I’ve just returned from a wonderful 4 nights break in Prague with and wanted to share my experience with you (mainly a lot of eating & drinking!) and my tips to ensure any would-be-traveller gets the best out of their visit to this beautiful city.
What to pack
It was particularly cold, being the end of January, with the lowest temperature in the day being -7 degrees whilst we were there. I’d say be sure to pack your thermals/jumpers/long socks/gloves/hat and maybe even some snow boots as, although in the main city there wasn’t much snow, there was some black ice!
Also my life saviour this holiday was my portable battery charger. Honestly the cold weather did not help the poor battery life of my iPhone. I had it plugged in most of the time because I find it essential for mapping where we are heading and for Trip Advisor for restaurants/bars/museums.
Where to stay
When choosing a hotel, my main aim was to pick somewhere near to the Old Town Square. This is the central town of Prague with very old Art Nouveau, 1920s architecture. Apart from being a very pretty part of the Capital, it is where all the main sites are found such as the Astronomical Clock Tower and it’s a stones throw away from the Charles Bridge which leads you to the other quarters of the city and nearer to Prague Castle. The Old Town is not far from the other quarters of the city, so by staying here you save a lot of money on transport. We stayed in The Grandior Hotel (5*) which often has deals on sites like booking.com or last minute – so do scout around for a good price!
How to get around
Walk. Well, once you are in the main city that is.
To get from the airport to the Old Town Square, take the number 100 bus to Zlicin and then you have a straightforward journey of fourteen stops to Namesti Republiky which is the main metro station nearest to the Old Town Square. You can purchase a combined ticket for both the bus and metro inside the airport when you are in Arrivals, if you head for the travel information desk.
Honestly, once you are in the Old Town and go out exploring Little Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and New Town you will realise how well connected these little areas are. I think the best way to explore the city and familiarise yourself with the area is to just keep walking and you will find many a hidden gem along the winding, cobbled streets.
How much money you’ll need
I wasn’t particularly certain about Czech currency. Euros I can pretty much work out the equivalent in pounds, but the Czech Republick Koruna (CZK) was a little more tricky for me to get my head around.
As we were going for 4 nights I wanted to have a substantial amount so changed up £250 which we got 7,500 czk for. Honestly, I can say after 4 nights this was almost more than enough.
The food and drinks are very cheap in Prague. To give you an example of just how cheap, the first night in a local pub, I was completely shocked when the bar maid said just 54 czk as I figured that was pretty cheap. I had no idea until I converted it on google, that the total was just £1.70!
Tip: Avoid the restaurants/shops on main squares like the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square etc as these are tourist traps and are more expensive than if you just walk a little further. Also TripAdvisor everything!
Don’t miss out on visiting
Little Quarter – It’s a beautiful area on the other side of the Charles Bridge across from the Old Town. Very similar architecture to the Old Town, with exceptional views of Prague Castle. I wish I could have explored the streets longer as there were so many quirky shops and hidden restaurants. Tip: There were a lot more Vegan and Vegetarian restaurants in this area, so if you want a break from Prague cuisine (very meat heavy!) I highly recommend exploring this area.
The Old Town – Pretty obvious as I speak about this area a lot, however this is the main central square of Prague and has the Astronomical Clock Tower which features 3 intertwined clocks in the design – one is the astronomical dial which is supposed to mimic the sun and moon’s current positions. There is quite a creepy legend, which I thought was very interesting that if the clock is neglected then the city will suffer and apparently one of the figures on the clock which is a little ghost is nodding its head in confirmation of this. Aside from the clock itself, the tower is a must to go up. It’s not expensive at about 120 czk per person and from the top you can see panoramic views of the city.
Where to eat
Kozlovna Apropos – An accidental find which turned out to be one of my favourite restaurants during our stay. On the coldest day, when we were really struggling to to find somewhere. It was a Sunday so we weren’t having a lot of luck finding anywhere we liked the look of that was actually open. Then we came across Kozlovna Apropos. I was charmed by the cosy atmosphere and traditional decor, but overall the food is what made this place perfect. I chose breaded chicken and mash – so delicious and hearty! Both were full of flavour and the mash was the smoothest and most buttery I have tasted in so long. For a cheap and simple lunch, I was really impressed.
Hanabi Sushi – I adore sushi, and after a few days of eating only Prague cuisine (which is mainly a lot of meat and carbs) we decided sushi would be the perfect antidote! We were very fond of the sashimi here, but the highlight was these Aburi rolls (torched sushi rolls – which you can see in the image above). Our choice was the Geisha rolls which are made up of spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber, crab stick with Philadelphia cheese melted on top – so heavenly.
George Prime Steak – This was a little bit more of a splash out meal, however your girl loves her steak, so it had to be done. I loved the atmosphere of this place and actually although this was the most expensive meal we ate, it still wasn’t extortionate for all the food and courses and alcohol we consumed. If I could do it again I would’ve skipped the starter – although it was tasty the steak and chips portions for Rib eye are huge and I would’ve preferred to just gorge on that!
Trdelnik/”Chimney” cake – Not only “Instagram-worthy”, these hollow doughnut like treats you’ll see being sold pretty much everywhere. I recommend trying them with either nutella or a cream filling. Tip: Do look around for the best price and for places with more interesting fillings.
Avoid wasting money on
National Museum – Not specifically the Prague National Museum you may have read about or seen images of online, this museum is currently under reconstruction. So in the meantime they have put a few exhibitions in a nearby modern building….which was definitely not worth the visit. The lifts would break on certain floors that visitors weren’t even allowed to and didn’t actually hold any exhibitions. Then the “Noah’s Ark” experience wasn’t much more than a glorified taxidermy collection. I’m sure the actual National Museum will be a treat (whenever it actually opens that is!) but until then don’t bother with their stand-ins!
“Traditional” Tourist trap restaurants – The type of restaurants to avoid are those with “Medieval” night servers outside. I would not recommend going into the central square to look for food on an evening as you may well be sucked into these “tourist-trap” restaurants. Your best bet is to look further afield for cheaper places, maybe even scout a few out in the day to come back to in the evening.