Travelling isn’t possible right now, so I’m taking a look back on my 2019 trip to Prague. I fell in love with Prague in the few short days I was there and, if I was any good at languages, I’d move there in an instant. The city was beautiful, the culture and people friendly and proud.
I spent the months between booking the holiday and actually stepping onto the plane wondering if I should have booked Budapest instead. I sat on the plane reading my guide book over and over, trying to convince myself I had made the right decision. There was a lot of pressure on Prague to be perfect.
We stayed in the Clarion Hotel Prague City, a little way out of the main hotspots but I enjoyed the walk to and from the city, and if we hadn’t stayed here I wouldn’t have found Deminka (see day two!)
We set about walking around Staré Město (Old Town) and Nové Město (New Town). It was boiling in Prague, so we took our time, taking in small details at Charles Bridge and walking down side streets to see what hidden gems we might want to visit later.
I’d also booked an hour river cruise via TripAdvisor the previous night – the organiser in me struggles when there is zero plan! I’d opted for the Prague Boats 1-hour Devil’s Channel Cruise. It was a very small group so we were able to ask lots of questions from our wonderful guide and learn about Prague’s rich history. My favourite part was learning about the Stalin Monument, which was a 15.5 m statue that opened in 1955 and demolished later in 1962.
It was lovely being out on the water and recommend a river cruise of some form to anyone who visits, there are great photo opportunities! However, I was slightly disappointed that the cruise only later about 40 minutes, and not the advertised hour. Our guide had been so great, and the trip so cheap, that I didn’t question it at the time, but it is something to bare in mind.
The highlight of the day was dinner at Cafe Slavia, where revolutionaries used to meet before the 1989 Velvet Revolution. It was open and airy, a welcome break from the heat of the day, and the live music added to the atmosphere. I opted for goulash and was not disappointed! My travel partner opted for the safer option of steak. The waiter found this rather funny and placed the plates down with an amused ‘Czech and the English’ and a cheeky wink. Of course this was accompanied by a lot of beer and, despite being full I had to make room for a delicious slice of cake.
Needless to say, my earlier turmoil about not booking Budapest had been silenced.
We got up early to start our day ahead of the heat. First stop, the Astronomical Clock. Every hour there is a procession of the 12 Apostles. This was more of a tick it off the list activity than something I was particularly worried about missing.
I made the brave/stupid decision to walk via Charles Bridge to the Castle, it was already getting hot and it was a steep walk, but the reward was worth it. The Castle compound has a number of beautiful buildings, including the magnificent St Vitus’s Cathedral and Golden Lane, that still has shops as well as exhibitions of what the buildings would have been used for.
I did find it hard to not get annoyed at the large groups of tourists and feel there does need to be some limit on these types of tours. However, it was amazing and the views across Prague are incredible. On our way out there were smoothies for sale, delicious and really needed in the heat!
We wandered towards the Lennon Wall, previously the focus of anti-communists protests. I was slightly disappointed at the inability to view the wall properly due to the amount of Instagram worthy photos being taken, as someone who doesn’t Instagram it was a little strange to see but has inspired me to do a little more than a head tilt and half smile in my photos from now on.
We found the Piss fountain – a 2004 fountain of two men peeing, what more can I say? And settled into Cafe Cihelna for beer and fresh lemonade, watching groups of tourists come ‘admire’ the statue. The Kafka museum is also in this little square. We spent another few sunny hours in the park on
For dinner we went to Deminka, founded in 1886 and boasts of being one of the longest-running Prague businesses. It was traditional and a great way to understand a little more of the culture. The best way to experience any city is to follow the locals and I felt truly part of the city and it’s history, even if the waiters thought I was crazy for ordering a pork knuckle to myself! Definitely a sharing dish!
Another boiling hot day, however, as the last full day I was not going to be beaten! We explored the Old Town first, it is truly beautiful in Prague, and then made our way to the Museum of Communism. I’d really recommend visiting as it demonstrates the impact of Communism on this amazing country. Walking up the steps from the entrance, a big red star looming above you prepares you for the atmosphere of the museum. There’s lots of ‘stuff on walls’ as my travel buddy put it, but there are also rooms set up how they would have been, and the terrifying investigation room which cleverly uses sound to create an immersive experience. The marks of Communism can be seen and felt throughout the city, such as the Monument to the Victims of Communism in Wenceslas Square, and talking to locals made the history much more personal.
We wandered some more and did some souvenir shopping – everywhere I visit I have to get a magnet, I honestly can’t leave a city or gift shop without one. I also followed the orders of my friends to visit Sephora and get some things for them, and myself!
The Museum of Communism wasn’t the only one we visited… to waste some time we popped into the Sex Museum. It was a bit of a laugh and I enjoyed watching the groups of ‘lads’ giggling like naughty school boys.
After lunch we were both exhausted and too hot to do anything so headed back to the hotel where I promptly fell asleep for several hours.
There was much debate over dinner part of me wanted to continue my track record of eating like a local, or at least like an adventurous tourist, the other part of me wanted some home comforts. The latter eventually one and we went to the Fat Cat Pub which had a great relaxed, friendly vibe and the best burger I have every had in my life – the photo doesn’t do justice to how massive and fresh it was! Chips are an add on, which normally drives me crazy, but the burgers were so big I was glad we only got one to share!
We walked around some of the streets and back up to Charles Bride in the cool summer night, the city was still very much alive with beer halls buzzing with activity and lovely views across the river. I realised how in love with Prague I had become when I got a little teary at the idea of going home the next day.
For our final day there wasn’t much time so we checked out earlier, leaving our bags, and headed towards Wenceslas Square for the final time and got our tickets for the National Museum. The main highlights were the pillard hall and the exhibitions on separation and communism. The museum had been closed for refurbishment and only reopened in 2018, however, there was a lack of exhibitions and it did feel a little unloved.
After a final walk around the square and trip to the market for some chimney cakes (personally think they’re overrated) we headed back to the airport.
Highlights: The food! I wish Fat Cat and Deminka could be my locals. And the Museum of Communism, absolutely incredible!