Updated: Oct 5, 2018
Prague was the start of a spring break journey that went so well, it's hard to believe it even happened. I had always dreamed of seeing Prague and honestly never expected to even make it there but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to go and I hope that if you're reading this you're going real soon or hopefully planning a trip. We stayed for 2 nights and spent under €90 (not including our flight and transportation).
The journey started from the Milan Malpensa airport with a short flight to Prague and I had originally planned to go on this trip completely alone but I decided to ask in my teacher group of people living in Italy and was lucky to find the perfect travel companion for the trip! We got bus tickets from the airport to the city center and we didn't need any public transportation again! Prague is extremely walkable, but with many hills, so make sure you bring your best walking shoes!
The Czech Republic currency is the Czech crown or koruna. We exchanged money from the ATM from the euro. Be extremely aware of how you take money out because it usually is written in koruna. We accidentally almost took out €600! The first time we went to the atm we took out 1000czk which is equivalent to €44 the next two times we went we only took out 500czk each time. 2000czk lasted us 2 nights in Prague which was equivalent to €88. Prague is very cheap! The main courses at restaurants could range from 185czk to 399czk equivalent to €7-15.
The native language of the Czech Republic is Czech but everyone speaks English in Prague.
After we checked in to Hostel Ananas, located right near Wenceslas Square, we found Restaurace U Provaznice. This place was perfect for lunch when we arrived and gave us the stamina to walk around and explore the city. The restaurant was really inexpensive and seemed like a nice mix of locals and travelers from all over. We enjoyed a beer and our traditional Czech dish and prepared to explore the city. (If you would like to know more about traditional Czech food to try, continue reading below!)
We explored all over and went across the Charles Bridge because we were in search for the castle that we saw in the distance. Two parts of the city are connected by the bridge with the Danube river that runs in between. We walked by the Schwarzenberg Palace and took in all of the sights around us on our (very exhausting) uphill walk. By the time night fell we checked out The Old Town Square Tower & the Astronomical Clock, which was unfortunately under construction at the time. However, the view from the top of the tower made up for it.
The next day started off magical for our fantasy-like day. We walked around in the opposite direction of where we had been the day before and stumbled upon Cafe no. 3 where we had delicious pancakes with blueberry jam and sour cream and amazing coffee! We were so excited about our find early in the morning and I think it started our day off really well. We spent the day walking around the markets and the main market place square and explored the inside of St. Nicholas’ Church in the Market Place. It's a gorgeous church, and not one you should miss. In the main square there was an easter market taking place filled with tiny local desserts, handmade goods, and Czech street food. A performance with young Czech children was happening at the nearby stage and they were singing and dancing to traditional music. A lot of the street music in Prague was really good. I feel like everywhere you go in a tourist-y city you find street musicians who ask for money but the ones we heard in Prague were some of the best ones ever!
As tourists do, we took some photos by the John Lennon Wall and got to hold a baby bunny (for a fee of course). We walked by the Danube river and ended up on the funicular to get to Petrin Tower. My favorite part about traveling to new cities is to see it from above. A view like that adds so much character and a peaceful moment for your trip. You could see the tops of orange roofs and cone shaped towers and beautiful architecture with the river running right through the middle. Being up high made it feel like we were flying over top of the city. I was reminded of my childhood dreams of fantasy lands and fairies. While we were up there we decided to get some food and tried the famous potato pancakes from a small shop near the tower.
After searching all day and the day before we finally found the entrance to the Prague Castle area which is where we found Trdelník or chimney cakes! A delicious sweet that is rolled in cinnamon and sugar and cooked over a fire. I would eat a million of them.
We also stumbled upon the Golden Lane, an ancient street within the Castle complex. Here there were people's homes. It was named after the goldsmiths who used to live in the area but I like to think it gets its name from the way the sunlight enters the alley and hits the buildings. It was picture perfect.
We explored the Jewish quarter and unfortunately arrived too late to the Spanish synagogue but it looked beautiful. For dinner we really wanted to experience some of the Jazz music scene so we found the Jazz Club Ungelt. Unfortunately the main room with the band was completely full but from where we ate and got drinks we could hear the band play and they were great.
On our last day we explored a bit and headed toward the train station. We got some snacks for the ride and used up the rest of our koruna and made our way to Vienna!
Food to try:
Svíčková na smetanê (beef sirloin in cream sauce with cranberry)
Vepřo-knedlo-zelo (Roast Pork, Dumplings, and Sauerkraut)
Hovězí Guláš (Czech-style beef goulash)
Trdelník (Chimney Cake made with cinnamon & sugar)
Bramboracky (Savory potato pancakes)
My top 4 places to eat at would be:
Bohemia bagel if you're an American who has been living abroad for a while and are looking for something to satisfy your bagel needs.
*If you're looking for an inexpensive meal and aren't too hungry, or maybe aren't interested in a sit down place you can try some of the street food in the main squares like we did.*
Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock
St. Nicholas’ Church on the Market Place
Funicular to Petřín Lookout Tower
Prague Castle/St. Vitus Cathedral
Jewish quarter & Spanish synagogue
The Clementinum & The National Library
Church of Our Lady before Týn
The Strahov Monastery and Library
Hilltop fortress on Vyšehrad hill
Museum of Communism
National Technical Museum
Franz Kafka Museum
David Černý sculptures around Prague
I hope you have a magical time in Prague!