Travel Guide: Prague

Prague completely stole my heart when we visited in January. It is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited – the gothic architecture makes you feel as though you’re in a fairytale. It’s home to some of the best-kept architecture in Europe and it’s wonderfully charming. Between the gorgeous castles and cathedrals, the fantastic restaurants and its rich history, it’s no surprise that Prague attracts thousands of tourists each year. Here’s all my recommendations for what to see, where to eat and where to stay in Praha!

GETTING TO PRAGUE & WHERE TO STAY

Prague is a really short plane ride from London – we flew via Stansted Airport straight into Prague. Wheels up at 7am, we arrived in Praha by 9am – ideal timing for an entire day of exploring! From the airport, we grabbed a taxi and drove 20 short minutes to our hotel. It is brilliant driving through the Old Town and up a narrow, winding cobbled street to our hotel, the Hotel Golden Star, that sits right beneath Prague Castle. It is truly like something out of a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale book.  It’s worth noting that Prague is a really cheap city overall. Our cab to our hotel from the airport only cost about £18.

As we arrived to our hotel, the snow was falling and I was just in awe of the sheer beauty of the city. The Hotel Golden Star, which I have previously written about, is a fantastic hotel to stay at. Located in the heart of the Castle District and right underneath Prague Castle, it is a wonderfully affordable option in a spectacular area of town. The hotel concierge is incredibly accommodating and even let’s you have your choice of room. Once we checked in, we enjoyed a glass of welcome bubbles and admired our insane view. The hotel costs around £70 a night depending on when you go and that includes welcome champagne and a full on breakfast along with bottomless prosecco should you wish. The rooms have been newly renovated to a very high standard and they have all the amenities you could want for a few days stay.

WHAT TO SEE: THE ESSENTIAL SIGHTS

Our first full day in Prague was spent seeing as much as we possibly could. There is so much to see and do in Prague that very shortly after we checked into our hotel, we set off on foot to explore. We had no real itinerary in mind, but we knew a lot of the spots we wanted to definitely see.

The Charles Bridge – Prague’s most iconic bridge is a must-see for any first timer in Prague. Commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357, the stunning bridge spans 16 arches and is lined with 30 baroque statue of religious figures. The bridge is lined with cobblestones and has the most fantastic views of the Vlatva River. It’s a real cultural melting pot that meets together at the bridge – think painters, dog walkers, food vendors, and musicians – all gathered together day in and day out. If you want to beat the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience of the Charles Bridge – head there at dawn and watch the sunrise! Something I wish I would have done!

The Old Town & the Famous Clock – On the other side of the Charles Bridge is Prague’s famous Old Town – best known for the Astronomical Clock. It is a breathtakingly beautiful area of Prague, but be careful of falling into tourist traps, and overpriced food stalls! Keep reading for my food recommendations below.

Prague Castle & St. Vitus Cathedral – One of the most enchanting castles and cathedrals I’ve been to, you have to pop them both on your Praha bucket list. St. Vitus Cathedral is located within the Prague Castle complex and is the grandest gothic cathedral I have ever seen. Give yourself plenty of time to walk around the castle’s complex, where you’ll find yourself walking down winding cobblestone streets to surprises around every corner.

Josefov – Prague’s Jewish Quarter is one of the best insights into the rich Jewish history you’ll find in all of Europe. I highly recommend a visit to the Jewish Museum, taking a walk through the Jewish Cemetary and visiting the Old New Synagogue. While it is a bit of a sobering experience, I am really glad that we did the tour as I learned so much about Jewish culture that I didn’t previously know.

WHERE TO DRINK

Prague is best known for its Pilsner Lagers – and truth be told, beer is cheaper than water. There are plenty of drinking dens to hide out from the crowds of bustling Prague and we found a few great ones I’m happy to share with you guys.

Svaty Norbert Strahov Monastic Brewery – We happened to stumble across this 17th-century brewery that was restored and reopened as a craft brewery in 2000. They serve a small, but outstanding selection of craft beers that they home-brew. In fact, it’s some of the best beers I’ve ever had. The food is also quite good – simple, hearty Czech food – think sausages, dumplings and bread. We came for the beer, not once but twice during our three days in Prague. It’s really close to Prague Castle, so after you’ve done a tour, unwind with a pint of dark beer. Also, the Strahov Library is a short walk away and apparently gorgeous inside.

Tygra – The Golden Tiger – this hidden gem was recommended to us by one of Ciaran’s colleagues who is from Prague. It is located right in the centre of Old Town, so we were a bit worried it would be totally touristy but we were wrong! Hidden behind an unassuming green door on the street – you walk in and are led down a long corridor until you hear the sounds of laughter and lively conversation coming behind another door. Walk through and you’ll be met by a crowd of friendly bartenders and regulars. Take a seat (if you can find one) and breathe in the Czech atmosphere of the pub – oh and don’t worry about queuing to order a beer – the awesome bar staff will welcome you with a round of beers and will keep topping you up til you leave. They tally up the amount of beers you’ve had on a receipt that you bring up to the front when you leave. Oh and apparently, Bill Clinton has frequented this mythical place. It’s worth finding and staying for a really fun evening. PS. It’s cash only.

WHERE TO EAT

Chimney Cakes/Trdelník – These are the most sinfully delicious treats that are really popular in Eastern European countries. I first came across them when we went to Budapest, but they are all over Prague. You can get them in all different flavours – chocolate, vanilla, almond, etc. You can also get them filled with ice cream or savoury fillings like ham and cheese. Bottom line, they’re delicious and they are sold on pretty much every street corner, the perfect snack to enjoy on-foot whilst traipsing through the city.

 Hergetova Cihelna-if you want a more upscale restaurant, this beautiful spot right on the river is just for you. It is one of Prague’s best restaurants located on the bank of Prague’s Vlatva River with spectacular views of the Charles Bridge. The food is equally as stunning – featuring out of this world dishes like fluffy dumplings with pulled pork, saddle of deer and slow baked wild boar. The setting is utterly romantic and the service was impeccable.

Bellavista – What can I say – I am a sucker for an incredible view and Bellavista is such a special restaurant nearby Prague Castle that has some of the very best views of the city. Even in the winter, they have heated tents so you can sit outside and take in the gorgeous views whilst warming up over delicious Czech food. The pumpkin soup was the best I’ve ever had and the turkey schnitzel – dreamy. Bellavista was wonderful in the winter, but I can only imagine how fantastic it would be in the summertime with a beer or glass of wine in hand sitting out over looking the city.

WANDER AROUND

We were only in Prague for 3 short days and I would without a doubt go back. It was magical seeing it in the winter with a blanket of snow over the rooftops, but I would love to go back in the summertime and experience it again. Let me know if I’ve missed anything off of this list that I can save for the next time I visit. Have you been to Prague? What’s your favourite part?

Happy travels!

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