After spending ten days traveling throughout Turkey, Prague was a welcomed reprieve from our exhausting itinerary. Make no mistake: we absolutely loved Turkey and it still remains one of our top three destinations ever (and I don’t make that claim lightly). But Turkey was non-stop. Like get up at 6am each morning to begin touring at 7am for eight-ten straight hours and seldom sleeping in the same hotel for more than one night kind of non-stop. Just writing that sentence was exhausting.
Our experience in Prague was pretty much the exact opposite of that. We settled in the same beautiful hotel for five glorious nights, slept till at least 9am each morning, and spent many an hour eating and drinking our way across this absolutely gorgeous city.
Prague is a stunningly picturesque city that really makes you feel like you’ve been transported into a postcard. Even Regina George would be overwhelmed and impressed with its all-encompassing beauty (please tell me you get this reference–if you do, then you are my kind of people. If you don’t, well at least we hopefully have travel in common? Or wine? Please tell me you like wine. Or at least food. You do like food, right?).
But seriously. Prague is that pretty. Its compact size practically begs you to put on your walking shoes and ditch public transport altogether. But wait! Its metro system is clean, reliable, and efficient…one of the few cities you don’t ever feel compelled to hail a taxi to get around and taking the metro is actually enjoyable (well, as enjoyable as public transportation can be, because let’s be honest: no-one actually enjoys taking public transportation, now do they?).
Metrosensical: Prague’s metro is safe, easy, and accessible
While there’s plenty of beautiful sites to explore, unlike sprawling cities like Paris and London, you don’t feel the urge to run around in full tourist mode. Spending five full days in Prague was the perfect amount of time for us—plenty of time to get lost while meandering through this magical city without having to sacrifice hours upon glorious of hours of drinking and gorging in the city’s infamous beer halls.
Views Of & Along Charles Bridge
Red Roofs of Prague
St. Vitus Cathedral: this architectural masterpiece is a shrine and holds numerous national treasures.
Old Town Square
Golden Lane: an ancient street within the Prague Castle complex portraying the life of 15th century artisans.
Now back to those countless hours in beer halls. Some of our favorite moments of our trip include sampling various pilsners and feasting on the ever-heavy and glutinous potatoes, dumplings and goulashes. Note to vegetarians/pescatarians/vegans and clean-eating foodies: you certainly don’t go to Prague looking for spinach smoothies and quinoa salads, but there are far worse things in life than being subjected to potatoes, pretzels, and bread bowls filled with heavy-cream laden soups. So forget the kale for a bit, load up on the carbs, and go get the cheese fries. Is butter a carb?
Prague is where T and I fell in love with beer. Of course, after many years of drinking beer at frat houses, dive bars, and sporting events, the Hill’s have never been strangers to beer. I mean, let’s be serious. However Prague was the first place where we learned to actually appreciate beer and wanted to learn more about it. Of course since this trip we’ve continued to “learn” about beer many times over around the world including beer havens like Ireland, Belgium and Germany. So thank you, Prague, for contributing to and perpetuating our love for alcohol and liquid calories. Clearly we needed more of that in our lives. Crap. I really want to lose three pounds. Sigh.
One of our most memorable experiences in Prague was seeing the opera Don Giovanni at the historically world-renowned Estates Theatre. This is where Mozart initially premiered his eponymous masterpiece in 1787. The performance was brilliant and the theater is one of the most stunning venues we’ve had the pleasure of visiting.
The famous Dancing House: Isn’t this building so fetch?!
If you’ve traveled throughout Eastern Europe before, you know that there’s a sense of grit and edge that is a bit more prevalent than in Western Europe. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but cities like Prague and Budapest (stay tuned for a future post) just feel different–and I mean this in the best possible way. Pretty and gritty? You go, Glen Coco. I told you Regina George would be impressed.
Planning Your Trip to Prague:
Impossible to list all of Prague’s sites, but here are the primary ones that shouldn’t be missed:
*St. Vitus Cathedral
*Old Town Square
*Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock
*St. George’s Basilica
Where We Stayed:
Restaurants: I am very hesitant to recommend restaurants in Prague, as we visited this city over eight years ago. More so than most establishments, the restaurant business is a forever-changing one, so it’s difficult to know which ones are still good, or even relevant for that matter. Here are two that we really liked and according to my brief research, are still considered quality restaurants and offer authentic Czech dishes.
Beer Halls: Again, keeping in mind that it’s been a while since we traveled to Prague, here are two popular beer halls that we really enjoyed.
But please, do not just go by my recommendations, there are so many incredible places in Prague to explore. The limit does not exist!
*We traveled to Prague in Summer 2008.