On Tuesday I got back from a week in the enchanting city of Prague. We stayed in an apartment I found via Airbnb. It was total luxury, with marble bathroom, sauna, designer kitchen and contemporary artworks, take a peek and drool with apartment envy! This kind of accommodation in a hotel would easily cost around 350 euros per night, well outside our budget, but because we are Airbnb hosts we got it for a knockdown price.
I would love to share a few of things we did with you, so here’s my idiosyncratic list of things to see and do in Prague;
- Charles Bridge – go early or at dusk to avoid crowds.
- Prague Castle – Tram 22 takes you up the steep hill to the castle. Have lunch or cakes at Lobkowicz Palace Cafe on your way back down the hill.
- Look out for David Cerny’s eccentric artworks around town. My favourite is the upside-down King Wenceslas’s horse in Lucerna Passage.
- Don’t expect snow and carolling children on Wenceslas Square, you’ll be disappointed. You will see all the ubiquitous global chains however.
- To recover from Wenceslas Square get a spiritual fix and cool down in the church of Our Lady of the Snow, and the tranquil FranciscanGardens next to it.
- Buy a Kafka novel at the Globe Bookstore/café in Nové Město, vibrant meeting place for expats. Afterwards follow the oriental aromas and have a Thai at the Lemon Leaf restaurant just up the road.
- Take tram 14 to National Gallery – Veletržní palace; huge, ocean-liner like museum with paintings by major 20th century artists: Klimt, Picasso, Miro, Lautrec, Degas, Rousseau, Monet, Munch, Matisse, Grosz, Ernst, etc and lesser-known Czech artists. Art of this calibre in Paris or London would mean elbowing your way through hordes of tourists. In Prague we had the museum practically to ourselves. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Slav Epic, Art Noveau founder, Alfons Mucha’s life’s work.
- After National Gallery, go to nearby Stromovka park and enjoy the outdoor pub and view of the lakes.
- Try the black beer that according to other half tastes great and is very cheap! Looks like Guinness but lighter taste.
- Avoid buying anything near Old Town Square. Prices are very inflated and you get better quality items outside this area.
- Wear very comfortable shoes for sightseeing. Cobbled streets can be hard going and it certainly isn’t advisable to break in new shoes or wear heels of any kind.
- Take an evening stroll along River Vltava. There are bars and musicians aplenty and for romantic atmosphere it rivals the River Seine.
- Stumble upon and buy a DVD of ‘Three Gifts for Cinderella.’ Any Brit who grew up in the seventies and watched BBC’s ‘Tales from Europe,’ will remember this magical Czech/East German production. Popelku rides a white horse, hunts and dresses up as a boy and outwits her future husband: Walt Disney’s Cinders she ain’t! The music score alone is enough to make me tear up with nostalgia…
Hi Susan, great blog on Prague. Happy memories. We too stayed in a wonderful appartment, though rather more old fashioned than yours. Beautiful city and what I remember most was the bridge, the cobbled streets and a puppet opera performance by Mozart. Amazing! I’ll definitely know what to do if I go again with all your useful tips. Thanks!
What, no snow and carolling kids in high summer ? How disappointing! But forewarned is forearmed and I shall bring my own snow and a kid or two whom I can coerce into singing. That’s a seriously cool apartment you were in.
And your whole blog makes me feel it’s about time I got round to visiting Prague. Armed with a print out. Thanks!
Thanks for reading, Zelda. Glad you liked it! Perhaps we should organise our own carolling visit in the winter…
Great post, Susan! I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit. I lived in Prague for almost three years in the early 90s and loved my time there. Good suggestions! I might just suggest leaving some free time to sit in the beautiful art deco cafes scattered throughout the city to drink coffee, eat sinful desserts and people-watch. Performances of the Czech Philharmonic at Rudolfinium, the Prague Philharmonic at Obecni Dum and Czech operas at Narodni divadlo are also good options.
Thank you, Kimberly and how wonderful to have lived there. Your suggestions sound inviting too. I hope I will visit again and be able to explore even more!