Prague is a place I’d heard so much about and really wanted to visit. Finally, In January 2017, my girlfriend and I spent 4 days, 3 nights there. Hopefully this blog will help first time visitors experience the highlights this city has to offer.
We didn’t research much before our trip apart from the weather. The temperature reached -11 degrees and peaked at -2 during out stay. Having never experienced this kind of cold before, we were anxious we might freeze to death, so went prepared for it. Thermal socks, long johns, thermal top, winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves! It really did make the temperature bearable (the struggle was real taking gloves off to take photos). Clear skies and blazing sunshine coupled with -11 degree temperatures was actually very beautiful, don’t let this type of forecast put you off visiting during winter.
We had a private transfer booked from the airport which saved a lot of hassle and can be booked cheaply with Prague Airport Transfers. The city centre is only 11 miles from the airport and we reached our apartment in around 30 minutes.
Prague is not a large metropolis like other European cities. The centre especially is relatively small and compact. During our 4 days, we didn’t have to use any public transport and saw the whole city on foot, a great way to see some of the places you might miss on a hop on, hop off bus.
There is a tram and metro network around the centre which I’m sure would be easy to navigate if needed. Buy tickets at newsstands or at vending machines (have coins ready) and validate them at stamping machines at the top of metro escalators (for use on the metro), and stamping machines on entering the tram. Ticket checks by inspectors are frequent and you’ll pay a spot fine if caught without a valid ticket.
When travelling, I’m always aware of taxi scams. Massively increased fees for tourists and cabbies taking the scenic route to bump up your fare. In some of the touristy pubs, there were big signs telling you not to flag a taxi on the street. I did notice that Uber has a presence in Prague and if you do have to take a taxi, this would be the preferred option. Sign up for Uber using this link and get a discount on your first journey.
It’s well known that food and drink are both really cheap in Prague. Prices are a lot more expensive around the main square, but this it to be expected. A pint of Staropramen lager was around £1.20 – £2 a pint (I recommend trying the dark beer version), cocktails varied from £3 – £6. There are lots of Czech beers to sample and some bars offer tasting racks (The Prague Beer Museum) with some interesting tipples, I tried nettle beer which was actually really nice. The most expensive place we found to drink was in the touristy ‘Irish’ bars dotted around town. A word of warning to non-smokers, smoking is still legal in bars and made us walk in, and walk straight back out of a couple of smaller venues.
Every major chain food outlet is in Prague, so for fussy eaters, you can still get your Big Mac or Tower Burger! If you are going to sample the Czech food, beef goulash is not to be missed. Cheaper meals can be found in ‘Restaurance’ rather than ‘Restaurants’, the majority of ‘pubs’ were primarily food places that sold beer too. We found a few places with great happy hours, if you’re passing Legenda bar, they have a cocktail happy hour 5pm – 8pm where selected drinks are only £2.
There are a few ‘must see’ places in Prague. The places you have to take photos of and share on Instagram. The Astronomical Clock is on every postcard and is on the main square. Crowds gather to see it chime on the hour…. it’s not that exciting. Swing by the ‘Dancing House‘, also known as ‘Fred & Ginger’ to check out it’s alternative architecture. You must walk over Charles Bridge and take a few snaps of the view either side of the river, then visit Prague Castle. It’s about a 10 minute walk up to the castle and you’re free to walk around the grounds and enter the main cathedral without being charged any admission.
John Lennon wall is near the end of Charles Bridge on the side of Prague Castle, everyone loves John Lennon yeah? This is full of tourists taking photos and repainting the wall with their own creations. We also went to John Lennon pub that was close to the wall. This was a great little place and a nice stop off during our day exploring.
One of the best views we had of the city was from the Metronome. This is across the river, on the same side as Prague Castle and John Lennon wall. We lost a good couple of hours walking around this side of the river and had a little nosey at Sparta Prague’s stadium which is not far from the Metronome.
On the drive in to Prague, I spotted a building that I was really curious about. It is Žižkov television tower. A space age looking tower that looks very out of place! After a little bit of googling, it turns out the tower has been voted as one of the ugliest buildings in the world! This alone convinced us to have a walk and check it out for ourselves. I don’t think it is that ugly, do you?
Wherever you walk around Prague, you will see stalls selling Trdelník. Circular pastries made by hand, coated in butter and cinnamon sugar and filled with cream, Nutella, ice cream, strawberries… whatever you choose to have in there. I had to to try one and wasn’t disappointed. A little tricky to eat without getting cream all over your face though. It worked out around £3 when filled with cream and Nutella, £3 well spent.
There are lots of things to see and do in Prague besides getting drunk and stuffing your face. There is a wealth of historical sites and museums to visit, plus some alternative places like the Sex Machines Museum and Apple Museum (the iPhone makers, not the fruit). There is a large shopping centre and food court close to the main centre, plus tons of bars and expensive shops around Wenceslas Square. Shopping wasn’t cheaper than the UK so we just grabbed a couple of souvenir magnets from the market (proper tourists).
In terms of budget, as a couple we spent £200 over 4 days. With this, we ate where we wanted, drank what we wanted and visited everything we wanted to visit. I think that is amazing value for the amount we did on our long weekend.
Prague is highly recommended for an exciting city break away. With a little bit of research you will eat and drink like a king and fill your Facebook with great photos. We can’t wait to return again one day, probably in the summer months without the thermals.