When you hear so many fabulous stories about a place, read wonderful reviews and recommendations, you might feel a little bit apprehensive to experience a city yourself. Why? Just in case it does not live up to your expectations! I must say that Prague was everything and much more what I expected. Join me on my weekend trip to Prague.
Visiting Prague at the beginning of May seemed to be a perfect choice as the weather was simply stunning, with the abundance of sunshine and high temperatures. After two flights, (one seriously delayed) and spending the second leg of the journey with a very loud hen party (I guess not everybody goes to Prague to enjoy its architecture!), I arrived after midnight. Taking an Uber was the best option to get to the city centre and cheap as well- an over 30 minute journey costs £12; the whole transport system is reliable, swift and cheap- a 24 hour ticket will cost your around £4. You can hop on and off buses, trams and the underground and explore the city at your own pace and pleasure! Are you ready?
The Castle District
If you visit one spot in Prague, it probably will be The Castle District. It is a perfect place to stroll down the narrow streets, grab a coffee, enjoy stunning architecture and take that fabulous photo for your Instagram account! The Castle District is like a small town, with its own squares, churches, museums and galleries. One of the most awe-inspiring buildings is St Vitus Cathedral. You cannot help yourself but admire this immense and intricate church, adorned with wonderful details of gothic gargoyles. I had read reviews saying that the best places are free and it is true in my opinion. Catch some rays of sunshine on Hradcany Square, admire the views from the castle walls and the red façade of St. George’s Basillica, which is believed to be the oldest church in Prague. Golden Lane is a ticketed area and you can take a walk down the street with cottages dating from 16th century. Loreto is another masterpiece in Baroque style, a church built in 1620s. Strahov’s Philosophical Library is a must if you love books and libraries! What can be better than wonderfully decorated rooms filled with priceless books? Remember to purchase an extra ticket that will allow you to take pictures.
Charles Bridge. Need I say more? I would not go as far as saying that this is the most famous bridge in the world, but raise your hand up if you have never seen a photograph of Charles Bridge crowded with people, tourists, artists, musicians, painters. I can confirm all these things and then very subjectively add that that bridge itself is much narrower and shorter than it appears to be in the pictures. Just an observation. Apart from that it offers great views and a lovely stroll to the other side of Vltava.
Once you’re on the other bank of the river, your steps will probably lead you to the Old Town Square with plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars. (Just so you know, I did not meet the hen party from the plane). The Astronomical Clock will probably halt your little adventure for a couple of minutes so you can admire this masterpiece- the architect was blinded once the clock was completed so he could not recreate it somewhere else. On every hour, the figures will perform their ritual dance to the admiration of hundreds of spectators.
The Jewish Quarter
A little piece of Paris in Prague- Parizska. A street with boutique shops and famous brands. Credit cards ready? North of Parizska, Josefov, home to Jewish community. I explored this area on my own, enjoying the streets and alleys, getting lost while following my phone navigation system (or maybe it’s just my map reading skills again?); as the majority of the museums do not accept cards, just cash, I gave up on entering the synagogues (quite annoying when you spend some time in a queue only to find out that cards are not accepted) but according to every single guide book the Spanish Synagogue is the one to visit as its decorations are very intricate and detailed. Since there are different types of tickets, you can buy one that gives your admittance to other sites as well: stop at the Old- New Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
Just short of 48 hours and I am going to say that I saw the main, touristy sites of Prague, managed to catch up with my friends and even had a full conversation in Czech (at Starbucks but hey, it still counts, doesn’t it?). I’m not done with you Prague though! I will be back!