A quaint and compact city with beautiful bridges and cathedrals, intricate paintings and pretty, red rooftops. Very easy to get around on foot.
Travel Dates (2 days, 2 nights) – January 2016
Type of Holiday
Weekend city break
Places Visited/Itinerary in brief:
- Memorial to the Victims of Communism
- Prague Castle grounds
- St Vitus Cathedral
- The Pissing Fountain
- Charles Bridge
- The Astronomical Clock
- Old Town Square
- Jewish Quarter
- The Apple museum
- Getting lost in the streets of Prague
We booked direct flights through British Airways from London to Prague – an early morning flight on Saturday and return flight early morning on Monday.
Arriving into Prague and transport to our hotel
Prague airport is extremely small and we were surprised how quickly we were able to clear through immigration and walk out.
Through our research we found out that Prague taxi drivers were one of the most notorious in the world and to avoid catching a cab if possible. We therefore booked a transfer with a transport company, Prague Airport Transfers. One-way transfer was 550 CZK (or approx €21). The driver was on time and waiting with our name board at arrivals. The car was clean and comfortable and the driver was very polite. He even provided us with maps of Prague along with free tickets to join a guided walking tour.
We booked our two nights at the Design Metropol Hotel which is conveniently located within walking distance from all the major tourist attractions. On this trip we explored the entire city on foot and didn’t need to catch any public transport.
We arrived at about 10:30am to the hotel and were able to check in immediately.
The room was spacious with a double bed, a desk, bed side tables, cupboard with lots of storage, electronic safe and air conditioning. The bathroom was clean with a bathtub and a shower combined. Toiletries were provided but the body wash and moisturizer were in dispensers attached to the wall.
Tip #1: Prague is quite a small city and easily walkable. Make sure you carry good walking shoes as the streets are all paved with cobble stones.
Memorial to the Victims of Communism, Prague Castle grounds, St. Vitus Cathedral, Pissing Fountain, Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock
After putting away our luggage and freshening up in the room, it was time to head out and get some much needed brunch.
A 10 mins walk from our hotel and we were at a local cafe, Cafe Savoy. The cafe serves a variety of local foods and a great selection of desserts. The food was very appetizing and just delicious!
Recommendations: Try the local meat platter and their specialty cappuccino.
They even have an in-house bakery/patisserie and you can see what happens behind the scenes through a glass window on your way to the restrooms downstairs.
After satisfying our tummies it was time to explore the city. From the cafe, we headed towards the Prague Castle grounds.
There is a memorial dedicated to the victims of communism. It shows several metal sculptures of men descending a flight of stairs with missing body parts, with the men having more and more missing limbs and body parts the further they are from the footpath.
The sign next to the figures reads “The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims, not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism”.
We spent a few minutes at the memorial and headed towards the Prague castle grounds. We had saved the directions on off-line Google maps and we went through a few quirky and quaint little streets towards the grounds. On the way we came across a few cathedrals and churches, a small shop selling local souvenirs and small local restaurants.
The castle is located on top of a small hill and the street leading up to the castle is quite steep. Since this is a tourist area there are lots of souvenir shops and restaurants targeting tourists.
Tip #2: To enter most of the sites in the castle grounds you will need to purchase a ticket. If you are into history and architecture, you can get the tickets from the booths located outside the cathedral.
Before heading into the castle grounds you can see the whole of Prague city centre from the hill. This is quite beautiful, especially as most of the houses have red roofs and there is a picturesque river with several bridges in the background.
The Prague castle grounds is teeming with churches, great halls, state apartments, museums, art galleries and is dominated by the St Vitus Cathedral. You can wander around the courtyards of the Prague castle grounds for free, but to enter any of the historic buildings you need to purchase an entry ticket or ticket for a guided tour.
We wandered around the grounds for an hour or so and then entered the St Vitus Cathedral. The cathedral is quite beautiful with its stained glass windows and gothic architecture. You can enter and see the cathedral only from the front. To walk around inside of the cathedral, you need to purchase a ticket from outside.
After wandering around the grounds, we headed down to the river, walking towards the famous Charles bridge.
Tip #3: Try and avoid taking public transport or taxis and walk around instead. Prague is all about discovering the small quirky things – the cute little alley ways or the pretty bridges. Prague is more of a ‘discover the city’ kind of place rather than a let’s get to a ‘destination’ kind of city.
Walking towards the Charles bridge along the river we came across an area where there were at least 100-200 swans, ducks and seagulls along the banks of the river and the Charles bridge in the background. It was a great place to rest for a few minutes and absorb the sights.
We headed towards the famous Charles bridge that crosses the Vltava river which has featured in many movies, including the famous opening sequence of the first Mission Impossible movie.
This bridge is majestic and beautiful with a few statues along its path. The atmosphere is quite lively with street performers, musicians, painters and street vendors selling their wares all along the sides of the bridge. No vehicles allowed on the cobble stone bridge and foot traffic only.
