Having never done a city break before I was quite apprehensive about visiting Prague. Many people had told me it was a destination for Stag and Hen parties. Whilst sitting on the plane I decided to do some last minute reading about the city, making sure I knew where I wanted to go because I only had 4 days, one of which I had planned a visit to the zoo (you can read about that here!).
Prague airport was huge and took a while to find my way to the exit. But once I was through, I was lucky to be driven from the airport to my hotel in a shiny new Mercedes. I decided to stay in the district of Mala Strana (Little Quarter) in Hotel William. It was very central, yet hidden from the crowds and noisy pubs. Plus, from my room I had a partial view of the Charles bridge (how amazing!).
The hotel itself was very clean and I felt very safe as there was a locked gate between the front doors and the hotel rooms. The only real downside is the stairs. They look great, but to get in the hotel, there are stairs. Then to get to the lift, guess what … more stairs. Bit of an issue if you have a suitcase or breathing problems which make stairs difficult to manage. I had to be carried (much to my disgust) because it would have taken ages to walk up the stairs (because of my short legs). Moaning aside, the reception staff were super helpful and offered to carry my suitcase to the lift (Thank you Richard).
After a quick look at the map to find out how far the local sights were from the Hotel, it was off out to explore the beautiful cobbled streets of Prague. I’m so glad the receptionist gave me a map of the city, otherwise I would have spent most of my time lost in the many narrow streets.
First up was the Charles Bridge. It is a beautiful old bridge with many statues. But, unfortunately the first view I had of this bridge was a very negative one. I was greeted by a man sitting in the middle of the floor, heating up a teaspoon of heroin with a lighter, syringes spread out in a row. I am aware that certain drugs are legal in Prague and homelessness is rife in cities across Europe, but I have never seen addicts being so blasé about their drug use (I have been informed this is an uncommon occurrence, usually tourists who believe they are above the law). Maybe it was the time which I was there, Friday afternoon was possibly the busiest day of the week. Safe to say I chose to avoid the Charles bridge after this. If you are visiting Prague, please don’t let this put you off, as I am sure it is not a regular occurrence.
The narrow streets of the Old town were very picturesque with the added bonus of really strange art, both on the ground and above your head. It’s very easy to get lost, but I have to say my favourite part of Prague was the countdown traffic lights.
I went on to visit Wencelas Square but I should have gone straight to the Old Town Square which was a lot prettier, in my opinion. It a shame the Astronomical Clock was under construction. I decided to go into the clock tower and walk to the top, there was no stairs, only ramps and a lift. Walking up to the Observation Deck seemed to take a long time, but the views were definitely worth it. I would say, for any of my readers with breathing conditions or joint problems. Take the lift up and walk down. Its a gradual slope down so it feels like you can get to the bottom quickly.
The view was incredible and I can see why Prague is called the City with 100 spires. I’m glad there was 360 degree views and a clear sky, I could see for miles. From here, I realised the places I’d planned to visit were close to each other which cheered me up. Guide books never tell you how far you need to walk when going between different attractions in a city. I knew that I would definitely see everything I wanted to, in the time I had in Prague.
The Jewish Quarter was close by and well worth the visit. It’s quieter, prettier and filled with super posh shops. It reminded me of Paris with the fancy architecture and tree lined streets. It’s just off the Old Town square, so I decided that it was the perfect next stop for my city tour.
So many designer stores, I didn’t know where to look.
I would have loved to do some actual shopping but the shops were slightly out of my price range. Maybe, on another visit I can go in the shops rather than just look in the windows. I was lucky enough to find that I was the inspiration for the jumpers in Dior too!
After enjoying the architecture of the Jewish Quarter, it was time to head to my next stop. My last stop of the day was the Castle. I decided I decided against going in due to the huge queue. I was getting tired and hadn’t done my research to see how busy it would be on a weekend. But, the sun was out and instead I chose to sit and enjoy the weather and views over the city.
Back to my hotel for an early night before attempting to climb Petrin hill.
Considering it is the beginning of March, I was blessed with beautiful weather. I decided to walk up Petrin hill, instead of taking the funicular tram. Looking back taking the tram one way would have been much easier because the hill is longer and steeper than it looks. However, there were lots of seats to look at the view, which was definitely worth the aching legs.
Sad thing is, I was unable to go up the Observation Tower. There was so many stairs to get to the top so instead of injuring myself I decided to take a walk through the park back to the Castle to find a nice coffee shop to sit in the sun. Next time I visit Prague, I will definitely go up the Observation Tower (I love finding a reason to return to a city).
I found a fun dinosaur sized swing to enjoy in the spring sunshine (I have since been informed it is a water pump for horses).
On my last evening in Prague I decided to brave the cold to see the skyline all lit up. I walked over the bridge from Kampa Island to the old town, which gave amazing views of the Charles Bridge and castle. It was so quiet and peaceful. Something I never imagined I would experience in the middle of a city.
As it was so quiet, I decided to revisit the Charles Bridge, I am glad I did this as I could finally experience the bridge and all its beauty.
I’d like to say thank you to the friendly Canadian man who told me it was great seeing a T-Rex on an adventure (sorry I’m terrible at high fives!). It makes me so happy to know I am bringing joy to others, even if it is for a small moment in their life.
Since this was such a long post, I’ve decided to separate my Prague trip up into a few separate posts!
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Actually, the best gift you could give her is a lifetime of adventures – Lewis Carroll