I don’t know why it took me so long to visit Prague. I mean, it’s only a short drive from Austria. I have heard so many great things about the city, but I guess it was always “too close” to make it onto my immediate travel list. My friend and I turned 27 recently and we decided to spend a weekend together exploring the city mostly known for its cheap beer. Thus we ran into a lot of bachelorette parties and stag nights.
As you know, I am always trying to wander off the tourist trail and get to know the city behind-behind-the scenes a bit. My best advice for Prague – get lost! I am serious, don’t follow the masses, peek into new alleys, turn around the corner and you will find the cutest cafes, hidden parks, restaurants on the canals, and the more authentic Prague.
Of course you can still feel special on a tour around Prague with an Oldtimer, eat roasted pig for 20€, and get drunk on cheap bear. Or you could wander through the many parks, admire David Cerny’s sculptures around the city, get a history lesson about communism, go underground and explore the bunkers from the 1950s. Also don’t miss out on the best hot chocolate of your life, indulge in chimneys (a must have: Trdelnik = ice-cream filled doughnut cone to die for) and have a drink at the riverbanks enjoying the sunset.
Here is a sample itinerary:
- Walk to Vysehrad Fort and enjoy the view over the southern part of Prague and the River Vltava (the cemetery looks nice too) – not many tourists come here!
- Then take a stroll downhill to the riverbanks and walk north towards downtown; if you are there on a Saturday, you will bump into the vivid farmers market where you can buy some local specialties, check out the flea market on the boat, and listen to the live bands
- You will soon see the “Dancing Houses,” which have a nice roof top terrace if you fancy a drink in the evening
- Cross the river at one of the many bridges and pass the Kampa museum; soon you will see “Cerny’s Babies” in the Kampa Park
- Check out the colorful John Lennon’s Wall and if you are lucky someone will be standing there with a guitar and play Beatles songs – the wall shall be a symbol for global ideals such as love and peace
- Get lost in the cobble-stone streets in the western part of Prague and explore the parks hidden behind tall walls
- If you are interested in seeing a museum, Franz Kafka’s museum is not far from here
- Cross over Charles Bridge, the most famous one in Prague, which is always packed with tourists and souvenir stands
- Back downtown, don’t miss the heavenly desert “Chimney” at Good Food, Coffee and Bakery (about 4 – 4,50€)
- Join the Communism & Nuclear Bunker Tour: This is a must! Even though I am not a history buff, I very much enjoyed this tour which is very informative and led us to several historic places such as the Wenceslas Square where the student Jan Palach set himself on fire to protest against the Soviet Union invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968; after the historic city tour we went underground near the Zizkov TV Tower (considered the ugliest building in the world) to see the tunnel system and gas masks which are still functioning today should there be a nuclear attack; however, not many people know the entrances to the bunker and only a few thousand will be able for a maximum of 2 weeks underground. In this area you can still see a lot of ugly industrialized apartment blocks (Cost of tour: about 20€)
- For the evening, you may want to walk up to the Prague castle, see the cottages at “Golden lane” and enjoy the sunset over the riverbanks with a Czech beer or cider
- Apparently Prague also features Europe’s largest club ‘Karlovy Lazne‘, but I haven’t been there
- Take the subway to Holesovice, a suburb in the north of Prague
which is transforming from the meatpacking district to an artsy area with cool bars and cafes; Sunday morning when we were there it looked pretty dead though
- From there, walk to the big Letna Park which has a nice beer garden overlooking Prague and the river; further west you can find the Metronome which is also a great viewpoint
- Continue on towards the Charles Bridge area and enjoy the best hot chocolate you have ever had at Cafe Kaficko near the John Lennon wall
- Then stroll over the Charles Bridge to the Old Town Square to admire the astronomical clock and the vivid place
- If you are hungry, you can either opt for the rather touristy roast pork on the square or find the restaurant “U Pinkasu” for some traditional dishes
- For the remaining time, hunt down some more Cerny sculptures, visit Lucerna passage to get a feel from the 1920ies
Fun Fact: Prague houses the biggest stadium in the world with 220.000 seats!
How to get there:
I took the popular Flixbus from Munich to Prague on Friday night and arrived very early morning (just under 6h drive). Costs: 25-35€ each way
Where to stay:
I can definitely recommend the Advantage Hostel which lets you check in 24h (I got my bed at 7am when I arrived), has a great free breakfast, super friendly staff and is only a 20 minutes walk away from Wenceslas Square, Downtown.