I’ve got the travel itch, and I’m not sure whether these Weekend City Guides are helping or hindering that desire… This week’s Weekend City Guide brings us to Prague. Prague is beautiful and its somewhere I’d go back to in a heartbeat, to further explore the city, but also the rest of the country. Tyler did end up going back 2 years ago on a guys trip. I don’t think that trip would enrich this guide very much, unless you’re into strippers…
After finding our Airbnb, which had super cute details (like the coffered ceilings) and not so cute features, like the shower was a tub in the kitchen, and the toilet was outside and the whole floor of the building shared it…. but it was in a prime location, so it worked for us. Our first stop, as it always is, food. We landed at Lokal, it was on the same block as our Airbnb and was highly rated on Yelp.
We got a bunch of beers, sausages, tripe soup, deep fried cheese and some other delicious things all for about $40 CAD. The food was delicious, they have a limited menu that is different almost daily, but the food does not disappoint. The restaurant itself is more of a tavern, one long room with tables on each side and the kitchen at the back. The waitress puts a piece of paper down on the table and they just start bringing you beers until you say stop. Each beer that gets dropped off gets marked on the paper. We were both really impressed and really full with this sort of service. If you didn’t say no more beer fast enough there would be a fresh beer on your table.
We were a short walk to the main square, which is really beautiful both day and night. The buildings in the square are of a Baroque style architecture and that continues down all the winding, cobblestone streets. The Prague Orloj, or astronomical clock on the main square is real tourist attraction. It is estimated to have been built in 1410 and has had many upgrades and repairs. It has lots of gothic sculptures, an hourly “show” of figures that come out (like a coo-coo clock) and keeps track of moonphases, months, zodiac (sun locations), and the old Czech timing system of when the sun sets. Definitely catch it at the top of the hour to see it chime, but also check it out when the crowds haven’t formed.
The main bridge, Charles Bridge, connects the Old Town to Prague Castle. It is a pedestrian only bridge, and features 30 baroque style statues along its walls. All of these statues have been replaced by replicas since the 1960s, with the originals placed in museums. This is a really lovely walk, with great views. Although depending on the weather you might want to reconsider as the wind coming up the river can be harsh. We were traveling in November, and Prague was the coldest place we went on the whole trip. Given the elevation, this wasn’t surprising. We even got to see some light flurries.
Prague Castle has some decent views (even on a cloudy day), but they do a changing of the guard ceremony, and there are some tourist traps along the way. We hadn’t done much research on Prague, this was the first city we ever traveled to without doing much research, and we felt pretty guilty about it. But we still had a great time, and would love to go back. One of the few souvenirs I brought back from the trip was a pair of Garnet Earrings (no idea if they are real, but hopefully they are).
We did a decent amount of shopping on this leg of our trip. There is a “main drag” with Wenceslas Square and the National Museum at one end and stores along both sides of the street. At the other end, you get closer to the Old Town Square and can find little alleys and streets that will twist and turn until you get to the square. We were about half-way through our trip at this point, so a little shopping was in the cards anyways, as we’d blown through some shoes and pants by then. Plus, like I said it was cold as balls and the stores were warm.
We woke up one morning and made our way to a laundromat to wash our clothes. We had walked past some food carts on the way and decided to head back their direction. This was so good. It was basically a gnocchi noodle with sausages, and a white cheese, and bacon. It was delicious. Of course we followed this up with funnel cakes, which we would continue eating constantly in Budapest as well. There is lots of shopping in Prague; though the exchange rate doesn’t make anything cheaper or “worth” it.
Of our 3 evenings in Prague, two revolved around food, and all revolved around beer. One night we headed to a hockey game to watch Lev-Praha vs Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (KHL team). This was a pretty fun night. I don’t recall much about the game itself, but that the fans were INTENSE. They did not stop banging their drums and horns, yelling, and cheering, and singing. They were standing the whole game cheering Lev-Praha on. It was pretty fantastic. Also they served healthy sized beers at the game. The barn itself, was awesome for acoustics. Even though there weren’t that many fans in attendance, you couldn’t tell by their volume or the way the sound traveled through the rink.
Accommodation: Our Airbnb was in a great location; but given that it was basically a studio, and there was no private bathroom in the suite, I wouldn’t recommend it for families. That toilet was freezing cold to use in the middle of the night!
Transportation: There is public transit; trains and buses. I don’t recall having any issues figuring it out. Again, we walked most places, but did use the bus to get to the hockey game and the airport.
Food and Beverage: Eat as many fucking sausages as you can. They are so good. Like SO GOOD. We are sausage people and Prague still has the top dogs. Also FUNNEL CAKES.
Watch Out For: Pick Pocketers; as with anywhere in Europe. Also if you are going to buy any sort of Garnet jewlery, you should be able to ask for and receive a certificate of authenticity with it.
Things We’ll Do if We Get a Re-Do: In general, a bit more research and explore the city more, including getting outside of the Old Town. There are a bunch of underground tours; and although it was recommended to us at the time, we never got around to it was the underground wine cellars.
Traveling with Kids: I don’t see any reason to not bring a kid to Prague. I don’t recall there being very many stairs to get to any of the view points; so you could opt for a slightly bigger stroller with bigger tires; rather than a small one that is easy to fold up and carry up stairs.