Our first stop in Europe was Prague, the capital of Czech Republic. Eric’s parents joined us as well, and we all enjoyed our time in the “city of 1000 spires.”
Where We Stayed
Airbnb in Zizkov
Since there were four of us, we decided to book a flat of our own on airbnb. There were a lot of options, but many that were close to the main tourist attractions were pretty pricy. Eventually, we found a flat in the Zizkov neighborhood for a good price. Even though we weren’t super close to the attractions, it was still only about a 30 minute walk through a scenic neighborhood Also, there was a metro stop just a few minutes from the flat (and the Prague metro is very efficient).
Another bonus is that we were right next door to the famous tv tower. This made for a very easy landmark to identify where we were were staying!
Old Town Home Prague
Our itinerary is Prague was split… we spent six nights at the beginning of the trip there, then two nights in Český Krumlov, then one final night back in Prague before Eric’s parents flew out the next day. For that last night, we decided just to find something simple and convenient. It took some searching, but eventually we stumbled upon this property. We were able to reserve a private room with four beds and its own bathroom down the hall. The location was fabulous: just a few minutes walk from the Old Town Square, but on a quiet side street so we were able to get a good night’s sleep. Another cool feature was that it included a free ghost tour, since the same people also ran one.
What We Did
Free Walking Tour
There were a lot of different tours of the city offered… horse drawn carriage, bus, fancy car, segway, etc., but we decided to try a free walking tour. It’s not truly free – they expect you to tip – but it does provide a great incentive for the guide to make the tour entertaining. In Prague there are multiple companies offering this; we went with Sandeman’s. We greatly enjoyed the three hour tour that our guide Filip provided. He hit on all of the highlights of Old Town and kept it enjoyable throughout.
This structure doesn’t look like a castle from a fairy tale, but it is still pretty impressive. We started our day at the castle by taking a tram all the way to the Strahov Monastery and found an awesome panoramic viewpoint looking back over the city.
We then went into the castle complex itself. It is still the office of the president, so there is a colorful guard standing watch. It is free to walk through the grounds, but to go inside the buildings you have to purchase tickets. We bought the one of the cheaper packages that let us get into the buildings we were interested in. We visited St Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica and the Golden Lane.
Walk Through Mala Strana
On the way down from the castle,we did a self-guided walk through the neighborhood below the castle called Mala Strana. Here we found the Wallenstein Gardens (although it was about to close), Kampa Island and the Lennon Wall.
On the way back, we walked over the famous Charles Bridge.
We explored this site where some of the original fortifications of the town were found. There’s not much left except for the castle walls and some older buildings. We did enjoy the interior of Basilica of St Peter and St Paul located here.
Day Trip to Kutná Hora
Visit the small town of Kutna Hora. See what we did here!
This museum is actually composed of multiple sites spread through the Jewish Quarter next to Prague’s Old Town. We spent a good portion of a day exploring these various sites. Our ticket covered:
- The Pinkas synagogue, which is now a memorial to the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia that lost their lives in the Holocaust. Inside, the walls are covered with each person’s name written by hand. (No pictures were allowed inside).
- The Old Jewish Cemetery, with its thousands of tombstones and graves piled on top of one another
- Klausen Synagogue
- Ceremonial Hall
- Spanish Synagogue
We climbed up the hill to this park overlooking the river and Old Town. We also eventually found our way to the beer garden where we enjoyed a few beverages!
Overnight Trip to Český Krumlov
See separate blog on this awesome town!
St Norbert’s Brewery at Strahov Monastey
After returning from Český Krumlov, we had a final afternoon in Prague. It was a nice warm afternoon (after multiple days of dreary, cool weather), so we decided to walk back through Mala Strana to the Strahov Monastery, where there was a brewery. On the way we enjoyed the views back over the city. At the brewery, we tried four different beers (a nice change of pace from the standard pilsners).
Here we also struck up a conversation with a table of Americans next to us. Amazingly, they were flight attendants on Eric’s parents’ flight the next day!
As previously mentioned, this was free for us since we were staying at Old Town Home Prague. We enjoyed this tour both for the stories (and legends) that were heard and also for the chance to see Prague at night!
This wasn’t actually a museum but a pub with many beers to try. Unfortunately, we were in a rush so only got one taster tray. But we enjoyed all of the beers we tried and wish we had a chance to go back!
Where We Ate
Prague was a very hit-or-miss city when it came to dining. It seemed like a lot of the places that we went. even ones that were recommended, had servers that seemed frustrated by our presence and lack of Czech-speaking ability. After a few tries, we started to get a feel for how much things should cost and what types of things to order. We did enjoy a lot of the pork dishes, and also the goulash.
Also, it seemed like you needed to constantly be aware of how much things should cost and make sure to not get overcharged. A dishonorable mention goes out to the food stalls on the main square. They listed a reasonable price for some ham and another dish, but when it rang up it was as much as a sit-down meal! The catch was that the price we saw was per 100g, and they made sure to serve more than that…
That being said, our favorite was…
Restaurace U Parlamentu
Standard Bohemian food for reasonable prices a with friendly service. Eric’s parents got a dish that included duck, which they quite enjoyed.
We quite enjoyed Prague. It was a beautiful city with a lot to do! It was extremely touristy, of course, and we actually found many people relatively unfriendly. We’re glad we went but wouldn’t necessarily put it at the top of the list of places we need to get back to soon.