Prague is one of those dreamy European destinations that doesn’t always come up first choice when people think of a city break. Last year I booked us a couple of days in Prague for Gavin’s birthday. A lot of friends had recently visited the city and fallen in love and after listening to all their stories, I just knew we would love it.
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited with so many picturesque streets that remain undamaged from the war. You will spot incredible architecture at every turn with the winding cobblestones and medieval structures giving the city a romantic feel. If you find yourself in this beautiful city make sure you head to a viewpoint to catch an aerial view before you leave. From above Prague is even more beautiful with its orange roof tops, pastel coloured buildings and winding streets, you will feel like you are in a real life fairytale. The original, intricate facades found on nearly every building remain completely in tact with little damage from the war. Prague was one of Hitler’s favourite cities so he left the city pretty much untouched throughout the war, so the streets and buildings you see today are original unlike other European cities like Warsaw where they had to be completely rebuilt.
During our 4 days in the city we stayed at the Iris Hotel Eden which is a 4* hotel located in Prague 10 in the Eden Arena Football Stadium. I didn’t actually realise the hotel was attached to the football stadium until we arrived but luckily there were no games scheduled during our stay. If you are a big football fan then this is a great, affordable hotel and you can even request rooms which overlook the stadium itself. My only gripe about the hotel was the location as we do prefer to stay somewhere more central but it had good transport links to the city centre and the rooms were clean and modern with the comfiest beds.
DAY 1 – OLD TOWN
10am – We headed to Old Town Square in the morning to grab some food and have a wander around before our free tour began. Our first stop was the Astronomical Clock as we eagerly awaited the full hour to strike to watch the hourly show for ourselves. Slightly underwhelming I have to admit but the atmosphere is amazing as the crowds gather to watch the show. Tickets for the Old Town Hall will set you back about £9 but climb the tower to the observation deck and you are treated to panoramic views over the entire city. The orange roof tops are absolutely breath-taking and one of the things you simply cannot miss during a trip to the city.
2.30pm – Whenever we go on a city break we like to do a walking tour to give us a good feel for the city we are in, help with our bearings and just give us some background into the sights we are seeing. We booked onto the free walking tour with Sandemans Europe for our first full day and then enjoyed it so much we booked the Prague Castle Tour for the next day (€11). The free tour started in Old Town Square and lasted for about 3 hours covering many major tourist sights including Church of Our Lady before Tyn, the Old Jewish Quarter, Wenceslas Square and views of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.
6pm – We had walked past The Communism Museum during our walking tour so we decided to head back and go inside to have a look around. Entry price is about £10 and the museum presents a vivid account of Communism including daily life, politics, history, education, media, propaganda, the army, the police and the secret police. The museum itself is divided into three main rooms: Communism The Dream, The Reality and The Nightmare. Offering an immersive look behind the Iron Curtain post World War II, this moving and information museum offers an accurate representation of what life was like for the common citizen.
9pm – After a quick pit stop back at the hotel to freshen up we headed out in search of our evening activity mini golf. We headed to Prague Golf & Games for an evening of black light adventure mini golf. We opted for the ticket price that included 2 drinks and a round of the 18 hole course which was about £9. The course itself is designed by street artists and features varying difficulties in a range of UV Neon designs. We actually ended up staying and playing two rounds (for no extra cost) and after drawing 1-1 we decided to call it a night and grab a Burrito Loco on the way home.
DAY 2 – THE CASTLE DISTRICT
10am – Our first stop of the day was the crypt under St Cyril and Methodius Church. It is here the paratroopers involved in Operation Anthropoid went into hiding after their assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. It is here they met their heroic death and today the site hosts a small museum where their story comes to life with a memorial dedicated to the paratroopers, clergymen and all the Czech patriots who lost their lives for the sake of this operation. By far this was the highlight of our trip and was a very moving and reflective experience. You can watch the film Anthropoid to find out more about this operation and to see the full story.