Tip #4: Be careful of pickpockets. Even though this city is fairly tourist friendly, at crowded areas you can be easily targeted by pickpockets and scammers.
We walked across the bridge and visited the catholic church on the other side.
After a quick stroll around the lively alley ways we walked back to our hotel to take a quick break and get ready for dinner.
We had made a reservation at Field restaurant in the north of the city. After a 20min walk from the hotel, we arrived at the restaurant tucked away in a residential area.
The service and decor in the restaurant was excellent. The restaurant prides itself on its fresh and free-range menu selection. There is a fairly decent choice on the tasting menu and a great selection of al le carte items.
The food was just phenomenal! Every dish was carefully prepared with a lot of attention to detail and well considered combinations of flavours. The amuse-bouche between meals was excellently balanced and got us ready for the next course! Overall, this restaurant was just perfect for us and everything we could have asked for. No detail was ignored. Even the presentation of the dishes complemented the dish and the theme of the restaurant. This restaurant definitely deserves a star or two by the Michelin guide and we are certain it will get one very soon.
Tip #5: Try and see the astronomical clock strike the hour during the night. It does get quite crowded during the day with large tour groups.
Old Town Square, Jewish quarter, the Apple museum, Charles bridge at night and getting lost in the streets of Prague.
We headed for breakfast around 9am in the hotel lobby. Breakfast was quite substantial with the usual offerings of continental and hot breakfast.
Today we decided that we would just walk the city and go down random streets while heading towards the north of the city.
We walked toward the old town square from behind the hotel and ended up near a pop up street market, selling mostly souvenirs and small household items. We picked up a couple of fridge magnets and headed towards the old town square.
This square is bustling with tourists, restaurants, vendors and street performers. It also houses the astronomical clock, the Jan Hus memorial at the center and the majestic Church of Our Lady before Týn.
The area is quite large and we walked around admiring the architecture and the bustling crowds and performers. The whole area is cobbled stoned which adds to a medieval feel.
Tip #6: Try and avoid dining at the restaurants and cafes next to the square as we were told they were overpriced and considered tourist traps. Instead walking a block or two outside the square and you will find decent, well-priced local restaurants and cafes.
We walked a block from the old town square and came across the Konvent minoritů, a church tucked away from the tourist route. It was not very impressive from the outside but we walked in and we were just wowed! The ceiling was covered with paintings and sculptures that looked lifelike! Almost a 3D effect which looked like a section of the Vatican museums.
Walking towards the Cechuv bridge at the north, we stumbled across the Powder Tower. This gothic tower is one of the original city gates dating back to the 11th century.
From here we walked towards the Jewish quarters and came across the Franz Kafka monument next to the Jewish museum. Interesting little monument as you can see from the picture below.
This area is scattered with a few synagogues and you have to make a payment to visit/enter most of these, including the museum.
We walked towards the Cechuv bridge which is located close to the Intercontinental Hotel. This bridge is small but impressive. It isn’t a foot bridge as the Charles Bridge as a main road runs over it.
We walked along the river bank towards the Rudolfinum, a large concert hall that looks impressive from the outside.
Next it was time for a snack and what better food to try than the local specialty, the chimney, at the Good Food bakery next to the Charles Bridge.
This place can get really busy and crowded, so be prepared to line up. Totally worth it though. We had the chocolate and nuts chimney and a savoury pizza. Delicious and interesting presentation.
As a fan of Apple products, we visited the Apple Museum around the corner from the bakery. This museum claims to be the largest private collection of Apple products, going all the way back to the Apple 1.
We loved it and it was a good look through the company’s history and the products made during Steve Jobs’ time at Apple and in more recent years. You can easily see the difference between the products made after he left the company and after he rejoined the company a few years later.
The Hanging Man Sculpture
We spent about an hour or so in the museum and headed back to our hotel. Down a small street we came across a ‘Hanging Man’ sculpture. A very easy to miss sculpture of a man hanging from a rod on the top of a random building.
We had a cup of tea at a local cafe, Choco café, and headed back to our hotel room for a quick rest and dinner.
We had dinner on our last night at a restaurant serving local cuisine, Restaurant R.M. Rilke. The decor was very quaint with old oak tables with large candle sticks, colourful murals & stained glass windows. The menu was comprehensive with meat, seafood and vegetarian options. This restaurant showcased classic Czech cuisine which was, to be fair, quite carb heavy but tasty at the same time.
After a great dinner, we walked back towards the river to admire the Charles bridge from afar. It was very beautifully lit up and shimmering with its reflection on the river.
For the next morning, we had booked our transfer again with Prague Airport Transfers. The driver was waiting for us outside our hotel on time to take us to the airport for our early morning flight.
Prague was a city that immersed you in its culture with its understated architecture, cobblestone streets and historical monuments. Walking around the city is very romantic and it seemed like going back in time. Very happy with our two days in the city, which left us with a lot of memories.
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Disclaimer: We did our own research through various internet forums and review sites before making the bookings. We were neither paid or endorsed by anyone to use their services. The entire trip – accommodation and activities – was fully paid for by us.