Wow, this city is incredible! I really did not know what to expect from the city of Prague. Of course, I have heard of it but never knew of anyone that had actually gone there. In April of 2022, my girlfriend and I were in Sweden, and we wanted to take a 4-day trip but didn’t have anything planned. We literally went to sas.com and looked for some cheap flights in the next week. It was never a city we planned to go out of our way to visit but now we can’t stop talking about it.
Rich in history the capital city of Prague is located in the Northwestern area of the Czech Republic. It was occupied by Germany during WWII and was slightly bombed a couple of times but we were told by our walking guide, that a major strike was planned to hit Prague thinking that Hitler would flee there. However, when the planes flew overhead, they purposely avoided this order claiming “the city looked too pretty” and they ended up dropping the bombs in a field outside the city. (Couldn’t find anything that supported this, but thought the story was cool nonetheless). Russia invaded Prague in 1968 and stayed for 23 years. We were there during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and our guide was all too familiar with that situation.
Prague can be visited for a fun party weekend, a romantic getaway with your spouse, or a traveler interested in history and architecture. It truly has it all.
Getting to the City from the airport
You will most likely land at Vaclac Havel Airport and although there is a transit system to the city center, I recommend hailing a taxi. This was a completely different feeling than any other part of Europe. To be honest, it felt what I imagine Russia in the 60’s would feel like. A lot of the buildings were pretty run down and it had a real ‘depressed’ or ‘hard times’ feeling in the air. Very grey. However, once you get into Old Town there is this fresh energy.
I would recommend staying at Hotel Kings Court. It’s a 5-star hotel without a typical 5-star price and is centrally located to a lot of attractions within a walking distance.
DAY 1 – Arrival. Explore the area
If you do stay at Hotel King’s Court, make sure to get your complimentary glass of champagne at check-in and drop your bags off. Head across the street to one of these food halls, both recommended by the locals as a great place to go. Kolkovna Celnice – which is located in front of the museum of Communism features very traditional Czech food in a traditional setting. The Red Stag, about 1 more block away is a massive 3 story restaurant and pub. If it’s not too busy, sit at the bar and get a history lesson on beer in Czechoslovakia.
Within a 10 min walk from the hotel there are many points of interest:
The Powder Tower – Last standing structure which was part of the wall that separated 'Old Town' from New Town. It was the gateway into the city and became a storage for gunpowder in the 1800's.
Old Town Square – Dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the historical sections of Prague.
Astronomical Clock – The twelve apostles set in motion on the hour from 0900 to 2300. There are references to astrological signs. Built-in the 1400's, it is the oldest working clock in the world.
Church of our lady before Tyn – Gothic church in Old Town also from the 1400's.
Municipal House – A very lavish Art Nouveau building. This building host: plays and operas and is the site where the Czech Republic signed their independence.
Day 2 – Walking Tour
One of the best things about traveling through Europe is the complimentary breakfast and Hotel King’s Court has a great one! Fuel up and hit the streets.
There is SO MUCH history to Prague, way more than I had ever thought. Get yourself a local guide and take a walk around the city. You’ll learn about the Wall that used to guard Old Town and how it came down. Travel through the Jewish Quarters and learn about its significance during WWII. And the tour will probably finish at the famous Charles Bridge. Where you’ll learn about its construction, the importance of connecting to the land on the other side of the Vitava River, and which saints have their statues on the bridge.
Grab some lunch. We went across the bridge and went to a vegan spot that serves Czech goulash. Which is basically a stew with warm soft bread dumplings. It was good, but not like a Hungarian goulash that I am used to.
After a long morning walking around the city, you’ll want to relax and take a little break. What is the one thing they love in Czech, their beer! So what better way to wind down than to take a beer spa? (And I know this is a little touristy but who cares, it was fun). Here you will soak in beer while sitting next to a tap where you can drink as much as you’d like. They had 3 different styles of beer there and it was fun. You come out smelling a little hoppy so make sure to rinse off! Hahaha
Prague is really known for its abstract architecture so before (or after) dinner make sure to do some further exploring.
