An Itinerary for Four Days in Prague, A City That Left Me Wanting
This might be a controversial opinion but I was not completely enamoured with Prague.
Before heading to the capital of the Czech Republic my friends and people I had met on the road had raved about the city.
“Oh you loved Budapest- but wait until you’ve been to Prague!”
“Prague is amazing!”
“You are going to fall in love with Prague”.
I didn’t hate Prague- I think it’s a beautiful city with a lot of culture to offer. Not to mention the ridiculously cheap and delicious beer. But it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
And I hate to say it, but one of the reasons I was so disappointed is that it is so incredibly touristy. Which is a weird reason to hate a place for me- some of my favourite places in Europe such as Barcelona, Paris, Florence and Nice are incredibly touristy, overpriced and overcrowded.
But with Prague, the crowds and hyper tourism really got to me. And I think its because I thought that Prague had this kind of fake sheen to it. All of the buildings were impeccably restored, all of them were bright and shiny and pretty and accessible. For me, that was just too much.
I never really felt like I got to know the real Prague. I wanted the rough corners, the tiny cafes or bars, the gritty restaurants and the worn down buildings. Whilst I found a little of that in the area outside of the centre where we were staying, I still felt like I was in Disneyland for the majority of my time in Prague.
Maybe if I went back to Prague and stayed at one of the party hostels and partook in more of the Czech beer I might have felt differently. But nothing in Prague made me wish I could stay longer or return.
Prague for me is one of those cities that I’m glad I visited, but not somewhere I’d be rushing back to anytime soon. If you are in the area, it’s worth a stop. Hence why I’ve put together this post on the many sides of Prague that you can explore, some of which I did like!
Prague Old Town
One of the things that was surprising about Prague for me, was the mix of modern and old. One moment you are walking through the financial district, past h&ms, tram lines and modern buildings and then you are smack bang in the middle of old laneways and buildings. The contrast is striking.
By far the highlight of any visit to Prague is the old clock tower and it’s stunning astronomical clock. The clock and the square around it seemed straight out of a fairy tale or Disney film. I absolutely loved how unique it was- and it was my favourite site in all of Prague.
The square adjacent to the clock tower is also formidable but I struggled to get a decent photo with the hoards and hoards of tourists surrounding the place. It’s here you might be able to find Praga ham which is a delicious marinated ham in a sandwich. It’s seriously overpriced here but I think its super delicious. I fell in love with this dish back in December when it was being sold at a Christmas Market in Speyer, Germany.
The Opera House is the last stop in the old town before the river. At this point in my trip I’ve visited so many Opera Houses and nothing appears to beat the first one I ever saw in Vienna. But Prague’s is also pretty beautiful- and if you are inclined it’s less expensive to see an opera here than in Vienna !
I loved the river that runs through Prague. I only wish we had more time to jump on a boat ride along the Vltava. I also loved looking across the river to the imposing Prague castle above, especially at night when it was bathed in light. It made for a very good shot, one of my favourites I took while in Prague.
Prague Ice creams!!
Chimney bread as it’s often referred to is native to Hungary, not to the Czech Republic. But what is special about the product in Prague is the way they turn them into ice cream cones and pump soft serve into them. They were super touristy, inauthentic and overpriced. But who cares when they are that delicious!
This is Prague’s most famous tourist spot. It’s an old bridge full of statutes of dragons and famous people in Czech history. On any day it is packed full of tourists, and pickpockets trying to take advantage of them. It’s advisable to watch your belongings carefully while walking across this bridge.
But it is a must see for any trip to Prague- you really haven’t been to the city until you have crossed this bridge. There is also a reason it is so touristy, it sure is beautiful. They have been in the process of restoring many of the statues recently. While that means that some statues aren’t currently up on the bridge, it also means that there are some beautiful, newly restored statues.
One of the busiest places in Prague, the castle is a bit of a hike, or a short tram ride from the old town. It makes sense to combine a walk to the castle with a visit to the bridge as you need to cross the river to reach it.
We decided to pay a little for a guided tour of the castle. It gave us the opportunity to learn more about the history rather than just visiting the castle without the context. To be honest, I did enjoy the tour but I was absolutely exhausted and I think it went for a bit longer than it should have.
My feet were aching and I was more than ready to through in the towel and go back to our apartment for a nap after visiting the castle. Nevertheless it is beautiful. I especially loved the cathedral located in the middle of the castle, with its amazing stain glass windows.
In hindsight, I was travelling from a little bit of travel burnout. Something I fixed in Berlin when I spent a couple of days chilling out and just experiencing the Berlin vibe rather than rushing to see things.
Where Should I Stay in Prague?
If you are a budget traveller or are just looking to make some friends, Prague is home to some of the best hostels in the world. I was travelling with my Pa so didn’t stay at a hostel but I’ve heard great things about Little Quarter Hostel.
AirBnB is also a great option if you are on a budget or looking for a bit of space. This is what Pa and I did for our stay.
For all of your bookings, whether hostel or hotel I always recommend Booking.com, specifically because most of the time you can make a reservation without a deposit and many bookings are fully cancellable and refundable. I love being able to lock in my accomodation early, but then shift things around if my plans change!
Prague is a great jumping off point for day trips to nearby towns and cities. We decided to do such a day trip to Kutna Hora to visit the bone church. You’ll find my guide here.
Did you love Prague???
Leave your thoughts below!
I love reading this because it was the opposite for me – people said, “If you LOVED Prague wait until you go to Budapest.” And in the end, for me, Prague won. But nonetheless Budapest was gorgeous and I enjoyed it immensely. I can completely understand if you were exhausted from a lot of traveling at that point. Especially because the castle alone is on vast grounds and takes a lot of energy to see.
We were also disappointed by Prague, it was just too crowded. We opted to go further east and go to Olomouc, we had a camper and stayed at a small camping about 20km away that had a regular bus from the gate. Olomouc was stunning, we watched a comedy being filmed in the central square while we enjoyed a delicious lunch. It is a fine city according to Tolstoy.
The village near our camp had an amazing Church and castle, Sterberk but the best thing was in in street you could wind up a cyclinder that told you the history of that street. It was available in a variety of languages.