So around this time last year I was in Prague! What a stunning place – orange rooftops, impressive buildings, cobbled streets, medieval vibe, beautiful river, greenery galore – probably one of my favourite cities so far. Prague is not big but there’s a lot to see and do. The city is split into three main areas: new town, old town and lesser town with a river running through the middle; thus you can quickly get your bearings and walk pretty much everywhere in no time at all. We stayed for 4 nights and 5 days and I’d say that this was the perfect amount of time because we did everything we planned and a bit more. Furthermore at the time, the exchange rate was roughly £1=34 Czech Koruna, which enabled us to experience Prague for a reasonable price!
The Czech capital boasts some pretty impressive structures. For example, on the chic, contemporary side you have the Dancing House, a warped and somewhat unusual shaped building which I believe is actually office space. For a building so diverse in its appearance it has a rather boring use – don’t you think?! This building is fun to look at but only warrants a brief visit and a quick snap. The structures of real interest/beauty in Prague are definitely the more historic.
The Petřín Tower for instance, built in 1891 standing at 64m high and located at the top of Petřín Hill offers really fantastic views of the whole of Prague. Originally this attraction was not on our ‘to-do’ list but after climbing the hill (which at the time was layered in beautiful blossom trees) we found some lush garden space as well as the Eiffel-tower-like structure which we immediately decided to mount. The Petřín Tower is not hugely spacious and as a result, it can quickly become crowded, but the views are definitely worth it.
Of course, one cannot go to Prague and not mention Charles Bridge, a wonderful cobbled bridge built between the 14th & 15th centuries and lined with magnificent statues. The bridge provides glorious views of the river as well as hints of the famed orange rooftops. There are often stalls run by locals selling products like jewellery, paintings and hand-made clocks as well as performers of all kinds lining the bridge and keen to impress. We were told by a friendly shopkeeper to enjoy the bridge but be wary of the crowds and pickpockets!
However, my favourite monument by far was St.Vitus Cathedral. Let me tell you, I am rarely drawn speechless but St.Vitus Cathedral accomplished this. Located inside Prague Castle on a hill with plenty of steps, both are prominent buildings and can be seen from afar. On the day we visited, the sun was shining, the sky was a bold shade of blue and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen; in this setting, the cathedral remains one of, if not the most beautiful and impressive monuments I have ever seen in my life. We walked the perimeter of the cathedral and observed the detail in the Gothic architecture, the gargoyles and the patterns in the stone, it was an amazing experience. I hope the below photo can do it even a little bit of justice.
So where’s the best ice cream in Prague I hear you cry?!… Certainly I was surprised too, Prague would not have been my first port of call if in search of good ice cream but I promise you there is one shop in particular that was just amazing.
I am a proper foodie and have a spectacularly sweet tooth, where the average person would settle and indeed only be able to consume one pudding at a time, I can do two. One chocolate bar? More like three. Most of the time I can out-eat grown men with healthy appetites. I have to be careful not to go OTT, but as a result of spending years consuming the sweeter things in life, I have enjoyed many an ice cream and Angelato ice creams certainly place in my top 5.
We were first drawn to it because it was a stifling hot day and we were in desperate need of some sort of refreshment. We happened to be in the right place at the right time because as we glanced across the road at the bottom of Petřín Hill, there stood Angelato. The queue was round the shop and out the door but everywhere we looked there were people eating tubs of the stuff, and I know a good ice cream shop when I see one! Like the name suggests, it tasted heavenly and consequently, we actually visited three times in our 5 day trip, but who’s counting…right?!
The Vltava river was just a short 5/10 minute walk from our hotel located in new town Prague and was actually the first thing we came across when we ventured out on our first day. The weather was fantastic for April and consequently everyone was on the river – in pedalos! Of course, immediately I was attempting to convince my travelling companion that hiring a pedalo was just the best idea – I succeeded 🙂 It almost ended just as soon as it had started however because the both of us are extremely clumsy. I was encouraged to take the first leap onto the pedalo and naturally, slipped. (What else did I expect?) If it weren’t for my excellent reflexes and balancing skills…ok who am I kidding? Basically, through sheer luck and nothing else, I fell onto the front of the pedalo and not sideways into the water. There were a number of people spectating and I actually think the pedalo owner shook his head. I was so embarrassed and literally could not pedal away fast enough! Once we were a good distance away however, I began to relax and really enjoy the experience, it was a glorious way to enjoy the sunshine.
Something fun we discovered in Prague were escape games. We visited two places that ran escape games in Prague (Mind Maze and TRAP) both highly praised on TripAdvisor and indeed, worth this high praise. For anyone who has not yet heard of escape games, they involve being locked in a room with a number of other people (of your choosing) in which you must solve a puzzle or complete a quest/mission. Games vary depending on the organization and also differ in difficulty and thus, number of people required to complete it. They can be pricey, particularly in the UK, but in Prague it was quite reasonable for just 2 people. The games test friendships by forcing you to work together under pressure but are a great thrill and you feel a real sense of achievement when you emerge!
What to be prepared for/surprises:
- In my experience, the weather can be quite unpredictable in Prague. During our short 5 day trip, we experienced sunshine, cloud, rain, snow, and all temperatures! I can’t say for certain whether this is the norm in Prague but be prepared haha.
- Wenceslas Square, despite being listed as a top attraction on many online sites, unless you’re in search of shops and eateries, there’s nothing really there. We walked 45 minutes to visit the square and were a little disappointed!
- Watch out for the trams! Coming from a country that has very few trams – if any, trams are certainly not a method of transport I am familiar with, but in Prague they are everywhere so watch out when you cross the roads!
- There was a TV in the bar/cafe area of our hotel which was constantly playing ice hockey games, which we soon learned is actually an incredibly popular sport in the Czech Republic…who knew?!
So that pretty much sums up my experience in Prague. To conclude, I would definitely return! 🙂