If you are an admirer of classical architecture, stone-built roads, and you are also a beer lover, then you should probably consider travelling to Prague! This capital city of the Czech Republic is a magical place to visit since it is beautifully built alongside the Vltava river and is surrounded by a few old bridges. Walking around the streets of Prague, one can only sit and stare in awe at the magnificent buildings of the city, where even the garage doors look aristocratic.
Once you enter Prague, you are overcome by a feeling of tranquillity and peace, as the roads are wide and there is minimal noise from traffic in the streets. Even though it has a population of around 1,200,000 people, and there are lots of people visiting all year round, it doesn’t give the impression of a hectic, business city. This could also be due to the enormous rivers of the city, which create a sense of abundance and openness. Nevertheless, if you intend on visiting the famous sightseeing attractions, be prepared to get asphyxiated amongst the myriads of people who will be there!
Additionally, if you are planning to visit Prague in spring, you should be prepared to face all the different types of weather! You may start up with a sunny morning, continue with a windy afternoon and later be surprised with rain or even snow, so you should better have an umbrella with you just in case. I can assume that the weather will be amazing in the summer, as it won’t have wind or rain and the temperature will not be extremely high either.
As a capital city, Prague has an excellent public transportation system, offering you the chance to travel within the city by bus, tram and metro, as well as by train toward other cities. These three means of transportation cover all the places you would wish to visit and the ticket comes at a fairly good price. In any case, the only way you can really discover Prague is by hours and hours of walking around its beautiful streets. So, grab your most comfortable snickers and start walking until your feet burn out!
From wherever you are coming from, you will be obliged to switch your money to the local currency, which is called the ‘koruna’ or otherwise the ‘Czech crown’. If you are used to having Euros, then it will seem like a big difference to you. The analogy of the exchange in the ‘good days’ is around 25 crowns for 1 Euro; this means that for 80 Euros you will get around 2000 crowns and you will definitely feel like a king or a queen! However, I would advise you to take caution before the exchange. You need to make sure to ask the price of crowns before you decide to exchange some money since the offer varies from place to place. For example, they offer a much better price in exchange stores located in the centre of the city than in the airport or the metro stations.
Worth to See
This is, probably, the most famous attraction of Prague and it should definitely be on your list of the places to visit in the city. It is an enormous stone bridge with gothic style, which was built in 1357, and it connects the old with the new town. The bridge was originally called the ‘Stone Bridge’ or ‘Prague Bridge’ and was finally named after King Charles IV in 1870 since he was the one who ordered its creation. Numerous statutes of baroque style were placed alongside the bridge, demonstrating some saints of the time. Although it is such a wonderful view to see, Charles Bridge is overflowed with people from all over the world, and you would probably need half an hour to cross it to the other side! Thus, if you are not such a social person, and being around so many people is not your thing, then I suggest you visit the bridge late at night or during the morning hours when it is quieter.
The Prague Orloj
Located in the Old Town Square is probably the oldest Astronomical Clock still in operation, or otherwise the ‘Prague Orloj’. The clock is also designed with a gothic style, having many parts which indicate the position of the sun and the moon, various astronomical details and the ‘Twelve Apostles’. The worth noting thing about this clock is that whenever one hour passes, the ‘Apostles’ start moving in a circle and there is a skeleton, marking the figure of Death, which strikes the time. The funny thing is that when it is time for the hour change, again myriads of people gather up around it to watch this ‘impressive’ show and after a few seconds they all disappear! Nevertheless, it has now become a symbol of Prague and I do recommend you to take a look.
The John Lennon Wall
Another extremely interesting, but not so popular, attraction of Prague is the ‘John Lennon’ wall. This is a wall, located in the old town near the French Embassy, which became a symbol of revolution against the war. After the assassination of John Lennon in the 80s, people drew graffiti of the artist’s face and lyrics from his amazing songs to share a message of love and peace against the violence that exists in the world. The message of the wall was so powerful that even when the authorities painted it all white, people drew the graffiti all over again. This attraction is definitely worth paying a visit to, just to feel the energy of all those people who fought for love and peace.
Are You Hungry?
If you are a meat lover you will be happy to hear that you will not starve in Prague! Their traditional plates are mostly meat-based, such as roasted pork, dumplings and sausages. There is also the famous deep-fried cheese and the Slovak rolled pastry topped with sugar and cinnamon and filled with vanilla ice cream.
There are lots of places with traditional Czech food, such as the restaurant on the left. As a vegetarian, I would recommend the creamy egg soup and boiled vegetables I tried, they were delicious. You can also try a glass of their local beer to satisfy your thirst. Although the food was delicious and the decoration was very nice, the attitude of the staff was a bit disappointing. If you like to see friendly, smiling people working in restaurants and stores then Prague is not the place for you!
Fortunately, there were also a few places with more friendly and positive people, just to be fair! One of the best places I had lunch at was the ‘Mail Room’ bistro restaurant, which is located in the old town, near the ‘John Lennon’ Wall. The staff was very professional, friendly and extremely helpful when we asked for suggestions about Prague. Additionally, the food was very delicious and there was a cosy and warm atmosphere.
The second friendliest restaurant I visited was called “Puzzle Salad” and it can be found in the centre of the city. There, you can find a variety of nutritious plates, including salads, wraps and pastries, as well as fresh juices and coffees. It is a suitable lunch option for vegetarians and people with healthy eating habits! The staff was also very friendly and pleasant.
Generally, there are lots of choices to hang out and get warm with a cup of coffee or tea, along with a piece of cake or other sweets. You can find various coffee shops and restaurants with unique character and impressive decoration. In any case, it would be helpful to have a Czech dictionary with you, since most people do not speak very good English.
The Legit Blast Winter Festival
While being at Prague, I was fortunate enough to have the chance of attending one of the biggest international breaking (this is the correct term for the word ‘breakdance’ ) events, called “The Legit Blast”. This was no accident as the event was the actual reason I travelled to Prague! For those dance lovers, who like to watch or dance breaking, the particular event would be a delight to participate in. B-boys and B-girls from all around the world, of different age, ethnicity and background gathered up at the ‘Tresor’ club to dance their hearts out, compete against each other and share their talents and passion. There was a feeling of excitement and bliss in the air during both days of the event, as everyone was having a fantastic time. Even though people were competing against each other, at the end of every battle they shook hands and talked like good friends. This is the beauty of dancing and art in general; it brings people together.
Not only did the participants have the chance to enjoy amazing battles from talented breakers and dance like crazy in the countless cyphers (circles composed by breakers who dance in turn in the middle), but there was also the ability to catch one or more of the four workshops, which were available on the previous day. The workshops were held by the three judges of the even, B-boy Wicked, B-boy Focus and B-boy PoeOne, and the winner of Red Bull BC One, B-boy Viktor. In those workshops, you had the chance to learn a lot from some of the best dancers in the field and get their insights on how they practise and dance in battles.
Overall, the event was an extraordinary experience and I would recommend it to everyone, especially to the breaking fans who are at the beginners level, as am I!
Prague is indeed a wonderful place to have holidays at if you are a lover of nature, peace and good architecture. I believe it should be included in everyone’s list of the must-visit European countries.