Before I started looking into travelling to the Czech Republic, I knew very little about the capital city of Prague, or, if I’m honest, had much desire to visit. That being said, once I started reading about this city, and learning about the history, I quickly became convinced that we just couldn’t miss it. We had long been planning a trip to Germany, and always wanted to start in Berlin and work out way down through the country. Since Berlin’s airport doesn’t offer too many options yet, we decided instead to fly into Prague, and spend a couple of days there before moving on into Germany. Now, looking back on our whole trip, Prague is one of my highlights – it’s old world beauty, charm and history completely captivated me.
Upon our arrival in Prague, we encountered a little bit of a travel snag when the airline lost Scott’s luggage. This has never happened to us before, but we tried, and mostly succeeded to not panic. We filed the report, crossed our fingers that we’d hear something soon, and headed off for our hotel in the old centre of Prague.
We’d given ourselves a day and a half to explore Prague, which is definitely not enough time, but all the time we could afford. Never the less, we made the most of our visit, and since the city centre is fairly small and compact, we were able to hit all our highlights, and immerse ourselves, in the little time that we did have.
That afternoon, still sans all Scott’s belongings and all my shoes, we headed out into the city to explore, and for the next 36 hours, we did nothing but eat, drink, and fall in love with Czech culture. I am also happy to report that our missing baggage arrived through the night our first night, so when we woke up in the morning for our only full day in Prague, we were back on track.
With all that in mind, here are my recommendations and suggestions for what to see, do, eat and drink during a short visit to Prague:
What to see and do
Stroll across the Charles Bridge for wonderful views of the city on both sides. The bridge crosses the Vltava river and is also a major attraction in itself – it’s historical, old, and iconic. We took pictures of it from all angles – it’s stunning. Word of advise – the Charles Bridge is packed with people during the day, so we woke up and set out early in order to enjoy a walk across it without crowds milling all around. This also allowed us to capture better photos!
Explore the old Jewish Quarter and visit the Jewish Museum to learn more about the history and struggles of the Jewish community in Prague.
Visit the Old Town Square and gaze upon Prague’s medieval astronomical clock located in front of Old Town Hall. To welcome each new hour, the clock comes alive with a procession of Apostles, and crowds gather to glimpse this moment. It’s a popular tourist draw. In Winter, I understand there are also wonderful Christmas markets to be found in Prague’s Old Town Square.
Explore the ancient Prague Castle and its surrounding complex to marvel in the architecture and history. In full disclosure, we walked up through Mala Strana to the castle with the intention of visiting, but met a long queue and decided instead to continuing walking up to visit the Strahov Monastery. From the monastery, the views of Prague Castle were breathtaking, and they served cold Czech beer in a beer garden that overlooked all of Prague. This turned out to be our favourite moment in Prague; sitting, relaxed, overlooking the whole city in the heat of the sunshine, cold beer in hand.
Get lost in Prague’s Old Town and as you walk through the winding streets you’ll find hidden streets, beautiful buildings, and picturesque cafes and patios. Word for the wise – remember to wear comfy shoes or the cobblestone streets will get to you after a while.
Where to eat and drink
It’s common knowledge that great beer comes from the Czech Republic, but when we started to think about where and what we should eat in Prague, I found I didn’t know much about the cuisine at all. During my research, I came across a website/blog called Taste of Prague, that helped me immensely! I highly recommend using it as one of your resources when deciding where to eat in Prague. Also, if you’re interested and have the time (we didn’t but wish we did) Taste of Prague offers guided food tours of Prague as well.
One of our most pleasant surprises in Prague came as a recommendation from our taxi driver; we had picked his brain for the best places to eat and drink during the ride from the airport to our hotel. The place is called U Pinkasu, and we loved it because of the back beer garden patio, nestled at the base of an old church, and because of the smoked sausage and smoked cheese sandwiches we ate there. I can’t speak to the dining experience inside, but we visited this restaurant on two different occasions to sit outside in the covered beer garden, drink Czech pilsner, and eat sausages.
On our full day in Prague, we had an incredible lunch at a butcher shop called Naše Maso. Try the dry-aged burger, it’s fantastic, and order a beer, which you pour yourself from their tap. It’s a very casual place, with a few seats, and it’s very busy! After visiting though, I get why – the food is truly delicious! We also enjoyed a wonderful authentic Czech dinner of fried cheese, goulash, pork and potatoes at a restaurant called Lokal. The food was very good and the atmosphere even more so! Make a reservation if you plan to check it out!
Know before you go…
The city of Prague consists of ten main districts – 1 through 10. Prague 1 is the centre of historical Prague, and where all the major attractions and sights are located. If you only have a few days in Prague, you likely will not need or want to venture outside of Prague 1.
There are many different options for accommodations in Prague. There are hotels to fit all budgets and AirBnb is certainly a good option here as well. We opted for a small, budget-friendly hotel called Prague Golden Age, that I booked through expedia.ca. It was located perfectly in the centre of Prague, and made for a wonderful base from which to explore.
There is no direct route from the airport in Prague to Prague 1. There are buses that can take you where you need to go, but we found the quickest and most efficient route was to take a taxi. Once you’re settled comfortably, walking around Prague is the best way to get around, but there is also a great public transportation system, we just didn’t feel the need to use it in the short time we were there. When it was time to head for the train station, we walked there from our hotel, however, if you have a lot of baggage with you, a taxi, or public transportation, is a better option.
Oh, and one more thing… Prague is beautiful in the evening, so make sure you carve out some time for a relaxing stroll after dusk along the Vltava river!