Wallenstein Garden, Prague

Czech-ing Out Prague

^ Ugh, I’m so cliché.

First, some updates:

  • I’ll be departing for Guangzhou this Thursday.
  • I am now 99 percent certain I won’t be returning on August 20. There is that 1 percent just because I haven’t officially booked anything for my Southeast Asia trip during the second half of August. The flights and accommodations have all been spelled out in a spreadsheet (which I’m considering sharing because it’s just so Type-A beautiful, hehe). I can’t wait until it’s official. That does not mean I won’t be returning after this trip, though. It all depends on whether I accept a job in China.
  • Thanks to researching itineraries from other experienced travel bloggers (the Internet is a wonderful thing), I’m learning how to create more value in my posts—create itineraries! Seriously, we found a gem of an itinerary of Thailand and Vietnam that we’re basically following exactly (minus an extra week in Cambodia since we’re limited on time). It’s such a shame I didn’t do so for so many of my other travel posts. I mean, I’ve traveled so much that I’ve had to list them in a separate page for ease of navigation and organization. Sure, I’ve mentioned places I’ve stayed and things I’ve done but more as a personal reflection rather than a guide. Well, get ready. I’m going to try this selflessness thing. 😉

Duration: We were in Prague for about six days from July 3 to 8, but you could definitely spend a nice three or four days and see what you need. Of course, those on a time crunch could easily do it in two with a tour. I recommend two instead of one because there are two main, physically intensive attractions: the Prague Castle and the Petrin Tower, both of which were conveniently on our side of the Vltava River, which cuts through the town.

Accommodation: We stayed at Hotel Hoffmeister, which is at the base of the castle and a few metro and tram stops away from the Petrin Tower—and pretty much everything else. It’s a five-star hotel that we managed to get for only around $90/night with free breakfast (that’s a lot of free meals for our stay). When I first looked it up on TripAdvisor, I felt briefly angered at my mom’s utter dependence on Expedia because of all the one-star reviews I saw (if you visit the page now they’re hidden by raving reviews—weird how I saw the bad ones…). Upon closer inspection, I realized those poor reviews were years old, and the more recent ones were surprisingly excellent. And I agree. Front desk staff very hospitable, and our room on the second floor looked like a suite with a huge balcony! We didn’t check out the spa that’s attached to it, but it was just down the hall on our floor. Only negatives are that WiFi was spotty in our room and outlets were limited (but where in Europe is that not the case). For cheaper options, I saw many hostels in the heart of the city!

Prague metro

Getting Around: So it was off to explore this beautiful city! According to my sister who’s currently studying abroad, we arrived after a week of chilly rain to sweltering, likely record-breaking heat, so riding the A/C-less tram was a less attractive alternative to the wind tunnels of the metro. But Prague is an extremely walkable city (what looks like a long walk from one side of the bridge to the other is actually five minutes, for example), so we did walk to places despite the heat. Or take an UberPOP! We took it from the airport, and for a 30 minute ride, it cost literally $10. I couldn’t believe it. Bottom line: It’s ridiculously easy getting around Prague.

What to See: The area around Prague Castle itself will take a good day to explore. There’s a Starbucks with the most unbelievable view of the city. Then as you make your way down from the castle, from stores selling alcoholic boba and absinth to a hipster record shop, the streets are just captivating. It’s not too far from Petrin Tower, but you just hiked up one hill, so 299 steps up a mini version of Eiffel Tower (especially in the heat we faced) may not be the best option for the same day. Instead, follow the streets toward the famous Charles Bridge. Before the bridge, there’s the awesome John Lennon Wall, a mural that youngsters love taking pictures in front of and adding to themselves. Oh, and stop by the shop advertising 9 euro massages right before the bridge and hope that you watch some tourists getting their feet eaten by fish. We did it. It’s not worth it if your feet actually need it (bleh), but it’s worth being able to say you’ve done it. (NOT for the ticklish!!) After crossing the Charles Bridge, make your way to the Old Town Square and check out the medieval Astronomical Clock.

What to Eat: Prague has tons of cafés that are highly rated on Foursquare so you can’t go wrong. Its signature goulash is nothing impressive—just a one-time thing you might want to try while there. After witnessing old ladies eat cake every afternoon while in Munich, I’m going to assume afternoon dessert breaks are just a thing in Europe—or everywhere, really. Three things: Angelato, Bakeshop, trdelnik. Don’t leave Prague without trying each at least once. Make a necessary reservation to try a Royal Burger stuffed with foie gras at Hergetova Cihelna. We went on a fully booked night but still got to try the food in its café version next door. Seriously. Book this place and you’ll get to enjoy unbelievable views of the river and the Charles Bridge. For a healthier option, make your own yummy salad at Delmart, which is near another shopping center called Novy Smichov.

What to Do: Once you’re satisfied with your mid-afternoon sugar rush, it’s time for beer. Check out a local beer tasting or go to a beer garden like Letna. Go shopping at Palladium before a show at the Municipal House across the street or another theater nearby. Just be warned: Don’t overpay for amateurs by ignoring the program. On a nice morning, take a nice stroll (and a ton of #ARTsy photos with peacocks and owls) at the Wallenstein Garden back on the other side of town before finally climbing Petrin Tower.

And there you have it! Prague is a beautiful city FULL of amazing views, sweet snacks, and so. much. beer. If you ever go, let me know if you end up going to Dish, the most popular burger joint in Prague that I never got a chance to check out.

Until next time 🙂