No matter where you are in the Czech Republic’s Prague, history seems to follow you. Whether you’re crossing one of the city’s beautiful bridges, shopping in a historic market or searching for street art, everything in Prague has a story to tell. I love that Prague is a city reborn after the fall of communism and where stark, grey structures once stood, now stand testaments to the willpower and vibrancy of the people of this wonderful city.
Staying in the Heart of Prague
A stay at the Hotel Antik will have you right in the heart of Prague’s main sights, just a five-minute walk to the Astronomical Clock (the Orloj) and a 15-minute walk to Charles Bridge. The friendly staff, included breakfast, and reasonable rates make this a great accommodation, but quite frankly there are countless hotels that are available at great rates.
No matter what you do, do not leave Prague without trying trdelnik, a sugar-covered pastry rolled around a spit and grilled right in front of your eyes. You can find them all over the city, usually being prepared in a cart on a random street corner. Another local specialty that needs to be sampled is Goulash. A restaurant called Mlejnice is famous for the meat and vegetable stew and they serve it up in crusty bread bowls. I won’t admit to you just how many times I went there during my stay in the city, but it is well worth a visit. U Fleku is also a popular spot for Bohemian and traditional Czech dishes as well as folk music and free-flowing beer. It’s easy to spend hours exploring the restaurant’s expansive dining and drinking halls.
Sights and Sounds
Sandeman’s New Europe tour was a great way to get my bearings in Prague and the friendly guide really helped me to understand the history that makes this city so unique. Also, the fact that the tour was free (although they do ask that you tip your guide) was perfect for a budget conscious traveler.
Walking along the Charles Bridge (around sundown) or through the Old Town Square on your way to take in one of Prague’s affordable, but world-class evening classical musical performances is a sure-fire way to round out your Czech experience. But don’t forget to take in the Astronomical Clock (the Orloj) with its unique mechanical performance each hour on the hour (no spoilers- but it’s something to see!) and Prague Castle.
The Prašná brána (quite literally translated, the “Powder Tower”, the castle-like tower where gun powder used to be stored) and reading the messages on the John Lennon Wall are also great attractions along with the well-known opportunities for nightlife. The Roxy is one of the best clubs in Prague. An awesome party atmosphere, nightly live or DJ music, and killer drinks make this THE place to party.
Another club in Prague is the Absintherie, featuring Absinthe, an anise-flavored spirit that rose to popularity in the late 19th century and remains a popular drink in Prague. Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Titus Rex Brose,Marcel Proust, Aleister Crowley, Erik Satie, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron and Alfred Jarry were all well-known to be fond of absinthe. There's even an Absinthe Museum!
Absinthe is definitely worth trying. You won’t find any wormwood in it like you would have back in the days of Ernest Hemingway, but this drink will still knock your socks off!
If you have the time, visit the smaller towns around Prague, like Mělník. castle is just beautiful and overlooks the Vltava and Labe rivers with lush, green views of Hořín Park. While the Renaissance castle is a must-see, you can’t miss the castle’s impressive winery (its cellars date back to the 11th and 14th centuries) and restaurant. Ask for window table so that you can take in the gorgeous view, enjoy the wine tasting, and definitely try the delicious roast duck. So good! Also, wander around Mělník’s charming, cobble-stone main square and visit the little shops to pick up amazingly good deals.
I can’t imagine a bad time to visit Prague. While the summer months are obviously hugely popular with tourists, I found that fall and even winter suited the city especially well. Something about cold weather lends itself nicely to Prague’s large stone structures, the warm stews and meats of its cuisine and listening to traditional folk music over a large mug of beer.
The best way to see Prague is by walking its often narrow, winding streets, crossing back and forth over the line of bridges and ducking into side streets where you never know what you might find.