Duration: 4 days / 3 nights in July
Accommodations: Hotel Černý Slon
Before You Go: Book tours and restaurant reservations (recommended but not necessary)
♦♦♦ A Must | ♦♦ Recommended | ♦ Point of Interest
Day 1: Hello Prague
♦♦♦ Old Town Square – We only had to take a few steps out of our hotel to be right in the middle of Old Town Square. Practically untouched since the 10th century, Old Town Square offers a brilliant view into times past. Here, we stopped to watch a colorful array of street performers and marveled at the variety of architecture, from the St. Nicholas Church to the Church of Our Lady before Týn. Enjoy the atmosphere by dining at one of the cafes that line the square.
♦♦♦ Astronomical Clock – What could be so spectacular about a clock to make it one of the must-see attractions in Prague? Perhaps it is its age – the Prague astronomical clock was constructed over 600 years ago – or its hourly performance with its procession of Apostles and representation of the movement of time. It is indeed an interesting sight to behold, and you won’t have trouble finding it as it is on the facade of the Old Town Hall and always surrounded by crowds.
♦♦♦ Old Town Hall – After seeing the astronomical clock, we entered the Old Town Hall to climb up to its observation deck. From there, we had 360 degree views of the city and could see the Church of Our Lady before Týn and even Prague Castle. This was definitely one of the highlights of my Prague trip.
♦ St. Nicholas Church – As one of the most recognizable buildings in Old Town Square, St. Nicholas Church was next on our first-day itinerary. This Baroque church is filled with colorful fresco paintings and intricate ironwork, and its impressive organ was played by Mozart in 1787.
♦♦♦ Church of Our Lady before Týn – The two Gothic spires of the Church of Our Lady before Týn are an iconic sight in Old Town Prague. Built in the 14th century, the church is a preeminent example of Gothic architecture that should not, and cannot, be missed in Prague.
♦♦ Lokál – For dinner, we dined at Lokál, for some hearty, traditional Czech food. I tried the sausages and mustard as well as some goulash and potato dumplings while sipping on some unfiltered Pilsner Urquell. I thoroughly enjoyed the buzzing atmosphere of this lively restaurant and thought its idealized version of Czech pub food was delicious.
Day 2: Charles Birdge, Prague Castle & Petrin Tower
♦♦♦ Prague Castle – Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. The castle complex covers over 18 acres and centers around three magnificent courtyards. The most recognizable landmark here is St. Vitus Cathedral, which towers over all of the city. While you are allowed to wander the grounds for free, you must either join a tour or purchase a self-guided ticket to enter the most significant areas.
♦♦♦ Petrin Hill and Observation Tower – From the Prague Castle, we walked to Petrin Hill, which is covered with parks and home to the Petrin Observation Tower. We took the funicular railway to the top of the hill, but you also have the option to walk (about 30 minutes) or take a cab. (Note: The funicular will be closed from September 7, 2015 to March 18, 2016 for reconstruction.) At the top of the hill, we purchased tickets for the Observation Tower, which resembles the Eiffel Tower and stands at approximately 60 meters tall. We opted to walk up 299 steps to the observation deck, but an elevator is also available for those who need it. At the top, we soaked in panoramic views of the city.
♦ Klub Lavka – To enjoy the sunset, we ordered a few drinks at Klub Lavka, a bar right near the Charles Bridge. We sat outside and watched boats pass by along the Vltava River. Drinks were more expensive than average, but it was a great place to watch the sun setting behind Prague Castle.
Day 3: Underground Tour, River Cruise & Food
♦♦♦ Trdelnik at Krusta – While wandering around Prague, we seemed to always pass bakeries selling trdelnik, a traditional cylindrical-shaped Slovak sweet pastry, and we finally tried them on our third day. We stopped at Krusta in Old Town to buy our own. Simple and delicious, the trdelnik is on my list of must-try treats when visiting Prague.
♦♦ River Cruise – In the afternoon, we bought tickets for a river cruise along the Vltava River. From the cruise, we had beautiful views of the Prague Castle and National Theatre and floated underneath the Charles Bridge. I thought this was a great, relaxing way to tour the city after exploring by foot for several days.
♦♦ Krčma – For dinner, we ate at Krčma, a traditional Czech restaurant in the heart of the Jewish Quarter of Old Town. It was here that I ordered the most incredible pork knuckle – huge, crispy, fatty, tender – my favorite. Make reservations if you want to dine at a table inside.
Day 4: Leaving Prague
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