popular with locals. It is located in Praha 2. A visit is a great way to spend an afternoon away from the crowds. Fountains and water cascades with Italian Renaissance inspiration. Great views from Grebovka as the locals call it from the hilltop eatery where we had some lovely wine and food. There is also wine tasting at the vineyard.
There are of course other things to do in Prague, but these were our favorites. You would think with all the things l mentioned here, I would have no reason to whine about not loving the place :-). I wish l had an answer. All l know is that it didn’t really move me. I felt everything was “forced”. No connection, not like l felt with Budapest (another touristy place, but one l felt lived up to the hype) and Krakow (another place l loved deeply). Just goes to show you. It might just be that l am getting so jaded from traveling so much. Maybe concentrating more on Spain for this coming year might be a good thing. Another reason might also be that my scheduling three plus weeks for us there was just too long. I think a 4-5 day visit to Prague is best. Enough to enjoy the sights, and not get jaded. We wanted to see if it was a place that we could live in, that was the reason for the allotted time. The answer by the way is nope. Not my cup of tea, and impossible as it may sound, I think it is more expensive than Valencia. It’s probably more on par with Barcelona and Madrid. Being bored, we did leave to spend a week in Vienna. Prague is very good as a base from which to do day trips. We had a fantastic day out to Cesky Krumlov, a tiny city that just simply rocks! We also did a day trip to Dresden, Germany, another place l absolutely want to revisit.
The myth of cheap beer in Prague:
We didn’t find that true. We found the prices the same, or slightly higher than here in Spain, at least in Valencia, Seville and definitely Malaga, places we have lived in. Pretty sure at some point, it was true, but thanks to mass tourism, it is higher. I suppose if you’re visiting from the U.S for instance, it is much cheaper compared to how much it costs back home. Coming from some European countries, it’s a wash.
This supposedly Czech treat is a chimney looking donut pastry that is roasted on a metal grill. So many stands and so many people waiting in line to get one. We discovered that it has absolutely nothing to do with the Czech Republic and something that only started being sold about 6 years ago :-) as street food. It is actually Slovakian in origin.
Food in Prague:
We had amazing food in Prague. I loved the fact that we had so many choices, from kebabs, to Asian to Mexican to Czech food. Loved them all! We found the grocery prices a tad more expensive than here, which was surprising (we cooked a bit at the AirBnB we stayed at).
Our hotel in Prague:
In addition to our week at the AirBnB lodging, we also stayed a week at La Boutique Hotel. It’s a great little boutique hotel and we can definitely recommend it as one of the best places to stay in Prague. We loved La Boutique because:
- Free WiFi
- Neighborhood feel
- Close proximity to restaurants, pubs, metro, shopping and a major bus station
- Free breakfast
- Great price
- Really spacious rooms
Our travel insurance for our Prague trip was World Nomads and you can get your own free quote.
Should you visit Prague?
A tough one for me to answer. Federico says yes without hesitation. I say “it is pretty”. For sure if you’re young and love partying, it’s a great place to be, and it is pretty! :-) :-) :-). The only other place that has made me feel like this was Amsterdam, another not too popular opinion post that people still write me about to tear me a new one! Damn it though, it’s my experience!!! Go write yours! :-).
Have you been to Prague? If yes, what was your overall impression? Did you love it, hate it? or just can’t decide like me?