The second leg of our European trip took us to Prague – a city that was booked almost entirely on the fact that several friends and acquantainces over the years have mentioned that there was something very special about the city that is hard to describe without actually visiting. Now here I am, finding myself – having now visited – trying to put the magic of Prague into words (aside from saying ‘just go’).
One of the most popular destinations in Europe, there were times – at Prague Castle and in Old Town Square – when I definitely felt in the thick of crowds upon crowds of tourists. But then you look around and understand why. It’s called the city of a thousand spires (those pointy toppers that extend from the corners of practically every other building pictured here), but I kept calling it a fairytale come to life. Each facade in pastel hues, flowers pouring from their balconies, Prague castle looming from the hilltops, everything grander, older and more intricate than almost any place I’d ever seen.
Now that I’ve hopefully set the scene… a few highlights from the trip. A visit wouldn’t be complete without a hike to Prague Castle. It allows sweeping views of the city below it, Charles Bridge, and I recommend taking the time to walk through the Senat gardens that sit below and the little neighborhood of Mala Strana nearby. Go about an hour before sunset, take in the sights then head to U Modré kachnicky II for dinner. One of our best, and most authentic meals, of the entire trip – you’ll feast on traditional Czech fare like roasted duck and potato dumplings in a setting that will completely transport you.
Speaking of eating – and drinking for that matter – Prague proved to be hands down the most inexpensive stop of our trip. An average meal cost Adam and I around $20 USD total and a glass of beer was usually no more than a few dollars. The Prague Beer Museum – a fun afternoon stop! – was about $5 USD per person for a flight of 5 choices out of over 30 local Czech beers and nearby Den Noc was a perfect stop after those beer flights. A cute cafe that specializes in sweet & savory pancake stacks (think options like gouda, ham and arugula between thin layers of pancakes – or warm applesauce, honey and cinnamon) – delicious!
We stayed in the neighborhood of Josefov – the old Jewish quarter. It proved to be a quiet section of town, set apart from many of the more heavily trafficked streets – but still conveniently close to everything we wanted to visit. I highly recommend the area and also the AirBnB we chose (see the full listing here) that matched the fairytale charm of the city outside it’s floor to ceiling windows.
Old Town Square was just a 10 minute walk from our apartment and we visited a few different times throughout the trip. The area serves as a hub for lots of the city’s top sights and shops – like the Prague Astronomical Clock & Town Hall that anchors the square itself. Grab a Trdelník (rolled pretzel dough that’s wrapped and then baked over an open rotisserie and sprinkled with your choice of cinnamon sugar or spread with Nutella) from a street vendor and wander into a few shops – my favorites were Botanicus for apothecary goods and Manufaktura for handmade home goods. If you’re in the market for lunch try the Grand Orient Cafe (a gorgeous Cubist 1920’s style interior design that sits on a 2nd level giving a great view of the street below) and if you have a free evening, one of our favorite stops was the rooftop bar of the Hotel UNIC – where you can sip a cocktail and take in the 360 degree lights of Prague around you.
Want to hear more of my favorite things about trip or have specific questions if you’re planning your own? Feel free to contact me here.