Europe to me is history pages that have come alive – ancient stone bearing scars and flowering gardens full of stories to come. But the simple question on most city trippers lips when they visit the Czech capital is ‘what are the best things to do in Prague?’
How do you encapsulate an entire city spanning more than a thousand years – during which time the city grew from the Vyšehrad Castle to the capital of a modern European state, the Czech Republic – in as little as a couple of days and just a few things to see? Honestly, I’m not sure you can really.
Years ago I visited Prague for the first time, as a solo traveller who had never been in Europe that had absolutely no idea what to expect. The second time I visited was due to a Texan friend of mine suggesting a quick ladies weekend away, with Prague at the top of her list.
Praha is exotic, full of humour, great architecture, a different language, a vein of adventures, interesting food and above all great beer. My first taste of the unique city was heavily influenced whilst working with a lovely Czech friend who told me all about the rich culture and beer gardens to relax in after a day of hardcore tourist trekking. I was sold.
It’s practically law to visit the bustling Old Town Square to see the Prague Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still operating. It’s fantastical to say the least – it tells the time, provides the date, shows astronomical and zodiacal information, and, best of all, provides some theatre for its viewers on the hour, every hour.
Whilst tripping around the Old Town, Prague’s Jewish Quarter (Josefov) is one of the most fascinating places to explore on a visit to the Czech capital. Formerly a walled ghetto, Josefov is home to six synagogues, along with Franz Kafka’s birthplace and the best Jewish cuisine in Prague.
Discover the legend of the Golem of Prague – the tale of a clay figure brought to life by a rabbi in the 16th century. Also, buy a ticket to the Jewish Museum in order to see six historic Jewish monuments, including a number of synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery where the names of victims of the holocaust are kept in memorium.
Art seems to be around every corner, and gets fairly surreal…
..it is one of those cities that are a pleasure to get lost in.
We revisited some old haunts – the TV tower with gigantic babies crawling up the side…
…and slipped up to the top of the Fred and Ginger dancing buiding for a spot of breakfast.
We tried to get up early and beat the crowds on Charles Bridge, but the siren call of our cosy duvets was simply too enchanting.
Speaking of which, we stayed in ‘Corinthia Towers’ which was a little way out of the centre – but with panoramic pool views of Prague and super easy access to the tube/cabs we zoomed into town incredibly quickly. (Nb: To book your own hotel stay – we paid for this in full – feel free to use the booking.com affiliate link for the Corinthia Hotel Prague.)
You must, must find a local place to try svichkova – it’s a slow cooked beed that melts in the mouth, served with dumplings and a creamy sauce.
What wasn’t there last time was the epic restaurant that used model trains to deliver drinks to all the thirsty customers. Vytopna Restaurant was awesome – just on the edge of Wenceslas Square, one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague. Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings.
Prague was just as magical – and just as tourist busy – as it was the last time I visited. I’ve certainly changed a lot (for the better I hope) and it was an absolute joy to see it again through new eyes.
There are so many things that I consider are the best things to do in Prague. As a visitor I can’t tell you many local secrets, but I definitely enjoyed experiencing and exploring just as much a second time as I did on my first visit to Prague, back when all I had was a disposable camera to hand.
Have you got cities that you wish you could visit again? If so, which ones?
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