Prague Travel Journal
My trip to Prague ended up being a spontaneous decision while I was sitting at home in Dublin planning my spring break trip. It started to sink it that the rest of my exchange was about to fly by, so I booked one more trip that I didn’t want to miss. Money was getting tight at that point but I will save you the suspense by telling you that I didn’t regret my decision one bit!
If I didn’t travel to Prague, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see a city that looked exactly like what I always imagined a European city would look like.
Here are some ins and outs of making the most of your experience in this charming little city.
Where to Stay
The Charles Bridge Residence is in a great location, only a one minute walk from the Charles Bridge and a ten minute walk from the Prague Castle. Breakfast was included and was served at a restaurant across the street called Bohemia Bagel. Even though we had to pick from a set menu, there were tons of great options including eggs, bacon, pancakes, and breakfast bagels. The rooms were super clean and the building was quiet, despite its central location.
Where to Eat
Švejk Restaurant U Karla
We scouted out a restaurant called Švejk Restaurant U Karla, which served traditional Czech cuisine. I ordered a gluten free beer called Celia and they had a full gluten free menu that had just as many options as their regular menu. All menu items were served with a little flag marking the dish as gluten free. I LOVE it when restaurants do this because then I don’t have to sit there looking nervously at my food wondering if I properly communicated that it needed to be gluten free. Since our experience was basically perfect, we went back multiple times.
Over a few visits I tried:
A 1/4 duck which was served with dumplings, bread, sauerkraut, and gravy
Fried chicken balls with cheesy gluten free dough
Dessert pancake will a jam filling, brown sugar and whipped cream
These were hands down some of my favourite meals I've ever had in Europe.
Old Town Square Easter Market
If you travel to Prague when Old Town Square is running their Easter Market, you have to check it out! There were tons of food vendors, gift stands, beer gardens, and a petting zoo.
We thought we could have an inexpensivve dinner there by ordering street food - but the catch was that they piled as much as humanly possible onto our plates even though the meal price was per kilogram. I tried to say that I didn’t need any more food.... but they just kept piling it on.
Tip: We may have just had an odd experience, but I would say that you just need to be firm about when they have put enough on your plate and hope for the best!
Czech people can come off as quite serious (which can be a bit intimidating) but we learned our lesson. Despite paying an arm and a leg for our "cheap" dinner, the food was great! If you go to the same market, check out the Kingswood cider tent and grab a drink to build up the courage to stand up to the food vendors - haha.
What to See
Prague is extremely walkable around the major tourist attractions. If you stay somewhere near the Charles Bridge or Prague Castle, you won’t need to use public transportation.
Prague Castle & St. Vitus Cathedral
The Prague Castle and the St. Vitus Cathedral, which is enclosed within the castle walls, are the focal points of the entire city. It felt like a long walk to the top of the hill (or I was just in bad shape back then) but there are so many different viewpoints of the city from the top that it’s well worth the heavy breathing.
The St. Vitus Cathedral reminded me of a smaller version of the Cologne Cathedral, aside from its clock tower with gold plating and old decorative features that made it stand out. We went into the Cathedral foyer where we got a perfect view of the interior, including the stain glass window opposite the main entrance.
Charles Bridge & Old Town Square
The Charles Bridge is the most unique pedestrian bridge I have seen during my travels. When I’m travelling, I also love tracking down the lock bridges in different cities - there are so many! There was a really small (and adorable!) lock bridge just below the start of the Charles Bridge.
If you walk across the Charles Bridge towards Old Town Square, there is a lot of interesting architecture there including the Astronomical Clock Tower and the Tyn Church.
Vlatva River Paddleboats
The Vltava River that runs through Prague is incredibly clean, and is scattered with river cruise boats and paddle boats - including race car and swan boats. I was determined to get one of the super cool ones - until I found out it was almost double the price of a basic paddle boat. The regular (cheaper) boat ended up being equally as awesome and its lawn chair like seats were great for relaxing in and soaking up the warm sunshine. It was very hot and sunny in Prague that day, so getting out on the water to relax on a paddle boat was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Don’t forget to check out the famous Lennon Wall where people have painted pictures of John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles, as well as their lyrics. The wall was meant to inspire peace and love during the communist regime in the 1980’s and Prague’s locals continue to paint the wall to this day.
Petrin Hill (And Tower)
Petrin Hill is the home of the mini Eiffel Tower or ‘Petrin Tower’ (obviously why I had to see it). It was a steep walk to the top of the hill, proving yet again that I was a bit out of shape. There were so many great vantage points of the city on the hill. One of my favourite views was from the Peace Wall.
We eventually made it to the Petrin Tower, which is 60 meters tall. We climbed the stairs to the top where we were rewarded with another spectacular view of the city.
Prague was a beautiful city. Somewhere I would highly recommend if you are into architecture, prefer a cleaner city, and if you want to try some incredible food. Share your Prague tips below!