11.30am – We wandered across the Charles Bridge for a little explore in Malá Strana before our tour in the afternoon. We visited the St. Nicholas Church (£2.50) which is described as one of the greatest Baroque churches in Prague with some of the most intricate decoration I have ever seen. Afterwards we stopped by the John Lennon Wall before heading back to the Rudolfinum on Jan Palach Square. One thing I will say about the John Lennon Well is that it is very, very busy and unless you are willing to wake up at 6am (which I am not) then you won’t be able to get much of a look in.
2pm – We spent the afternoon exploring one of the world’s largest medieval castles which has towered over the city of Prague since the 9th century. Spanning over 750,000 square feet, Prague Castle is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site alongside the historical centre of Prague. The tour takes your around the Castle’s grounds and includes Prague Castle, St Vitus’ Cathedral, The Golden Lanes, the Presidential Palace and the Old Royal Palace. Unfortunately you do not have time to go inside any of the buildings which is something we definitely would like to go back and do as a couple of hours is simply not enough to explore this vast, vast complex. Lots of the grounds are free to wander round but you will need tickets for most of the main buildings. If you book onto the Sandeman’s tour, entry into the grounds is included within the tour price.
6pm – After the tour our guide recommended a local restaurant to us to try out for dinner near the Old Town Square on Kozna Street. We headed to Mlejnice Restaurant to sample their renowned cuisine and boy we were not disappointed. I opted for the beef steak wrapped in bacon (£15) and Gavin tried the Beef Goulash (£7) – both meals were equally as delicious but I think Gavin’s just pipped mine to the top spot. The bill came to less than £30 for 2 main meals and 2 drinks which is very reasonable considering the quality of the food and the extremely large portions.
8pm – After dinner we headed back across the river to the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art which I have to say was the most disappointing part of the trip for us. We actually headed here because I wanted to see the ‘Entropa’ installation but this was actually no longer on exhibit in this museum. The entry fee was only £6 but when we visited there were very few exhibitions on show and this did not live up to the reviews I had read online. Luckily there was one saving grace when we visited as the Gulliver Airship exhibition was happening and we were able to go inside the Zeppelin installation found on the roof of the museum and find out more about this aircraft’s history and flaws. Neither of us have much interest in art so instead we made a quick break and headed back to the hotel for an early night. The hotel had actually left us a bottle of prosecco to enjoy to celebrate Gavin’s birthday so we had a glass or two while preparing for the journey home the next day.
DAY 3 – THE JEWISH QUARTER
10am – Within the Old Town you can find the Jewish Quarter which is rich in history and dates back to the 13th century. There are six synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and many monuments and museums to visit which remain standing, saved from the war. A ticket to the Jewish Museum costs about £13 and includes entry into the Maisel Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, Klausen Synagogue, Ceremonial Hall, Spanish Synagogue and Robert Guttmann Gallery. You can opt for a guided tour or you can make your way through each monument on your own as we opted to do. The Jewish Quarter in Prague contains the best preserved complex of historical monuments in Europe and is something you simply cannot miss on a trip to the city.
2pm – We had an early evening flight booked so before heading to the airport we went in search of food and landed at Agave. Mexican is my favourite food so I was overjoyed when we stumbled on this little beauty. I sampled a strawberry margarita (£6) with the chicken Quesadilla (£9) while Gavin tried a Pork burrito (£11) with a pint (£3). The food was absolutely divine and I will definitely be heading back if I ever find myself in the city again.
3pm – Our last stop of the trip was the Žižkov Television Tower which is the highest point in Prague at 216m high. With a viewing platform at 93m you can see 360° views from all around the city, but unfortunately we ran out of time and did not make it inside the tower. The outside of the tower has 10 giant baby sculptures crawling all over it courtesy of Czech artist David Černý. Dubbed as the second ugliest building in the world we couldn’t resist popping along to see for ourselves.
Thats how we spent our first trip to Prague and we’ve started putting plans in the pipeline to head back for a week next year to cross off everything else on our bucket list. If you have any recommendations please leave them below so I can check them out.