Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic, situated in Eastern Europe and is bordered by Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. We flew from Newcastle with Jet2, and had a great flight – landing just over 2 and a half hours later to glorious sunshine and high April temperatures. Nestled on both sides of the beautiful Vltava River, Prague has always been a popular destination for a cheap getaway – and this time, it didn’t disappoint. Beware dubious taxi drivers at the airport – we took an Uber and it was miles cheaper than the 27 Euros we were quoted for the half hour ride. We stayed just off the Old Town Square – and what a great choice we made. Our hotel was easily accessible to the top hotspots this city has to offer. The currency is the Czech Koruna (CZK), and as it sits outside the Euro-zone it offers great value for money, however Euros are accepted too. Prague really is a great city to visit if you’re looking for value for money! Read on for some top tips of places to visit:
Started in 1357 by King Charles, the Charles Bridge is the number one sight to see in Prague. Spanning the Vltava River, this bridge is absolutely stunning. It’s pedestrianised, so really safe and here you can see artists selling their wares and street artists – but beware, it can get so busy so you might want to visit early in the morning or later in the day. Grab a drink to cool you down in the numerous and picturesque riverside bars – there are plenty of them to choose from! The Bridge takes on another guise at night-time, when it transforms into a quieter, more romantic appearance.
From the Old Town, stroll over the Charles Bridge and you’ll find yourself on the west bank of the River – and not too far from Prague Castle. Dating from the 9th Century, this is a castle complex – including not only Prague Castle but also historical buildings such as the Sternberg Palace and nearby is St Vitus Cathedral also. There are some beautiful gardens to stop and pass the time of day – including the Castle Gardens, Summer Gardens and Queen Anne’s Summer Palace. There’s a lot going on here too – including exhibitions, guided tours and even classical concerts!
The Old Town Square (Stare Mesto)
The Old Town dates back to medieval times, and I’d recommend that you spend your time wandering the quaint cobbled streets, and just soak up the impressive architecture and wonderful atmosphere. Everywhere you look, it’s just beautiful, with colourfully painted facades and an array or architecture – including Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic. I’d really recommend that you stay here in the heart of the City – there are many really great deals to be found in some lovely little hotels in and around the Old Town area.
Just before the turn of the hour, head over to see the Astronomical Clock (on the wall of the Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square). Dating back to 1410, here you’ll find crowds gathered around to watch the hourly show of the signs of the Zodiac, the Sun and Moon, Catholic Saints and the “Walk of the Apostles”. Head up the Clock Tower (fee payable and all steps I’m afraid) for some amazing views of the city. After witnessing the dizzying heights of the Clock Tower, then head back into the Old Town Square for some light refreshments in one of the numerous cafes and restaurants.
Just a short stroll out of the main area, you’ll come to Josefov – the Jewish Quarter, formerly the Jewish Ghetto. This area has a long and dramatic history, dating from 1096 and witnesses some atrocities in the Second World War. Now it’s a very trendy area to eat, drink and stay with some very reasonably priced accommodation. If you’re interested in history, there’s plenty to see including some six synagogues and the remarkable Jewish Cemetery. It’s well worth taking a guided tour of this area to appreciate this area of Prague.
Strolling through the old Town of Prague, you’ll see lots of different walking tours of the city (and pub crawls too). There’s also plenty of choice for different budgets, but as we’re always looking for a bargain, my favourite ifs the free walking tour – and you pay only what you think it was worth. We had a fun and fact-filled hour with our walking host who kept us entertained with his stories and tales of times gone by. Just tip your host at the end of the tour!
Bars and Nightlife/ Food and Drink
Prague is famous for its very lively night scene – think old school discos, bar crawls, riverside parties and club nights. There are so many options from quiet restaurants to full on party nights – it seems that every night is a party night here! There’s 30 Czech Koruna to one Pound – and the local beer is World famous and a bargain too. The local food is great – think goulash, pork ribs and schnitzel. There are plenty of restaurants offering both local and typical English food, and the fast-food restaurants are cheap and efficient. Beware of restaurants in Prague with set tourist menus, read the small print and ask to see the prices of the drinks menu first. You’ll find that you can get a cheap meal but the drinks will be double the cost!
If you’ve ever been tempted to visit Prague, I’d say, go ahead and try it. There’s so much to see and do and the prices are very reasonable. Some of the staff at Tate’s Travel have been to Prague, they know the city and the best locations for hotels – so give them a call and get your next break sorted!