My weekend in Prague was made up of sampling copious measures of beer, tasting the traditional Czech cuisine, and doing the necessary walking and sight seeing. I went with Ben, and we had a great time Czech-ing the city out!
Here are my ‘must-do’s’ of Prague:
Prague isn’t a huge city, and you can see most of the sights using your legs to get you around.
One of my favourite sights was Prague Castle. We got the tram up the hill (to conserve our energy, obvs) and walked up to the castle grounds from there. You can choose which of the buildings you want to explore, but we decided to climb up the many stairs of the clock tower of the St Vitus’s Cathedral. It was a steep walk up a spiral staircase, but we were rewarded with views across the whole of Prague from the top.
It was lovely to be above the crowds and able to look across the city and point out the various landmarks we had visited.
I was looking forward to visiting the Charles Bridge to take some pics and to discover why the bridge was so popular.
The Charles Bridge did live up to my expectations, because it is beautiful and quite romantic. Everyone who goes to Prague visits the Charles Bridge, so it gets very busy and there are buskers and street stalls all the way along the bridge. There are statues lining each side of the bridge, where one of them bears a brass plaque of a cross. A legend is connected to it, saying that if you touch the brass cross and make a wish, all your dreams will come true! I’m not a millionaire yet, so I guess the gods of the brass cross are still keeping me in suspense…
If you cross the Charles Bridge heading away from Prague Castle, you get to the Old Town Square. The Old Town Square is really beautiful, and it’s surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants. Every time we went to the square, there was a crowd of people around the Astronomical Clock. The clock is one of the oldest and elaborate clocks ever built. It gets slightly exciting at the stroke of each hour, when everyone gathers beneath it to watch a display of apostle figurines that appear above the clock each time it chimes.
2. Drink as much as you can
Prague is known for its Czech Beer, the best known being Pilsner Urquell. The beer there is pretty cheap (about €1.50), and this is taken full advantage of by the many groups of rowdy men on stag dos that patrol the town.
We did a commendable amount of bar hopping over the course of the weekend to ‘experience’ different parts of the city, and try out different beers.
My appreciation for beer really improved after we went beer tasting. I would wholly recommend beer tasting, as it provides you with an overview of the different types of Czech beer out there and how they differ from other beers. Importantly, you get to try a pint of each one.
We tasted seven different beers, starting with Pilsner, and drinking our way from pale larger to gradually finish with a strong dark larger. The guide could answer all our questions, and I would definitely be up for going again.
I didn’t really like beer before I went to Prague, but I think learning about it and ‘sampling’ so much of it out there has changed my mind!
3. Eat like a local
Most of the restaurants and cafes in Prague sell traditional Czech food. I would sum ‘Czech food’ up as being a dish that comes served with dumplings. There’s lots of pork, and we were told that a traditional Czech lunch is beef goulash.
I had this on the first day there by a fortunate accident. I think the waiter misinterpreted my request for chicken and decided to give me beef goulash instead – but who needs chicken when you can have traditional Czech goulash!
Lots of the restaurants are in cellars or beer halls, so you feel truly immersed in the Czech culture as you eat.
4. Discover hidden gems
I went on Time Out Prague before we left to find out where some of the more trendy restaurants and bars were. This directed us to a rooftop restaurant on the edge of the Old Town square which overlooked all the major sights of Prague called ‘Hotel U Prince’. It was so beautiful, but without knowing about it and enquiring about the rooftop to the restaurant staff on the ground floor, you wouldn’t know it was up there!
On another evening, we were wandering around the roads near our hotel when we stumbled upon a UV crazy golf course. ‘Prague Glow Golf’ wasn’t in the tourist handbook, and it was only €10 for two beers and as many laps of the crazy golf course as you could handle.
There weren’t many Brits there, and it was something fun and different. There are so many crazy golf courses in London that I want to try, so finding one in Prague was a real bonus! There was also a room in the middle of the course with black walls and tubes of UV paint, so you could really make your mark on Prague and paint and graffiti to your hearts desire.
Another fun sight was the NoD gallery, which was recommended to us by the beer tasting guide. It was essentially a bar, but with a small art gallery attached to it. It didn’t take us long to look round, but it gave me a very small fix of art for the weekend!
5. Remember that Prague is on a river
Luckily for Ben and I, one of our days there was really sunny. We made the most of this by hiring a pedlo to do a bit of sunbathing on the water. This also meant that we could see Prague from the water.
This turned out to be really good, as we could see the bent shape of the Dancing House from the water. The Dancing House is designed in a very different style from the Art Nouveau and Neo Gothic buildings that exist around the rest of Prague. As it’s further away from all the other main sights, it saved our legs from having to walk all the way over to it!
From the vantage point of the pedlo, not only could we see Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, and some of the other main buildings, but we could see some more hidden away pubs and restaurants that we wouldn’t necessarily have noticed from the road.
We found a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the Charles Bridge, and just like we found with the rooftop bar, because few tourists knew about it, it wasn’t crowded and was beautiful.
We also saw a bar that was located down on the docks, below the main road. When we went there the following day, there was a live band playing, and it was a lovely spot to spend the afternoon sipping beer and basking in the sun.
6. Become a shopaholic
I wouldn’t recommend shopping as a ‘must-do’ if you only have a weekend in Prague, but the shopping there is quite good.
There’s some of the same shops you get in the UK, (think H&M, United Colours of Benetton, Zara) and also some European ones. The best thing about shopping, was that it’s slightly cheaper than the same items would be in the English version of the shop. It’s safe to say that I made use of the Zara there!