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Prague, Gorgeous City in the Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic has been recommended to us countless times by a lot of fellow travelers so we decided to go there to celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss. (or blisters as my husband jokes LOL) It is an absolutely gorgeous city with a lot of Baroque and wonderful architecture and lots of great food. It was also very reasonable compared to France, the UK, and Italy. We really liked it a lot.
I would have to say that I like Paris and Madrid a little more, but with all the terrorism alerts in Paris and the hot weather in Spain this time of year, it was a better choice for us at this time. (We’ve already experienced the joys of Paris and Madrid, but I would love to go back to either one!) It was a glorious 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) and sunny while we were there which meant my husband got to wear shorts and he was in Heaven! After living in Ireland for over 2 years with a lot of cold rainy days he really enjoyed that!
Where to Stay in Prague
We stayed in Old Town which was a great location as it is close to most things we wanted to see, and it’s easy to get across the Charles Bridge to get to the rest of the stuff. Plus we took the Hop On Hop Off tour so we could see all the sights on our list.
I booked our place on Hotels.com like I usually do and we adored it! A huge apartment with large rooms, very high ceilings with cupids and other Art Nouveau motifs carved on the ceilings, chandeliers in most of the rooms, a full kitchen, even a washer and drying rack and iron. Large screen TV and stereo and very comfortable sofa, and most important of all, the most comfortable beds I have ever found while traveling. Tempurpedic mattresses on all the beds! (We got 2 bedrooms) All for a very reasonable price.
Some people might be put off by the noise there, as it is in the middle of the bar and restaurant district. I sleep soundly so it didn’t bother me, and my husband used ear plugs so it was okay for us but some people have complained on the Hotels.com site.
I think the apartment would sleep up to 10 people but there were only 3 of us as we took a dear friend with us and it was perfect. So if you are going to Prague and want some room, I highly recommend the Selinor Old Town Apartments which you can book direct here or just go to Hotels.com here.
Otherwise, there are many old hotels and all the usual modern ones. I think it’s easier to stay on the Old Town side of the bridge unless you really want to do a lot of walking.
What and Where to Eat in Prague
We ate in many quaint little restaurants and bars while we were there. For the most part they are very reasonable and the food was really good. Czechs are known for their love of Beer and they have excellent cheap Beer so if you love it too you have got it made. I really don’t think you can go wrong eating at any of the restaurants on any of the squares around the town.
Things to See and Do in Prague
Charles Bridge~Fantastically beautiful bridge with statues all along its way. The easy way to get to the Castle side from Old Town or vice versa too, as long as you don’t mind a walk. Here are some photos of the Charles Bridge at different times of the day.
Vltava River Boat Tour and/or Pedal Boat tour~Easy and beautiful way to see the city. There are several tours, some include Beer and/or dinner. Get tickets down by the river close to the Hilton hotel on the Old Town side.
Old Town Square~in the Old Town section of the city. The Astronomical Clock is here too, off to the side. A huge meeting place for lots of the tours and a place to sit and watch people or the horses and carriages. Lots of restaurants and bars.
Astronomical Clock Tower~A giant sort of a cuckoo clock that has characters come out on the hour, every hour. Crowds gather to watch. It’s over 600 years old! Watch it here and hear some commentary about its amazing time keeping:
Basilica of St. James~in Old Town, a very fine representation of Baroque decor. Built in 1232, and was rebuilt in Baroque style in the 18th century. The choir is home to an organ dated back to 1705.
Alfons Maria Mucha Museum~If you love Art Nouveau, don’t miss this museum that showcases the master artist of it. If the admission price is too steep, (10 Euros) you can see all the featured art in the shop next to it, showcased by corresponding numbers to the original in the museum, for free. Lots of cool items to buy with his art on it too.
If you love Mucha as much as I do, you can buy his prints without going to Prague right here!
Posters: Alphonse Mucha Poster Art Print – The Times Of Day, Brightness Of Day, 1899 (36 x 12 inches)Night by Alphonse Mucha Art Print, 12 x 36 inchesAlphonse Mucha-Moon, Art Poster Print, 24 by 36-InchFeather – Art Nouveau – Art Deco- Vintage French Advertising Poster by Alphonse Mucha 1899 – Master Art Print – 9in x 12in
Wenceslas Square~close to the Old Town Square in the Jewish Quarter. There is a statue at one end of the square. This is good King Wenceslas himself, murdered a thousand years ago by his brother, and the patron saint of the Czech Republic. The square can hold 400,000 people!
