I recently sold my flat after a long and drawn out process which involved a number of frustrating hiccups and a lot of stress so I decided that a long weekend away would be the perfect way to celebrate. My mum had also helped me so much with organising everything that I wanted to find a nice way to thank her so what better way than to plan a trip to a place that neither us had been to before?! Despite not having been, Prague had been on both of our lists of places we wanted to see so when I found a deal on Lastminute.com for about £300 each including flights and 2 nights of accommodation I wanted to book it immediately. Unfortunately, Lastminute.com had other ideas and after a couple of failed attempts, I booked it for slightly more money at Expedia.
We had a super early flight so the taxi picked us up at 4.15am on the Saturday morning to take us to the airport in time for our 5.30am flight. While this was really, really grim at the time, it meant that we arrived in Prague at 11am, ready for a whole day of activities so it was definitely worth the horrendously early wake up call. We could have got a flight at 11am but when you’ve only got a couple of days in a place, you really have to weigh up how important those extra 5 hours in bed are when it means you arrive in your destination just in time for dinner.
When we arrived, because neither of us had been to Prague before, we decided the best thing to do would be just to have a walk around the old town and get a feel for the place. We were staying at a Best Western Hotel that was very close to Wenceslas Square so it was a great location and walking to the Old Town only took us about 15 minutes. Old Town Square is absolutely beautiful and I would say it was probably my favourite place in Prague. It was pretty crowded with tourists, particularly in the time leading up to the hourly (underwhelming) clock show, but that didn’t take away from its charm.
After we had wandered for a while, we headed to the Hard Rock Café for lunch (not very Czech, I know, but we just wanted a burger and we were on holiday after all) which was lots of fun and then went back to the hotel for a much needed nap!
One of the only things we had actually planned for our trip was a visit to the Ice Pub which is part of one of the biggest clubs in Prague. It was a great spectacle but it was pretty small so we only stayed for about 15/20 minutes – just long enough to take some pictures and drink our included drinks (which were served in ice cubes!). We paid about £10 each (including one drink, with the option to buy more) which was cheap for someone coming from the UK, but as we discovered was quite pricey for Prague. It was worth it for the novelty but I don’t think I would rush back.
After the Ice Bar, we went to a Vivaldi Four Seasons concert at the Klementinum Mirrored Chapel which was amazing. I don’t know much about classical music but I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. The venue was also absolutely stunning. We just bought our tickets at the door so no forward planning was required, even though it was a Saturday night. We also were able to haggle a bit with the person who sold us the tickets – this was discovered completely by accident as I did genuinely think that the first price was a bit too expensive – so we paid the cheaper price to sit in the better seats which was great. In hindsight, the concert was so good it would have been worth the higher price but it’s always a gamble when you pay a lot for something of unknown quality so I am still glad we haggled a bit.
On Day 2 we were up at a much more reasonable time for our Sandeman’s Walking Tour that we had also booked in advance. The tour was three hours long and was free to book on the understanding that you would tip the guide with what you thought that the tour was worth. We had JP as our tour guide who was absolutely great. He had so much knowledge about Prague and told all of the stories of the city’s history in a very engaging way. I think he said that he had previously been an actor and you could definitely see the benefits of that background as he was very clear but also entertaining. I would highly recommend this tour because I learned so much about Prague and the Czech Republic that I would never have discovered before. If I had had more time I would also have considered doing the Castle Tour because I’m sure that would have been equally fascinating. I will definitely be using the Sandeman’s Tours in the future. One thing that I really regret is that I totally messed up the currency conversion so I didn’t pay nearly as much as I think the tour was worth – JP if you’re reading this please get in touch so I can pay you more! Hopefully I can rectify my error by spreading the word about how great it was!
After the tour, we were quite tired so we just had a relaxed afternoon. We went to Café Slavia for some lunch which was a beautiful building right next to the National Theatre and then just lounged by the river in the sun for a while before heading back to the hotel for the ever necessarily afternoon nap!
In the evening we headed to Estrella, which was an amazing vegetarian restaurant. Neither of us is vegetarian but when we looked at the menu we just couldn’t resist booking a table. The food was international so I had mushroom risotto and my mum had tofu Thai Red Curry. They were (as you would expect) completely different but both absolutely delicious. My mum then had the vegan carrot cake and I had the wild berry sorbet for dessert – again they were both delicious. The restaurant was small but perfectly formed so I would recommend booking in advance – we just popped in earlier in the day to reserve our table, but while we were eating there were a couple of groups who had to wait at the bar or who were turned away because every table was taken.
On our final day, we still hadn’t been to Charles Bridge or the Castle and both are absolute must-sees for Prague so we knew that the plan for the day would be focussed around those two landmarks. We decided to take a bus tour, which is something I usually really advocate for seeing a big city. Unfortunately, it turned out that a bus tour is not really a good way to see Prague – most of the sites are hidden away in small cobbled streets that the bus would never get down, so we usually were dropped off about 15 minutes away from any sites and the drive itself wasn’t very picturesque. It was also hugely expensive when you consider that the walking tour was so much better and we could decide how much we wanted to pay for that. We still managed to see the bridge and the castle though, and they were both beautiful so it was still a very successful day.
One thing I would definitely ensure for my next trip to Prague is that I had a lot more time to spend in the Castle. The complex is huge and very impressive so 45 minutes there really wasn’t enough. We were lucky enough to see the changing of the guards though which was great – far better than the underwhelming version at Buckingham Palace in London. You can see a picture of the Czech version below.
By about 2pm, we had just enough time to get some lunch before we had to get back to the hotel to collect our bags and head to the airport so we decided to have some traditional Czech food. I don’t know if it was just a bad choice of restaurant or if traditional Czech food is not our thing but this was the one meal that we didn’t enjoy in Prague. I had a pork schnitzel with coleslaw and my mum had a beef stroganoff with dumplings. The plan was to eat half each and then swap but by half way through we couldn’t manage to eat anymore. I’m glad that we tried the food because I think it’s important to try local cuisine when you visit a place but I have to say that I was very happy that Prague was so multicultural and offered so many other types of food! As we didn’t enjoy our lunch, we left early and went along to an Italian café further up the road where we thoroughly enjoyed a glass of wine and an ice cream each!
We loved our trip to Prague! We saw all of the sights we had wanted to see and learned so much more about Czech history than I had expected thanks to our great walking tour from JP at Sandeman’s. I am also so happy that we saw such a great concert – I would have loved to have seen the ballet but the season hadn’t started yet when we were there so I will have to put that on the to do list for my next visit. The cost of the trip also really surprised me; generally a mini break to a city can be quite expensive but we actually spend under £900 in the whole weekend for the two of us which I thought was very reasonable as this included flights, accommodation and all of our food, drinks and activities. I will definitely be returning to this beautiful city in the future!