We arrived in Prague after a long eight hour train ride from Budapest. It was a daytime train, so we had a great window seat view of the rolling hills and local farms as we sped through the Slovakian countryside. We got to the station around 9pm in the end and headed straight for our hostel. Luckily for us, it was a convenient two minute walk from the train station. The hostel was a welcome improvement from our last accommodation. It was a mini apartment in an attic room with a private kitchen and bathroom and a mere six beds; half what we’d had in Budapest. We had planned to go out for a drink, but by the time we’d sorted ourselves out, it was too late and we went straight to bed instead!
On our first day in Prague, we joined a free walking tour which started in the Old Town Square, less than ten minutes from our hostel. We left in familiar T-shirts and shorts and soon realised Prague was A LOT colder than sunny Hungary! As we met the others on our tour, we laughed at how underdressed we were compared to the bundles of coats, scarves and hats that made up the remainder of the group. That laughter soon turned into scowls as we shivered uncontrollably and cursed ourselves for not checking the temperature before leaving… Fortunately, after nearly two chilly hours, the tour had a break and we had a chance to nip home and add a few layers!
The tour was great – we were lucky to have somewhat of an expert leading our group. An American guy now living in Prague, he had dedicated all possible studies (including two Masters) to European history. This meant we had a really in-depth tour covering loads of Prague’s history and the stories behind many of the beautiful buildings that still stand today (and those that don’t!). The tour took us through the Old Town Square covering the astronomical clock, Charles Bridge, Church of Our Lady before Týn, Rudolfinum, the Old Jewish Quarter, the Old New Synagogue, Municipal House, St. Nicolas’ Church, Wenceslas Square and the Powder Tower. After the tour, we split for lunch as I wanted to check out a nearby vegan restaurant and Gary wanted to head back to the Jewish Quarter to go into the Museum.
In the evening we went to find a bar we’d heard good things about – the Beer Museum. This dingy, but atmospheric pub holds an impressive number of different beers, ales and ciders. They offer small or full sized tasting sticks where you can pick and choose which beers you’d like by following a menu guide describing the flavours to be expected from each tipple. We couldn’t bring ourselves to try the chocolate beer…
Afterwards, we decided to go on a ‘quick’ walk to Charles Bridge to see what it was like at night. We got a little lost on the way (potentially thanks to the beer tasting sticks), and our not-so-quick walk ended up being over an hour detour! However, we got to see a lot of Prague by night and saw some great views from the Bridge, especially of the castle lit up in the darkness on the hill in the background.
On day two, we decided to tackle Prague Castle. Most people cross over Charles Bridge and walk up the hill directly to the castle. We’d read that it’s worth taking a bit of extra time to walk North towards Letná Park, reaching the castle through the park instead. We set off super early, keen to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, we hadn’t realised it would take us two hours to reach the castle. By which time it was 11am… on a Saturday. Oooops. The queue to get in was winding around the corner and it took us about 40 minutes to reach the front. The walk through the park is beautiful though, so with hindsight we should have gone straight to the castle and walked back via the park. The castle was pretty cool, although somewhat disappointing as we couldn’t move for the amount of people there!
On our way back to the hostel, we stopped for lunch at a well-known vegetarian restaurant called Lehka Hlava which has some awesome zen themed rooms, including one particularly special room which has curved walls, painted to look like the sky and is decorated with hundreds of starlights. So cool! Sadly, the meal wasn’t as exciting as the interior design and we left a little disappointed with our average and over-priced lunch!
In the evening we walked up to Riegrovy Sady, a park about 20 minutes from our hostel. We were looking for a particular bar, but stumbled across a crowd of people spread across the hill, soaking up the evening sunshine. We realised it was the perfect sunset-watching spot, so we grabbed a take-away beer from the bar and headed back to the hill. We ended up there for a couple of hours, watching the sun go down over Prague and the lights twinkling on after dark and lighting up the skyline. I’d definitely recommend heading here to watch the sunset one night if you are ever in Prague!
Our last day was very much a chill out day. We walked through some of the lanes we hadn’t visited yet and originally planned to go to the funicular which takes you to the top of Petřín Hill for some amazing views. However, halfway there we ended up on one of the islands underneath the Legií Bridge as we discovered it was Pride week in Prague and there were a collection of food stalls alongside a stage playing music to the numerous bodies spread out across the grass, alongside the river. It looked too fun to miss, so we hopped down from the bridge and found ourselves a spot on the grass. The remainder of the afternoon was spent here – chilling out and watching the world (and pedalos!) go by.
Later on in the afternoon, Gary decided he still wanted to go to Petřín hill and made his way over the bridge to the funicular. After seeing the long queue, he decided to tackle it by foot. I wasn’t up for another hike, so I went back to the hostel to try and get some video editing done. Nearly four hours later, a very puffed out Gary returned from his travels… Apparently the views are amazing but the vertical walk there is pretty killer!!
By this point, it was time to gather our things and think about heading over to the train station for our train to Krakow, Poland. Unfortunately all sleeper tickets had sold out for our dates, so we had to have normal, upright seats for the eight hour ride. It’s 3am and I’m currently on the train writing this post, despite the beers and sleeping tablets taken to encourage some kind of shut-eye! See you soon Poland….