Here, in Spain, we have a ridiculous amount of holidays and long-weekends (puentes). This is especially true for people who work in schools, but still, it’s extremely different from my old schedule in the US – in a good way! For our last one from February 28th – March 2nd we decided to take advantage of the free time to jump over to Prague.
It turned out to be a very economical trip. We purchased the flights and hotel several months ago in November. It only cost about 300 euros per person for a direct flight and two nights in a 4-star hotel with an awesome breakfast included. The food in Prague was surprisingly cheap. During the trip, 1 euro equaled 27.35 Czech Korunas. It did make things a bit interesting if the dinner bill was 600 Korunas. It felt like we were spending a lot of money.
From the airport you can choose to take either bus 100 to Zličín at the end of the yellow line or bus 119 to Dejvická at the end of the green line. Our hotel was on the yellow line, but it was faster to go to the green line (Dejvická) and then switch over to the yellow line at Můstek.
Don’t make the mistake I made of trying to pay for tickets with a 500CZK bill. If you buy the ticket from the bus drivers it will be about 40CZK per ticket. You use the same ticket from the bus on the metro. The tickets are timed. You can buy a ticket for 30 mins, 90 mins, 24 hours, 72 hours, or a full month. We did a lot of walking during the trip and only bought a ticket to travel to and from the airport.
To be honest, I can’t imagine riding the metro very often during a trip to Prague unless you are visiting areas far from the center. There is so much to see!
Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square)
This square is, not surprisingly, full of tourists and tourist shops. Some of the most spectacular buildings are here, such as, the Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem (The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn). I had never seen anything like this huge, gothic church in real-life before.
You can find an astronomical clock in the same area which is supposed to be one of the oldest astronomical clocks in the world. I won’t give it away, but you should watch it chime on the hour. If you go to the top of the tower you can see some good views of the city and important buildings are labeled.
You can find many food stalls in this square, but we found an outdoor market on the other side of Karlův most (Charles Bridge) which we liked more. When you cross, just go down the stairs on the left side of the bridge. There was a row of about 20 tents with greater variety of food and we were in luck because a band was performing live music. Some of the best food we found was white sausages and dumplings with pork and saurkraut. I was freezing so I drank mostly sickeningly-sweet hot wine instead of beer. We saw everyone in line for some type of cinnamon and sugar bread so, of course, we followed suit.
The Charles Bridge is the creepiest bridge I have ever seen (read: I thought it was awesome). There are many baroque statues lining the span of the bridge and gives it an eerie vibe. Crossing the bridge was worth it for the food and sights like these:
Now that we were on the other side of the bridge, we made our way to Pražský hrad (Prague castle). It’s absolutely huge and the surrounding area is made of multiple palaces, cathedrals, and gardens. You can find some great views from the top of the hill.
The John Lennon wall is a short walk away. There was a crowd of younger people adding to the existing layers of graffitti.
Josefov (Jewish Quarter)
I loved the architecture in the Jewish Quarter and it was interesting to see all of the places about Frank Kafka.
We had seen an episode of “Madrileños por el Mundo” in Prague where they visited a restuarant, Výtopna, where the beer is brought to you by model trains. We ate there the first night. The food was decent, but the service was very slow. It was amusing to see the trains in action.
Slivovitz was probably the most difficult thing I tried in Prague. I don’t know how or why, but my dad drank this clear, plum brandy as a special treat certain times of the year. For me, it was very difficult to down, but at least it warmed me up…including my entire esophagus.