I have been to Prague a few times over the years with my family and we have always enjoyed visiting. This time however I was on my own so wanted to leave the beaten track and spend a bit of time getting to know the place as well as just switching off from the real world for a few days.
As usual, all these photos and many more can be found HERE in my online photo album.
Setting off to Heathrow airport early on a Sunday in what has been the coldest March in the UK in 20 years was the first challenge. The photo below shows the state of the A1M in Cambridgeshire which at that time of the day should have been 3 lanes of free flowing traffic.
But I did get to the airport and soon I was up and away.
Prague is only a 1 hour and 35 minute flight so soon I was across central Europe and I could see that the grey clouds of the UK were well and truly left behind.
Arriving in Prague bang on time, the transfer to the hotel was quick due to it being a Sunday afternoon. This time I stayed at the Holiday Inn at the Prague Congress Centre which was a typical modern western hotel.
Having checked in I was able to jump on the Metro right next to the hotel and head up to Hradčany which is by the castle to the Klášterní pivovar Strahov which is a monastic brewery that serves amazing beer (brewed in the monastery) and great food.
Day Two saw the walking shoes well and truly on and the guide books and maps all safely left back in the hotel room. Today is about exploring and just following my nose.
So the hotel was in the Vyšehrad area of Prague which is home to Pragues second castle. Whilst this one is not as well preserved as the one everybody knows, it sits high on the banks of the Vltava river and offers equally stunning views of the city
Walking down to river level I hopped on a tram and headed up to the other side of the river to explore some of the back streets that lead up to the Charles Bridge
From here it was then over Charles bridge and into the old town square which as you would expect was full of tourists although as this was outside of the school holidays, not too bad.
From there I continued West until I reached the Masarykovo nádraží train station which whilst very dirty and neglected on the outside revealed that eastern European attention to detail on the inside when you looked up
From there it was up to the National Museum passing the State Opera House on the way before looping back on myself and heading down to the “Fred & Ginger House” on the river
From here it was back to the hotel to warm up as by this stage of the day, the local temperature was still well below freezing
But the day wasn’t over yet.
I wanted to get back out into the city after dark which is when this very pretty city gets even prettier.
By this time my ears were frozen solid so it was time to put away the camera and retire for the night
Once again off the beaten track and this time I headed West to the Žižkov TV Tower which can be seen from all over Prague.
It’s only when you get close up do you realise that it’s not as serious as you may first expect with dozens of babies crawling over the outside
As expected the views from the top were stunning
From here it was a meander through the residential streets of Vinohradská and back into the town centre.
Jumping on a tram, it was back up to the castle district for lunch at the monastery and then a look around the castle itself.
Lunch consisted of a Pork Knuckle which is a traditional Czech dish (and a large one at that) washed down with far too much beer but at least it warmed me up
From this part of the city, the views are equally as spectacular and there are things to see and do in all directions. All the architecture is on a grand scale and some of it is just breath-taking
So by now it was getting late and cold so back to the hotel before heading back out into the old town for a final (if not less traditional) meal and some live music at the Hard Rock Cafe
Time to go home.
A fun few days all be it rather too cold for this time of the year but leaving enough unseen for me to want to return (preferably when the weather is warmer)
Whenever I do post like this I get a lot of questions on how or where so here are some of the more useful points.
I flew with British Airways from Heathrow to Prague. A journey that sees you in the air for just over 90 minutes.
For the airport to hotel transport I used Prague Airport Shuttle. Having used this service a few times now, I can’t recommend them enough.
I stayed at the Holiday Inn Prague Congress. Whilst on paper this seems a bit far out of the city, it is right next to a metro stop which is just 2 stops from the centre of the city. In reality, the location of this hotel worked really well but the price was very attractive.
Throughout the city, many venues have free Wi-Fi (including my hotel) so staying connected was easy however I also bought an O2 Pre Paid SIM which when loaded with Kc500 of credit (about £18) gave me 3GB of mobile 3G data lasting for up to a month. With hindsight, the Kc90 (about £3) package that would have given me 1GB lasting for up to a week would have been plenty. In any case, high speed mobile data was excellent no matter where in the city I was.
Getting around is simple.
Remember that I did this trip without carrying a map and I still failed to get lost.
You can buy a 1 day ticket for Kc110 (about £4) which means you can jump on and off all the public transport in the city. The public transport system (like most European cities) is extensive, clean, safe and efficient. This is not the sort of city you would hire a car in unless you were planning on heading out of the city itself.
I think this is one of those cities where you could just keep returning to for a few days, year after year and still keep finding new things and it really is picture postcard pretty even when the temperature is below freezing with grey clouds.
It is also an inexpensive city. My lunch (pork knuckle) at the monastery came in at less than £20 and that included LOTS of beer. The day before I stopped for lunch and had 2 beers and goulash which came to Kc289 (less than £10). Stay away from the main tourist areas as here, prices can be a lot higher
So as a city break destination this has to be top of the list every time. Cheap food and drink, short flight times, stunning architecture and loads to see and do and as safe as any other city in Europe.
I know I’ll be back soon. In the meantime all these photos and many many more can be found HERE in my online photo gallery
Thanks for looking