Praha, as the locals call it, is the beautiful capital city of the Czech Republic. Located in central Europe, the Czech Republic is bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland, and has been a part of the European Union since 2004. The currency there is the Czech kurona or crown (CZK), and is a very modern, safe and sophisticated country.
Having served as the capital city of Bohemia and dwelling of Kings and Queens, Prague is a city known for its rich history, vibrant artistic culture, fresh beers and gorgeous crystal. You will not run out of things to do and shop for in this 13th century paradise. As you stroll down the many plazas and bridges, you will get a glimpse of the many architectural styles and diverse populations that have inhabited the city. From cathedrals to castles, theaters and opera houses, Prague has it all in terms of entertainment and culture.
The main reason MrEnginerd and I selected this destination was because of its brewing heritage; Pilsner Urquell was the original pilsner, hence the name, and can be found on tap with no preservatives alongside many other local concoctions (insert names here). Because of the rich brewing traditions, beers in the city are actually cheaper than bottled water!
If you are not into beer, there are many bars like La Bodeguita del Medio and Tynska Bar and Books in Stare Mesto, where you can purchase a flight of scotch or whiskey and pair it with a nice cigar. At Tynska bar and Books they actually have a flight and cigar pair up for purchase. You can also try La Casa del Habano if you are looking to smoke some Cubans.
The first couple of days of our early September holiday were unusually rainy and gray. We bought an umbrella at a local gift shop and took refuge in the Lobkcowicz Palace and family museum in the grounds of Prague Castle which was a very pleasant surprise. They have many pieces from Antonio Canaletto and Diego Velázquez, and a collection of symphonies from local and international artists including Beethoven and Mozart. We managed to take a few pictures of the castle and the Charles Bridge but we weren’t too happy with the results.
Even though it was still rainy during our third day in the city it didn’t dampen our plans, an excursion to a local shooting range, Prague Tours Direct. The trip included a selection of rifles and hand guns that can’t be found in the United States for rental or sale. At the end of the experience you get a light lunch, a local beer and a certificate of completion and participation. If you want, you can tally up the points from each shooting round and compare the results with your fellow guests to declare a winner. I managed to beat my husband by 40 points!
On day four through seven, we decided to venture out on our own since the city has an amazing public transportation system that enables you to get around with minimal hassle. For this reason we had decided to stay at the Hilton Prague, a short walk away from the Florenc subway and tram stations, and save a few dollars. However, most of the hotels on the riverside and downtown area have gorgeous views and excellent service which is worth the price of your stay and it saves you some of the transportation costs. Not all tourist areas are near downtown though, so be prepared to venture out via taxi or the subway to Petřín hill and Vyšehrad.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will let the pictures speak for themselves in regards to the attractions we visited and how the weather cleared:
Going up and down the stairs at Prague Castle, I managed to sprain my ankle which was quickly solved by booking a massage at the hotel spa and taking food and beer breaks throughout the city, and a few stops to gawk at local handmade items at Manufaktura.
If you are looking for a good guide to the city, Fodor’s was the book we used to get around the area and find great meals and specials. Tripadvisor is another excellent tool to determine where to venture and find local cuisine at affordable prices and great service. A couple of the gems we found by striking out on our own where U Tri Ruzi, Mlejnice and CzecHouse Grill and Rotisserie, all backed up by numerous tourism awards. Most of these locations also have Wi-Fi, which helped us make last minute choices and substitutions to our plans with minimal effort, and post updates to our friends and family back home.
Overall, our experience in Prague was spectacular! Our only regret was not booking an opera show or going to one of the many modern nightclubs in the city. I hope this information convinces you to visit one of the top five destinations in the world. Make sure you bring an open mind and comfortable shoes.