Prague the City of a Hundred Spires is one of the quintessential European capitals that everyone should visit and one Sam had on her bucket list when moving to Europe. So as a birthday treat to each other, we decided to visit the Czech capital in February 2016. We were joined by my best friend Chris and his lovely girlfriend Jenny.
Unfortunately these days the city is best known for stag do’s and cheap lager. The city has however been in existence for over 1,100 years. Sitting on the Vltava river, it was a natural meeting point between West and Eastern Europe.
Charles Bridge – The pedestrianised bridge, which dates back to 1357 is 631m long is decorated with over 30 statues of saints and famous religious figures. This is a tourist hot spot and the crowds can diminish the experience. So Sam and I went back the next day at dawn to experience the bridge without the crowds.
Tip: The statue of St. John Nepomuk is considered good luck to rub. You can tell which one this is because of the polished metal at its base.
Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) – The Old Town Square is the historical centre of Prague. The square is surrounded by buildings/churches of various styles including the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn (home of the famous Astrological Clock) and the Baroque St. Nicholas Church.
John Lennon Wall – A must see for the Instagram lovers and music fans alike. The wall has been filled with John Lennon / Beatles inspired graffiti since the 80’s.
In November 2014, the wall was painted completely white by a bunch of Prague Art students replaced by a simple message saying ‘Wall is over’. This was in homage to the Velvet Revolution that happened 25 years perviously.
Despite this, the Lennon inspired graffiti returned and the tagline was changed to ‘War is Over’ making reference to Lennon’s firm stance for peace and love.
Prague Castle – Prague Castle (or Pražský Hrad – PARTY HARD) dominates the skyline of the western part of Prague. Built in 880 and once regarded as the largest castle in the world (now only referred to the largest castle in the ancient world) the ‘castle’ also includes the Cathedral of St. Vitus and several museums.
Entry into the castle and the church is completely free but expect to pay extra for certain areas including the majority of the church. Prices can range from 250-350CZK and an extra 100 CZK to climb the tower.
The Castle is also home to Golden Lane, a street of quaint terraced cottages painted in a variety of different colours. This is definitely worth an explore if you have purchased the main entry ticket.
Letná Park – Where to go for the best view of Prague? It would be hard to argue against Letná Park. The Park which is located to the North of the river is easily walkable from both Prague Castle and Old Town.
The area itself is a tad run down and full of graffiti but this is more than made up by the views which span across the river.
Walking Tip: Starting in Old Town, head north and cross the Stefanikuv Bridge to enter the eastern side of the Park. Head up the ramps and you will come across a giant metronome where the iconic views begin. My favorite view was from the Hanavsky Pavilion. This is also a bar/restaurant but be prepared to pay the inflated prices that come from such a location. From here carry on west and circle around towards the bottom of the Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.
Where To Party
No matter where you are in Prague, you will notice sellers for 2 things. Segway tours and bar crawls. I had researched the latter and had heard particularly good reviews from ‘The Prague Pub Crawl’ so we decided to jump on the bandwagon and try it ourselves.
Tickets were 550 CZK, about £18 (an extra 100 CZK for the t-shirt) and go on sale each morning at the meeting spot at Celetná 12 which is just off the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). The tour comes with 1hr’s free wine, beer and absinthe at the first bar which is done in waves so we booked onto the first wave at 8pm.
The first bar was in a cellar not far from the meeting point and true to their word, unlimited drinks were served. As a foursome we manged to drink something like 8 beers (or wines), several shots of vodka and absinthe within the allotted time. I haven’t drank that quickly since Sunny Beach with a rep who was TV famous for putting a firework up his arse but that’s a different story.
The next few bar snaked around Prague giving plenty of time to experience the City at night (and without the crowds). The bars themselves were expensive and nothing to write home about but the alcohol flowed nevertheless.
The crawl ended at Karlovy Lazne which is a famous, 5 storey club on the banks of Vltavy (and around the corner from our accommodation) claiming to be the biggest in central Europe. The club is one to let loose and cut some shapes but not perhaps a reflection of Prague’s charm and one I wouldn’t recommend unless you are drunk and in need to dance. Note; for those who want to visit the club without the tour. The entrance fee is 200 CZK
Harleys Bar – With dancing on the tables and great music, Harley’s Bar was our final destination for our second night in Prague. It is a place I would definitely recommend checking out if you find yourself around Old Town and wanting somewhere to party!!