Prague, locally known as Praha is a city soaked in rich history, captivating architectures, extensive parks, vibrant night life, romance that flows in the air and not to forget cheap bear. What else can you ask for? A fascinating fact: The average beer consumption of a Czech citizen is higher than anyone in the world. Cheers to that!
We booked an Aeroflot flight from Delhi to Moscow and Moscow to Prague with a two-hour difference in the connecting flights. To save the hassle and have a smooth ride to our hotel post 15-hour flight, we had already booked the cab from the Airport.
Where we Stayed:
We stayed at the Hotel Atos by Aurelia Hotels, located in a calm vicinity yet at an easy reach of all the city attractions. The rooms are neat, the staff is helping, and the food is good.
What we Did:
We started for Prague on June 1st, 2018 late night with full of enthusiasm and excitement for our first Europe trip.
Day 1: Post checking in our hotel and taking some rest, we took off for a little walking tour of the city. As our hotel was quite near to the left bank of the magical Vltava river, we strolled along the river walkways. It is the longest river within Czech Republic. As it runs through Prague, 18 bridges cross this river (including of Charles Bridge). We parked ourselves and enjoyed for some time on a riverside-bar, with beer mug in our hands, majestic view of river flowing and with people paddling their fancy boats across. We then visited the commanding Charles Bridge. It is a 14th century stone bridge swarming with tourists, street artists, musicians and vendors. It is one of the finest and most visited attractions of Prague connecting the old Town with the Lesser town and Prague Castle. For a truly romantic stroll, wake up at the crack of dawn to see its real beauty. At the end of the bridge though, there was something that caught our attention; it was Pink Pigeons…. Really, don’t believe me? Check out the pictures below. One more thing that was amusing for me was timing of the sun rise and the sun set in Prague. The sun rises before 5 AM and sunset does not happen before 9 PM, such long day man but pleasant I must say!!!! We crashed in our beds a bit early that day as we were tired of the travel.
Day 2: Got up to a beautiful morning next day, had breakfast and started off early. They say, a great way to see Prague is by walking. So, it is, we decided to do that all the way down to Old Town Square. We walked over the bridge, it was nice, sunny and soothing breeze was also blowing through, which gave our day a good kick-start and brought smiles on our faces. While meandering Prague’s curving streets, we came across beautiful building, unique architecture, church and cute little cafe and restaurants. We then reached Old Town Square which is at the heart of the city, it was once farmer’s market. It is a gathering place for many people, so you will always find people streaming in and out, with many street performers and musicians in the center and lots of restaurants surrounding it. When you reach the square the best thing to do is to grab a coffee, sit and enjoy. Few of the Square’s attractions are:
- The Fancy Gothic Tyn Church
- The Astronomical Clock – It was under renovation though when we visited
- Various Art Installations in the side streets of Old Town Square
Post enjoying our coffee and clicking some photographs we set off to go for our Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour (HOHO). The advantage of choosing it is the flexibility it offers in terms of the time you want to spend at any destination. You can even choose not to visit any stop or destination which does not excite you. It’s also informative as it provides an audio guide in multiple languages.
Our first stop on HOHO was the Prague Castle – The Largest Castle in the World. It’s a spectacular fortress, towering the city on top of the hill. It is the official residence of the President of Czech Republic. It is said that the massive St. Vitus Cathedral is the best part of this castle and you can visit a certain part of it for free, but it is open only till 4.30 PM, so be there before that. But since the entry was free it had the longest waiting line ever so we kind of dropped the idea of going in. One of the entertaining affairs to watch at the Prague Castle is the Guard Change that happens every hour, the last one happens to be at 6 PM. There are various spots in the Prague castle that will give you beautiful views of the Prague skyline. One must also visit the Golden Lane, a series of colorful shops that originally served as housing for the palace guards. Prague castle is enormous and took us almost all day to cover but it was great exploring the castle. The well-maintained gardens were never-ending. But unfortunately, while our way out of the castle we kind of got lost. Finding our way back to the HOHO stop was a task I must say. After all the walking and running that we had to do to find our spot and just when we were about to reach the stop, we saw the bus leaving in front of our eyes. We were almost in tears (as the other bus would take another half hour to reach), till we saw a small café serving food and beer, what else could we have asked for? After the waiting turned pleasant, and the bus finally arrived, we hopped on the bus and went back to our hotel to get some rest. Later in the evening, we went out to a pub nearby to grab some food and beer.
Day 3: Our day started again with early morning breakfast, we bought the tram ticket for the whole day from the hotel reception and off we went. Today on our list was the famous fort Vyšehrad, with a great view of the city and where there are not many tourists. Within this fort is magnificent Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and the Vyšehrad cemetery. It provides splendid views of the city and the park is covered with architectural structures. I loved this place as it is very beautiful, calm, not crowded at all, epic views, cheap beer and you could easily come here and enjoy your day at the garden by bringing some food and beer along from the city. After spending some very good and quiet time here we headed off to do the city tour on our own. On our way back, we visited the Dancing House, we did not enter it though; it is a modern office building which looks like some just kicked it. We also visited a giant tunnel made of 8000 books located inside the Prague Municipal library. The tunnel measures approx. 5 meters high and 2 meters in diameter. The amazing fact is, inside the tunnel mirrors are placed such that the tunnel appears to be infinite. Also, you can see the moving head sculpture of Franz Kafka which is 11 meters tall. It is made up of 42 layers that constantly move around. We also visited the Petrin hill, which was quite close to our hotel. It can easily be identified by a TV tower that is also called as miniature Eiffel tower. You can either walk up the hill or ride the funicular, it is quite steep to walk though. After all the sightseeing, we were very tired and sad too as this was our last day in Prague. I was in love with this fairy tale town and just the thought of leaving it broke my heart. I generally don’t like visiting the same place again and again but if there is any city that I would like to visit again, and stay would surely be Prague for me.
Few Travel Tips:
- Prague is a city that can be toured walking, so carry some comfortable shoes along with you.
- Actual beauty of Charles Bridge is when it’s empty, so make sure to have an early breakfast and reach before the place begins to get crowded with people and artists.
- Best months to visit Prague are from May to September.
- Tipping in restaurants, bars and cabs is customary.
- Make prior reservations before heading for dinner.
How to roam around in Prague:
- The public transport options available are trams, buses and metro which are pretty cheap.
- For any kind of traveling you need to buy the tickets first, tickets are available at the metro stations, you can even get them from the hotels/hostels you are staying in and there are some shops that keep them.
- There are ticket vending machines at the metro station which accept cash & credit cards.
- You need to decide if you need a ticket for 30 minutes, 90 minutes, a full day or a three-day and then buy the ticket from the convenient option available.
- Post buying a ticket it is very important for you to validate the ticket you just bought. There are posts at the metro station while you enter and in buses and tram where you need to validate your ticket first.
- The same ticket is valid for a tram, bus or metro ride.
- There is free Wi-Fi available on bus stops, and on some trams.
- On every important thing to keep in mind, while you are moving around – If you are moving, walk on your left, if not then stand on your right.