We walked down to the dancing house as it is arguably one of the most well-recognized structures in all of Europe. Got there just before sunset and took our classic touristy “punching in the house” picture. There is also a rooftop bar there which looked lively, but I have a better spot in mind.
On the river, there was this really cool spot called A(void) Café. There were chairs outside, with people passing by. Beer, espresso, cocktails some food, and the entrance was really cool. It was a place we just happened to stumble on and really enjoyed it.
Now we grabbed some vegan Czech food at Strecha. The ribs in BBQ sauce we got was very good but the Kebab plate was just OK. Another option we were told about but didn’t make it to was SWIM. After dinner walk it off and head to Franz Kafka rotating head. Another famous sculpture in Prague. But this is just for a couple of pics, you won’t need to spend a lot of time here. We were there after dark and there were no crowds which was nice.
Time for some drinks
The alchemist bar– has a great ambiance with really crafted drinks. You could easily spend an hour or so hanging out and chatting while having a couple of drinks.
U Zlateho Tygra – traditional pub
Gastro Bar 1401 Praha – edgy bar with live music
Day 3 – Last full day in the city
Take a nice slow start to the day. After some coffee and breakfast, enjoy where you are staying. Head to the spa if your hotel has one and relax. Swim in the pool, take a sauna, and relax in the jacuzzi. I mean what's a vacation if you don’t get a chance to enjoy it?
If you haven’t already, check out the Spanish synagogue. $14 to get in, but you also have access to the other synagogues in the city as well as the Jewish cemetery. As you remember from your walking tour, there is a strong influence of the Jewish religion in the city. And the Spanish Synagogue is beautifully built.
Time to spend some time across the bridge. Head over the Charles bridge and explore north of the city.
It’s probably after lunchtime already and a great little spot for some burgers is called Street Burger Bistro. Both meat and vegan burgers, locally owned and operated this is a great spot for a burger, some sweet potato fries, and a beer. Or a seaberry lemonade, which I had never heard of before but it could closely resemble a sweet mango/papaya drink.
Points of interest –
The biggest attraction here is the castle. We didn’t make time for it this go around. Saving it for our next trip.
But definitely look into checking out Strahov Monastery. The walk isn’t long but it is uphill. You will be met with amazing views of the city and river along the way, but this could be tiresome after walking for a couple of days. There is a tram that takes you to the top, we took it down, but it could be good to take it up. The station next to the monastery is called Pohorelec station.
The church was gorgeous and we were lucky enough to catch a service. The biggest attraction here is the library which looks absolutely stunning online. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone around to help us out. The “information desk” literally had a sign that said they were not giving out any information. LOL
But don’t worry, the monastery has their own brewery so on the grounds you can grab some food and a pint.
As you come back down and are near the bridge, grab a warm churro waffle cone. These stands were everywhere, and I must admit it was delicious!
A spot you have to spend for sunset is located on the river in front of the ‘Park of National Awakening’ is called Capadlo Summer Terrace. This place is only open from late April to October but it was so much fun. They had live music, a pizza oven, beer/wine, and cocktails. The views were unparalleled! You watch the sunset with the castle in the background and this is a favorite for locals to end the day. When we were there, it was the first day it opened, April 27th, so we got lucky because we had that much fun there.
A bar we went to after I would recommend is called The Hemingway bar. Really small and intimate they had an intensive selection of liquor from around the world and extremely well-crafted cocktails. One of the more expensive places we visited but it was worth it. I suggest getting the Hirosaki or the mirabelle plum caipirinha.
I hope this blog helps. Prague completely exceeded our expectations. I mean, I didn’t know what to expect but thought that the city had a good balance of everything. Prague is full of history, culture, food, architecture, walkability, safe, energy, and just fun. After visiting I was told that some people consider it more romantic than Paris. And in a way, I can see their point. It was very intimate and personal and did not have the crowds or rudeness that Paris can be associated with. I plan to go back and will update Prague Blog 2.0 with more suggestions and tips to help with any travel decisions.