Czech Republic that is. My husband and I decided long ago that Prague would definitely have to be one of those places that we had to see while living in London. We have heard so many good things over the years, and something about the enchanting medieval aspect of Prague really gave us the desire to visit. As with most countries in Europe, we didn’t quite know what to expect before going, in fact we didn’t even know how to say hello in the Czech language! The feeling of being completely out of our element and knowing almost nothing before leaving, made Prague one of the most fascinating cities we have experienced in Europe yet.
During our plane ride to Prague we did one of the most helpful things you can possibly do as a traveller.. we made friends with the locals! We really do try to be as friendly and open-minded as we can when we travel and that usually always pays off for us. The Czech friends that we met on our flight were some of the nicest people we have come across thus far. We felt so lost after getting off the plane, and they helped us get currency, buy our transportation tickets (no easy task in Czech), rode the bus with us, and explained in detail how to get to our hotel. Whoever said that the Czechs don’t like Americans? We will forever be grateful for their generosity as I’m not quite sure we would have figured out how to get to our hotel that night.
The following day we woke up eager to explore the unknown. I have found that each city we have been to has a very distinct feeling and mood that can instantly be felt within moments upon arrival. My first impressions walking around the town reminded me of something that a place like Russia might be like. The tall ornate churches and red-roofed buildings were exquisite. The river was adorned with gothic bridges which showcased the medieval Prague Castle high up on the hill… which happened to be the first stop of our sight-seeing that day. We made our way on the local tram that winded up the steep mountain side to the Castle. We have discovered that most castles can be more like actual cities or estates with countless attractions to visit. Prague Castle was no exception, and even felt like a mini-metropolis inside. Be sure to plan accordingly if you visit so that you can have enough time to see it all like we did.
We started our tour by heading to St. Vitus Cathedral which is the HUGE and most famous cathedral that can be seen towering over all of Prague. Audio guide headsets are offered for an additional price, but we noticed that literally nobody was using them so we took that as a sign and passed on them. Stepping inside the cathedral makes you realize why this is one of the most magnificent structures in the city. I felt that the detailed stained glass windows rivaled the ones found at Notre-Dame in Paris. We spent quite a bit of time in here wandering in awe of the sheer size and beauty of this place.
After the church we stepped inside the Old Royal Palace which is where many of the state events are still held to this day. We were really excited to see this because the Republic is currently in the process of crowning a new king, so the grand crown jewels have been put on public display for a limited time only (lucky us!).
Towards the end of our tour we walked down Golden Lane which is the most adorable street full of multi-colored mini houses that are now home to some fabulous boutique shopping. There was also an entrance around here to see the castle armory which contains all the medieval weapons and torture devices used throughout the Czech history (my husband’s favorite part). If you walk a little farther from Golden Lane you’ll also notice some pretty breathtaking views from the castle walls overlooking all of Prague. This is the highest point of the city and you won’t find better views of it all than this spot!
Prague is one beautiful city, especially during autumn time.
As we exited down the castle steps, we stopped for lunch and to try some of the most interesting yet delicious food stand specialties we have ever had. Seriously, we had no idea that the Czechs were such masters at the art of street food! They had everything from spicy hot dogs, to homemade crispy potato chips (on a stick!), and our favorite pastries ever called “trdelniks”. These trdelniks are like jumbo cinnamon-crusted churros that are freshly made and prepared right in front of you. There are multiple stands located all over making the whole city smell like them (which is not a bad thing if you ask me).
While savoring every bite, we continued walking from the castle to historic Charles Bridge. This bridge is another highlight of the city, and was built back in the 13th century to link the Old Town to the Lesser Town. Massive gothic statues line the bridge and it is fun to hear the history behind them because some bring you good fortune when you rub them! We loved the medieval feel this bridge had and it is easy to see why it is a must-see when visiting Prague. Charles Bridge can tend to be very overcrowded so be sure to keep an eye on your belongings when passing through.
There were so many beautiful swans swimming by the bridge.
This one wanted to pose for me.
The great thing about Charles Bridge, is that it leads you right into the heart of Prague which is Old Town Square. Here you will find so much going on including live entertainment, the Astronomical Clock (listen to it at the top of the hour), and the towering Tyn Church (a must-see). We also wanted to experience an authentic Czech dinner and there are plenty of restaurants close to this area to choose from. The place we ate at was pretty good, but the food was very hearty and felt a little heavy on our stomachs. Personally, I think it’s definitely worth a try, but I much preferred the more exciting street goodies.
Did I mention that they also have a bar here entirely made of ice?!
To wrap up our time spent in Prague, we spent most of Day 3 going back to our favorite sites during the day time. We also enjoyed more of the street food, and fun outdoor shopping markets around Old Town. Another area that we explored was the Jewish neighborhood which includes a really historic cemetery and synagogue. If you have extra time another place worth checking out is The Dancing House done by architect Frank Gehry. We saw a lot of his work in Germany, so it was really neat to see it again in Prague (unfortunately I didn’t get a photo).
My apologies for the lengthy post, but Prague was so amazing and I wanted to document every inch of the city! My husband and I were such big fans of this place as well as the country. A visit to Europe would just not be complete without visiting incredible Prague, Czech Republic.
The Savvy Suitcase Top 3 Picks:
1. Prague Castle. Crowning jewel of Prague.
2. Street Food. Be sure to try a trdelnik!
3. Charles Bridge/Old Town. A must-see.
*We are continuing to venture farther and farther away from London this November!