Prague had been on my bucket list for a little while… I finally had a chance to visit last month. You’re heading there too? Here are the things you cannot miss while being in the City of 100 towers.
I wasn’t originally planning on going to Prague this year but when I saw Volotea’s Black Friday deals I had no choice but book a flight right away. I managed to get a round-trip ticket there for less than 2€. Yes, you read that right, 2€ ! And I’m so glad I went because I just fell in love with the city. I stayed 4 days there and it was definitely enough time to explore the city without rushing. It’s doable in three days but if you stay less than that, you’ll have to skip some stuff. There is a great transportation system–tram and subway–but you can pretty much walk everywhere.
Prague is a very pretty city so just by walking around you’ll stumble upon colorful buildings and charming little places. Old Town Square is really the heart of the city. I went there mid-January and the Astronomical clock was under renovation so I didn’t get to see it up and running unfortunately. The Church of Our Lady before Týn is quite pretty but don’t forget to stop by the St. Nicholas Church. There are also a bunch a small streets all around that are nice to explore too.
If you head to the west bank by metro, stop at Malostranská, walk down U Lužického semináře and right before you get to Cihelná street, take a left towards the river. Locals come here to feed swans and ducks, it’s very fun to see. You’ll also get a nice view of the river and the Charles bridge from there. A bit down the road are the Kafka Museum and the famous Piss Scuplture.
You’ll eventually arrive to the Lesser Tower Bridge Tower and the Charles Bridge. It gets very crowded so try to arrive early if you want to enjoy this place without bumping into people. It’s also very pretty at night. Mostecká street has a little bunch of shops and restaurants–U Mecenáše and Lokál U Bílé kuželky are very close by if you need to grab a bite. At the end of the street, there is also another church named St. Nicholas Church that is quite pretty.
From there, Nerudova street will take you to Loreto, the Schwarzenberg Palace and of course, Prague Castle. Don’t forget to stop by the Martinic Palace to see its beautiful facade.
Tickets to Prague Castle gives you access to the St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, the Golden Lane, and the Rosenberg Palace. The cathedral was closed for a special event when I went so I decided not to buy a ticket and just walk around. I did not feel like I was missing everything so if you are on a budget, don’t feel obligated to spend 350 czk (about $17) on a ticket; you’ll be able to enjoy yourself just by walking around.
Since you are already on the west bank of the river, go to Kampa Island. With its small streets and watermills, it’s a very picturesque part of Prague. Don’t forget to check-out the John Lennon Wall too–a wall filled with Lennon-inspired graffiti. Heading a bit more southwest, you’ll find Petřín Park and the Petřín Tower–the Czech version of the Eiffel Tower.
Back on the east bank, you will find the Powder Tower, and one of my favorite place : the Klementinum. You cannot visit the Klementinum without taking a guided tour, but it’s not very expensive. The Klementinum Library is just magnificent, and you’ll get to go all the way up the tower and have a great view of Prague. Slight warning: lots of stairs to climb (no elevator) and it’s pretty high up there if you’re afraid of height.
I decided to not buy the usual ticket to the Jewish Quarter as I was not very interested in synagogues turned into museums. Instead, I just went to the Old New Synagogue. Gothic style, it’s the oldest active synagogue in Europe and the legend says that the Golem rests in the attic. If you want to take a peak at the Jewish Cemetery for free, walk around the block and there is a gate with hole in it that will allow you to see part of it–you can also see it from the bottom of the fence by the restroom at the exit of the cemetery but it’s a bit more gymnastic to see it there.
Two extra little things to do in the city: if the weather is nice, go to the Metronome, there’s a nice park up there and you’ll get a great view of the city. Also go to the YMCA by Republic Square–Náměstí Republiky–and check out the Paternoster elevators they have there.
When I arrived in Prague, I had an hour left before I could check-in at my Airbnb so I decided to do something I don’t usually do: have lunch at McDonald’s! I rarely eat fast food but the McDonald’s in Prague offer a fried cheese and bacon burger so of course I had to try. It was actually pretty good. Another thing to know about McDonald’s is that most of them have a McCafé in it that has very cheap but good tea. When you’re walking around all day, it’s nice to get a cup of hot tea from time to time to warm up.
Soups is also great during winter. Polévkárna paní Mančo is the place to go for that: they have great soups and some type of cheese flatbread that is actually pretty good. It’s a good place to go if you are a budget traveler.
Café Louvre is a MUST-GO ! I got their České buchty–a Czech sweet bun with poppy seeds and vanilla sauce. It was amazing, like, I’m a pastry amateur, and this was just so good! The bun was light and fluffy, the warm vanilla sauce was the perfect pairing… If you have a chance to go, don’t hesitate. They also have savory food.
On the fancier side, there’s U Mecenáše. The food was pretty good, but don’t really think it’s worth the price as there are other restaurants in town that serve food as good or better for a better price. I tried the Svíčková there–a traditional Czech dish; it’s braised beef in cream sauce with bread dumpling and cranberries. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the mix of flavors at first, but it ended up being quite good.
Another place I loved was Krčma. I grabbed a cider and some Hungarian style sausage as an appetizer then went for the pork schnitzel with potatoes. It was really good! The place is very charming too, and the staff friendly.
I don’t have a particular place to recommend as there are so many, but make sure you try a trdelník. It’s like rolled dough wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar. I think I ate one everyday when I was there. You can have it filled with ice-cream or Nutella but I prefer the regular ones.
If you like beer, give Bernard a try. They’re famous for making unpasteurized beers, the most popular one being called Bernard too. I don’t really like beer so I tried their non-alcoholic plum-flavored beer which was interesting.
If you are planning on going to the Jewish quarter, NoStress is a good place to stop for breakfast. They have a good choice of food, the staff is very nice and they have great music. Queen, George Michael, the Coyote Ugly soundtrack… that’s my jam.
Last but not least: Lokál is an amazing place to eat traditional Czech food. They have different locations in the cities (all listed on their website). I went to the Lokál Dlouhá and Lokál U Bílé kuželky. Everything on the menu sounded amazing so I asked my waitress for recommendations. I tried the goulash with potato dumpling, the frankfurter soup, the fried cheese with potatoes and of course the kofola–the Czech equivalent to Coca-Cola. Probably the best meals I had while in Prague.
There are a bunch of souvenir stores in the city, I really like Pragtique. It can be a bit more expensive than other souvenir stores but they have really nice things. Also, if you’re into cosmetics, Manufaktura a Czech brand that, among other things, makes creams with beer and wine! Decorated gingerbread is also a very traditional Czech souvenir.
Last thing, that isn’t a shop per se but that can be very useful: by the Republic Square, there is a luggage storage place called Luggage Storage (yes…) that can store your bag for a few hours or days for a pretty reasonable price–I paid 145czk ($7) for the day.
Hope you feel ready to take over Prague now; if you’ve been there before, share your must-see places in the comments below!
Liked this post ? Pin it !