Jewish Quarter~beautiful section of the city. The history of the area dates back to the 11th Century. The 11th century crusaders massacred the Czech Jews and plundered their properties and those who survived were forcibly converted to Christianity. Hitler further decimated the area and shipped the remaining Jews to death camps. Only about 1000 Jews remain, but the area which used to be a ghetto is now prosperous. Very “old town” feel. Many Jewish tourist stops and synagogues.
Spanish Synagogue~in the Jewish Quarter. Moorish architecture inside and out. Beautiful stained glass!
Prague Castle~Huge, huge, huge castle and grounds. It could take hours to walk around the whole thing. But you can get the feel for it in about 45 minutes. Don’t miss St. Vitus Cathedral within the walls.
St. Vitus Cathedral~Amazing Gothic cathedral. The stained glass inside is stunning. I am a huge fan of stained glass and would say that the stained glass here is among the most beautiful I’ve seen, up there with Chartres Cathedral and Notre Dame both. In fact 2 of the windows at the front left side are the most beautiful ones I have ever seen.
Church of St. Nicholas~ Beautiful church on Old Town Square. This monumental Baroque church was built from 1732 – 1737. The interior is dominated by a crystal crown chandelier from the Harrachov glassworks, donated by Russian Tsar to the Orthodox Church. Today the building is used as a concert hall.
Clementinum Library~Widely hailed as the most beautiful library in the world. Free, don’t miss it. Gorgeous!!! Near the Charles Bridge on the Old Town side of the river.
As an easy way to see all the sights, I recommend the Hop On Hop Off tours that are easy to take by going to Old Town Square. If you are not close to the Square, ask your hotel to give you a brochure showing the nearest place to catch one. They will most likely even be happy to book it for you. See the section on How to Get Around in Prague for more ideas.
More Things to Do in Prague
Beer Tasting tours for Beer Lovers.
Franz Kafka’a house
Mala Strana on the Castle side
John Lennon Wall, also on the Castle side
There is a world class Zoo.
Lots of museums
Lots of Cathedrals and Churches
Check with your hotel for more ideas and brochures!
How to Get Around in Prague
Taxis: I would only take a taxi from the airport to my hotel, not for anything else. They are not cheap, and taxi drivers there are known to charge extra wherever they can. If you can, get your hotel to arrange the taxi.
Hop On Hop Off Tour: There are several tour companies that do a Hop On Hop Off tour in Prague. Since some of the things you want to see are a long way away to get to, a bus tour is an easy way to get around to them all and then go back to the ones you most want to see. Go to the Old Town Square and you will see vendors touting their tour and you can buy a ticket.
Trams: You can also ride the tram if you take the time to figure out the routes. All the locals use the trams to get around. Most young people in Prague speak English so it’s not hard to find someone to help. You can see a map here that will show you where to get on and off. Very cheap, around $1 to get anywhere. Fun too! Here is the official transit site for lots more information about the trams and getting around. Official Czech Transit Site.
Lastly, Prague is very walkable if you are fit. You can see most of the tourist sights that are in the city center and even walk up to the castle. Our friends that did this said they walked 9 miles to see everything but the outlying spots like the mini Eiffel Tower. For that they took the tram to get close to it and see breathtaking views of the city. You can also see stunning views of the city from the castle.
Things to Watch Out For in Prague
We were told Prague is very safe by friends and by the Hotel staff and it did feel safe. They say there are pickpockets on the Charles Bridge and to be alert in Old Town Square when it is crowded. I always walk as far from other people as possible and hold onto my purse extra tight. There are not many people on motorcycles so you don’t have to watch out for motorcycle thieves like you do in Italy.
Actually, the biggest thing to worry about with theft these days is your information. There are mean people with devices who can steal your passport numbers and your credit card numbers. The easiest way to deter them is to use a wallet with RFID protection like the ones here.
We did hear from some other friends we met up with while there that the taxi drivers may try to scam you, so we had the apartment manager arrange our taxi to and from the apartment and had zero problems. If you go to TripAdvisor.com, you can book a shared ride through them and it would be cheaper than a taxi. If my apartment manager had not been able or willing to get us situated, that is what I would have done.
Most places will allow payment in Czech currency or Euros either one, and most take credit cards but not all, so ask before you order to avoid problems.
Also some of the shop keepers are very aggressive; they seem to think you are obligated to buy. If you encounter one of them, just leave. There are plenty of nice ones!
All in all, Prague is a very nice place to visit! Especially if you like Beer, as they have fantastic cheap Beer. Their food is also very good. If you like cabbage and noodles and Pork, you will love it. Otherwise you can get American food too. Or other European cuisine. You will not go hungry!
All photos except Amazon photos are © Heather Burns. Please do not copy.
Prague Travel Poster