The Czech Republic’s beloved capital has risen in recent years to be one of every Euro tourist’s favourite destinations, so it was with high expectations that we arrived in Prague. Unfortunately, the combination of poor weather and our feeling of being somewhat “citied out” left us a bit underwhelmed. If we had come to Prague first, or even in the first half of our long trip, we may well have said it was one of our favourites, too— it’s beautiful and cheap and loaded with old history. We definitely enjoy ourselves, but crave some new scenery, something other than churches and castles, maybe even some nature. Plus, we spend a whole day in bed nursing an aggressive Absinthe hangover, so that probably doesn’t help, either. But here’s what we do love in Prague:
1 | Take a free walking tour of Prague
After a surprisingly interesting free walking tour in Kraków, we sign up for another free tour in Prague. The history in the tour goes back past the 1400s, though, so we struggle to maintain interest as much as we might have for more recent history. Still, it is definitely a great introduction to the city. If you can call a 3+ hour walking tour an “introduction”.
I’m totally sold on these free walking tours now, the guides are really personable and I love knowing the stories behind the churches and castles and assorted old buildings in the town square. I would just walk by and never know that the building was anything significant if I hadn’t been told— if I even walked by the building at all! Reserve a spot for free before you go.
2 | Walk along the Charles Bridge to Prague Castle
Of course, we really enjoy visiting the beautiful bridge stretching across the Vltava river, probably one of the most photographed spots in Prague, but it’s obvious why. We are lucky to be staying a few blocks from the river, so we are able to walk by and enjoy the view several times a day. Cross the bridge for views from the amazing Prague Castle!
3 | Visit the Astronomical Clock
It’s definitely worth seeing the six hundred year old astronomical clock in the Old Town Square. Our tour explains that the clockmaker who built the beautifully complicated clock was soon approached by other cities to build similar pieces, but officials in Prague greatly disliked the idea that their clock would be copied elsewhere and so they cut off the man’s tongue and gouged out his eyes to prevent him from ever recreating the clock. The clockmaker was understandably distressed by this, so he broke the clock and it was over 100 years before someone was finally able to restore it to working order. So rest assured, he definitely got his.
4 | Enjoy the market food
Even if the Christmas market is not on, there are several dozen stalls set up in the Old Town Square selling delicacies such as mulled wine (yay) and crepes and fried cheese burgers, which is just crumbed and fried cheese in a burger bun. It’s so simple and delicious, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it first.
5 | Indulge in some absinthe
Even though I wished for death on swift wings after a night of too much Absinthe, it has a long history in Prague and is a continuing Czech favourite. No trip to Prague can be complete without it, but if you aren’t looking to have a big evening, a very small sip will be more than sufficient.