If you arrive into Prague by plane there is no direct train or bus from the airport to the centre of Prague. When I arrived I headed to the tourist information located in the arrivals hall. Staff are fluent in English and will be able to advise you to the best way to get to the city as buses and metro schedules change frequently. The bus and metro I rode cost around a dollar and took around an hour.
Alternatively you could get a taxi directly to your hotel and would be in the region of $40. For convenience it may be worth doing if there’s a group of you.
Either way, transport is easy and really cheap.
When using the metro ticket machine alone the process gets slightly more confusing. The tickets are priced in time not distance. The cheaper ticket is valid for half an hour and the more expensive ticket allows an hour and a quarter. Not the most obvious as the instructions aren’t written in English.
I stayed in the Florenc area of the city, slightly out of the centre of the old town but in easy walking reach. The hotel prices also reflect the location, around half of what you’d pay in the centre, so if you are on a budget this is the place to go.
Prague is a very safe city however the graffiti everywhere would lead you to believe otherwise. During my short walk into the centre I can’t say I saw a single wall that didn’t have some spray paint on it. The one thing everyone does warn you about is the pickpockets so keep your valuables safe at all times. It is also worth noting that the majority of the pavements and roads are cobbled so good walking shoes are a must as they get very slippy when wet.
As I visited in between Christmas and New Year I was able to visit the Christmas markets in the Old Square. With a giant decorated tree as the centrepiece the masses of stalls create a maze around it. Selling homemade crafts such as decorations or toys you can pick up a real piece of Prague at the markets. There are also numerous stalls that sell all sorts of food. A popular choice is a crispy doughnut that is grilled on an open fire and then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. The Czech version of mulled wine is also very popular, it’s slightly bitter but you can add sugar if it’s not to your taste.
There’s a children’s petting zoo with sheep and goats where children could feed them. I’m not sure who was more excited though, the children or some of the adults.
Also located in the Old Square is the Old Square clock. On the hour a giant crowd surrounds the clock tower for the show. Due to the number of people I was expecting quite a performance but I was slightly disappointed. A couple of bells ring and some mechanical figures spin. I understand that it’s one of the oldest mechanical clocks out there and perhaps my expectations were too high but if you miss the top of the hour, it’s not the biggest of deals. The clock’s pretty cool on its own though, that’s worth a look.
Surrounding the square there are tiny streets lined with shop after shop selling all sorts of souvenirs. A favourite is glassware, ornaments to wine glasses. Some are absolutely beautiful, but so delicate so I’m not sure if they would withstand a hold luggage journey in a suitcase.
I found a great little bar in the afternoon for a couple of drinks called Giallo Rossa it could only seat 14 people so you got a really intimate experience. Of course there a loads of bars everywhere. But I’m never quite sure about going down alleyways and the ones on the main run tend not to be too special and overpriced. So with Aperol Spritz at about $4 I made myself home until dinnertime and tucked into carbonara with homemade spaghetti.
The following morning I headed out on a city tour of the Jewish Quarter and the castle.
Not only was the tour informative but also provided great transport to access the castle. If you were to try to explore this alone then you’re in for a rather long walk up a steep hill. In the three hours I learnt about the history of the city and also gathered my bearings. Inside the castle walls there is a church that’s architecture is modelled on the Notre Dame in Paris and inside you can see the wonderful stained glass windows.
From the top of the hill there are amazing views of the rest of the city.
For lunch the tour guide recommended a restaurant called Kotleta. It serves typical Czech food and wine served in fish bowl size wine glasses. It is slightly on the pricey side by Prague standards as it is located just off the Old Square in an archway.
The food was to an excellent standard. And the Czech wine was tasty.
It is worth noting that many restaurants in Prague do not accept credit cards so always check before you order if you don’t like to carry cash.
In the afternoon I visited a chocolate museum where I saw how praline is made and how hard candy is made with patterns. The entrance price is around $15 however it’s all you can eat chocolate whilst you are in there so it makes up for it. You can taste chocolate from all around the world and the differences are quite apparent depending on the soil types and growing conditions.
Italian restaurants are also a favourite. So if Czech cuisine isn’t for you, you definitely won’t be stuck for places to eat. Pizzeria Corto is a small restaurant that serves delicious pizzas as well as pasta. I have to say the pizza was better than some I have had in Italy! In the winter you can sit outside with hot wine and watch the world go by.
In the evening I went to see a ballet performance at the Hybernia Theatre. The theatre puts on nightly performances of different ballets and at the price they are selling the tickets at, how could you not go to see one.
On my final day I took a trip to one of the many Thai massage parlours. Be careful which massage facility you use, you could end up with a different sort of massage!
Before I headed home I took a boat trip down the river. There are a range of trips you can take from 1 hour cruise to a 3 hour dinner cruise with jazz performances. I took the 2 hour boat ride and perhaps the 1 hour could have been enough. It was gorgeous to see the city from the water but I would suspect that the views are also better at night.
All in all I really enjoyed my time in Prague and would recommend to anyone to visit for a few days.