I wanted to start this post as follows: “My first trip to Eastern Europe!” But then I realised that the Czech Republic isn’t really Eastern Europe, but that it is just one of these sayings we go with. Prague is actually much more central than Vienna. Thus:
My first trip to Prague!
I’ve heard so many great things about this city. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to do my research, so for probably the first time in my life I travelled completely unprepared (apart from what people had told me). My very first impression goes to the Czech people I’ve met: they were super friendly and helpful, and even if our driver wasn’t really fluent in English, he really did his best to turn his car ride into a short sight-seeing of the city by night.
In this post, I will talk about what we included in our sight-seeing. Since we were only staying for two full days, we tried to squeeze most of the attractions into our walking tour. As almost always, I stayed with Airbnb to soak in as much local flair as possible. The place was about four metro stations away from the city centre, which was a good thing since that’s how we discovered a great, local restaurant and a Charleston bar (more on that in the next post!).
For our walking tour, we started from Námestí Republiky. From there it is only a short walking distance to the Old Town Square. I am a big fan of the architecture which entails dominantly gothic as well as renaissance elements. Even though the Old Town Square is an astonishing place, don’t let yourself be fooled by the tourist traps. In particular, the many kitsch shops and Thai massage places (what even…) blur parts of the city’s charm. I found it best to just look up- literally- and focus on the wealth of amazing buildings this place has to offer.
The Old Town Square is also the location of Prague’s most iconic symbol, namely the astronomical clock. It’s the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. And if you’re there on the hour, you’ll get to see the moving figures of the clock. We were lucky enough to see it and it truly has something mesmerising to it, I would recommend organising your tour around it.
Next, we continued to Charles Bridge (Czech: Karluv most), which connects the old city centre to Prague Castle. The bridge crosses the river Vlatava. It is built in thick stone and several statues create a somewhat enchanting alley. The view to the castle is amazing from the bridge. Of course, as with all the pretty bridges, it is a place that gets quite packed by tourists. That’s why I would strongly advise you not to go to any of the places that immediately follow the bridge at the other side of the river if you want to avoid high prices. Instead, we continued walking up the hill towards the castle, where we also found a less crowded place to enjoy a cheap, refreshing beer.
Our timing to reach the Prague Castle couldn’t have been better: the sun had just set, so we got a wonderful view of the city by night. Of course, if you want to visit the facilities of the castle, you would have to come a bit earlier. I just found out that Prague Castle is the biggest castle in the world. To be honest, coming from a country with many castles, I was much more blown away by the view. It was definitely worth climbing up the hill.
On our way back, we decided to cross the bridge opposite Charles Bridge, which is called “most legii” to enjoy a different view and to get a glimpse at the National Theatre. What I found very interesting about the city was how much it reminded me of Paris. The many ornamentations and wavy lines and even the curvy stairway at our place very much reminded me of the Parisian style.
There are so many other things I wish we could have visited, I definitely want to go back at some point. However, if you’re short on time, this tour will help you to get a first impression of the city- just don’t shy away from moving your body!